This week is the fortieth anniversary of Enoch Powell’s infamous Rivers of Blood speech and the Guardian has an interesting article by Paul Gilroy. I actually spoke to Powell at the House of Commons on a couple of occasions and he was a fascinating figure – a politician, linguist, writer, academic, soldier and poet. And that was just in the morning! What many people forget is that Powell was a monetarist before it was fashionable. Of course one thing is to find him intriguing and another thing is to agree with any of his views. I would like to meet Tony Benn but I wouldn’t want him in charge of the economy.
I see some parallels with another political maverick – Barry Goldwater. In his autobiography Chronicles, Vol 1, Bob Dylan states “My favorite politician was Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.” Goldwater was the Republican Party’s nominee for president in the 1964 election, where he suffered a catastrophic defeat to Lyndon Johnson. He voted aganst the Civil Rights Act of 1964, remarking, “You can’t legislate morality.” He disliked Title 2 (This outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters etc), which he viewed as a violation of individual liberty. He helped for kick-start the renaissance of American Conservativism in the 1960s. This culminated in the 80s with the election of Ronald Reagan. But Goldwater was his own man – he viewed abortion as a matter of personal choice, not an area where the government should get involved. As a staunch defender of personal liberty, he saw the religious right as a threat to personal privacy and individual liberties. His most famous quote sums up his philosophy: “I would 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.”
Here is a listening from NPR about him. The Goldwater part starts after about 12m 20s.
Immigrants: the more the merrier. An article in defence of immigration.
The Eligible-Bachelor Paradox. An article about how economics and game theory explain the shortage of available, appealing men.
Um … A Pause for Linguistic Appreciation. Fresh Air linguist Geoff Nunberg talks about that little word, “um.” (5 mins approx.)
An interview with David Lodge about his new novel Deaf Sentence.