Summary of Letters to a Young Conservative

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Letters to a Young Conservative book summary
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Rating

9

Qualities


Recommendation

Dinesh D’Souza has produced earlier incisive, groundbreaking books. Illiberal Education and The End of Racism are both thought-provoking reads for conservatives and liberals alike, but this is one has an additional purpose: a comprehensive outline of conservative doctrine and a blanket condemnation of the opposing points of view. D’Souza revisits some previously published opinions, and if he doesn’t always support them with fact, he does bring heartfelt argument to the fore. He also refers back to his other two books when illumination is needed. The book, as the title suggests, is formatted as a series of letters to a college student, complete with fond recollections of the author’s days as a conservative firebrand at Dartmouth. Even constrained by this gimmick, D’Souza is an entertaining writer who delights in, "harpooning liberals," eloquently if with slight regard for fairness. getAbstract.com recommends this book as an ideological dessert for potential conservatives, more than as a soup-to-nuts guide to conservatism - and its no-shades-of-gray approach may even help liberals prepare their counterarguments.

About the Author

Dinesh D’Souza, the Rishwain Research Scholar at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, served as senior domestic policy analyst in the Reagan White House in 1987 and 1988. He is the author of Illiberal Education, The End of Racism, Ronald Reagan, The Virtue of Prosperity and What’s So Great About America?

 

Summary

Conservatives, Libertarians and Liberals

Conservatives in the United States keep the flame of the American Revolution. They seek to conserve the founding fathers’ dream of a society free from economic, political and religious oppression. This is a very different meaning of conservatism than the one used in Europe, where traditional conservatives oppose democracy and capitalism. American conservatives also champion a morally virtuous way of life by upholding such values as patriotism, civic pride and the importance of the family.

Libertarians share the conservative view that the federal government is too big and infringes too much on the rights of individuals. However, libertarians believe in freedom as an end in itself, while conservatives believe freedom is a means for making the proper moral choices. Thus, libertarians oppose any kind of regulation on principle, but conservatives are not above using governmental regulations to encourage certain virtuous behaviors.

Liberalism has undergone two major changes since the founding of the country. In the 1930s, New Deal Democrats created a welfare state by vastly expanding the role of government, arguing that "freedom...


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    T. G. 3 years ago
    I love the service, but don't like reviews by liberals tainting their reviews. This reviewer makes little bumper sticker sayings without facts, "he [Dinesh] doesn’t always support them with fact". Of course the reviewer gives no facts for the statement.