Letters to a Young Conservative

( 17 )

Overview

Dinesh D'Souza rose to national prominence as one of the founders of the Dartmouth Review, a leading voice in the rebirth of conservative politics on college campuses in the 1980s.He fired the first popular shot against political correctness with his best-selling exposé Illiberal Education. Now, after serving as a Reagan White House staffer, the managing editor of Policy Review, and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution, he addresses the next generation in Letters to a Young ...

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Overview

Dinesh D'Souza rose to national prominence as one of the founders of the Dartmouth Review, a leading voice in the rebirth of conservative politics on college campuses in the 1980s.He fired the first popular shot against political correctness with his best-selling exposé Illiberal Education. Now, after serving as a Reagan White House staffer, the managing editor of Policy Review, and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution, he addresses the next generation in Letters to a Young Conservative. Drawing on his own colorful experiences, both within the conservative world and while skirmishing with the left, D'Souza aims to enlighten and inspire young conservatives and give them weapons for the intellectual battles that they face in high school, college, and everyday life. Letters to a Young Conservative also illuminates the enduring themes that for D'Souza anchor the conservative position: not "family values" or patriotism, but a philosophy based on natural rights and a belief in universal moral truths.With a light touch, D'Souza shows that conservatism needn't be stodgy or defensive, even though it is based on preserving the status quo. To the contrary, when a conservative has to expose basic liberal assumptions to scrutiny, he or she must become a kind of imaginative, fun-loving, forward-looking guerrilla—philosophically conservative but temperamentally radical.Among the topics Dinesh D'Souza covers in Letters to a Young Conservative: Fighting Political CorrectnessAuthentic vs. Bogus MulticulturalismWhy Government Is the ProblemWhen the Rich Get RicherHow Affirmative Action Hurts BlacksThe Feminist MistakeAll the News That FitsHow to Harpoon a LiberalThe Self-Esteem HoaxA Republican Realignment? Why Conservatives Should Be Cheerful

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A young foot soldier of the "Reagan Revolution," bestselling author D'Souza (What's So Great About America, etc.) came to prominence during his years at Dartmouth, as one of the founders of the controversial Dartmouth Review. In his latest book, the newest installment in the Art of Mentoring series, D'Souza provides students of the next generation with a basic understanding of modern conservatism and its fundamental precepts. Addressing a fictional student by the name of "Chris," D'Souza outlines the major distinctions between the three main political positions in the U.S.: liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism. He goes on to explain how conservatism debunks an array of issues, such as affirmative action (it strengthens the "widespread suspicion that [blacks] might be intellectually inferior"), feminism ("the feminist error was to embrace the value of the workplace as greater than the value of the home"), postmodernism ("pompous, verbose, and incoherent") and some lesser known sins such as the "self-esteem hoax" (self-esteem doesn't promote better performance). In these chapters, the author is witty, even irreverent at times. He punctures the stereotype of conservatism as the dry and stodgy movement that liberals love to hate. Rather he says, conservatives are "radicals," resisting the morally deficient tide of modern liberalism, fighting for a common code of virtues. D'Souza will no doubt succeed in inspiring young conservatives to go out into the world and fight for what they believe in. (Oct. 1) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A recruiting brochure for the conservative cause, padded with the usual slams against Hilary Clinton, feminists, and anyone who questions the intellectual might and political accomplishments of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. This volume in the Art of Mentoring series finds Reagan administration alumnus D'Souza (The Virtue of Prosperity, 2000, etc.) piloting a young college student between the treacherous shoals of liberalism on one hand and libertarianism on the other. Avuncular and arch, D'Souza peppers his letters of instruction with homespun homilies about right-wing virtues: if I give a hungry man a sandwich, he writes, "then I have done a good deed, and I feel good about it. . . . But then see what happens when the government gets involved. The government takes my sandwich from me by force. . . . Instead of showing me gratitude . . . the man feels entitled to this benefit." Humans are inherently driven by self-interest, he goes on to explain, and conservatives, unlike liberals, have no illusions about their perfectibility; hence, conservatives have a more realistic view of humankind, which is why they're so much better at government and better people to boot. In all of this, D'Souza avoids the empty windbaggishness of Rush Limbaugh and the nastiness of Ann Coulter, but his arguments for the superiority of conservatism (or, really, neoconservatism) turn on a similar glibness: he falls easily into us good-them bad rhetoric and half-baked formulas (conservatives care about money, whereas liberals care about power, which is so much dirtier than money). Some of his attacks are well placed, if of the fish-in-a-barrel variety, as when he takes on proponents of academic "politicalcorrectness" (a term he popularized with his 1991 book Illiberal Education) and twits elite radicals who "communicate their anger in very nice lounges over expensive meals and fancy cocktails." Few, however, are completely thought through, suggesting that D'Souza wrote his Letters in a hurry-for money, of course, and not for power. Add water and stir: a political philosophy in 30 easy lessons, just right for college students too busy or ill-educated to read Edmund Burke or William Buckley. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465017348
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/11/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 229
  • Sales rank: 665,757
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Dinesh D'Souza, the Rishwain Research Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, served as senior domestic policy analyst in the White House in 1987-88. He is the best-selling author of Illiberal Education, The End of Racism, Ronald Reagan, and The Virtue of Prosperity. He divides his time between Washington, D.C, and San Diego, California.

