My interlocutor said, further, that this should have been obvious even from the passage I quoted. He re-pasted that quote, emphasizing the phrase "the satisfaction of economic wants". Then he asked (this took my breath away): "Linda going to school with her white neighbors has much of anything to do with 'economic wants,' how?"
The idea behind this question, if I understand it at all, is that Goldwater was defining liberalism as a view exclusively concerned with economic want. Linda's wants were something other than economic, thus they didn't pertain to the liberal-versus-conservative riff he was engaged in, in that passage.
I gave the obvious answer: people growing up together make connections with each other. They become friends, or at least get accustomed to each other, and become part of a common network. That network, in later years, has a lot to do with who gets what job. There's an old saying. "it's not what you know, it's whom you know."
Segregating people from their earliest years helps ensure that the personal networks will be separate. It ensures that white people in the position to make employment decisions will think first of those whom they know best -- those they went to school with.
Coercively enforced separation enforces inequality, as to economic wants. That is one reason why the expression "separate but equal" was always a lie. That lie is what Goldwater was supporting when he called for a constitutional amendment that would undo the Brown decision.
But there is a broader point here. What the heck is an "economic want"? A specific kind of want? What would be a non-economic want, then? A spiritual want?
Resources are always scarce, however sacred or spiritual may be the use I want to make of them. Land is a scarce resource, whether I want to build a factory on it, a school, or a church. None of those three types of building is "non-economic." Any of the three of them may be understood economically, or understood spiritually, but none of them is non-economic! Likewise, no wants are non-economic.
Suppose the greatest want of my life is that I could pray more often. Why can't I pray now? Is it because my life is too hectic, and I haven't been able to set aside some time in which to focus on my gratitude to God? If that's the problem, it is an economic problem -- I want to rearrange the use of my time, a limited resource. How much am I willing to pay to get that extra time? From which of my other activities am I prepared to take it. That is the economists way of looking at such questions and, I submit, it is an essential way of looking at them.
To look down on economics, as somehow an unfitting or unspiritual study, as both Goldwater and my interlocutor seemed to do, is unserious at best and pragmatically disastrous for the society that engages in it at worse. This may get to the heart of why I am not a conservative.