tv Barry Goldwater the Conservationist CSPAN August 10, 2016 10:48am-11:48am EDT
and click on the video library search bar. here you can type in the name of a speaker, the sponsor of a bill, or even the event topic. review the list of search results and click on the program you'd like to watch or refine your search with our many search tools. if you're looking for our most current programs and you don't want to search the video library, our home page has many current programs ready for your immediate viewing such as today's "washington journal" or the events we covered that day. c-span.org is a public service of your cable or satellite provider, so if you're a c-span watcher, check it out at c-span.org. coming up next, environmental historian brian allan drake explores barry goldwater's commitment to environmental preservation and looks at how this commitment evolved over his lifetime. the kansas city public library hosted this hour long event. >> well, good evening and
welcome to the kansas city public library. i am henry fortunato, director of public affairs. i want to thank you all for participating in my ongoing stealth campaign to provide speaking opportunities for all of my buds from graduate school. my -- all the guys i went to graduate school with at the university of kansas. tonight's entrant in that category is brian allen drake. an up and coming environmental historian who studied under the incomparable donald warster and now a lecturer in history at the university of georgia. but before i tell you any more about brian, let me introduce the topic of his talk by adapting an opening line that another one of our fellow graduate students used every fall on the first day of the undergraduate history classes
that he taught. 100 years from now, he would say, all of you will be how's that for a wake-up at 8:00 in the morning? for a sleepy undergraduate? 100 years from now, all of you will be dead, and unless you accomplish something utterly extraordinary or perpetuate some horrible evil, the odds are no one then alive will remember you. he would then go on to say that even if you do get into that rarefied zone where your name lives on, the odds are it will be as a caricature, which is to say you'll be remembered all right, but possibly for the wrong thing. which brings us to barry goldwater. 50 years ago today, today, right now, the then senator from arizona known as mr. conservative accepted the republican nomination for president at the cal palace in
san francisco. only two things about that moment in time are generally remembered. first, a phrase from goldwater's speech, which in its mangled form goes something like this. extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. and second, the fact that goldwater went on to suffer an electoral defeat of landslide proportions at the hands of lyndon johnson. but what if we are remembering barry goldwater for the wrong things? what if there is a different barry goldwater, someone who wrestled with apparent contradictions between his intellectual beliefs in limited government and his personal attachment to the great outdoors? that in a nutshell, i think, is the question that brian drake is going to explore in tonight's presentation. an original lecture developed just for us titled "barry
goldwater, the conscience of a conservationist." the talk draws on his first and recently published book, loving nature, fearing the statement, and antigovernment politics before reagan. it's published by the university of washington press. it's for sale after this talk, and he'll be signing copies. one last comment before i depart. a month from now, it will be, hard to believe, 15 years since i went back to school to begin work on what i called my middle-aged masters degree. brian drake was in both of my first two classes that semester. in the early sessions, i was struck by the koejancy of his arguments and his unairiunerrin ability to decipher the readings, many of which were rather opaque and somewhat slowgoing. when we started to write papers which were peer reviewed by other class members, i was struck again by brian's
phenomenal talent for writing. his ability to produce scholarly work that was totally accessible. brian had cracked the code, the first one in both classes to do so. some people never quite figured it out, but i digress. in his remarks tonight, i have no doubt that brian will demonstrate that talent for all of you. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome brian drake. >> thank you. thank you, thank you very much. let me begin by saying some nice things about henry. who is one of the most -- one of the smartest, wittiest, most airdite people i know, and he is a treasure, and you're lucky to have him here. thank you very much for those comments. i also wanted to say as well, it's a thrill to be here in kansas city.
i love this town. this is a great town. i love this region. big fan of the great plains, and i have been reminded of that over the last 48 hours or so. what a great place it is. so thank you for that. i think it's time to cut to the chase, and i wonder if we might begin by hearing those famous words of barry goldwater from 50 years ago today at the cal b palace. if we could queue that video to begin -- or not. >> i will remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. and let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. >> there they are, in somewhat edited form. before i talk about that, let me
tell you a little about myself. as henry mentioned, i'm an environmental historian. what that means is i study the influence of nature on human history, and the reciprocal human influence on nature. what do people think about nature, how do they treat nature? how does nature respond in turn and effect us? it's sort of a back and forth. one of my favorite historical topics. when i was in graduate school, i got interested particularly in the environmental movement. who became an environmentalist, why did they become an environmentalist, what happens when other parts of their life intersect with their environmentalism, and particularly, i got fascinated by people who became environmentalists that you would never expect. you can kind of see where this is going. one of the things i love about historical study is when historical actors go off script. when they do things that you do not expect. that you would never expect. i like the fact that people are
complicated. that's a truism, i realize, but it is a truism for a reason. i think sometimes we lose sight of that. people are complicated. and i wanted to explore that. so my two interests came together in my book, and they come together in this talk today. so i want to explore the complicated world of arizona senator and environmentalist barry goldwater. who accepted the republican nomination, as you know, for president 50 years ago today. now, the complicated world of barry goldwater, if you remember barry goldwater, know much about him, complicated is not a word that is normally associated with the senator from arizona. it might even elicit a laugh. the classic image of goldwater, of course, this is one of his campaign posters. the classic image looks something like this. barry goldwater was extremely conservative. predictably and extremely conservative.
