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The Conscience of a Conservative
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Given the current political landscape, I was drawn to further research this politician I've heard a mixed-bag of discourse about. Barry Goldwater's curious path through decades of dramatic social and political change is the kind of story a novelist wouldn't dream of trying to sell - it's that fantastic. His larger than life character is what is, perhaps, best remembered, especially his rants and outbursts on the campaign trail that may have cost him the presidency, and the support of his own party. Given that simple description, it's no wonder that some talking heads are comparing a certain current presidential candidate to the powerhouse that was Barry Goldwater.
But what is lacking in that comparison, and what Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative" highlights so well, is the underlying, deep-seated, thoughtful and intelligent prose of a man obviously full of conviction. His knowledge of the Constitution, and his desire to not trample on it is unyielding. He's not unreasonable, as so many would have us believe. He acknowledges that certain aspects of life are not what they should be in the late 50s. But he suggests - nay, he commands, that the path to rectifying these situations must be through the proper paths laid out by the Constitution. Admittedly, when he wrote, he was much more eloquent than when he seemed to get overly excited on the campaign trail.
I adored the majority of this book. Whether I agreed with his views or not, it was obvious they were well thought out and intelligent. I could see why his arguments might make sense. I did become frustrated towards the end of the book. His views on anti-communism, while sound, seemed to go off on quite a passionate tangent - almost to the point of a rant. Reminded me of what happens with many publications by well-known political figures: their agenda gets the best of them at some point, and without an editor reeling them in, the tangent takes over. He has some interesting commentary during this section about negotiations, which you almost wonder if some of today's politicians have snatched up verbatim to use regarding current events.
I highly recommend this book to anyone planning to cast a ballot - ever. I think it's important to be an informed voter, and Goldwater can teach all of us a few things about the Constitution.