Can anyone suggest true conservative books of substance?

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Initial post: Jul 5, 2009 10:35:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2009 10:36:45 AM PDT
TJ says:
BTW, I will be borrowing the Levin book from a co-worker (who I keep telling sounds like a Libertarian-he swears he's a Republican-frankly I don't think he knows yet-he listens to Rush daily, and I think he is a party-liner at this point, myself...)to read soon, but I suspect it won't be quite satisfying, and that I won't learn all that much...or should I say, it won't quite expand on my views any.

I had not been very interested in politics until the second term of Bush (W). I've just recently become deeply interested in American and Global politics. I've voted Democrat, and in only three elections. Yet, I cringe to be labeled either Dem or Reb, liberal or conservative, because as far as I can tell, those terms seem to have no meaning these days. If I had to classify myself, I'd chose Libertarian, as it is closest to my views- fiscally conservative, and socially liberal; and IMO more aligned with both true or classic liberalism or conservatism. Yet, maybe conservatism is more tied to religious moralism that I'm aware of? Which is why I request more titles.

So far, I'm just compiling a list of Libertarian authors (left and right leaning, doesn't matter), but are there any that classify themselves as Conservatives? Republicans?
Please no neo-con suggestions-no Rush, and the like shock-jock crap. Also, as an agnostic, I will most likely be turned off by religious moralizing as "evidence" of the rightness of a particular political view.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 7:16:08 AM PDT
Pecos Bill says:
I dunno that you'll find much better than this book, though I'd be interested in hearing about it if you do. Levin is basically laying down what it means to be "Conservative" -- not "Republican" or "neo-con" or "libertarian" or "religious right" but just regular conservative, "that we, as human beings, have a right to live, live freely, and pursue that which motivates us not because man or some government says so, but because these are God-given natural rights". In essence, he is saying that humans are born free and ought to stay that way, with the government's primary duty being to protect our freedom, rather than to be some central authority that is supposed to look after our health and well-being -- jobs that can better be handled by the individual and by non-government related groups.

He doesn't specifically address religious moralism but he's a fan of Federalism, which is to say, authority controlled less by the central government and more by state and local authorities. In this way, someone who doesn't like the restrictions of one area can simply move to somewhere else. People can, to an extent, vote with their feet provided the federal government is not all-powerful, as the only way to move away from that is to leave the country. He believes this promotes a health diversity in the country, rather than constantly having one group try to force their ideals onto the entire rest of the population via federal authority.

I think the basics of Levin's definition of "Conservative" is that the conservative recognizes the worth and duty of the individual, versus the "Statist" view that central authority should trump individualism as well as completely replace local authority.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 12:28:38 PM PDT
M. Kirkland says:
Yes sir. I can recommend an excellent book: Barry Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative". A short well-written to the point book. You might can find it in your local library, as it was written in the 1960s. I read it not long ago, and except for the chapter on the Soviet threat (which was timely at the time the book was written) every word was instructive and enlightening. Happy reading.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2009 11:03:40 PM PDT
V. Westin says:
Why did you start a conversation around a book you plan to, but have not, read?

In any event, I think you will be surprised by this book. There are a lot of things happening that today that are well predicted by Mark Levin. He could see the logical conclusion of where the policies being discussed would take us, though I believe even he is surprised at how fast this is moving.

For the next election, I would suggest that if the Libertarian Party best represents your beliefs, you should help to elect them - or at least show the other two parties that they do not have some exclusive lock on the US political system. Does dividing into more parties give us the chance of more stalemates? Absolutely. And given what is going on this year, that sounds pretty good. ;-)

(PS I am not a party line anything, but I have seen the sound bites and votes of the Democratic Party to be especially dangerous to my personal liberty over my lifetime. Not that I am a big fan of many of the Republican choices either!)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2009 7:49:20 AM PDT
Hans Castorp says:
Many.."The Conservative Mind" by Russell Kirk..also "Witness" by Whitaker Chambers..."Up From Liberalism" by WF Buckley..."Conscience of A conservative" by B Goldwater (ghost-written) It seems most of the real Conservatives (not just the Media Loud mouths) are all gone.....