the distilled essence, you might say, of political conservatism, an opponent of the new deal, an equally vociferous opponent of lyndon johnson, opposed to welfare, opposed to regulation, opposed to excessive taxes. a defender of traditional morality, an opponent of unions. militantly anti-communist, supporter of the military, et cetera, and so forth. we can tick them off. they are -- put together, he almost emerges as a kind of cardboard cutout. a statue, an ideology attached to a warm body. uncompromising, aggressive, perhaps even according to his critics, dangerously so. and you can see that in just a couple film clips that i would like to show you now. can we run communism video? these are from the -- this is from a great website. this is a 1964 campaign commercial from senator goldwater.
>> hand over your heart. ready, begin. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america. >> to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god. [ speaking foreign language ] >> liberty and justice for all. >> i want american kids to grow up as americans. and they will if we have the guts to make our intentions clear. so clear they don't need translation or interpretation, just respect for a country prepared as no country in all history ever was. in your heart, you know he's right. vote for barry goldwater. >> there is his famous campaign motto.
needless to say, this very intense anti-communism made critics rather nervous, and the johnson campaign took full advantage of that. if we could run just another weapon, please. this is a lyndon johnson campaign commercial from that same year. >> on october 24th, 1963, barry goldwater said at the nuclear bomb, merely another weapon. merely another weapon? vote for president johnson. the stakes are too high for you to stay home. >> the next one, yeah, the next one is even more famous. you may remember this. this is the infamous daisy commercial of 1964. if we could run that as well, please. it's a little bit longer. >> one, two, three, four, five,
seven, six, six, eight, nine, nine. >> eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. these are the stakes. to make a world in which all of god's children can live. to go into the dark, we must either love each other or we must die. >> vote for president johnson on november 3rd. the stakes are too high for you to stay home. >> again, maybe the most famous political cartoon in all of american history. you'll notice, not mentioned by name. it's understood you're supposed
to know who is being referred to. barry goldwater scared many democrats and many republicans as well. i would like to finish one more commercial before we get into the meat of this. the is lesser well known, but note there's an environmental element here. this is a commercial called ice cream. >> used to do. they used to explode atomic bombs in the air. now children should have lots of vitamin a and calcium, but shth shouldn't have any cesium-137. these things come from atomic bombs and they're radioactive. they can make you die. do you know what people finally did? they got together and signed a nuclear test ban treaty, and then the radioactive poisons started to go away. but now, there's a man who wants to be president of the united states, and he doesn't like this treaty. he would vote against it. he even voted against it. he wants to go on testing more
bombs. his name is barry goldwater. and if he's elected, they might start testing all over again. >> vote for president johnson on november 3rd. the stakes are too high for you to stay home. >> all right, now in 1964, as in 2014, don't expect nuance in our political ads. and ads from both sides, i think, were misleading. lyndon johnson was not a socialist dictator, not josef stalin with a texas drawl. and barry goldwater was not a warmonger, a dr. strangelove esque type character. if you look at his whole life, his whole political life and his life in general, utwhat you find is barry goldwater often went off in interesting and unexpected directions. he was a more supple thinker than he was given credit for, not just from his opponents but
also his supporters. examples, something you're probably familiar with. at the end of his life, he broke with the republican party over the influence of the religious right. he was not a fan of jerry falwell and pat robertson. he championed the right of gay people to serve in the military. supported a democrat, karen english, in 1952 when she ran for congress. he was a supporter of planned parenthood for his entire life. he was also a member of the naacp. which was, for white supporters of segregation, maybe the most hated organization in the country. he even, of course, as you probably know, had a warm reputation with -- forgot this picture. this is from his 1968 senate campaign. great picture, there he is in his backyard, in this photograph, graces the cover of a book on the '64 campaign. but goldwater, of course, was
good friends with his -- one of his big political rivals. that was john f. kennedy. they in fact talked about campaigning together. imagine that in 2014. going on the campaign trail together and debating one another but still remaining friends. so back to the commercial, the last one that i showed. the idea that goldwater's election would be a kind of environmental disaster is especially relevant to this idea of goldwater being complicated. as we're going to see, the famous maverick streak of the senator from arizona extended to environmental issues. so let me begin by telling you a lilt bit about barry goldwater. he was born in phoenix, arizona, first of january, 1909, and he was the son of a well to do department store owner named baron goldwater. he was an adventurous kid, a little wild. maybe a lot wild, actually. he ended up in military school in the state of virginia eventually because of his wildness. he loved to do all the things
that boys did, play pranks, run around with his buddies. he loved to camp. he loved to ride. he loved to hunt. an area around camelback mountain, i don't know if you have been to phoenix, but if you fly into sky harbor airport, look to the north and you'll see camelback mountain. this is a picture of it in the early 1900s, as barry goldwater would have seen it. it's covered in houses mostly now. here's another shot. wide open spaces. these wide open spaces had a significant influence on goldwater for the whole of his life, in fact. these youthful experiences in the desert are going to shape his environmentalism as an adult. so, let me tell you a little bit about his mother, who was crucial to this. josephine goldwater was from nebraska and she moved to arizona because she had tuberculosis.
