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Constituting Conservatism: The Goldwater/Paul Analog

English, Eric (2014) Constituting Conservatism: The Goldwater/Paul Analog. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Barry Goldwater’s 1960 campaign text The Conscience of a Conservative delivered a message of individual freedom and strictly limited government power in order to unite the fractured American conservative movement around a set of core principles. The coalition Goldwater helped constitute among libertarians, traditionalists, and anticommunists would dominate American politics for several decades. By 2008, however, the cracks in this edifice had become apparent, and the future of the movement was in clear jeopardy. That year, Ron Paul’s campaign text The Revolution: A Manifesto appeared, offering a broad vision of “freedom” strikingly similar to that of Goldwater, but differing in certain key ways. This book was an effort to reconstitute the conservative movement by expelling the hawkish descendants of the anticommunists and depicting the noninterventionist views of pre-Cold War conservatives like Robert Taft as the “true” conservative position.
This dissertation employs rhetorical criticism in order to examine the precise persuasive functions of each of these texts. In contrast to theorists who have classified the works of Goldwater and Paul as instances of the “jeremiad,” this dissertation argues that the “jeremiad” is understood better as a “form” than as a “genre,” as the former refers to a discursively portrayed situation, and the latter indicates a rhetor’s perception of situation. It considers the two artifacts as “analogs” in an effort to rethink their generic classification. Rather than attempting to classify the works in toto, it applies Albert O. Hirschman’s work on “the rhetoric of reaction” in order to find and explain the implication of each author’s use of the “perversity,” “futility,” and “jeopardy” theses. This dissertation argues that a rhetoric that takes identification as its primary aim can also be profoundly persuasive, and that a humanistic approach is capable of articulating its persuasive content. By means of a criticism of two similar libertarian campaign texts from two different eras, it attempts to demonstrate that rhetoric’s instrumental and constitutive functions are both consistent and determinable by the tools of rhetorical theory and criticism.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
English, Ericeeest4@pitt.eduEEEST4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLyne,
Committee MemberBialostosky, Don Hdhb2@pitt.eduDHB2
Committee MemberMitchell, Gordon Rgordonm@pitt.eduGORDONM
Committee MemberPoulakos, Johnpoulakos@pitt.eduPOULAKOS
Date: 28 January 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 November 2013
Approval Date: 28 January 2014
Submission Date: 1 December 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 207
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: rhetoric, rhetorical theory, rhetorical criticism, analog criticism, genre criticism, political rhetoric, presidential rhetoric, constitutive rhetoric, social movements, presidential campaigns, conservative movement, conservatism, libertarianism, Barry Goldwater, Ron Paul
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:16


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