Conservatism has a hard way to go heading into the 21st century. You might say it has always had a hard way to go, being predisposed to maintain, to defend and to preserve the older, better ways that bought us our current prosperity, and continues to do so in flagrant defiance of a civilization and (seemingly) dominant culture predisposed to change.
Make no mistake, our enemies are manifold, and slowly driving us into the sea by securing seemingly unassailable positions in media, and government, in education and every other influential sector of thought and discourse throughout our nation.
For many conservatives, whatever their reasons, it often seems better to simply move elsewhere and live your life with your people on your terms. But that has to stop.
We have to stop giving ground and stop giving up positions of power in society. We have to stop yielding the conversation and flow of ideas out of fear of embarrassment or worse.
But it is not enough to wade into a battle of wits or ideas with dull and blunted “weapons”. You must sharpen sword and spear alike, and the best way to do that is by reading classic books of conservative thought both new and old.
This article will provide you twenty peerless works of conservatism: cultural, historical, and critical alike.
These books will not only spark within you appreciation for what we have and where we come from but also light a fire in your belly that will let you carry the cultural fight to the enemies of decency.
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1. The Constitution of the United States
Sadly, I know plenty of conservatives who profess to bleed red, white and blue, asserting that they have a deep and abiding love of their country and everything it stands for, but their knowledge of what it was founded on, and what rights were sought as guaranteed for its citizens, is regrettably lacking.
If you would wield the Constitution both as spear and as shield in the ongoing ideological war you must know it inside and out.
There has never been a better time to study our nation’s founding document, and indisputably its most cherished. It is the penultimate legal document of our nation and indisputably the keystone for the great experiment that is America.
It is both mantle and mandate, and a thorough understanding of this important text is the duty of every citizen.
Get the Constitution here.
2. The Federalist Papers
Almost as important as the Constitution itself are the other writings of the men who wrote it, the same men who risked life, limb and legacy to give birth to a nation, our nation.
The Federalist Papers is a collection composed of over 80 articles that explain, expound, and defend the intent and the ideas of the men who wrote them and incorporated them into the Constitution.
The nuance and appreciation you will gain from reading their assembled wisdom and observations is priceless, and it will lend a distinct understanding to their intent elsewhere in our Constitution.
Get the Federalist Papers here.
3. The Reluctant Partisan, Volumes I & II
These comprehensive tomes by John Mosby might be the single best guide books written on the subject of holistic preparation to defend yourself, your family, your community and even your very way of life from all enemies, including domestic ones.
Owning the right toys and looking good at your bi-annual range session does not qualify as readiness, and Mosby will but that myth to the bullet in his bracing books.
Covering everything from physical fitness and weapons training to building durable networks of dependable teammates inside communities that will endure through thick and thin when a legitimate SHTF situation occurs these books are the basis and the starting point for any conservative who wants to back up the tough talk that they sometimes spew online.
These books are expensive, but the information they contain is invaluable.
4. A History of Money and Banking in the United States
There is no denying that rampant government largesse, mismanagement of money and tax enslavement of the populace is the root cause of nearly all of the social woes that we endure today.
Understanding how banking and the wholesale coveting of money by our government is the root of this national evil is imperative for all conservatives, and this singular work by Murray N. Rothbard will take you on a guided tour of the past 300 years of money and currency in the United States.
While it is true that sometimes financial calamities are more unavoidable forces of nature than deliberate sabotage, this book will show you, in sobering detail, how the vast majority are indeed the result of hidden and devious motives concocted by powerful cabals comprised of men in finance and in government.
Get “A History of Money and Banking” here.
5. 48 Liberal Lies About American History (That You Probably Learned in School)
A common woe of conservatives these days is the near total lockdown of academia that leftists have managed to establish.
This has subsequently resulted in the mass warping of historical events and cultural narratives to suit their purposes, with the result being that students come out of formal education with a rational and moral baseline that grows ever closer to their standard template of what makes a “good citizen”.
Larry Schweikart has taken it upon himself to correct this liberal bias by illuminating popularly held conventions and beliefs that, while patently false, have nonetheless become enshrined in textbooks and curriculums throughout our educational system for decades.
