How the Right Lost Its Mind

How the Right Lost Its Mind

Book - 2017
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"Once at the center of the American conservative movement, bestselling author and radio host Charles Sykes is a fierce opponent of Donald Trump and the right-wing media that enabled his rise. In How the Right Lost Its Mind, Sykes presents an impassioned, regretful, and deeply thoughtful account of how the American conservative movement came to lose its values. How did a movement that was defined by its belief in limited government, individual liberty, free markets, traditional values, and civility find itself embracing bigotry, political intransigence, demagoguery, and outright falsehood? How the Right Lost its Mind addresses: *Why are so many voters so credulous and immune to factual information reported by responsible media? *Why did conservatives decide to overlook, even embrace, so many of Trump's outrages, gaffes, conspiracy theories, falsehoods, and smears? *Can conservatives govern? Or are they content merely to rage? *How can the right recover its traditional values and persuade a new generation of their worth?"--Goodreads.com
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2017
Characteristics: xix, 267 pages ; 25 cm
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250147172 (hardcover)
Call Number: 320.520973 SYKES

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DavidSpencer99
Feb 04, 2018

I had heard Sykes interviewed on NPR and thought he might have interesting insights from the conservative point of view. In the “Introduction,” he says, “After Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, the Democrats need to perform an autopsy; Republicans need an exorcism.” Look over the table of contents and you’ll see the demons to be driven out by priests like George Will, Paul Ryan and Scott Walker: “Alt reality media” (Fox News) and its self-serving practitioners (Limbaugh et al), bigotry and perpetual outrage, Alt Right extremists, and hypocritical evangelicals. His 27-page incantation for performing the ritual doesn’t seem powerful enough. It’s mostly good advice for anyone wanting to be an active citizen with a balanced view of the community’s needs. His observations on the cause of the Trump problem are accurate, but he just can’t get past the fundamental constraint of his conservative ideas. For Sykes, the conservative mind must be closed to progressive ideas. “By its nature, conservatism flies in the face of popular ideas and culture. Because it has firm, occasionally hard-nosed principles, it has to push against the fierce headwinds of both fashion and history.” While one would agree that fashions are often misguided and insubstantial, I should think the kind of thoughtful conservatism he espouses would be concerned about being on the wrong side of history most of the time.

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blue_cat_3423
Dec 12, 2017

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to try to understand how our political world ended up in the morass it now inhabits. It is particularly interesting to see how a long-time G.O.P. member loathes many of the present members of the party. I do have two complaints about the book, however. One is the author's over-reliance on quotes from other sources. If it were not for the fact that I read a copy of the book from the library, I would have been tempted to take a highlighter and mark all of the direct quotes throughout the text, just so I could convince myself that my observation was not unfounded. I swear that it seems like fully half the text is quotes from other sources. While it is worthwhile to pull together a lot of information from other sources, over-reliance on direct quotes becomes a bit cumbersome and even overwhelming. My other complaint is that the author uses far too many "big" words and unfamiliar terms whose only possible purpose is to demonstrate what an intellectual he is. I am well very well educated but a lot of his word choices and terms are over my head (as but one example, what is meant by the "Davoisie oligarchy"?).

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Memawrayne
Dec 12, 2017

A very interesting read on conservatism by a follower. It is interesting that the same things that annoy him about the Right annoy me as well, and I am more liberal. His comments are thoughtful and sincere and he provides a path for a better future. This is a good book for conservatives and liberals to read and hopefully those on the Right at present should take a long hard look at themselves.

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