Posted on Jul 12, 2009 12:47:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 12, 2009 12:53:43 PM PDT
A curious notion is where do "classical liberals" such as F.A. Hayek fit into modern groupings. Would not he be more in line with todays conservatives or libertarians than todays "liberals" or progressives? In any case his classic "The Road to Serfdom" fits in with the anti-statist view of Levin.The Road to Serfdom: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition Also check out the work of economist and commentator Thomas Sowell such as "A Conflict of Visions" A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles or "The Vision of the Anointed" The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2009 6:24:23 AM PDT
Deckard says:
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Posted on Jul 13, 2009 6:27:40 AM PDT
Deckard says:
Though not labeled as such, I would say "The Creature from Jekyll Island" and "None Dare Call it Conspiracy" would appeal to conservatives.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 1:27:58 PM PDT
I would read William F. Buckley articles.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009 6:51:25 AM PDT
John Hancock says:
Pecos Bill...I really like the way you describe Levin's book there...I haven't read the book all the way through yet...but I definitely get that feel from it like the way you describe it. The arguers of it are nit picking and either purposely doing this because it doesn't fit their agendas, or just not "getting" his intent, I think. gene garman takes great pains to pick it apart and he is way too close to the forest to see the trees. when in reality it all comes down to what you say "conservatives recognize the worth and duty of the individual, versus the "statist" view that central authority should trump individualism as well as completely replacing local authority"...

Posted on Aug 8, 2009 3:11:11 PM PDT
Phil Anthony says:
William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater were, sadly, the last truly thinking Conservatives who could make rational arguments.

Posted on Aug 9, 2009 9:42:41 AM PDT
I would highly recommend ``The Conservative Mind'' by Russell Kirk. The first chapter is where he lays out ``the six canons of conservative thought''. The first is a belief in a transcendent moral order that governs society and conscience. This belief does not give a religious sanction to any political party or movement. The conservative believes that his life should be governed by a higher law that restrains his appetites and impulses. Would you rather have a politician who believes in a moral order to which he is subject to or one who does not and choses to be governed by his impulses? Also, by Russell Kirk, is ``Politics of Prudence'' which is a collection of his lectures. ``Reflections on the Revolution in France'' by Edmund Burke. I would also recommend to you ``Utopia, the Perennial Heresy'' by Thomas Molnar. He compares both religious and secular utopian ideas and shows there similarities. A scholarly read and very hard to find. I think all of these authors would be embarassed by what passes for conservatism today (especially Russell Kirk). The conservative tradition offers rich and diverse points of view. Good luck and happy reading!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2009 10:58:20 AM PDT
John Hancock says:
Pecos Bill...a fine conservative "history" book that follows conservative principles would be "A Patriots History of the United States" by Larry Scheinghter...(or similar spelling) outlines from Columbus to the War on terror..before it wasn't popular to call it made disasters or something like that is more politically correct...the only man made disasters of the war on terrorists are the head in the sand labelers of a certain segment of america..that book mentions little publicized information of the good things conservatism has portrayed in america, even though it wasn't even called conservatism until recently. the principles stayed the same.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2009 11:20:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 10, 2009 11:21:10 AM PDT
Deckard says:
Paul Craig Roberts has several books. I read "The New Color Line" a long time ago where he warned of tyranny from the bench.

Joe Sobran (who Buckley fired for merely QUESTIONING our massive support of Israel, a country that has a history of false flag attacks on the US) has a book or two but those are actually about Shakespeare. :-)

Charley Reese has some books, but I've only read his articles.

And, of course, there is Pat Buchanan!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2009 1:19:24 PM PDT
John Hancock says:
Deckard...i would be fascinated in the dynamic that must have gone on between joe sobran and william f. buckley jr. ..was there tension between these 2 guys that led up to buckley firing him?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2009 1:29:48 PM PDT
Deckard says:
I found this interesting from his wiki page:

"Sobran was fired from National Review in 1993 and was accused of being an anti-Semite (most notably by Jewish neoconservative writer Norman Podhoretz). Podhoretz wrote that "Joe Sobran's columns ... [are] anti-Semitic in themselves, and not merely 'contextually.'" Buckley disagreed with Podhoretz's accusation, noting that he "deemed Joe Sobran's six columns contextually anti-Semitic. By this I mean that if he had been talking, let us say, about the lobbying interests of the Arabs or of the Chinese, he would not have raised eyebrows as an anti-Arab or an anti-Chinese."[3]"

Ya....huh?????? What? So, one group can be questioned but the other can not?

