Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

   In 1964, Senator Barry Goldwater was nominated by the Republican Party as its candidate for president. (Trivia question: who was his running mate?) His acceptance speech, delivered at San Francisco's Cow Palace, is famous for his declaration: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the defense of justice is no virtue." As is so often the case, Goldwater (to whose campaign I donated 25 cents that year; a lot for a nine-year-old on a dollar-a-week allowance, and the last money I gave to a right-wing candidate or cause) did not write that speech. A man named Karl Hess did so.

   I met Karl Hess in 1976 when he was artist-in-residence at the University of Illinois. He was a welder. He had become an anarchist and a tax-rebel. He lived by barter. DePauw friends of mine, also anarchists, had worked with him during Winter Term in a project he had organized in Washington, D.C. We went to a deli for lunch at one point---we bought---and, on the way, proudly pointed to a sign that read "Don't Vote---It Only Encourages Them." Another billboard read: "VOTE (it won't do any good but) VOTE anyway.

   I understand frustration with elections. I do not share Hess's views. (He died in 1994.) I will vote tomorrow. I would urge others to vote as well. 

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Comment by Paul K. Ogden on November 7, 2011 at 9:14am
Running mate Bill Smith.  I din't look it up, I swear.


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