I miss my Mom. She is gone. She was like many I have met, a reasonable fair-minded Republican. She once said of George  W. Bush while shaking her head, “Bless his heart, he’s just way over his head!” Recently I imagined what she might say about the political state of the Union and decided to write it down.

Barry Goldwater - Mr. ConservativeI am not an atheist, but I should be.

I am not a liberal, but the folks who call themselves conservatives and continue to be the vociferous minority of my party disguise their corruption by wrapping it in a banner they call neo-conservative.

The reason I am not an atheist, despite the embarrassment and disgust I feel by being associated with religion, especially Christianity, is that spirituality is primarily a personal pursuit, not a group activity, so I can do it without an alliance. While it’s nice to have a place to “worship” and the social support of like minded souls, there are hidden pitfalls which for many become distractions from spirituality. So I channel (wait, wait,not that kind of channeling) my spirituality independently.

Why disgust for religion? Evaluate the benefit versus harm induced by religion historically. Countless souls saved. Hoorah! The murder and plunder of the Crusades, Imperialism, and the Spanish Inquisition. Boo, hiss. Evaluate the fear and hate trumped up by religious leaders in contemporary times. (Smiting by Bob Jones, prayer for the death of Sandra Day O’ Conner, and the distillation of Christian beliefs into rancor fomented by two issues, abortion and homosexuality.) So on balance, too much red ink, I view organized religion a net detriment to the planet.

When Queen Elizabeth (I) of England discovered distractions from her spirituality due to the behavior of her church (excommunication and ordained assassination plots against her) she was in a unique position to uphold her spiritual values by creating her own church, more or less.

Do we need a new political party based on classical conservative values?

In order to ramrod the passage of a new healthcare bill, the Democrats invoke the need for Lyndon Johnson, who worked behind the scenes.

In order to save the Republican party from those who have networked and brokered power for far too long, we need a Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater articulated conservatism and paved the way for the Reagan Revolution. At one time he represented the right wing of his party. Now he is called a liberal. He, or someone of his stature is desperately needed to extirpate true conservative values from the Pharisees who hambone the moderates into submission. In defense of the quiet moderates, they have gone along for the ride, and enjoyed success, too. This has made it hard to apply the brakes onto the downhill erosion of classical conservative values. (It should be to some degree a comfort for moderate conservatives to have witnessed a similar shedding of core values by the Clinton team during the last Democratic presidential primary.)

A favorite quote from Goldwater came after Jerry Falwell spouted off one of his usual “Every good Christian should…” diatribes. Goldwater responded “Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”

I shook hands with Barry Goldwater in 1964 on his whistle-stop at my city’s brand new jet airport. The same thing happened to him that happened to John McCain when he ran against George W. Bush. The Republican power brokers labeled him a “loose cannon.” Listen, if a junior senator from Illinois can rise up in three years to defeat the entire Democratic Machine, we can do the same. Barry… Barry? Are you out there ?

Barry Goldwater on the role of conservatism – Firing Line with William F. Buckley

###