I was looking forward to reading Warren Kinsella's new book "Fight the Right." Kinsella is an "all in" kind of guy, meaning when he has an opinion, he goes all in on supporting it. The theme of "Fight the Right" while cliched and doctrinaire, was nonetheless intriguing. And when Kinsella is good, he can be very interesting.
The marketing and the outside of the book is excellent - clear, provocative, passionate - just what I was expecting from the book itself.
The book, itself, is a real disappointment.
Kinsella is a great practitioner of political strategy. As a political philosopher, however, he sucks.
Unfortunately, this book is about Kinsella's political philosophy. It is a total failure.
There is no guide or practical part to this book. So it is very misleading to think that by reading this book you will get any sort of "manual" especially to the unexplained "Coming Conservative Apocalypse". That subtitle is misleading.
The book is a series of meandering riffs.
Kinsella seems completely unaware of his own pride and intellectual incoherence. The book tries (and fails) to give the reader what is best described as a marvel comics view of politics. To sum it up, the left - "progressives" - good and moral, the right, racist and greedy, immoral and bad.
Anyone on the right, it turns out, has some sort of moral failing. On the left, they are generous saintly martyrs for the common good.
Worse, half of the book is written on American politics, and although it is clear that Kinsella has no particular insight into the field, that is no impediment to his subsequent maligning of Conservative American politicians and in particular one prolific Conservative consultant - Fred Luntz (who should be read in the original).
An example of this kind of unfair attack is on page 43 where Kinsella quotes former Republican Presidential challenger Rick Perry as being against Social Security because he described it as a "Ponzi Scheme". A fair interpretation of the quote would have said that Perry was criticizing the unfunded nature of future social security benefits. But there is no quote or footnote for this quote from Rick Perry for the reader to independently check.
Kinsella has not used footnotes or any sort of scholarly techniques to support the interpretations that fill this book. So instead of building a rational, coherent argument - verified and supported by footnoted facts, Kinsella breezily drifts, untethered, from one cherry picked group of assertions to the next. The effect is off-putting, and ultimately, does harm to the valid parts of his argument.
For example, Kinsella is an advocate of the "progressive" parties of Canada - the Liberals and the NDP - uniting into one solid opposition party in Canada. Together, Kinsella argues, these two parties would be strong enough to defeat the Conservatives and Stephen Harper. So much so good. And if the book had stuck to this theme, it could have been interesting.
Kinsella, instead, wanders all the way over to indict the right by including in four full pages (86-90)on linking the mentally disturbed Norwegian Mass Murderer, Anders Brevik, to be as much a part of the Christian Conservative world as Stephen Harper and George Bush. So, we can safely say that civility and proportionality are not Kinsella's strong point.
One of the solutions it seems, says Kinsella, is to follow the strategies of the "peaceful" (Pg. 168) Occupy Movement. A movement Kinsella describes as "Christ-like." (Imagine what Kinsella would say if Prime Minister Stephen Harper described people who agreed with him politically as "Christ-like"?)
There are some good sections. When Kinsella writes about Canadian political strategy and tactics, as he does at the beginning of Chapter 4 it can be very interesting.
I remain gobsmacked by Kinsella's absolutely lack of self awareness. His hypocrisy, and the simple poor quality of the thought in this book. I found little to recommend it.I hope he returns to writing about things he knows about.