the idea at the time was the clear invigorating air of arizona would cure you or at least make the symptomsless intense. she did not expect to live long. she lived for several decades. maybe it worked. she met barry goldwater, married him. had three children, and she loved nature deeply. one of the things she loved to do, in fact, was to go on car camping trips. this was in the 1920s. in the 1920s, this was the airy where we first had car camping. camping, going to the wilderness, used to be some ways the domain of the wealthy. you went on the train and went to yosemite. now you got in your model t and went to the desert. that's what she did. i believe that's barry goldwater at the wheel. he did a lot of driving on those trips. there they are in their automobile crossing the colorado river, on their way over to southern california. in one of these many, many trips they took. joe goldwater lectured her
children on natural history. she pointed out the beauties of nature. she was not an intensely religious woman, but she believed god was present mostly in his creation, so she was very keen to point that out, the real church, so to speak, was the wild. that was a lesson that barry goldwater took to heart. just some really wonderful experiences. as barry got older, he continued this tradition. he picked up a camera -- he picked up a rifle before he did that. this is barry goldwater on the left with a rifle in hand. that's his younger brother bob and his younger sister carolyn. his mother is on the left next to him. the other two folks are unidentified. but this is one of their many camping trips. but as he became an adult, he continued this. he got into photography. when he got married, his wife gave him for one of his first christmas gifts in 1934, a camera. he started lugging the camera around the arizona countryside.
he also learned to fly and he would take aerial pictures. and so he became pretty critically a really remarkable artist. this is something i don't think we always appreciate. in 1940, he published the first of what would be several books of photography. he was elected to the royal society of photographers on the basis of this book. got a couple shots here. there he is, i love this one in his levi's taking a picture of an arch somewhere in arizona. he was a big fan of the four corners area, as you can tell. like this one as well. this is circa 1940. and take a look at some of these pictures here. these next three shots are shots, actually, excuse me, one more. this is later in life, wearing those same levi's as near as i can tell in his house in scottsdale with his camera. cactus and american flag. i thought about asking if i could get this to be my book
cover, but we went with something else. but this is one of his shots. i love this one. gorgeous. that was not ansel adams, but he's not bad. he was in fact friends with ansel adams. very different politically, but they shared a love for this kind of photography. i think this is just a wonderful shot. my favorite maybe of all, though, is this one. monument valley in arizona. look at those clean lines. this is man who has an eye for light and shadow and a light for that ansel adams-esque look. i love this photograph. one of my favorites. one more. he was also famous for photographing native people. this is a navajo man, and maybe his most famous and most reproduced photograph. so, again, you can see long before he got interested in politics, lang before he became a politician, he was a man who is thinking about the wilderness, thinking about nature. briefly, goes off -- he goes off
to military school, as i mentioned, in virginia. comes back home to go to the university of arizona. he does not finish because his father dies and he takes over the goldwater store. he ends up being a businessman. gets married himself, has three children. and begins in the 1930s, begins his career as a conservative. he was, as you would expect, deeply opposed to franklin delano roosevelt, did not like the new deal for a variety of reasons. editorializes against it in the arizona republic, so on and so forth. and getting ahead of myself. let's go back to this one. this would be appropriate. round about this time, 1939, 1940, he got a chance to go on a trip through the grand canyon. now, the grand canyon and the colorado river was a different place in 1940. there was only one dam on it, and that was hoover dam. the rest of the river ran wild. and not many people in the 1940s had gone down it. goldwater would be a member of
the 13th, only the 13th expedition to go down the colorado river and the 73rd person. he joined what was called the neville's expedition. there were a couple, but he joined one in the summer of 1940, and darn if he didn't make it all the way through the grand canyon. it was an incredible experience for him. he kept a journal, and he took a lot of photographs. which i'll get to in a second. i want to read, though, an entry from his journal on that trip. and i quote, the tall spires near the rim looked as though god had reached out and wiped a brush of golden paint across them. gliding -- gilding those rocks in the bright flow of setting sun, below the heights, the canyon is fizzed with a blue haze, not unlike smoke. the river unwinds lazy and brown through all of this beauty and above this grandeur float clouds in the pastel shades of evening.
