- Series: The James Madison Library in American Politics
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; With a New afterword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. edition (April 23, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691131171
- ISBN-13: 978-0691131177
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 310 customer reviews
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The Conscience of a Conservative (The James Madison Library in American Politics) With a New afterword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Edition
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"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 else's 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
About the Author
Barry M. Goldwater (1909-1998) was a five-term U.S. senator from Arizona whose 1964 campaign for president is credited with reviving American conservatism. His books include With No Apologies and a memoir, Goldwater. CC Goldwater is the granddaughter of Barry Goldwater and the producer of the HBO documentary Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater
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Other than the obvious second-rate printing and publishing job, the content of the book is great. The essays hold up and give a nice clear guide of what an actual classic conservative political mind set is. It's great for if you need honest reference for a paper or if you just like to read political essays. If you're worried that it'll just be a collection of propaganda-level persuasion on why to be a conservative, I'd relax. While he argues for why he's a conservative, at no point does it feel like you're being recruited. Like I said, it's great reference material, and you'll rarely find a conservative politician respected this much by both parties like Goldwater was.
Sure, there may be considerations not made in this book. But what is stated is pretty much the truth.
The opinion about 'victory' over communism - I can see how that would be misunderstood. To me, it's clear Goldwater is not advocating victory through force, but is suggesting the US should collaborate with policies that would be illegal for us, and should not support a system that truly was inhumane. Victory could have been achieved by letting them fall apart, instead of propping them up.
It's just a great read - sure wish some modern Republicans would read it. Also, sure wish he was elected over Johnson...
Upon reading it this year I realize that it is a well-thought-through defense of what is now considered the neo-conservative philosophy.
It would take a great effort to fault Goldwater’s arguments and I do not know if I could, but I am (without real justification) convinced that the position is not defensible within the context of our current political and economic debacle.
It seems philosophically defensible but lacks even a hint of compassion for those in dire financial straits.
Unfortunately, the modern neo-conservatives do not offer Goldwater’s logic to justify their positions; they just cry ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ as though they are four-letter-words. Such foolishness eliminates the possibility of rational political debate.
But this book is great not because it flows well and is readily understandable despite the distance. This book is great because almost every one of the dangers that Senator Goldwater warns about, is still there, and is still worsening. The federal government encroachment, the addiction to taxing and spending and to creating new social programs, the threats to economic freedom from subsidies to inefficiency and disproportionate power of unions (but not of the workers), the increasing interference on education, a foreign policy planning and execution that doesn't serve American interests (although Communism is no longer a world threat or a threat to the USA), and through it all, patent disregard for the Constitution, for its text and for the reasons why it was written with the words it was written. All of them, also, dangers that both parties were guilty of feeding already in his time as they still are in ours.
Seeing the current state of America, its society, its government, and its relations with the rest of the world, it's eerie to see how a prescient conservative with a clear mind was already predicting the world we live in, and how still more than 50 years later so many still refuse to listen and refuse to act. It also makes it all the more interesting to consider what would have been the consequences of a Goldwater victory in the 1964 Presidential election; and all the sadder that it didn't come to pass. After Goldwater, over 50 years have passed and even with all the problems he spotted in 1960 worsening, America and the free world are still surviving, if battered. But do we have 50 more years to waste?