I first read Conscience of a Conservative and wrote about it in early August, 2009. I had written at that time that 1) I'd get my own copy; and 2) I'd write more about it.
I finally did buy myself a copy, but I don't know if and when I'll ever give the book all the attention it deserves by posting about it and from it.
Apparently I get in the mood for Goldwater in the summer, since the second and last time I checked this book out from the library was a year ago already. In late July last year, I highlighted some of the best points in Goldwater's introductory chapter.
I've only just begun Conscience of a Conservative this time around. Even so, I've already discovered several poignant vignettes. The following section jumped out at me this time around. I think it caught my attention because its subject, the idea of the common man, is directly behind the renewed acceptance of Marxist philosophy that has quickly slipped into mainstream thinking during the last several years.
We have heard much in our time about "the common man." It is a concept that pays little attention to the history of a nation that grew great through the initiative and ambition of uncommon men. The conservative knows that to regard man as part of an undifferentiated mass is to consign him to ultimate slavery.Just think about the idea of the common man a minute. There are the obvious examples in socialist theory and particularly those philosophies of Marxist socialism that thrive on pitting worker against administrators, owners, and executives of any flavor. We see the impact of the idea of the common man in the Occupy movement; the national reaction to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's stand against the union system; the resurgence of the term, progressive, in mainstream politics; and much in the news because of the recent Supreme Court ruling in its favor, the health insurance takeover that has come to be known as Obamacare.
But the whole premise of the common man is a myth. There is no such thing. There is no group, no subgroup, etc., for which all members shares the same intrinsic make-up or circumstances. To make policy based upon an idea of group mentality or group situation, or as Goldwater put it, an "undifferentiated mass," is dangerous and illogical. But it is also immoral. Such groupings as the common man or administration, worker or owner, renter or landlord, African American or white, male or female, etc, create artificial classes. Putting people into such groups, and defining them by membership in such groups, enslaves people to such groups. And it also binds them to the intrusive policies such thinking engenders.