we were going john muir here for a second. that's not something we associate with barry goldwater. his liticism and his love for the canyon. he loved the grand canyon above all natural features. the love for that comes out strongly in this. he took his camera with him, as i mentioned. he took a motion picture camera and a still camera. he took hundreds and hundreds of photographs. 3,000 feet of moving picture, and he went on a speaking tour after he emerged from the canyon. he -- there were times when he was showing the film and the pictures five times a day. over 10,000 people saw it in the year or so after he went through the grand canyon. and this, i would argue, had at least something to do with his political success. he decided to run for phoenix city council in 1948. and people are going to vote for him primarily on the issues. he was concerned about corruption and concerned about
excessive government and concerned about a pro-business atmosphere, so on and so forth. people who voted for him for those reasons and they also voted for him because he was the man who ran the canyon. that gave him a kind of cache. he used to fly in his aircraft to campaign stops and that was such a romantic image, the cowboy image, outdoorsman image. i think it was crucial. he had the canyon as a backdrop. so he's successful. he finds out politics. he decides in 1952 to run for senate. lo and behold, he wins. this is something of a bellwether. the democrats had always dominated the state of arizona, and now we had a republican junior senator in 1952. this is portending the shifts that have brought us the current political map. he knocked off earnest mcfarland and joined carl hayden in washington, d.c. and as a young senator, he gets a lot of the dirty jobs, the ones no one wants to do.
he has to do the re-election tour, has to go around giving speeches and eating rubber chicken and that sort of thing. his agenda at the time was typically conservative. when he spoke on the floor of the senate, he railed against labor unions. he was very anti-communist, as you know. he was not an environmentalist as we would recognize it today. yet. but we're going to get there. which means i'm going to switch gears for just a second. i want to tell you a little bit about environmentalism because that's important as well. you need to know a little bit about that. if we're going to go back a ways, i often tell my students, environmentalism is a product of the '60s. the 1860s. environmentalism is very old. if you go back 200 years, you will find what we recognize as environmentalism. you have people in new england protesting the effects, the environmental effects of textile mills, for instance, and asking their governments to regulate and things like that. it's a very old movement.
and as the industrial revolution picks up steam and gets bigger and bigger, what you see is more environmental damage. what we got in the turn of the century, an era called the progressive era, we got an emergence of what was known as conservation. it's the first organized environmental movement in america. and what a conservationist was, someone like this, they were a reformer. usually middle class. and they believed -- there are a few principles. one was that the industrial revolution that unregulated unorganized economic growth was destroying natural resources. they were not opposed to growth. they interpreted it as an anti-growth idea, but the idea was the growth was done in an unsustainable way as they say today. we need to ameliorate those goals and what we need to do is have scientific experts, the conservationists said, working for the government to -- to
manage resources in a way that they didn't disappear. the timber scarcity. you wonder where the u.s. forest service comes from or the bureau of reclamation or any federal bureaucracy, it emerges from this period. it's very use-oriented. and it's very, as you notice, it's very pro-government. it believes the government has a duty, in fact, to do what it can to manage resource development. so here's one of the big ironies. if conservation had a political home, a partisan home t would be in the republican party. this was an idea that was strongest in the gop. you think of teddy roosevelt as the greatest example. we could name others. it's a republican movement. i'll touch on that later. some curvationests always said we should preserve land not just for economic reasons but it's beautiful and spiritual.
we should have wilderness areas and natural parks. they were called preservationists. sometimes they would fight, inside the conservation movement, there were pro-growth people and wilderness preservation people. it was a civil war and they could get very angry at one together. by the time barry goldwater is on the scene, conservation is the dominant environmental ethic in the country. this is the philosophy informing how almost everyone inside and outside the government, how they treat the natural world. when goldwater starts out, he's a conservationist. he believes very much in economic growth. he was an avid champion, as you might imagine, of economic growth. and he was, in fact, an avid -- he was an intense advocate of what was called r ed reclamatio. forgive me if it's too simple. far west, people know about that. in georgia, they don't always know about reclamation, which is
where i teach. but conservations often believe rivers that were not dammed were wasted. they should be tamed. rivers should be tamed and made to work for the good of the country. and so the way we tame a river, and we make it work, is we put a dam on it. so the government very early in this progressive era got involved in dam building, starting in 1902. and this was the idea that informed the new deal. the new deal, fdr, and those folks loved their dams. and i'm sure you know all about that. go to hoover dam, to grand cooley dam, think of the tva in the southeast, new deal projects, because new dealers who already, of course, believed in an aggressive government, they gravitated to this naturally. goldwater gravitated to it as well, as an arizonaen who wanted economic prosperity in a place there was not a lot of water, he recognized reclamation had to happen, even federal
reclamation. that put him in kind of an interesting situation because it's only the government who can build these really massive dams. what you have is goldwater in a somewhat awkward position of asking, sometimes demanding that the federal government build dams in the west. at the same time as he was lambasting the tennessee valley authority in the southeast. he called it galloping socialism because there's cleeping collectivism and galloping socialism. he did some idealogical gymnastics to pull that off, i think. he would temporarily transform into a loose constructionist, for instance, of the constitution to -- to deal with that. and you look at some of the major dams of the period, and he was a big supporter. he supported what was called the echo park dam in the 19 sgiflts. the problem with the echo park dam was it was right in the middle of dinosaur national park. it was defeated in 1956 by --
after a pretty intense group, a bunch of environmental groups, the sierra club and so on, got together and fought it. he was a big champion of the dam. he said don't worry about it. it's not going to destroy the aesthetics and we need the water. we need the water. he was a big supporter of the central arizona project, in the bridge canyon dam. i don't know if anyone knows about this, but the central arizona project bringsnorthwest phoenix and tucson, some 300 miles. a coal generating camp that provides the water. it was going to be done by the bridge canyon dam that was going to be built inside the grand canyon national park. that would never fly today. you can imagine even then the uproar was intense. goldwater, a man who loved the grand canyon still was a supporter of that. he said don't worry about it. it's going to be fine.
