Libertine's Reviews > Conservatives Without Conscience

Conservatives Without Conscience by John W. Dean
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's review
Sep 26, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, politics

John Dean, a traditional conservative in the mold of Barry Goldwater, was moved to write this book after seeing the changes in his beloved Republican party over the last twenty-five years, changes, he believes, that betray the principles of classic conservatism.

Dean pinpoints this change to a growing authoritarian mindset within his party, accelerated by the influence of Religious Right.

He gives an overview of the history of conservatism in the United States, showing how earlier generations of conservatives differ from those of today, breaking down and describing various subgroups of conservatives today.

The concept of the authoritarian mindset in covered, especially as it relates to politics, and he gives descriptions of authoritarian follower and leader types, and those who display traits of both, which he refers to as "Double Highs". After describing common character traits of authoritarians, and how such personality types are naturally attracted to far right ideas, both politically and religiously, he gives several thumbnail sketches of prominent right wing people, from years past and in the present, focusing on how they fit the authoritarian profile.

Dean also is careful not to paint all Republicans and conservatives with the same authoritarian brush. He provides a useful summary guide on how to distinguish conservatives without conscience from conservatives with conscience.

This was an enlightening and useful book, one I hope that voters will read before heading to the polls in 2008.
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