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Conscience of a Conservative Hardcover – November 13, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-9563100211 ISBN-10: 9563100212
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Editorial Reviews


The book lays out, clearly and succinctly, [Goldwater's] uncompromising views. Goldwater held freedom as the highest value in American society: freedom from law, freedom from government, freedom from anybody elses vision but your own. You can argue with him on the particulars, but there's something compelling about his quintessentially American notion of self-reliance. -- David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

The new Conscience of a Conservative takes what might be called the 'anti-fusionist' side in the Goldwater wars...The Conscience of a Conservative continues to be read today because it isn't a political tract, a soulless campaign book of the sort generated by every other modern presidential effort. -- Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative

Praise for the original edition: "Goldwater's conservatism is not isolationism, nor is it a cold-blooded commitment to the 'haves' as against the 'have-nots.' It is the creed of a fighter who has both a warm heart and a clear mind. -- John Chamberlain, Wall Street Journal

Praise for the original edition: "There is more harsh fact and hard sense in this slight book than will emerge from all of the chatter of this year's session of Congress. . . . Sen. Goldwater is one of a handful of authentic conservatives. . . . [H]e has the clarity of courage and the courage of clarity. -- George Morgenstern, Chicago Tribune

It is good that C.C. Goldwater brings us this new edition. It directs new attention to a political figure who, though fiery, was never mean-spirited or unfairly partisan. --Max J. Skidmore, European Legacy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

With a New Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan.

Here is the path-breaking book that rocketed a political philosophy into the forefront of the nation's consciousness, written in words whose vigor and relevance have not tarnished with age:

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not pass laws, but to repeal them. it is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' "interests," I shall replay that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am dong the very best I can.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: BN Publishing (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9563100212
  • ISBN-13: 978-9563100211
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #863,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 129 people found the following review helpful By J. Martens on January 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
"The challenge to Conservatives today is quite simply to demonstrate the bearing of a proven philosophy on the problems of our own time," notes Barry Goldwater in his introduction. The problems from 1960 that Mr. Goldwater chose as topics for his book were: States' Rights, Civil Rights, Freedom for the Farmer, Freedom for Labor, Taxes and Spending, The Welfare State, Education and the Soviet Menace.
His thoughts later became political gospel for conservative activists and a measuring stick against which politicians were held to see if they were truly conservative. One such prominent conservative activist, Phyllis Schlafly, stated: "It is hard to overestimate the importance of Barry Goldwater to the conservative movement. If there hadn't been a Barry Goldwater, there wouldn't have been a Ronald Reagan."
A closer look at what Mr. Goldwater wrote in 1960 convinces one that he would still have plenty to say today. His barbs would target both Democrats and Republicans. Perhaps it's discovering the barbs he would have tossed at today's Republicans that makes reading this book full of surprises.
States' rights formed a cornerstone to Barry Goldwater's conservative thought. Although the States' rights to permit slavery were ended by war and constitutional amendment, Goldwater saw no such restrictions on a state's right to keep racially segregated schools. Simply put: "no powers regarding education were given the federal government" and "it has never been seriously argued ... that the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment intended to alter the Constitutional scheme with regard to education. ... I therefore support all efforts by the States ... to preserve their rightful powers over education." (p.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Thompson on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
At just over 100 pages, this brisk handbook for Conservative political thought impressed me by its constant recourse to the sanctity of the US Constitution, and by its thorough enumeration of the ways in which the federal government has trespassed into areas forbidden it by that same founding document. It is clear that these repeated violations of the Constitution, carried out by both Democrats and Republicans (as Goldwater assiduously points out), have spoiled the Senator's good mood. Yet Goldwater has written here a gentleman's treatise. There is no partisan venom, just good, clean, political argumentation from a man who feared, in 1960, that decades of growth in federal power had taken the nation down the wrong path in several areas of public policy, and that this same growth in government was already strangulating individual freedom and sapping the souls of those dependent on government welfare.

Goldwater presents what he perceives to be a striking contrast between the mode of thought of politicians in the 1960s and that of the radiant group who founded this country. On the one hand, at least one Republican of Goldwater's generation was quoted as saying "The underlying philosophy. . .is that if a job has to be done to meet the needs of the people, and no one else can do it, then it is the proper function of the federal government." Goldwater shows how this kind of intellectually lazy rhetoric is actually a declaration of the first principle of absolutism--that the State is competent to do all things--and is a repudiation of the Constitution itself, which defines many spheres of activity (education, agriculture, even some forms of foreign aid) as being expressly outside the power of the federal government.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ubermensch on July 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
While written over four decades ago, this book is still topical today, and not surprisingly so. For anyone interested in politics, it is a necessary read. In all honesty, any liberal should read this book to get an understanding of the conservative mindset. While, I, as a conservative, disagree on a few points with Goldwater, I still found the book enlightening and a worthwhile read. It strenghtened my own arguments and my own conservatism. The same will be the case for a liberal who reads this book. It's true what they say: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. If you are in any way interested in politics, you owe to yourself to give this book a read.

Goldwater's writing style is simple and straightforward. It is very logical and stays to the point. Impressively, he is able to maintain the attention of the reader without using significant humor or anecdotes. He tells you what he believes and leaves it for you to decide.

Perhaps the best part of this book is that it is not a forum for liberal bashing or conservative praising. The truth is that he is critical of both sides. He doesn't absolve Republicans who have engaged in the expansion of the government as he doesn't absolve likeminded Democrats. He warns of the Soviet threat and the dangers of Communism. He simply states what he believes and what he has observed. While it is simple in flavor, you will appreciate the fact that it really doesn't have a political agenda, especially now, over four decades later.

It's short, concise, and to the point. Read it, especially the first chapter. You will not regret it.
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