and so again, as i was saying before, he's not really an environmentalist yet. the fingal thing he does, he votes against the wilderness act of 1964. the wilderness act created the official government wilderness designation, which you see all over the place today. he was a big opponent of that, but not for the reasons that you might expect. here's where we start to see the first flicker of barry goldwater, the environmentalist. he stood up in 1964 and said i'm opposed to the wilderness act because i love wilderness so much, what a wilderness act will do is it will be like a four-star rating for a hotel. if you make an area of wilderness area, everyone will want to go there. and when they do that, they're going to destroy it through overuse. better just to leave it alone. it's a very interesting argument, and it has a lot of merit to it because in places like the grand canyon, that's precisely what's happened. it's been loved to death. he warned that's what would happen with the wilderness act. so moving on, in 1964, as you
know, he decides to run for president. i guess i have a couple shots here. there he is. there he is, giving a speech. classic kind of goldwater look here. like this one as well. he had a bluegrass band tour with him called the goldwaters. there they are performing. as you know, folk music in 1964 was not usually associated with conservatives. think of pete seeger and folks like that. this was kind of the conservative version of that. this is, of course, a goldwater girl. does not appear to be hillary clinton, who was a goldwater girl, as you may know. but the results -- getting ahead of myself. the results, as you know, were not good for barry goldwater. he was beaten pretty severely, and here is the map of the results. now, just a couple things. he funded his campaign partially
through the sale of a book of photography called "the face of arizona." and i have been fortunate enough to see this thing and it is beautiful. a white leather-bound book with all kinds of photographs captured by the senator himself. fabulous, and pictures, it's a kind of book that any environmentalist would be proud to own today. i like that. i think that's really interesting that he's funding his campaign with this. $2,500 and you got one of the first 100 autographed copies. that's quite a bit of money, of course, in those days. but second of all, after goldwater goes down to significant defeat, you'll notice again as well, the onlyplice he wins in his home state and the deep south. i always tell my students, why did a jewish republican member of the naacp win the south? because we're in the middle of a very important political shift. but that's for another lecture, i suppose. what does he do with his time when he's out of office? what does barry goldwater do?