"One such comment was that the New York Times "really ought to change its name to Holocaust Update."[4] Sobran claimed that founder William F. Buckley told him to "stop antagonizing the Zionist crowd," and Buckley accused him of libel and moral incapacitation.[5] Sobran also complained of "a more or less official national obsession with a tiny, faraway socialist ethnocracy."[6]"

LOL! Truth makes the dogs bark!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2009 7:39:56 PM PDT
Read THE CONSERVATIVE MIND by Russell Kirk. It's a challenging read, but rewarding. If you can get through it, you'll be stunned by the contrast to people like Levin.

Posted on Aug 13, 2009 7:44:46 PM PDT
A. Rothman says:
Besides Levin, some great conservative authors include David Horowitz and Thomas Sowell.

Posted on Sep 16, 2009 9:19:20 AM PDT
If you're looking for something of substance how about talking about the central bank as Ron Paul does in his new book End The Fed.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2009 11:13:18 AM PDT
Patricia says:
I've got to suggest a book that fits your requisites perfectly. No religious moralizing, not Republican, Democrat, or anything else. It is actually written by a ex-communist. The book I suggest, and it is enlightening and very useful in our current climate, is Witness by Whittaker Chambers.

Consider reading it. Good luck.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 5:18:51 AM PDT
Far Lefkas says:
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Posted on Sep 23, 2009 9:14:34 PM PDT
Levin is not a neoconservative. The only thing conservative about a neoconservative is foreign policy. The movement started with Democrat disillusioned with pacifism in the Dem party and ramped up in opposition to the hippies and anti-American sentiment during Vietnam. They are FOR social programs and aren't really all that opposed to large, invasive central government. They effectively took control over the Republican party during the last couple decades. W was a neocon in most respects; McCain is 100% neocon. Levin, if you read his book where he rails against nearly all social programs and gov't intervention outside foreign policy, is clearly not in this category. Conservatives agree with neocons on strong foreign policy intervention, though have not always. Note how the Republican party has based most national campaigns on foreign policy where they will get both neo and regular conservatives to vote with them. Unfortunately, this has led the Republican party to become what it has today, a near mirror image to the Democrats in all regards, except perhaps foreign policy. One might claim they want less government than Democrats, but it is a lot more than most conservatives would like (Medicare script benefit being one recent example). Might want to take a look here:

Posted on Sep 24, 2009 10:08:04 AM PDT
Ludwig von Mises: Human Action. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics

The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989

There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters

The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek)

The Great Terror: A Reassessment

Common Sense

Second Treatise of Government

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 24, 2009 5:18:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 24, 2009 5:20:02 PM PDT
Stormcrow says:
neocon is a useless neologism, more descriptive of the people (unaware of their 'ancient history' of 1890's-1900's ) than their ideas.

They are progressives in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt. Though a republican, he either passed or proposed (and legitimized) everything of substance which Wilson and/or FDR later implemented, while maintaining a rough and tough military posture.

An amazing person - but a disastrous president.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 24, 2009 5:44:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 24, 2009 5:45:43 PM PDT
Stormcrow says:
Let me go outside the printed page. If you want the ultimate Conservative 'book', meaning Classical Liberalism, how can you do better, than reading not only the constitution a section at a time, but also being able to read it along with the relevant documents, passages, books which the Founders themselves had in mind when writing the constitution (Including a relevant section of Locke's Second Treatise), and debating it's ratification Pro and Anti Federalist, and a number of significant early legal decisions and commentaries by the likes of early Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, relating to that section?

Seriously it is fascinating reading, try beginning with the Preamble, read some of the links below, and see what you think...
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Total posts:  103
Initial post:  Jul 5, 2009
Latest post:  Aug 12, 2010

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Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark R. Levin (Audio CD - March 24, 2009)
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