Good as Goldwater

My review of Pure Goldwater, a volume of Barry Goldwater’s journals (and some other odds and ends), is now up on Reason‘s website.

I’m reading Bill Buckley’s posthumous Goldwater memoir, Flying High, right now. Here’s one striking anecdote I hadn’t heard before:

… at this dinner [for the 1950s Freeman], Rand contradicted Mises on some doctrinal point, causing the eminent professor to stop eating and mobilize his scorn and fury on her. Ayn Rand thereupon burst into tears and exclaimed, “You are treating me like an ignorant little Jewish girl!”

Mises jumped up from his chair with joy. “That is exactly what you are! An ignorant little Jewish girl!”

Rand was not one to be crossed lightly. But even she might have known better than to gainsay Ludwig von Mises.

What Was Great About Goldwater

From Lou Cannon’s review of Pure Goldwater and Flying High in the Washington Post:

In 1958, as related in Buckley’s memoir Flying High, Goldwater charged that Walter Reuther and his United Auto Workers “are a more dangerous menace than the Sputniks, or anything Russia might do.” Goldwater hurled around the words “socialist” and “socialistic,” using them to describe domestic policies of FDR and Harry Truman, the attitudes of various reporters and columnists, and the relatively timid proposals of the Eisenhower administration to spend federal money on health care and education. Goldwater refused, in Buckley’s words, to “bend with the spirit of the age.”

Of course, Cannon considers these bad things, or at least stances that put Goldwater far outside the realm of electability. The latter is probably true, though in ’64 all it took to stop Goldwater from getting elected was the recent memory of JFK’s assassination. It was game over from day one.

Cannon doesn’t talk too much about either book. You can get my take on Pure Goldwater in the current (June) issue of Reason. I should have a review of William F. Buckley’s posthumous Goldwater book, Flying High running elsewhere a few months down the line, if all goes well. I’ll post the details on that at the appropriate time.

Two Reviews for You

The May June issue of Reason includes my review of Pure Goldwater, the John Dean and Barry Goldwater Jr.-edited collection of the late senator’s journals. The May 5 issue of The American Conservative, meanwhile, features my piece on Bill Kauffman’s Ain’t My America. Both books, coincidentally enough, are published by Palgrave-Macmillan, which is also home to James Bovard.

The magazine’s probably won’t be hitting bookstores and subscribers’ mailboxes for about 10 days or a little more — print has its advantages, but alacrity isn’t one of them. In the meantime, here’s a link to Dean and Goldwater Jr. discussing their book at the Huffington Post.

Karl Hess: Toward Liberty

It’s amazing what you can find on Google Video. This is the Academy Award-winning (yes, really) documentary about Karl Hess, who was one of the founding editors of National Review and a key Goldwater speechwriter — and who later became a New Leftist and an outspoken (as well as tax-resisting) libertarian. A very interesting figure, though I can’t say I’m impressed with the film, which won the 1981 Academy Award for best short documentary.

I think I’ve described Hess in the past as a “crunchy libertarian.” You’ll see why in the documentary:

For good measure, here’s a link to Hess’s best-known essay, “The Death of Politics.”

The Conscience of a Paleoconservative

Princeton University Press’s deluxe re-release of Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative last summer has apparently brought forth a slew of other, cash-in re-releases of the book as well. (I’m not sure who controls the rights to Conscience, but whoever it is appears to be very generous.) Editions of the book are proliferating, and just yesterday I ran across a rather interesting one from MJF Books.

The MJF edition has two things going for it. First, it’s hardcover, though affordably priced. Barnes and Noble has it on sale for $5.98 — compare that to the $14.95 cover price for Princeton’s paperback edition. Second, it includes not only Patrick Buchanan’s 1990 introduction to the Regnery edition of the book but also a chapter from PJB’s Where the Right Went Wrong, “American Empire at Apogee.” That makes this in effect the paleocon edition of Conscience.

On the downside, this edition suffers from editorial negligence. Although “apogee” is spelled correctly on the title page of the Buchanan chapter, it’s misspelled in the running head on subsequent pages — “epogee.” That’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t mitigate the value of the book. It’s worth six bucks just to have a hardcover of Conscience, and the PJB material sweetens the deal.

Here’s what it looks like:

Conscience of a Paleoconservative

Buying it on-line is a little tricky: doesn’t seem to have it listed at all, and the Barnes and Noble listing doesn’t provide any edition-specific details, though I know it’s the right one because the ISBN matches. (The ISBN is 9781567319033.) In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s only available from Barnes and Noble. A rather mysterious edition — I’m not familiar with MJF Books — but a good one.