something very interesting. this is camelback mountain today. surrounded by suburban sprawl. you'll notice there's no development on the mountain. one of the reasons for that is because of barry goldwater. he was associated with and one of the main organizers of a group called save the camelback mountain foundation, i believe is the name, and they went around collecting money, working with landowners to buy the rights in order to preserve this mountain untouched. and they were successful. again, one of the ironies is they had to rely on land and water conservation funds to help them because they couldn't raise enough money, but goldwater, for four years, worked very hard to keep development off camelback mountain. you can go hiking there today. it's a fabulous hike. a little tough, but a wonderful view. and he said this old mountain is worth the fight. so in the mid-'60s when he was out of the political eye, he was preserving landscape in phoenix. so, let's go back, though, to --
there we go, to history again. now, after world war ii is when conservation becomes environmentalism. in the '50s and '60s, massive economic growth, creates a big middle class. what does the middle class want to do? they have money and they want to spend it on things. they want to buy tvs and automobiles and go on a road trip to the national parks. they want environmental amenities. they want natural experiences as part of their middle class lifestyle. and they begin organizing and insisting that their government do things to protect those environments they like, that they enjoy. and so, you start to get in the suburbs, i have a friend who wrote a very interesting book about this. what uget in the suburbs is the birth of environmentalism. environmentalism, it's a very -- it's kind of, i wouldn't call it a radical movement, but it
emerges out of maybe the least radical population in america, the middle class. it becomes very strong, and people get interested in sprawl and loss of green space and clean air and clean water and so on and so forth. and liberals pick up on this. lyndon johnson, if you read the famous great society speech, he talks about preserving green space and preserving the natural world. liberals begin to associate -- they begin to see themselves defenders not just of the working class and of unions and things but of the middle class and the amenities of the middle class lifestyle, the affluent lifestyle. they begin to adopt liberalism. the government has a duty, they argue, to protect nature for beam's use and enjoyment. then comes the protest of the late '60s, anti-vietnam protests and the civil rights movement, and so on and so forth. those things infuse the
environmental movement and give it new vigor and so on and so forth, and by 1970, you have things like earth day, april 22nd, 1970. you have a slew of legislation, like the clean air act and a little later, the clean water act and the endangered species act and all sorts of things, the development of the epa in 1970, on and on. major pieces of environmental legislation we are familiar with today, most of them emerge from this period, and they're signed by richard nixon. arguably the second most important environmental president after teddy roosevelt. also a republican, as you know. did not actually like environmentalists. he tended to see voters, though, when he looked at earth day rallies. but so things have changed. it's a very different world in 1970 than it is in 1964. barry goldwater comes in, and he's influenced by this. this is the point i want to make. he's deeply influenced by all of this. his influence by some of his
personal experiences as well. in 1969, he was flying in the luke air force base, and he couldn't see because of the smog. and he had to land on instruments, and he was freaked out by this. he wrote a letter to his friend. he said, i could not believe what i had to do. our air pollution problem, he said, is getting out of hand. he also noted while he was flying that there's everyeveryw everywhere, gouging and cutting from suburban growth. this makes me nervous. we should do something about this. just like every american, he's very mainstream when it comes to his response to the environmental problems of the period, and listen to this. when i first read this quote, i had one of those moments that historians have where you think smoking gun. bing. it doesn't happen very often. you have to create a smoking gun, so to speak, with the evidence. but listen to this. he wrote a book in 1970 called "conscience of a majority" and he wrote -- it was usual
goldwater stuff until you got to the next to last chapter, the chapter was called saving the earth. listen to this paragraph. i happen to be one who has spent much of his public life defending the business community, the free enterprise system, and local governments from harassment and encroachment from an outsized federal bureaucracy. it is that my attitude on the question of pollution seems to have caused more than customary interest. i'm very frank about how i feel. i have discussed it with newspapers, reporters, and speeches, and on nationally televised talk shows. i feel very definitely that the nixon administration is absolutely correct in cracking down on companies and corporations and municipalities that continue to pollute the nation's air and water. while i am a great believer in the free competitive enterprise system and all that it entails, i am an even stronger believer in the right of our people to live in a clean and
pollution-free environment. to this end, it's my belief when pollution is found, it should be halted at its source, even if this requires stringent government action against important segments of our national economy. end quote. that sound is basically his supporters going, what? wow, i think that was a really phenomenal example of the changes that are going on. he's reacting to responding to the currents of his time. he's not frozen in time. so he goes on, and i'll refer you to my book on this because there's too many examples but he goes on to support all of nexten's environmental initiatives. he urges crackdowns on copper mines in arizona. he pushes for federal wilderness areas even though he voted against the legislation that made those possible. he worked to expand the grand canyon national park, to double it in size. he worked with morris and dahl, the liberal democrat on that. and he tried to limit boating down the grand canyon.
and on and on and on. at earth day itself, as you can see here, he is at adelphi university in new york, where he gives a rip roaring speech, castigating us for pumping smoke into the air. this is essentially a quote. clean air is more important than a healthy economy. and mthen he urged people to groin planned parenthood to prevent overpopulation which at the time was a big environmental concern. so basically, what we have is one of the most conservative members of the senate speaking and voting around about 1970 in ways that is impossible to imagine, i think, today. final thing is the glen canyon dam. anyone been to page, arizona. you might be familiar with lake powell. 186 miles long. shrinking right now because of lack of water. but goldwater had voted to approve that dam even though it flooded one of the most scenic stretches of the colorado, and
by the mid-'70s he had changed his tune. because glen canyon dam had done all sorts of things. it stops all the silt from going downstream and ruined the beaches in the grand canyon. it reduced the temperature of the water to something like 47 degrees. you can't swim in the colorado, as i once discovered when i was 17, thinking it was the desert and it would be great. nearly didn't make it out. he said that this was in fact the biggest political mistake of his life. voting for the glen canyon dam. even bigger than his vote against the civil rights act or the vote against the wilderness act. i think that's really astounding. now, as i said, goldwater was a man who responded to change. he responded to the tenor of the time. what you'll find as well is his environmentalism, it comes and it goes. by the mid-70s and late' 70s, he started to retreat a little bit. he had a little bit of buyer's
remorse. he supported the epa, but then he was kind of shocked when it actually began to regulate or at least regulate in a way that he thought was excessive. he began to have doubts about the epa. by the 1970s, he was grumbling maybe it should be eliminated. the sierra club thought his grand canyon proposal was too -- was not aggressive enough, and they got into a big fight, and he quit the sierra club, of which he had been a member for many years. one of my favorite files, i have his very indignant letter of resignation. he didn't like it either when environmentalists opposed the supersonic transport. it was supposed to be the american version of the concord. they were opposed to it, they predicted it would cause terrible climate change. at the time, there was concern, goldwater liked anything that flew. so their opposition made him mad. and then along came the reagan revolution and james watt.
