What does this say to you?

Scott

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I am taking an American Government class and I discovered this excerpt from a Barry Goldwater speech, and thought it was a very interesting statement. This was actually from his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 1964, and he was talking about failures of the previous administration and the typical stuff you hear in an acceptance speech, but these two sentences apparently cost him the election (to Lyndon Johnson)..... I am curious what they say to you:

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Here is a link to the entire speech if you wish to read it for perspective:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/may98/goldwaterspeech.htm
 

Scott

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I don't disagree with you, I was just curious how that excerpt resonated with you in a present day context.
 

Firecat

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I read the preceeding para but still can't figure out the exact context, so I won't say whether I agree with it or not. But generally speaking, I think it's true.

For some reason, it actually reminded me of a quote from Malcolm X

Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it

You can't just do something half-heartedly, it's pointless. And to throw in another saying, which is probably the answer to the question "does the ends justify the means?"....based on the quote from Goldwater, his answer would undoubtedly be "yes"

alas it's late, and I just opened up a new store and been working some crazy hours....so I'm not sure what I'm talking about anymore.
 

optimusprime

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I'm sure the founding fathers would agree; I know I do.
 

jeffy777

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The historical context is: Goldwater wanted to use strong military action (even suggesting a nuclear war) to whip the communist's once and for all. He thought LBJ was being too soft in Vietnam, for starters. Johnson was afraid he'd lose votes because Goldwater was portraying him as a wussy.......Johnson would've won the election by a landslide anyway because of his popularity, but he wanted to win by the largest possible margin as a way of solidifying his legacy as more than just a presidency automatically inherited from Kennedy. So LBJ deceptively used the Gulf of Tonkin "attack" (and shame on him for doing so) as an excuse to open the way for him to show America that he wasn't a softie when dealing with communism. However, he didn't want any wide scale war to begin till after the election, so as not to cast any negative light on his campaign.

As for modern relavence to Goldwater's quote: In a general sense, I suppose it's a nice idea as long as you look at it from a balanced perspective. With that said, I could also see how similar thinking could be (and has been) used as a motivator for unnecessary war.
 
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AnGuRuSO

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That's crazy, how could those two sentences cost him the election.

1. When I first read it I had no idea what he was saying.
2. After reading it a couple of times (100) I agree with the second sentence, but not the first.

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

To answer the question I think the first sentence means, "do whatever it takes to defend liberty, its ok!" and the second sentence means, "we should achieve justice for everyone". Moderation seems like a funny word to use. Maybe the second sentence was about the civil rights movement, the first sentence seems to be about the Vietnam war and KILLING THOSE COMMMIES~!
 

AnGuRuSO

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Also I heard an interesting story about LBJ. Apparently he had a really large dick and he loved to show it off. One time Ferdinand Marcos visited the whitehouse and LBJ said "yo foo, how bout we go chillax in the hot tub", Marcos said "ya sure dawg".

Marcos went to the changing room and found there was no swimsuit, he walked into the hot tub room and LBJ was chilling out nekkid. Marcos said "yo where's the swimsuits?", and LBJ said "foo! Who needs swimsuits" so Marcos (who the story says had a small penis) got in the hot tub with LBJ naked, and ever since that day hated LBJ a lot.
 

NooDle

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ok maybe I'm too dense or my English isn't good enough but I don't see how those 2 sentences are THAT bad that they cost someone an election. Especially the way he carefully worded it...

:?
 

jeffy777

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It's an exaggeration to say those sentences cost him the election. As Cobol74 said, LBJ would've beaten anyone at that time, for better or for worse.
 

vegasrebel29

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Those two sentences didn't cost Goldwater the election.
This did:

[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyVn9k6d1og[/YOUTUBE]
 

MacGuffin

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You know... looking back, I'm always amazed that we made it through the Cold War without exterminating the entire human race...

Some lottery we won there... I hope we deserved it.
 

tigger

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I'm sure the founding fathers would agree; I know I do.
Certainly some would have. Others, like Jefferson and Franklin, were very much opposed to extremism.
 

DarkReaper

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I guess what he basically meant in those two sentences is that extremism in the defense of liberty is justifiable, and that holding back (War, force,...) in the pursuit of justice doesn't get you anywhere.

I would say that the cold war wouldn't have stayed cold for long under him.
Maybe he would have just bombed the shit out of cuba in the missile crisis.
 

watisdis

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I was just curious how that excerpt resonated with you in a present day context.

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

In modern times, this reeks of the type of fear-mongering, scheming, bullshit politics that introduced this lovely peice of legislation. Avoiding modern context, and simply taking it in pure form, then it could be seen as a good thing. It's just that the phrase "defense of liberty" is too often skewed and misconstrued by ravenous polititians seeking to further their agenda.

And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Again, in a present day context, this could be seen as a supporting act to the type of mentality purveyed by first quote. Or if taken literally, it could be seen as a great thing. It's all about context and how one interprets what "justice" is. One man's terrorist is another man's martyr.
 

chaos386

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It's all about context and how one interprets what "justice" is. One man's terrorist is another man's martyr.

Exactly.

Let's take China, for example. They have habit for cracking down on dissidents within the country, a habit that most in the US condemn. What very few seem to point out, however, is that China's rationale for arresting dissidents is the same as the US's rationale for arresting suspected terrorists: national security.

The definition of "justice" all depends on whose side you're on, and saying you'll do anything to defend it is just one of those political fluff sentences that sounds great but has zero real meaning.
 
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