Quite a few of these false notions you probably believe yourself, but they are nonetheless sacred cows to leftists and this book will help you slaughter them in broad daylight.
Get “48 Liberal Lies” here.
6. The Road to Serfdom
This magnum opus from world renowned economist F.A. Hayek is a dire prognostication about the ever encroaching and insidious dangers of socialism, compounded by tightening government economic control. This is a continually cited work of political philosophy, and almost unrivaled in its importance.
The author pulls no punches while painting a sweeping and terribly depressing but nonetheless accurate view of the fate that awaits all cultures and all nations who allow a greedy and duplicitous few to hold the reins of their economies hostage.
Today, socialism is not seen as the evil that it always is in much of the West, with the younger generations especially having no frame of reference for just how destructive and demeaning its ministrations are.
Make no mistake that the fate Hayek warns us about in the book is the same that today’s leftist would inflict on all of us, and history furnishes many examples of what that looks like.
If you want to be able to take your hippie cousin to the mat on economic policy come Thanksgiving, this book is a must read.
Get “The Road to Serfdom” here.
7. American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America
Today more than ever, it feels like America is utterly divided culturally, and divided in such a way that seems un-spanable. The citizens of America are at each other’s throats over issues big and small, and this big “melting pot” experiment is soon to boil over.
How did it get this way? How can one nation, indivisible, be so radically different from place to place?
How is it possible that two huge groups of people are so convinced that their opposite number is so impossibly wrong as to warrant expungement and violence be levied against them?
Author Colin Woodard will answer those questions and more by delving into a little acknowledged facet of America as a nation.
Namely we have always been divided at a continental scale, with each region being settled and developed by competitive societies whose differences ran the same gamut that they do today – religious, political and cultural.
The author makes a great case that there really isn’t and has never been an overarching, unified American culture, and exploring this assertion is both a comfort and a cause for concern.
Get “A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America” here.
8. Godless: The Church of Liberalism
Love her or hate her, conservative firebrand Ann Coulter has certainly had her finger on the pulse of some of the deepest and most complicated issues plaguing the country politically and culturally for decades.
Her 2006 book Godless: The Church of Liberalism is an insightful and alarming analysis of liberal ideology viewed not as a set of political beliefs, but as religious dogma, an assertion that gets harder and harder to refute as she makes her case.
This book is far from the conventional defense of Christianity and Judaism that most people would be expecting based on the title.
Instead, Coulter makes a case that Liberalism is a religion because it has all the hallmarks of one, including its own holy writ, martyrs, clergy, and doctrine of total infallibility.
It sounds a little wild, but I promise if you swallow your disbelief and give the book a chance you will have a hard time denying the evidence. Modern liberals operate with a very real and literal religious zeal makes their assaults all the harder to stop.
Get “Godless: The Church of Liberalism” here.
9. Ideas Have Consequences
An intensely cerebral and chillingly prophetic book by Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences posits that the malaise and decline present and ever more sharply felt in western civilization is a result of the engineered, institutionalized and wholesale rejection of the idea that an absolute truth exists from which we can make all other determinations and assessments.
The result, the author argues, is the decay and collapse of education, morality and art.
I cannot overstate just how eerily prophetic this book is, and the author even described what was to him an imagined invasive and implanted media architecture by which the beliefs, emotions and even the very perceptions of the populace at large could be dictated and programmed by a controlling group. Today, we just call it social media.
This book is not an easy read, but for a conservative reader with a little bit of backbone and a craving to really understand the fount by which our cultural problems bubble to the surface this is a can’t-miss work.
Get “Ideas Have Consequences” here.
10. Becoming a Barbarian
The modern leftist and globalists of all stripes would reduce the bonds that have held families, communities and tribes together since time immemorial to ruin in order to produce a more perfect “breed” of consumer that is completely interchangeable and utterly replaceable wherever on Earth they might happen to reside.
In order to facilitate this, these devious forces would try to trick us into believing that we are expected to care about everyone, everywhere, equally and at all times.