and goldwater responded to that as well. he began, i think, to question perhaps whether he had gone too far in his environmentalism. he liked james watt. i don't know if you remember james watt. he was a notorious, environmentalists disliked him intensely because he was a very vocal anti-environmentalist, and he was very good at that job. and so bumper stickers back in the '80s, out dam watt, if you have seen them. but goldwater liked him. again, he's responding to the rise of the reagan right. but he never entirely abandons his environmentalism. if you look at his late career in the 1980s, you see a couple interesting things. first of all, you see that in 1984, he sponsored the arizona wilderness bill. the arizona wilderness bill provided for 28 federal wilderness areas in the state of arizona. now, again, remember, he voted
against the legislation that made that possible. wilderness act of 1964. in 1984, the ashes of the famous sagebrush rebellion, if you know about this, are still smoldering. the sage brush rebellion was a movement of state legislatures in the west arguing that land that was in the control of the federal government should be given back to the states. and that environmental regulations of the federal land were too stringent, they needed to be eliminated. even as the embers from that movement were still smoking, here is goldwater authorizing the wilderness act or proposing the wilderness act. later on, he joins a group now called conserve america. i don't want to read too much into this, but the republicans were in environmental protection. their argument -- they still exist. their argument was republicans have a strong environmental tradition and that we have gotten away from that, they
said. we need to get that back. i think goldwater's joining of that group in a way was sending a message that he didn't like the direction that the current republican party was going. and as you know, we have seen this all over in other aspects of his life. he disagreed very much with the religious right. he was a champion of the rights of gays to serve in the military and so on and so forth. a maverick, right? always a phrase we hear. got applied to his successor, john mccain. that maverick streak has a green tint to it, and it's still there in the 1980s. let me finish by noting just a couple things. he retired in 1986. he dies in 1980. and his ashes, some of them anyway, are spread over the grand canyon, which i think is an appropriate place for them to be. and i think there are just a couple lessons that we can pull from this. as henry will attest, my
graduate adviser always said the most important question you can answer is "so what?" we learn some things here. first, we learn that environmentalism was a very, very powerful movement. and that it could appeal to lots of people. it could sometimes show up in the most unusual places. it wasn't just a movement. it was in fact a sea change, i think, in the way people felt about the natural world. and it affected all kinds of folks. it's not a movement that belongs to one side of the political spectrum. or the other. and related of course is there is a strong republican environmental tradition. and when we look back in 2014, that's a really interesting question. today, you don't often associate environmentalism and certainly not federal environment regulation with the republican party. that's a fairly recent phenomenon. i think it has a lot to do with -- it's a complicated answer, but the republican party has swung to the right over the last 20 or 30 years as a result of a number of things.
and you may remember reagan's famous line. he said government is not the solution. government is the problem. when you say that, you do make it difficult for goldwater's environmentalism to exist anymore. i think that has a lot to do with why it sort of disappeared. i think there are lessons again for both sides. i think conservatives can look at environmentalism and not think of it as an alien ideology, that it is in fact a legacy, kind of like civil rights of the conservative movement. i think liberals can look at this as well and realize it's not just them, it's everyone, and that we're all in this together. especially in this era of significant climate change and environmental problems that are unprecedented, we're going to need everybody. we can look back to history and draw some lessons from that. so i think with that, maybe i'll yield the balance of my time, as they say in the senate, and wait for your questions. so thank you. thank you very much. final picture.
