The Conscience of a Conservative

By Barry Goldwater | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
The Perils of Power

T HE NEW DEAL, Dean Acheson wrote approvingly in a book called A Democrat Looks At His Party, "conceived of the federal government as the whole people organized to do what had to be done." A year later Mr. Larson wrote A Republican Looks At His Party, and made much the same claim in his book for Modern Republicans. The "underlying philosophy" of the New Republicanism, said Mr. Larson, is that "if a job has to be done to meet the needs of the people, and no one else can do it, then it is the proper function of the federal government."

Here we have, by prominent spokesmen of both political parties, an unqualified repudiation of the principle of limited government. There is no reference by either of them to the Constitution, or any attempt to define the legitimate functions of government. The government can do whatever needs to be done; note, too, the implicit but necessary assumption that it is the government itself that determines what needs to be done. We must

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