History,  Islamism

Vice-free extremism: now and then

I don’t understand the exact nature of MPACUK’s complaint against the West Midlands police, but the title of this post on their website certainly grabbed my attention:

Extremism in the Pursuit of Liberty is No Vice; Moderation in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue

Those familiar with 20th century American political history will recognize source of those words. They were spoken by Barry Goldwater, the rightwing Republican who ran against Lyndon Johnson for president in 1964, addressing the GOP convention that nominated him– although Goldwater said “defense of liberty,” not “pursuit of liberty.”

(To give you an idea how times have changed, the Republicans held that convention in San Francisco.)

Why was Nixon smiling? Because he knew Goldwater would go on to be crushed in the election, making it possible for Nixon to win the Republican nomination and the presidency four years later.

In fact Goldwater’s words about extremism (an effort to turn his public image into a “positive”) probably, as much as anything, contributed to the scale of his defeat.

Later in life, Goldwater stood up for personal liberty in surprising ways for a Republican, endorsing gay rights and abortion rights.

Unfortunately I don’t think we can expect the same from MPACUK.

(Hat tip: bobbo)