The Conscience of a Conservative


The Conscience of a Conservative (1960), by Barry Goldwater.jpg


The Conscience of a Conservative is a 1960 book published under the name of ArizonaSenator 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.[1]

The book was ghostwritten by L. Brent Bozell Jr., brother-in-law of William F. Buckley Jr..[1]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 rightsagricultural policy and farm subsidiessocial 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.[1]

Namesake books

The book, and its pithy title, continue to inspire contemporary political commentary.

  • 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.[2]
  • Zell Miller (2003), A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat
  • Wayne Allyn Root (2009), The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts.
  • Gary Chartier (2011), The Conscience of an Anarchist: Why It’s Time to Say Good-Bye to the State and Build a Free Society
  • Jeff Flake (2017), Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle

Later editions

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.