Cover image for How the right lost its mind
How the right lost its mind
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2017.

Physical Description:
xix, 267 pages ; 25 cm
I. How the Right lost its mind -- Did we create this monster? -- Confessions of a recovering liberal -- The attack on the conservative mind -- The conservative idea -- Storm warnings -- The perpetual outrage machine -- II. The post-truth politics of the Right -- The alt reality media -- The post-truth politics of the Right -- Drudge and the politics of paranoia -- III. The Trumpian takeover. -- The Fox News primary -- Limbaugh's flop -- The bigots among us -- The rise of the Alt Right -- The binary choice -- What happened to the Christians? -- IV. Restoring the conservative mind. -- Trolls and flying monkeys : the Right's new culture of intimidation -- The contrarian conservative.
"Once at the center of the American conservative movement, ... Sykes [ponders] 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?"


Material Type
Shelf Number
Item Notes
Book 320.52 SYK 1 .SOURCE. 12/17 H
Book 320.52 SYK 1
Book 320.5209 SYKES 1 .SOURCE. BT 10-26-17

On Order

Prescott Public Library1Received on 10/30/17



"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?

Reviews 2

Kirkus Review

A "contrarian conservative" tries to come to grips with what his side of the political aisle has become, and he loathes much of what he sees.Sykes (Fail U.: The False Promise of Higher Education, 2016, etc.) is a "Never Trump" conservative who has maintained that position after Trump's presidential rise revealed many in that cohort to be opportunists. The author is an earnest conservative who is truly heartbroken and angry about how conservatism has degraded in recent years, and he lays out in clear and honest prose the many problems with a conservative movement that has been taken over by angry white nationalists. "Sometime in the last decade," writes Sykes, "conservative commentator Matt Drudge began linking to a website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. By doing so, he broke down the wall that separated the full-blown cranks from the mainstream conservative media, injecting a toxic worldview into the Right's bloodstream. The conservative movement never recovered." The author also asks whether or not he was partially responsible, through his conservative talk radio show, myriad media appearances, and prolific writings, for the current situation. Except perhaps on this last question of his own culpability and that of pundits like him, the author has written a largely convincing, compelling book. He tends to romanticize a golden age of conservatism, that of William Buckley and Ronald Reagan, both of whom on more than one occasion revealed elements of white nationalist thought. Buckley delivered plenty of screeds against the civil rights movement in his National Review, and Reagan, who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, had his fair share of racism-tinged gaffes, including his statements about "strapping young bucks" buying T-bone steaks and "Welfare Queens" as well as how "humiliating" the Voting Rights Act was to the South. Still, the author's points about our current state are solid. A courageous book destined to make Sykes a target among many of the worst elements that he eviscerates, which will, sadly, just confirm the strength of his thesis. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

What happened to the Republican Party? That's the knotty question Sykes (A Nation of Victims) cuts into in this, despite its inflammatory title, stark, honest, and unflinching look at the steps that moved the right to the fractious party it is today, argued from a voice within the camp. Sykes is not rejecting conservatism but providing a contrarian voice to the state of affairs as embodied by the support for and election of President Donald Trump through ideological bubbles and a vocal conservative media. Was the act emblematic of the modern conservative's ideals, or a fluke, out of line with the principles of Republicanism? Where does the "alt-right" end and conservatism begin? And, more seriously pressing than the identity crisis of a political party, what kind of world is being shaped by the politics of this evolution and blurred lines? Sykes concludes with advice to conservatives for how to recover their values and suggestions for how to exorcize the party from its problems. Exceedingly readable, Syke's voice comes across as clearly as if over the airwaves. VERDICT Highly recommended. Sykes provides a valuable contribution to the arguments happening in the GOP about the party's future and -priorities.-Laurel Tacoma, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xiii
I How the Right Lost Its Mindp. 1
1 Did We Create This Monster?p. 3
2 Confessions of a Recovering Liberalp. 19
3 The Attack on the Conservative Mindp. 25
4 The Conservative Ideap. 33
5 Storm Warningsp. 51
6 The Perpetual Outrage Machinep. 65
II The Post-Truth Politics of the Rightp. 79
7 The Alt Reality Mediap. 81
8 The Post-Truth Politics of the Rightp. 89
9 Drudge and the Politics of Paranoiap. 107
III The Trumpian Takeoverp. 125
10 The Fox News Primaryp. 127
11 Limbaugh's Flopp. 133
12 The Bigots Among Usp. 151
13 The Rise of the Alt Rightp. 159
14 The Binary Choicep. 179
15 What Happened to the Christians?p. 191
IV Restoring the Conservative Mindp. 205
16 Trolls and Flying Monkeys: The Right's New Culture of Intimidationp. 207
17 The Contrarian Conservativep. 221
Acknowledgmentsp. 233
Notesp. 235
Indexp. 257