The second feature book from masculinity author Jack Donovan is a follow-on to his viral hit The Way of Men, and completely rebukes and undermines this globalist bug thought at its very source.
In this book, Donovan encourages all of us to think tribally and, he asserts, properly by determining who is actually the most important to us regarding the people around us and to give up the brainwashing of globalism in order to live a life of purpose and a genuine meaning in and among our communities.
Get “Becoming a Barbarian” here.
11. The Death of the West
Pat Buchanan is a titan of conservative thought, and his blockbuster book The Death of the West details how Western culture, in not just America but Europe as well, is dying.
The reasons are many but the effects are the same: a culture that has turned against itself, a moral order being deserted and civilizations teetering on the brink under the strain of tectonic shifts in world power and cultural milieu.
Buchanan pulls no punches, and makes the case that massive and unchecked influxes of immigrants from Africa, Latin America and Asia are having deleterious effects on Western nations.
Written in the early 2000s, today the book has only been proven to be more prophetic and all the more while its contents are decried as anathema by leftists.
It provides one possible answer to the question of whether or not the countries we grew up in and the culture that birthed it are mortally wounded.
Get “The Death of the West” here.
12. Government Bullies
Every conservative instinctively understands that government oversight, frivolous laws and invasive snooping into our private lives has been and remains completely out of control, and further that this pattern of behavior shows no signs of stopping.
We are all thugs at any given time, as there are so many asinine laws on our books that it is impossible to avoid breaking at least one every moment of every day. Every, single citizen has a hungry pair of handcuffs waiting for them with their name on it.
Senator Rand Paul makes the case that government regulations are totally out of control, and that all Americans are needlessly abused and imprisoned by federal laws and regulations that are positively byzantine in stature.
We are past due for a drastic rollback of government invasiveness, and this book will provide you with many examples of just how pervasive and just how bad the problem is.
Get “Government Bullies” here.
13. Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats
Author Star Parker tells an inspirational, bracing and at times shocking story of how her life transformed from one of drugs, welfare and believing the liberal lies that are broadcast continuously for the enslavement of the poor, despondent and disadvantaged to one of entrepreneurialism, success and self-determination.
Author Parker pulls no punches, and the book provides insight into the real goals of government machinations and initiatives that are ostensibly charitable, but instead enslave through dependency.
What should nominally be a “parachute” in times of true crisis becomes a crutch that can never be given up for those who are inured to it.
Get “Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats” here.
A timeless classic, one of ethical and practical advice in equal measure, the private journaling, essaying and musings of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius are one of the single greatest and most readable works of its kind known to the West.
Aurelius writes on a variety of topics, sometimes in short, proverbial snippets of advice and other times at great length, such as dealing with times of trouble, conducting yourself with grace and dignity even when you have been slighted, proper fealty to family and correctly dealing with strangers.
To say that the pressure Marcus Aurelius must have been under as emperor of Rome was surely enormous is a colossal understatement, but his essential writings on stoicism, behaving ethically and managing personal desire against the burdens of duty ensure that this work is as important and relevant now as it has ever been.
Get “Meditations” here.
15. Rules for Retrogrades
Politically and culturally, the modern left’s capacity for grassroots activism and accumulation of political reaction mass has far outstripped that of conservatives, of any stripe, for some time.
Backed up by a seemingly invincible and omnipresent media and subservient educational institutions it feels a lot like conservatives are fighting as scrappies; never winning, and on the rare occasion that we do, the victories are meaningless or short-lived, propagandized into oblivion.
This is because the left has been working from a better codified and more comprehensive playbook for their activities. Authors Timothy Gordon and David Gordon have sought to remedy that with Rules for Retrogrades, a countermeasure and rebuttal to the left’s typical forms of activism that seem so unassailable.
Within the book are tips, advice and procedures for shooting straight and telling the truth no matter how outmatched and outgunned you seem, politically or culturally. In this wasted era rules for retrogrades is the field manual for conducting yourself and fighting the good fight politically.
Get “Rules for Retrogrades” here.
