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May 10, 1961

Republican Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, author of The Conscience of a Conservative and chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, lectured in the Chapel on the advantages of local versus federal support of schools. In preparation for his presentation, Assistant Professor of History Clyde Griffen presented a critique of The Conscience of a Conservative.

Asserting that Sen. Goldwater believed that “the constitution…is an instrument above all for limiting the functions of government,” Mr. Griffen criticized the book’s positions on both national and international issues. While he he managed to, in the words of The Miscellany News, “poke holes in the Senator’s condemnation of graduated income tax as a ‘confiscatory tax’ and of government intervention as leading to ‘welfarism’ and evil,” Griffen was most concerned that Goldwater’s suggestion that the United States withdraw recognition of communist countries. “Mr. Griffen felt this would only ‘put us in an embarrassing position without any advantage’…. He said, ‘The book, in terms of political theory, is incoherent.’”

The Years