Sunday, February 19, 2006
Conservative Book List...
For a Conservative, history is one of the most important aspects of your education. Without a solid knowledge of history, at the very least America’s, you cannot possibly understand why conservatism is the correct way of thinking.
Sure there are innate “feelings” that certain things are just right. There is also your cultural and societal mores that can lead you to conservatism. But, without understanding something about what has gone before, cultural and emotional influences will leave you with a shallow understanding of conservatism.
That being the case, I now offer some books on history that every conservative should read so that he might better understand and intellectualize his beliefs.
Don’t let secularists and atheists let you imagine that just because the Founders were smart enough to make sure that a single, state religion would not be an integral part of the US government that this means we are a nation without religious influence.
With but few exceptions the Founders and all their contemporaries were members of some of the many Protestant Christian sects in the Americas. But, since they did have several different Protestant sects prevalent in the US, they all knew that agreeing on a single religion was impossible, even dangerous to their own, individual beliefs and sects.
Still, they were all in agreement that Christian ethos was what would guide them and this country to a better future.
So, the Christian Bible was the guide for the Founders without question.
In the 1920s and 30s socialism was all the rage among the “literate” types in US universities as well as Universities worldwide. A writer named Charles Beard made a name for himself in the field of American historiography by claiming that the Founders wrote the Constitution based only on their avarice and greed, that economics was the sole reason that the country was formed. And it was an economics of exclusion, greed and elitism that they created, too. Beard was an avowed socialist and communist and his agenda was to knock down the USA’s reputation as the democratic light of the world a few pegs, if not to totally destroy it. He succeeded in this goal for several decades among the University set and history researchers.
Then came Forrest McDonald.
In 1965, McDonald shattered that anti-American, socialist paradigm. In his three most important books, We The People, E Pluribus Unum and Novus Oedo Seclorum, he revealed the philosophical influences as well as the economic ones that guided the minds of the Founders and their contemporaries. And exclusion, elitism, and avarice were not some of those principles and philosophies.
First came We The People which was a direct answer to Beard’s wrong interpretations of the economic forces that drove the Founders. This turned Beard’s socialist ideas on its head.
.E Pluribus Unum was next and it continued to demolish Beard’s claims about economic origins of the country and is a must read for that aspect alone. He shows the many economic influences and sectional needs that drove the Founders in a clear, concise style.
The third book, .Novus Ordo Seclorum .delves even further into the philosophy of the Founders proving beyond a doubt that, while economics was an important factor -- as it is in everything man does—the men who created our country did, indeed, have deep altruistic reasons for making the decisions they did. Not everything was solely driven by greed as Charles Beard claimed.
McDonald’s works are easily read by one not historically versed and clearly laid out. They are a must read if you want an introduction to early American thinkers and their goals and influences.
We The People, the Economic Origins of the Constitution- Amazon.com
E Pluribus Unum from the Liberty Fund
Novus Ordo Seclorum – On Amazon.com
Kirk is one of the more famous real conservatives of the 50’s and 60s. He was a bit of an odd character -- for instance, he refused to learn how to drive as he felt it unseemly-- and his conservatism was not generally of the current affairs, political type but of the old world type. He wrote many books but the one I suggest most highly is The Conservative Constitution.
Kirk gives us more of the influences that the Founders utilized to create the Constitution as McDonald did. But it is much more an overview of those influences whereas McDonald got a touch more specific.
Another book from Kirk is The Conservative Mind, from Burke to Eliot. This tome gives the reader some great references on where Conservative thought came from.
The Conservative Mind
The Conservative Mind
See the full list here...Conservative Book list