To begin, history and personal experiences have taught me that the Left-Right Political Spectrum is inadequate in understanding the positions and views of persons, movements, organizations, and parties. If anything, the Left-Right Political Spectrum is divisive, preventing different people from realizing that they have much more in common than at first glance.
Now, I am not sure if I told you, but did you know that the Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater had Environmentalist views which complemented his own version of Conservatism? It is unfortunate that Goldwater’s Conservatism struck a Faustian pact with Liberal Capitalism because it prevented him from realizing his own Environmentalist convictions. And while I had known about Goldwater’s “Green Conservatism” for some time now, I did not realize that it had actually resonated with the “American Left.”
A research paper, entitled, “The Skeptical Environmentalist: Senator Barry Goldwater and the Environmental Management State,” described an interesting case where somebody from the 1960s New Left wrote supportively of the Arizona Senator in a 1971 letter. The relevant passage is as follows:
“In March 1971 Goldwater received a letter from a young constituent, a Prescott College sophomore named Maggie McQuaid. McQuaid wrote to praise the senator for his recent Grand Canyon park-expansion plan; having hiked in many of the areas included in his proposal, she now put pen to paper to encourage him to keep up the good work (‘Your proposals are good ones, Senator Goldwater, keep trying to get them through!’). At the end of the letter, McQuaid hinted that she was not a conservative and was far more likely to be at home with the New Left than Young Americans for Freedom-‘I consider myself pretty radical,’ she wrote, ‘and have disagreed with you before’-but when it came to things like the Grand Canyon, she considered Goldwater a fellow traveler. ‘I am supporting you now,’ she told him, and ‘to you,’ she concluded with a very sixties flourish, ‘I say: RIGHT ON!!’”
What instantly came to mind while reading about Goldwater in “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” Bogumil, were the ARPLAN posts about Walther Rathenau. The same Rathenau who, despite his own Liberal Capitalist leanings, advocated for a Planned Economy and helped lay the groundwork for the same German-Soviet rapprochement supported by various Conservative Revolutionaries, National Bolsheviks and Pan-Germanic Socialists.
There is a peculiar parallel between Rathenau and Goldwater that I think is worth mentioning here. Both men, to cite the author of “Skeptical Environmentalist,” were ‘transitional figures’ whose contributions helped guide the direction of political discourse toward a particular end. If Rathenau provided the foundations for German-Soviet rapprochement through the Rapallo Treaty, then Goldwater gave American Conservatism an historical precedent to promote Environmentalism. A later generation can then pick up where they last left off, presenting a different set of policies. The problem with both men is that their complex personalities make it difficult for anyone to pick up on their intentions or why they promoted positions in the manner that they did.
In the context of von Salomon and Plass, there is a certain sense of regret in their language, as if to imply that Rathenau was worth far more to the German-speaking world alive than dead. Reading between the lines, I am given the impression that had Rathenau not been assassinated, German-Soviet rapprochement could have been more fully realized than whatever arrangements the Hitlerists had chosen.
As for Goldwater, the reason why his Environmentalism and Conservatism could not be reconciled is because he thought that the two could be upheld in Jeffersonian, not Hamiltonian terms. Again, his Faustian pact with Liberal Capitalism prevented him from fully realizing his Environmentalist and Conservative goals. After all, Environmentalism in America has its origins in Hamiltonian Federalism, a precedent made evident during the political tenure of Theodore Roosevelt, who first laid the argument for the synthesis between Conservatism and Environmentalism. Preserving the environment and caring for nature is a national effort which requires governmental action.
Those were the parallels that I found to be the most striking upon completing a recent Blog post about the Arizona Senator. If I have time later this week, I will definitely write another comment for the ARPLAN Blog.