>> thank you. in your estimation, what current presidential candidate or potential presidential candidate or national politician most resembles barry goldwater in his kind of nuanced conservatism? >> well, you're asking essentially environmentally minded republicans? not many are springing to mind. the last one i thing of, honestly, people like olympia snowe. there's a regional thing. republicans come from new england or they come from california, oregon, washington. they tend to be more environmental than they are from other regions of the countries. democrats, too, if they're from the west, can be less environmental. that's an interesting observation, is you don't see a lot. i think that's an interesting historical puzzle. again, another book. i confess in my own
introduction, i don't really dig deeply into it because i wasn't sure of the answer. it's going to take meore though. go ahead. >> was fascinated to learn that the republicans really did originate environmentalism. so i learned something tonight. and then i'm equally astounded that they have moved so far away from something that was such a background from them. i especially think now about the state of oklahoma, extremely conservative. they now have three times the number of earthquakes than california due to the fracking. but it seems that consequences be damned is their policy now. and it kind of ties back into the other fellow's question. what is it going to take for the republicans to return to their conversation, the conservation roots? >> again, historians are really bad at predicting the future, so
my chinese history professor told us three weeks before tiananmen square it would never happen. so i'm going to avoid predicting the future, but i will say, again, this is where a useful example, we can look to the past. if barry goldwater can do it, i think anyone can do it. maybe that sends a lesson that it doesn't make you maybe a traitor to your ideology to embrasz thee embrace these things. i don't know. again, i lay in bed at night and think about questions like that, and i don't have a good answer for you, but i think we have some examples of the past that can maybe help us. yes, sir. >> given the fact of what you said, that he was apparently quite a bit ahead in terms of being an environmentalist, do you think or did he ever indicate that he resented when the left kind of took that over and became the, you know,
standard bearers of it, and he had been interested in trying to do things long before they ever -- >> he did. one of the things that -- he didn't like what he considered the extremism of some environmentalists. he thought that, for instance, the opposition to the air pollution caused by the sst was absolutely just ridiculous and it was motivated more by ideology and the kind of anti-technology, anti-modernist feeling. he was never that -- he was never as direct as you, but you could kind of infer it in a lot of his comments in the '70s and '80s. he believed in moderation in the pursuit of justice is no vice, but -- except environmentalism, he was very modern in some ways. >> he died in '86, you said? >> in '80. he retired in '86.
>> sounds like he might have actually been interested in the whole environmental change that's happening to the earth. >> yes. >> given what he knew. >> yes. >> and happened to him in his own state. >> yes, yes. i think that's a great observation. i thought about this a lot. i think climate change, for instance, he would be concerned about it. when you think about somebody for long enough, you feel like you can get into their head. i don't doubt he would be concerned about it, especially because as a national security aspect, and he was very concerned about resource scarcity back in the oil crisis days back in 1973. he was really panicked. and the resource side of climate change would make him very nervous. he would also warn you against being too nervous. he would always go for the middle ground. he wouldn't like -- he wouldn't want you to go too out there. but he -- i have no doubt he would be concerned.
>> seem to have a tendency to go from one extreme to the otherinse this country. >> that's a political debate, i suppose. they don't like nuance. >> doesn't seem to be a word we kind of can live with it easily. >> a question and a parallel avenue. goldwater was characterized as such a warmonger. ironically, johnson took us deep into the vietnam war. >> yes. >> being characterized as the peacemaker. do you have any feel for what might have come of a goldwater presidency in relation to vietnam? >> i'm going to dodge that question if at all possible. one of the things they also warn you in graduate school about counterfactual. it's been pretty difficult to say. you know, again, the warmonger thing was overblown. i don't think he was going to nuke vietnam. i'm going to let -- i don't mean to -- in all seriousness, i
don't mean to dodge. but i think experts who have better versed in foreign policy and that sort of thing are better suited to answer that question. i don't know. i don't know. great question for late night debate. >> is it possible we would not have saturated -- >> that would have been interesting because in his national defense thing going up, there was a couple times he expressed concern about ddt. land issues and preservation was more his interest. but he did a couple times wonder about ddt. agent orange, he would have been nervous where i didn't find enough in the archives to get a sense of what he would have done there. maddening what you don't know sometimes. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> while congress is on break this week, we're showing american history tv programs normally seen only on the weekend here on c-span3.
coming up, a look at the life and legacy of 1964 presidential candidate barry goldwater. in two hours, his 1964 republican presidential nomination acceptance speech. and that's followed by a look at barry goldwater's impact on america's conservation program starting in the 1950s. american history tv primetime continues tonight with a look at the 1964 presidential campaign of barry goldwater. it begins at 8:00 eastern with the contenders, a two-hour discussion of the life and career of the republican nominee. at 10:05 p.m. eastern, barry goldwater's nomination acceptance speech. and at 10:50, a look at his role in the conservation movement in the 1950s and '60s. the c-span radio app makes it easy to continue to follow the 2016 election wherever you are.
it's free to download from the apple app store or google play. get audio coverage and up to the minute schedule information for c-span radio and c-span television, plus podcast times for our popular public affairs, book, and history programs. stay up to date on all of our history coverage. it means you always have c-span on the go. now, the contenders, our series on key political figures who ran for president and lost but who nevertheless changed political history. over the next two hours, the life of former arizona senator barry goldwater, who is the republican candidate for president in 1964. this program was recorded at the goldwater institute in phoenix, arizona. wherever he goes, he speaks out, clearly and forcefully on the issues, answers questions, explains exactly where he stands on domestic and f