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Table of Contents

1 Conservatives vs. Liberals 1
2 The Libertarian Temptation 11
3 The Education of a Conservative 15
4 Pig Wrestling at Dartmouth 23
5 Fighting Political Correctness 35
6 Authentic vs. Bogus Multiculturalism 45
7 What's So Great About Great Books 55
8 How Reagan Outsmarted the Liberals 61
9 Why Government Is the Problem 77
10 When the Rich Get Richer 85
11 How Affirmative Action Hurts Blacks 91
12 The Feminist Mistake 101
13 Who Are the Postmodernists? 107
14 Why Professors Are So Left-Wing 113
15 All the News That Fits 117
16 A Living Constitution? 123
17 More Guns, Less Crime 131
18 How to Harpoon a Liberal 135
19 Lies My Teacher Taught Me 145
20 Was Lincoln a Bad Guy? 149
21 The Self-Esteem Hoax 161
22 Who Cares About the Snail Darter? 167
23 Against Gay Marriage 171
24 Family Values Since Oedipus 177
25 Speaking As a Former Fetus... 189
26 The Hypocrisy of Anti-Globalists 193
27 Are Immigrants to Blame? 197
28 Why Liberals Hate America 205
29 A Republican Realignment? 211
30 Why Conservatives Should Be Cheerful 219
31 A Conservative Reading List 225
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2005

    Fantastic.

    There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe how amazing this book is. D'Souza addresses just about every idea that has been destroyed by liberals. He gives plenty of examples for maintaining good conservative values in school and work. He is a true hero and I really believe and value every thing he wrote. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful book--HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all young conservatives!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great. Practical common sense answers to questions

    I enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and had straight forward answers to good questions.Perfect for a college kid wondering about politics and searching for clear insights. After reading, most will have a better basis upon which to base their own opinions and decisions.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2004

    Truly inspiring!

    What an eye opener! This is probably the only book that I will remember for the rest of my life. I encourage any young person interested in conservatism to read this book! You won't regret it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2002

    A beacon in the fog

    I absolutely loved this book. It is relatively short, and succinct. In it D'Souza explains what conservatism is, and what it is not [libertarian], and what American liberals think and how they act. This book explains the underpinnings of conservatism (belief in the individual, free market economics, a set moral order in the universe, pride in country, a strong military, free speech, freedom of thought), basically, the ideals of the American Revolution. He then contrasts them with what liberals think: belief in the "inner Self" [Rousseau], belief in groups, belief in oppression, dislike of one's own nation, an idealized view of the Third World, "bogus multiculturalism" [looking at other cultures not as they are, but as the Left in America would like them to be], belief in "equality of outcome". The book is peppered with many anecdotes from Dinesh's time at Dartmouth, and the attempts of many parties at Dartmouth to silence him and his conservative friends. Dinesh invented the term "political correctness", after reading that the Russian communists used it to refer to anyone not towing a strict Bolshevik line. Dinesh points out that American universities are more open to free speech in 2002 than they were in 1990, mostly due to the efforts of a few brave conservative editors at Ivy League schools, like him. I believe it. I remember being a conservative at a small liberal arts college in the 1980s. It took a bit of courage, but it was damn fun debating the liberals. Reading the book also brought back a lot of those memories, and how great it was to open a sophmore's mind to a new reality, when all he or she had been hearing was "the Party Line".

