Former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr. (R-Ariz.) acted as the voice of reason Sunday at a hardcore libertarian gathering in Tampa ahead of the Republican National Convention (RNC) being held there Tuesday through Thursday this week.
Goldwater, 74, easily won over the unruly bunch of Ron Paul supporters at Paul's final campaign rally with a mild, but encouraging speech about the future of the liberty movement, filling his time with humorous analogies ("Life is somewhat like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end the faster it goes.") and important historical lessons about the dangers of too much government.
"We're all very blessed to have Ron Paul leading the cause for liberty," he told the crowd, paying tribute to the liberty movement's outgoing leader. (Paul is not-seeking reelection to Congress.)
Goldwater was the most tame speaker at Paul's "We are the Future Rally" at the University of South Florida's Sun Dome - he could have given the same speech during the official portion of the RNC, and it would have been equally well received, but the young activists, known for sometimes being over-zealous in their quest to elect Ron Paul to the presidency, loved every minute of it, politely cheering throughout. The crowd's enthusiastic reception to the conservative leader's speech was a promising illustration of how the conservative and libertarian movements can peaceably work together under the umbrella of the Republican Party.
"If we stick together, and we talk about our core values, we will win in November," he said to cheers from the crowd.
Goldwater, the son of the man commonly known as the father of the modern conservative movement - Barry Goldwater, Sr., spoke of the changes in politics since his father's conservative revolution in 1964. History proves that the philosophy that we can "borrow, spend and tax ourselves into prosperity" doesn't work.
"Only freedom produces wealth" he said echoing the words of Dr. Paul, adding that "other than collecting taxes, there's very few things the government does well."
He referenced his father's quintiseential book, Conscience of a Conservative, which he said lays out the differences between liberals and conservatives, saying, "A conservative takes in the whole person, the whole man, whereas a liberal looks mostly upon the monetary side of people."
The conservative stalwart also spoke fondly of his peer and current leader of the Republican revolution, Ron Paul, recalling a time that he and Paul participated in a swimming race against each other.
"I won't tell you who won," he said, laughing.
Goldwater, who was part of the first father-son duo to serve in Congress concurrently, paralleled Ron and his son Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to his family's legacy in the liberty movement. Ron and Rand are only the second father and son to have the honor of serving together.
"This philosophy has had a bumpy road. But it is still alive, it is still well, it is still important," he said, calling the "flame of liberty" is strong in America and reminding attendees that while it is this generation's responsibility to keep it that way.
He also told the audience not to take life too seriously though.
"Let me remind you my philosohpy that at the end of the day, when it is all said and done, I take life with a grain of salt, a lick of the lemon and a shot of tequila."