16. Why We Whisper
All Americans, conservative, moderate and liberal alike, have a stake in keeping free speech truly free, but unfortunately the modern zeitgeist has seen political correctness turn into a rampaging cancer that is starving the first amendment of blood through such soft applications of force as unpersoning, public shaming, constant rationalization and subjectivism.
If you control what someone can say, you will soon control what they think, and as soon as they are afraid to think using language of their preference they are as good as lobotomized.
Authors Professor David J. Woodard and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint have written a crackling indictment of the deliberate silencing tactics employed by leftist foot soldier and corporation alike.
Making their distinction between the secularists and traditionalists, they stigmatize the left-leaning bias and the popular assertions of our day on such issues as divorce, abortion, sexuality, gay marriage and more.
This book is a fiery call to action for conservatives to turn the tide on the fight for free speech before it is too late, if it isn’t already.
Get “Why We Whisper” here.
17. Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline
Conservative scholar Robert H. Bork provides a harrowing and prophetic view of Western culture in a state of freefall, with the United States in particular undergoing such cultural destabilization that its very foundation stones are disintegrating.
The author makes the case that the United States, as a nation, is slouching not towards a proverbial Bethlehem but towards Gomorrah, where devastation and damnation await.
The book is written as an insightful and nuanced expose of a culture brought to crisis by modern liberalism, a movement and ideology which peddles the twin forces of decay that are radical egalitarianism and radical individualism.
If the only acceptable standard is equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity and a complete elimination of any limitation to personal gratification then the doom of our culture and our very nation is assured even now.
Only by resisting the blight of modern liberalism can we hope to change course.
Get “Slouching Toward Gomorrah” here.
18. The City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism
Author Abram C. Van Engen presents a refreshing, grounding study of America’s national narrative as told through vision, expansion, loss and recovery.
Conservatives today keenly feel the desire to see the country they love shine as a beacon of morality, prosperity and freedom once again and desperately want to link the historical vision of “America That Was” with the potential that we all seem to know is latent, if buried and burnished today.
Engaging, intricately researched and often startling this is an intellectual book that explores, unpacks and investigates the case of American exceptionalism, both the mythic and the realistic one.
While the Puritanical vision of the city on a hill might no longer apply in the strictest sense, we can all learn something from the author’s careful analysis of the notions, and contradictions that the myth entails.
Get “The City on a Hill” here.
19. A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles
Thomas Sowell is a luminary social theorist who needs no introduction for most of the readership, and his book, A Conflict of Visions, examines with exacting and intricate detail the ideological differences that seem to exist immutably between conservatives and liberals.
This book is a magnum opus consisting of accumulated knowledge gathered over a 30-year span of his career, and synthesizes such eclectic fields as cultural and social studies, politics and economics.
In the book, the author contrasts the belief systems of progressives and conservatives, where conservatives are concerned about self-selection and self-determinism and the progressive left is most often obsessed with equality of outcome at any cost. This book illustrates the root causes of America’s cultural divide in a way that only Sowell can.
Get “A Conflict of Visions” here.
20. The Abolition of Man
Modern liberals infamously reduce every assessment and valuation to one of subjectivity, and further undermine decisive critique by applying ever more intricate and crazy qualifiers to participants in a conversation in a sort of perverse victimhood Olympics.
The matchless C.S. Lewis provides an antidote to such thinking in The Abolition of Man, sternly criticizing this open devaluation and dissolution of objectivity and natural law.
When Lewis first gave the series of lectures at Kings’ college that later became this book, his criticism was only theoretical. Today he has been proven chillingly prescient.
The world that Louis warned us about, though only an exercise to him, illustrates in stark and stunning detail that it is impossible for a moral subjectivist to remain morally consistent, and furthermore entire swaths of the population plug along in their lives with their own value systems issued to them, wholesale, by controlling party elites.
If our modern cultural relativity has you sick to your stomach, this book might provide welcome relief.
Get “The Abolition of Man” here.
If we want to argue intelligently our beliefs and ideas to the world we must take it upon ourselves to make our arguments academically rigorous and capable of withstanding significant and sustained scrutiny.
The books presented to you today will form an excellent core library that you can draw from to fortify your rhetoric and belief in traditional conservative values.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.