A conservative college student’s life can be difficult. It’s hard to find like-minded professors or teachers to look up to. Rather, most professors serve as antagonists, using every opportunity to denigrate and deride conservatism and its values. How then can a young conservative educate himself or herself in liberty-minded values?
The answer is simple: read. If a university isn’t providing the necessary education in conservative thought, turn to the works of prominent conservative thinkers of past and present.
Here is a list of my top ten books that every conservative college student should read and by no means is it an exhaustive list.
- How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)- by Ann Coulter
Have you ever gotten into a conversation with a leftist, and have no idea what to say when they question the War on Terror, capital punishment, or gun violence in the inner cities? Are you sick of their revisionist history and lack of facts, but do not know how to articulate your thoughts into sound arguments? Fear not! This is just the book for you.
Other than its hard-hitting facts and sprinkling sarcasm of which only Coulter is capable, the book deconstructs the leftist thought process, giving the reader a view into how their arguments are formulated and tips on how to demolish them in conversation.
Best quote: “Historically, the best way to convert liberals is to have them move out of their parents’ home, get a job, and start paying taxes. But if this doesn’t work, you might have to actually argue with a liberal. This is not for the faint of heart.”
- Liberal Fascism- by Jonah Goldberg
Labeling conservatives as ‘fascists’ is a favorite way to shut down any possibility of civil dialogue. Jonah Goldberg quashes this myth in his provocative book Liberal Fascism, arguing that the progressive movement of the 21st century has more in common with the ideas of fascism than those on the right.
Goldberg takes us from the fascist tendencies of Woodrow Wilson to the recent government policies of the Clinton administration and points out the similarities that they have to traditional fascist doctrine.
Modern progressivism, he argues, is nothing more than ‘friendly’ fascism. If you haven’t read this book, be sure to get yourself a copy. The next time some leftist calls you a fascist, be sure to give them an education in the origins of the doctrines that they adhere to.
Best quote: “If there is ever a fascist takeover in America, it will come not in the form of storm troopers kicking down doors but with lawyers and social workers saying, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
- How to Be Right- by Greg Gutfeld
In our day, it is made to seem that there is only one right place to be on the political spectrum: the left. Being on the right is a position that will garner scorn and hatred on any college campus today. How can one successfully defend one’s belief system in such an antagonistic society?
Greg Gutfeld presents a brilliant response to this question in How to Be Right. Gutfeld identifies a key problem in American politics: the left is brilliant at marketing horrible ideas, while the right is horrible at marketing brilliant ideas. How to Be Right is a master-tactician’s masterpiece and a must-read for any young conservative who is heading out into the battlefield of ideas.
Best quote: “Here is the simple stance to why you are Right: It is a more practical, generous, and compassionate way to live.”
- Dangerous- by Milo Yiannopoulos
Considering leftists tremble at the name Milo Yiannopoulos, you wouldn’t have been surprised at their reaction when they heard that Yiannopoulos was set to release a book.
In his typical brash and outrageous tone, Yiannopoulos blends his personal experiences with brute facts to paint a realistic picture of what is wrong with both the establishment and the left today. Without a tinge of political correctness, he takes apart the outrage culture propagated by progressives, the flagrant racism of the alt-right, the snowflake mentality of radical feminists, and the problems caused by radical Islam, among many other issues.Take some time out of your schedule and realize why this modern day Oscar Wilde is the left’s worst nightmare.
Best quote: “I’m a fire-starter and troublemaker who started out as an obscure British tech blogger and rose to infamy as one of America’s most in demand speakers on college campuses. The appearance of my expensive shoes and frosted tips and the sound of my laughter ringing across university quads has forced professors, journalists, directors, activists and musicians to realize something no liberal in America has understood for a long time: emotions do not trump facts.”
- Letters to a Young Conservative- by Dinesh D’Souza
One of the books in the ‘Art of Mentoring’ series, Dinesh D’Souza’s Letters to a Young Conservative is a must-have in any young conservative college student’s bookshelf. D’Souza sets out the three major political viewpoints of our time: liberalism, conservatism, and libertarianism. His goal from here is to show how conservatism differs from the other two.
