I agree with Bruce Walker that Barry Goldwater represents the birth of modern conservatism and that he and Bill Buckley are probably the fathers of modern conservatism. Similar to how I believe Wendell Willkie and Jack Kennedy to me are the fathers of modern liberalism which is the topic for another post. But perhaps where I disagree with Bruce Walker is what it exactly means to be a Conservative. That it is not about conserving a way of life and telling Americans through government force even “that this is how we live and this is they way you should live to”.
Individual freedom which so-called Conservatives and real Conservatives along with Libertarians talk about all the time is exactly that. The individual freedom for individuals to live their own lives and not have government down their back regulating how they live their own lives. We are not talking about individual collectivism and the nanny state imposing regulations in how Americans should live their own lives. Barry Goldwater was a true individualist because he actually did believe in individual freedom.
The post I wrote yesterday about Traditional Values Conservatives is not the modern classical conservative movement that was fathered by Barry Goldwater and a few others. The Traditional Values Coalition is truly a collectivist movement at least when it comes to society and culture and how Americans should live their own lives. What Barry Goldwater and his followers believed was that Americans should have individual freedom both economic and personal the right for people to make their own decisions about their lives. And he was against both the welfare state and the nanny state and wasn’t political allies with the Christian Right that later emerged in the Republican Party.
And had the modern Republican Party took the Goldwater route in building their new national party instead of the Christian Right route they would be much further along today politically. Because that is where Americans are now believers in individualism that Americans should be free to live their own lives as long as they aren’t hurting innocent people. As you see with the supporters of Ron Paul and Rand Paul where they both get so much of their support from young Americans.