Barry Goldwater: Conscience of a Conservationist

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Fifty years to the day after Barry Goldwater accepted the Republican nomination for president, environmental historian Brian Drake examines the seeming contradictions that led this icon of anti-government conservatism to embrace a lifelong commitment to environmental protection.
Brian Allen Drake
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
6:30pm @ Central Library

Half a century after Barry Goldwater ran for president as the 1964 Republican candidate, the late five-term U.S. Senator from Arizona remains an icon of American conservatism – and emblematic of the right’s deep mistrust of activist government and liberal-leaning reform movements.

But “Mr. Conservative” also had a lifelong interest in and commitment to environmental protection.

Fifty years to the day that Goldwater accepted his party’s presidential nomination, environmental historian Brian Allen Drake discusses Goldwater’s latent green streak and how it influenced all aspects of his life. Drake’s presentation recalls a time when environmental issues could cross partisan borders and attract the seemingly unlikeliest of champions, and suggests that today's deep political divisions need not be impassable ones.

Drake is a lecturer at the University of Georgia and author of Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics before Reagan.