If you are a conservative student navigating their way through the overtly liberal college system, grab a copy of this book and arm yourself for the battles ahead!
Best quote: “In my view, the great intellectual challenge facing conservatives is to make the case for morality at a time when many in the West have ceased to believe in an external moral order. The decline of belief in such an order is the most important political development of the past two centuries. Indeed, this decline has created the ‘crisis of the West.’”
- Righteous Indignation- by Andrew Breitbart
For almost two decades, Andrew Breitbart was a liberal media nightmare. In his semi-autobiographical manifesto titled Righteous Indignation, Breitbart lays out the experiences and ideas that made him the feared media personality and cultural critic that he was.
The most important part of the book, however, is where Breitbart suspends his autobiography and details the genealogy of Cultural Marxism and political correctness in America.
There is nothing that matches his brilliance in the aforementioned chapters on leftist thought, and these chapters in themselves make the book a must-have for every conservative activist.
Best quote: “Telling the truth is fun.”
- Bullies – by Ben Shapiro
Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro is known for his persuasive speeches, position as editor-in-chief of the conservatives news outlet Daily Wire, and his ‘thug life’ replies. In Bullies, Shapiro divides the bullies of the left into various categories such as institutional bullies, race bullies, sex bullies, secular bullies, etc.
Shapiro is known for concise one-liners like, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” He applies that dictum to perfection in this book and puts the thoughts of every conservative into irrefutable arguments, making Bullies an absolute must-read for every right-winger.
Best quote: “Conservatives have allowed liberals to win the culture war because we’re generally civil people. When the left says we’re uncivil, we tend to shy away from the fight rather than, as Andrew [Breitbart] put it, walking toward the fire.”
- Ideas Have Consequences- by Richard Weaver
A classic work of conservative thought, Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences is a largely forgotten work in our times. He rails against the vices of the left like materialism, collectivism, consumerism, and the corruption of language. He argues that if we do not change our ways, the edifice of Western civilization is soon to come crashing down.
Arguably the greatest work of social and cultural commentary by a conservative author of the 20th Century, Ideas Have Consequences warns us of our downhill trajectory.
Best quote: “The scientists have given man the impression that there is nothing he cannot know, and false propagandists have told him that there is nothing he cannot have.”
- A Conflict of Visions- by Thomas Sowell
Ever wondered why the left-right divide in the political arena exists in the first place? In A Conflict of Visions, Professor Thomas Sowell tackles this very question.
The book is not antagonistic towards leftism. Rather, it helps a conservative recognize where their political opponents are coming from.
Once we recognize the difference in the way they see the world, he argues, we will then be able to accurately compare our viewpoints with theirs and better attempt to win them over.
Best quote: “Ideals are weighed against the cost of achieving them, in the constrained vision. But in the unconstrained vision, every closer approximation to the ideal should be preferred. Costs are regrettable, but by no means decisive.”
- If You Can Keep It- by Eric Metaxas
In 1787, a woman interrupted Benjamin Franklin as he walked out of Independence Hall at the end of the Constitutional Convention. “Well, Doctor,” she asked, “What have we got- a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin responded, “if you can keep it.”
In his 2016 bestseller If You Can Keep It, Eric Metaxas makes the case for the claim that America has failed at keeping the republic, and outlines the steps that she must take to reclaim the dream of the Founders: a virtuous people free to govern themselves.
If You Can Keep It is a history lesson, a manifesto, and a call to action. It reminds us of the past through the feats of heroes, the need for reformation in the present through a re-examination of our morals, and hope for the future through our collective efforts to restore the idea that is America.
Best quote: “Our exceptionalism is not for us but for others. That is the paradox at the heart of who we are. So, what makes us different has nothing to do with jingoism and nationalistic chest beating. If we have ever been great, it is only because we have been good. If we have ever been great, it is only because we have longed to help make others great too. That earnest humility and generosity must be attended to.”
To see a similar list that was also published by Lone Conservative, click here. If you wish to recommend other books that you think every conservative should read, let us know in the comments!
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.