On the heels of his national bestseller Worse Than Watergate, John Dean takes a critical look at the current conservative movement
In Conservatives Without Conscience, John Dean places the conservative movement's inner circle of leaders in the Republican Party under scrutiny. Dean finds their policies and mind- set to be fundamentally authoritarian, and as such, a danger to democracy. By examining the legacies of such old-line conservatives as J. Edgar Hoover, Spiro Agnew, and Phyllis Schlafly and of such current figures as Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and leaders of the Religious Right, Dean presents an alarming record of abuses of power. His trenchant analysis of how conservatism has lost its bearings serves as a chilling warning and a stirring inspiration to safeguard constitutional principles.
In his seventh book, Dean, the former Nixon legal counsel whom the FBI has called the "master manipulator" of the Watergate coverup, weighs in with a rebuke to Christian fundamentalists and other right-wing hard-liners. A self-described Goldwater conservative (indeed, Goldwater had planned to collaborate on this book before his death), he rails against the influence of social conservatives and neoconservatives within his party. Suffused with bitterness stemming from the controversies in which he has been embroiled, Dean's book paints a thin social science veneer over a litany of mostly ad hominem complaints. Purporting to show that social conservatives and neoconservatives are, on the whole, demonstrably authoritarian, bigoted, irrational and amoral, Conservatives Without Conscience offers helpful hints such as "Conservatives without conscience do not have horns and tails," and evinces a telling fascination with politicians' shady book deals. Though there is clearly much to condemn in the policies and tactics Dean deplores, assailing everyone from French political theorist Joseph de Maistre to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to the chairman of Yale University's conservative association as "Double High" social- dominance-oriented authoritarians undermines his journalistic credibility. Dean's lurid accusations may be entertaining, but they add little to the reasoned debate that Washington so sorely lacks today. (July 11) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.