A Look at The Candidates


This is the year of elections. To most of us, however, amongst all those to be elected, the election of the president of the United States is of primary importance. The two main parties have made their selections and the candidates are on the campaign trail each attempting to convince the voters that he is the best candidate to lead the nation. On November 3, the voters of the United States have an opportunity to cast their ballots and make a choice with respect to the men that they wish to see serve in governing these United States and more importantly they will have an opportunity to choose between the nominee of the Republican Party and the candidate of the Democratic Party.

Richard E. Neustadt, in writing concerning the position of the president in his book entitled Presidential Powers says: “When we inaugurate a President of the United States, we give a man the powers of the highest office. From the moment he is sworn, the man confronts the personal problem; how to make those powers work for him.”

One of two candidates will be confronted with this problem. It is true that ultimately he receives his position from God, but it is likewise true that the man elected to the highest office attempts to make the powers delegated to him by the Constitution work for him. Each man elucidates his position prior to the election in such a way that the voter has an opportunity to see how the man will operate in the office if he is elected to the highest position in the land.

The two candidates for the office, one the incumbent President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson-Democrat and the other the junior Senator from Arizona, Senator Barry M. Goldwater, are declaring their positions in speeches and appearances since their nomination at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

It should be abundantly clear to anyone who has kept up with current happenings and with the state of American politics that Senator Goldwater is the leader of the conservative thinker in American politics. He is the strong advocate for less government control and the movement away from the Federalization that swept across the land. In his book entitled Conscience of a Conservative he outlines his position with respect to several problems which he feels are pertinent.

He is a strong advocate of states’ rights and of civil rights properly understood. With respect to states’ rights he wrote: “Nothing could so far advance the cause of freedom as for state officials throughout the land to assert their rightful claims to lost state power; and for the federal government to withdraw promptly and totally from every jurisdiction which the Constitution reserved to the states.” With respect to civil rights he writes: “I believe that the problem of race relations, like all social and cultural problems is best handled by the people directly concerned. Social and cultural change, however desirable, should not be effected by the engines of national power.”

Goldwater also has a basic attitude with respect to labor and the labor union situation. Senator Goldwater is a strong advocate of the right to work clauses which are an implicit part of the state code in at least 19 states in the union. In discussing the union problem, Senator Goldwater says: “I am well aware of the “free loader” argument, so often advanced by union leaders in defense of compulsory unionism. The contention is that a man ought not to enjoy the benefits of an organization’s activities unless he contributes his fair share of their cost.” It is here that his reasoning and argument become extremely cogent. “I am unaware, however, of any other organizations or institution that seeks to enforce this theory of compulsion. The Red Cross benefits all of us directly or indirectly, but no one suggests that the Red Cross donations be compulsory. It is one thing to say that a man should contribute to an association that is purportedly acting in his interest; it is quite another thing to say that he must do so.” In commenting on the power of the union, Goldwater said: “When the United Automobile Workers demand a wage increase from the auto industry, a single monolith is pitted against a number of separate competing companies. Let us henceforth make war on all monopolies—whether corporate or union.”

Respecting the Welfare State, Goldwater has said: “The currently favored instrument of collectivization is the Welfare State. The collectivists have not abandoned their ultimate goal—to subordinate the individual to the state—but their strategy has changed. They have learned that Socialism can be achieved through Welfarism quite as well as through Nationalization.” He continues on this same thought by saying: “It is hard, as we have seen, to make out a case for State ownership. It is very different with the rhetoric of humanitarianism. How easy it is to reach the voters with earnest importunities for helping the needy. And how difficult for Conservatives to resist these demands without appearing to be callous and contemptuous of the plight of less fortunate citizens. Here, perhaps, is the best illustration of the failure of the Conservative demonstration.”

Concerning education, Goldwater has the following interesting comment and it reveals a basic concern without being rooted in the immovable rock. “Responding to Deweyite attack on methods of teaching, we have encouraged the teaching profession to be more concerned with how a subject is taught than with what is taught. Most important of all: in our anxiety to ‘improve’ the world and insure ‘progress’ we have permitted our schools to become laboratories for social and economic change according to the predilections of the professional educators. We have forgotten that the proper function of the school is to transmit the cultural heritage of one generation to the next generation and to so train the minds of the new generation as to make them capable of absorbing ancient learning and applying it to the problem of its own day.” Further: “We should look upon schools—not as a place to train the ‘whole character’ of the child—a responsibility that properly belongs to his family and church—but to train his mind.”

In speaking about the right of every child to an education, Senator Goldwater said in a speech in Jacksonville, Florida: “The Government has no right to educate children. The parents, you and I, have that responsibility. The child has no right to an education. In most cases, the children will get along very well without it.”

Much more could be written about the Goldwater position. I have quoted quite at length from his writings so that I could let Goldwater speak for himself. Space does not permit a lengthy discussion, but I submit that it is abundantly clear that Goldwater holds to the position of less government control and is a strong proponent of change in the direction of a return to less federalization. Goldwater is fighting to redirect the thinking of Americans who have leaned heavily on the paternalism of the government ever since the New Deal days of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Goldwater is not by any stretch of the imagination a Christian; he is a mason—all masons deny the cardinal principles of Christianity as they are briefly stated in the Apostles Creed.

By the time that I can come into print again, the election will undoubtedly have been decided. I have chosen to write concerning the Conservative in politics first and then concerning the Liberal mastermind. Through the decision by the people and the Electoral College, God sits on the throne and He has the hearts of men in his hands. I shall write next time about Lyndon Baines Johnson and comment on the election.