I didn't follow Goldwater's career closely, but seems to me he ended up less than socially conservative.
In that regard I might mention Mayor Pete, opposition to evangelicals (said he will "fight them every step of the way"), support for legalized marijuana & abortion.
In 1989 he said the Republican party had been taken over by "a bunch of kooks" -- referring to evangelicals.
Some say his second wife was somehow responsible...
So far as I know, Goldwater was always solid on national defense (well, except for Mayor Pete), with the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols act passing 383-27 in the House, 95-0 in the Senate.
Goldwater did oppose reckless foreign adventures, even Ronald Reagan's 1982 mining of Nicaraguan harbors.
In 1960, Goldwater wrote the book, Conscience of a Conservative, but I think he missed a key point that helps define American conservative today.
For Americans, the word conservative means not just the Constitution, but also the Bible, and not necessarily in that order.
In the end, Goldwater's conscience was more libertarian than conservative.
Goldwater was always as much libertarian as he was conservative. Other influences on his “social views” late in his life. He had a gay activist grandson who he doted over & his nurse\caretaker in his last years was very liberal.
“I didn’t follow Goldwater’s career closely, but seems to me he ended up less than socially conservative.”
Goldwater never was socially conservative. He was always a libertarian on social issues. No one knew that in 1964 because social conservatism simply wasn’t part of the political debate.
The big issues then were Russia, Vietnam, Civil Rights, and Lyndon Johnson’s massive Great Society welfare scheme. Johnson owed a debt of gratitude to the liberal Republican establishment for giving him a lot of help. They hated Goldwater just like the current bunch hates Trump.
Social conservatism didn’t become part of national politics until the early 70s, after the excesses of the 1960s and Roe v Wade stirred up Catholics and previously quiescent Evangelicals to enter the political fray in a big way.
Barry’s first wife was friends with Margaret Sanger, who was an active member of the Tucson Republican Women. In the late ‘30s the two of them teamed up to open Arizona’s first birth control clinic. This wasn’t hidden or controversial because in 1964 no one was paying any attention to it.
Reagan and Buckley were also socially libertarian in the 60s. Buckley wrote about smoking pot out on his boat. Reagan signed the law legalizing abortion in California. Reagan later came to regret that, but at the time he didn’t. The only organized opposition was from Catholics.
“In 1960, Goldwater wrote the book, Conscience of a Conservative, but I think he missed a key point that helps define American conservative today.”
Barry didn’t write it. It was ghost written by Brent Bozell Jr, Bill Buckley’s arch-Catholic brother in law.
” In the end, Goldwater’s conscience was more libertarian than conservative. “
He always was. Just no one knew it.