Book Excerpt

“Starting Over”

“If stupidity got us into this mess,
then why can’t it get us out?”
~Will Rogers

I became actively involved in the conservative movement in 1961
as a 17-year-old college freshman at Georgetown University. Back
then, both major political parties accepted the basic premises of
modern American liberalism. Liberals believed in a strong executive
branch, in an activist federal government that would oversee
and direct the American economy, and in a foreign policy of
“peaceful coexistence” with the Soviet Union. They also believed
in a foreign policy guided by the Wilsonian vision of “making the
world safe for democracy.” This utopian scheme would be accomplished
under the auspices of the United Nations, the successor to
the League of Nations. Woodrow Wilson’s objective was to establish
a lasting peace, but his quest for a New World Order that would
end all wars was an abysmal failure.

As I was getting interested in politics, I stumbled across books
by conservatives that helped persuade me that liberalism was a
flawed political philosophy and presented an alternative view of
the proper role of government in our lives that made sense to me
and many other young Americans. Among those early readings
were The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater; Up From
Liberalism by William F. Buckley, Jr.; The Road to Serfdom by F.A.
Hayek; and Suicide of the West by James Burnham. I also had the
good fortune to study American government and American political
theory at Georgetown University under Dr. George Carey, who,
along with the late Willmoore Kendall, gave me an appreciation of
the founding principles of the American Republic.

{Order now to read the whole book.}

To me, the conservative philosophy had the right answers to
the problems our nation faced at that time in our history and I
have been active in the conservative movement ever since.
Looking back, I believed that I was joining the losing side in
the battle for America’s future when I signed up as a conservative
foot soldier. Liberalism had become the dominant ideology on
our college campuses and in fashionable intellectual circles. Who
would have thought back then that—as Sen. Barry Goldwater was
urging—we could put a foreign-policy strategy in place to defeat
the Soviet Empire? The attraction of conservatism to so many
young people in the early 1960’s lay purely in its principles.
Being a conservative certainly was not in vogue with the predominantly
liberal mind-set that prevailed at most major universities.

At Georgetown University, the Jesuits residing on campus had
voted twenty to zero for John F. Kennedy over Richard Nixon in the
1960 presidential election, and conservative Catholic Bill Buckley
was not allowed to speak on campus that same year because his
views were considered too “radical.”

By the time the 1960’s rolled around, liberalism had been
the dominant ideology among the American intellectual class
for decades. Conservatives were not even a majority within the
Republican Party. In the early 1960’s, the Rockefeller Republicans
(representatives of the Wall Street financiers, Big Business, and the
Northeastern “elite”) were still the most powerful faction in the
GOP—and they intended to maintain their grip.

The Rockefeller Republicans (named after their leader, Gov.
Nelson Rockefeller of New York) were only slightly less liberal than
the liberal Democrats. We Goldwater conservatives called them
“liberal lite.” The essence of the argument they made for electing
liberal Republicans to national office was that they could run the
big-government liberal programs more efficiently (and at a lower
cost) than the liberal Democrats could.

The Republican establishment seemed to resent Goldwater’s
very existence. They made fun of his supporters, including some
whom they referred to as “little old ladies in tennis shoes.” They
would learn the hard way in 1964 that they were facing a conservative
grassroots army that the Rockefeller Republicans could
not match. Goldwater’s book had already prompted a move to
nominate him in 1960, but Vice President Richard Nixon had…

{Order now to read the whole book.}

2 responses to “Book Excerpt

  1. Pingback: Egypt: What Would Reagan Do? - News Radio 970 KBUL

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