The Conscience of a Conservative
Cover of the first edition
|Author||Barry Goldwater (nominal)|
|Subject||Politics, American conservatism|
|Publisher||Victor Publishing Co. [name used by Frank E. Simon, manager of the real publisher, viz., Publishers Printing Company, Shepardsville, Ky]|
The Conscience of a Conservative is a 1960 book published under the name of Arizona Senator and 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. It reignited the American conservative movement, made Goldwater a political star, and has influenced countless conservatives in the United States, helping to lay the foundation for the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s.
The book was ghostwritten by L. Brent Bozell Jr., brother-in-law of William F. Buckley Jr.. Bozell and Buckley had been members of Yale's debate team. They had co-authored the controversial book, McCarthy and His Enemies, in 1955. Bozell had been Goldwater's speechwriter in the 1950s, and was familiar with many of his ideals.
The 123 page book covers such topics as education, labor unions and policies, civil rights, agricultural policy and farm subsidies, social welfare programs, and income taxation. The book is considered to be a significant statement of politically and economically American conservative ideas which were to gain influence during the following decades.
The book, and its pithy title, continue to inspire contemporary political commentary.
- John Dean's 2006 book Conservatives without Conscience, for example, draws both its title and some of its principles from Goldwater's book. Senator Paul Wellstone's 2001 autobiography was entitled Conscience of a Liberal.
- Senator Zell Miller's 2003 critique of the Democratic Party, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat also draws the inspiration for its title from Goldwater's work.
- In 2007, Paul Krugman entitled his own book The Conscience of a Liberal, saying in the introduction that he wanted his work to stand as a counterpoint to Goldwater's.
- Conservative-turned-liberal journalist David Brock also alluded to Goldwater's book in his memoir Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.
A half-century edition, edited by C.C. Goldwater (his granddaughter), with a foreword by George Will, and an afterword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, was published by the Princeton University Press in 2007.