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Excellent book by my favorate author, should be read by every liberal

    Excellent way of pproceding to write a book which I have seen the same stlye used in history books. Every topic covered in the book to explain conservatism to liberals and their blockheaded rejections towards conservatism. A great read especially to those liberals whom portray to be patriots but do not fit te mold. Just read the book. Graceson Brotzman, retired USA, disabled Vet

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2011

    A great antidote to pc foolishness

    This is a wise and knowing book on many levels, mostly because it is directed at someone around 20 years of age. And yet, although I haven't been that age in quite a while, it reminds me in great detail of an earlier generation's (mine) professors' cover up of classic values and their caving into trendiness. Even if someone has never been to college, be they 18 or 50 years old, this book will show them where government officials and petty bureaucrats - and their neighbors - got their failing ideas about how life and society should be organized. And it is also funny, making it witty and wise. I wish I had such a book when I was an undergrad many years ago.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2006

    Very helpful to a conservative young, or old...

    In today's world of liberal, ivy-league colleges it was refreshing to finally find a book that wanted to help kids understand conservative politics. Universities these days don't teach these principles. I am not even close to going to college yet, but I found it was very interesting and I enjoyed it. I would recommend it to any conservative, old or young. (And hopefully a couple liberals here and there!) )

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2003

    Staying armed

    Letters to a Young Conservative is an entertaining and highly important book for anyone interested in standing up to liberal extremism. D'Souza's ability to clearly point out the difference between liberal and illiberal is espically inciteful. I went right out and bought a copy for my daughter in college.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2002

    Excellent,Clear, Logical, and Persuasive

    If you are a conservative or just like politics in general then you will enjoy this book which is a coherent argumentative summary of the modern conservative movement. D'Souza's strength is his unique style of clarity which serves the reader well because it has a conversational tone. He writes as if he is talking to a jury that he has to convince in a point-to-point way and he is quite effective. You feel when you are reading as if he is saying " I know what your initial question may be after I say this so let me go ahead and answer it." If you love America, know that modern liberalism is defunct, and intellectually and factually void but do not know how to put your thoughts into a unified argument in your everyday life this is the book to help you!! In letter format D'Souza addresses not just modern day issues but also the philosphies of human nature and thought that underlie the conservative movement. In this short book, D'Souza vindicates all of the leading symbols of hate on the modern left: Ronald Reagan, the Founding Fathers, pro-lifers, Abraham Lincoln, and best of all The United States of America. Read it and enjoy!!! Warning: If you are a liberal you may have a bit of a wakeup call.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    No wonder cons love this book

    It is shallow, empty, ignorant, puerile, and completely devoid of truth and meaning. What a waste of pqper.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2003

    Clear, Logical (at times) and Persuasive (depending on who's reading)

    The first two chapters are interesting in that the author cites the differences between Conservatism, Liberalism and Libertarianism -- the basics. The author's bias is evident in virtually every sentence in this book. Makes it kinda hard for someone on the middle or a little left of the middle to have full faith in the author -- not to mention, makes it impossible for the real Leftists. The arguments for Conservatism are very biased, and the examples are very selective, and the choice of words are very pro-conservative. Author, many times, becomes involuntarily tangled in the Conservative hypocrisy of self-righteousness and patriotism. Like most conservatives, especially opinionated with 'capitalism,' author displays an alarming lack of knowledge in economics (albeit authors went to Dartmouth to study Economics). A very good handbook for the conservatives, but shamelessly falls short of proselytizing the liberals. As a conservative, I wouldn't use this book to convert my liberal fiends.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 21, 2009

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    Posted November 18, 2008

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    Posted February 5, 2012

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted June 3, 2011

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    Posted December 26, 2013

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