Monday, November 20, 2017

On aggregations of appetites....


     In 1960, the common caricature was that liberals had ideas and ideals, whereas conservatives had only material interests.   Goldwater set out to refute the idea the conservatism is merely "a narrow, mechanistic economic theory that may work very well as a bookkeeper's guide, but cannot be relied upon as a comprehensive political philosophy."  Goldwater insisted that it was liberalism that had become thin intellectual gruel.  He said it produced government that saw the nation as a mere aggregation of clamorous constituencies with material itches that it was Washington's duty to scratch with federal programs.  The audacity of The Conscience of a Conservative was its charge that the post-New Deal political tradition, far from being idealistic, was unworthy of a free society because it treated citizens as mere aggregations of appetites.

-George Will, from his essay, Barry Goldwater: "Cheerful Malcontent"

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