Study Guide

Karl Hess in 1964 RNC Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech

By Barry Goldwater

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Karl Hess

Hess was raised by a single mother who encouraged him to read and think and explore much more than she encouraged him to attend classes. Nevertheless, despite not even having a high school diploma, Karl was smart enough, nice enough, and gosh darn it people liked him enough, to become a news writer, a news editor, and, by 1948, a political writer for the Grand Old Party.

Karl co-wrote Goldwater's acceptance speech with political historian Harry Jaffa. Karl admired the heck out of Barry, and they got to be pretty good buddies for a while.

But Karl was a man of varied interests, and his interest in Republican politics took a big dive after Goldwater got creamed in the election and his once-beloved party started giving him angry eyes all the time.

So he moved on.

He became a big motorcycle guy, which led to him becoming a welder.


Yes, and we're just getting started.

Owning and riding a motorcycle caused Hess to have an epiphany, and this epiphany resulted in (in no particular order) him giving up his earthly possessions, divorcing his wife, moving onto a boat, remarrying, becoming a sculptor, forsaking money to take up bartering, accepting the Libertarian Party's nomination for Governor of West Virginia, and becoming an anarchist and semi-famous tax avoider.

Man, if we had a dime for every time we heard that life story.

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