For a good long time I have been guilty of failing to read this work which many conservatives consider to be a cornerstone of conservative thought. I plead that some of the later utterances of Goldwater in his waning years led me to question his veracity as a conservative, but relative to this work, the proponents were right, it is first class.
It concisely covers the basics of conservative thought including how conservatism considers man as more than flesh and blood, having an eternal soul. "The root difference between Conservatives and the Liberals of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look at only the material side of man's nature".
Various pleas for limited government and clear delineation of the powers of the federal government and what are reserved for the states are included. "Throughout history, government has proved to be the chief instrument for thwarting man's liberty."
His two chapter discussion of States Rights is an excellent defense of against the idea that they are obsolete since the fight against Jim Crow in the South. "States Rights mean that the States have a right to act or not to act, as they see fit in the areas reserved to them." Worth a read in the age of BOcare.
He covers the attack of "progressive" taxation on Equal Protection and Property Rights under the Constitution as well as giving us an accurate preview of the what the unfettered expansion of the Federal Government has come to mean from the perspective of 1960.
My biggest surprise in reading the book was how accurately he predicted and largely provided the architecture for Reagan's victory over the USSR.
"Our enemies have understood the nature of the conflict and we have not. They are determined to win the conflict, we are not".
The closing paragraph of the book makes one glad yet again that we were privileged to have Ronald Reagan as President"
The future as I see it, will unfold along one of two paths. Either the Communists will retain the offensive, will lay down one challenge after another will invite us local crisis after local crises to choose between all out war and limited retreat; and will force us ultimately to surrender or accept war under the most disadvantageous of circumstances. Or we will summon the will and the means for taking the initiative, and wage a war of attrition against them---and hope, thereby to bring about the internal disintegration of the communist empire. One course runs the risk of war, and leads in any case, to probably defeat. The other runs the risk of war, and holds forth the promise of victory. For Americans who cherish their lives, but their freedom more, the choice cannot be difficult.
Goldwater had the right architecture, Reagan implemented it, and the wall came tumbling down.
A quite short and well written summary of the basics of conservative thought. I ought to have read it sooner.