The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z

tags: politics, conservative

I am a Democrat. I like to think of myself as liberal, but sometimes I think I just say this to be contrarian. Sure enough, this book has me thinking I’m much more conservative than I say I am.

I read this because I’ve been looking for years for a clear elucidation of conservative values. I have wanted someone to explain, clearly and definitively, what a “conservative” believes and why. This is that book, hence the five-star review. It was exactly what I was looking for.

The book has problems (discussed below), but it’s comprehensive. The author – a conservative radio host from Nashville – takes each chapter to discuss some aspect of conservatism:

In each chapter, he spends 7-8 pages explaining the issue, and provides ample statistics and real-word scenarios. There are a lot of endnotes, which I admittedly didn’t review, but it makes me think he has sources to back things up.

I agreed with far, far more of this book than I disagreed with. Looking over the chapter headings, the only chapter the author and I are completely at odds on is the one on climate change. I’m not as extreme as he is on unions, and his flat tax idea is simplistic and would probably never work, but that’s about it. The rest of it was pretty easy to agree with.

It got me wondering: have I misunderstood conservatives all these years? Or have they misunderstood me? Some combination of both?

There are some issues with how he writes:

Some of this got really annoying and is counter-productive. If you’re a liberal, don’t think this is an olive branch to your side of the aisle. The author is going to insult you, which I don’t think helps. He’s not interested in seducing you to his cause. He just wants to make you feel dumb.

Get past that, though, and this is a great look at the “other” side. Go into it with an open mind. You might be surprised how much you agree with.

Book Info