How the Right Lost Its Mind

How the Right Lost Its Mind

Book - 2017
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"Bracing and immediate." - The Washington Post

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?

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781250147172
Characteristics: xix, 267 pages ;,25 cm.


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Sep 24, 2020

This is a valuable work by one of the insiders of the "new conservatives". As the author renounces where the Right has devolved to, his insights are welcomed and authoritative.
I am probably among the many observers who find what has happened over the last dozen years somewhat bewildering, contradictory and sad.

This book could have used some in depth editing to aid the reader. It would benefit from an organization chart of key groups, a short bio of the key actors, and a timeline of key events. A short summary of each chapter that highlights how the wide-ranging narrative fits together would also be very useful. Without these aids, reading slows down, the clarity of what is described declines and the message tends to get obscured.

Sykes' advice about how to resurrect conservatism and salvage the Right is heartening. He helps to point the way to the next chapter. I only wish that he writes a sequel that goes much more in depth on these complicated matters. It is important to provide hope for a more constructive and less divisive future.

Aug 04, 2020

This is a really good account about how our country has become so politically divided. I will now look for a book that would explain
how the left has suffered from a similar fate. Sykes gives some hints about how this has happened to both political parties. I would
say this is good reading for everyone.

Sep 02, 2018

Sykes is an old school conservative inspired by old timers like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. He chronicles how the Republican Party has gotten to where it is now (Donald Trump's rise to POTUS). As the name of the book suggests Sykes is not happy with the state of his beloved Republican Party. He spends a good amount of time blaming media outlets for encouraging and facilitating the rise of such bombastic and abrasive personalilities like Donald Trump. Overall, the book is a fairly interesting read, however, it's main points are not always new or particularly ground breaking. It's well known that political news media has pedaled "shock value" opinions for a very long time. Both the right and left sides of the spectrum are guilty of this and the practice has clearly caused media to lose a great deal of credibility with the people.
Sykes has two main gripes: 1.) Donald Trump is desecrating his beloved polity 2.) media has tolerated people just as arrogant and bombastic as him for a long time and now one of them is our president.

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.

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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