- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada (Oct. 2 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307361659
- ISBN-13: 978-0307361653
- Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 1.7 x 20.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #363,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse Paperback – Deckle Edge, Oct 2 2012
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"Kinsella is a modern-day Machiavelli.... He's the ultimate political insider."
—The Toronto Sun
"Kinsella writes in a quick-paced, animated, highly accessible style."
—The Globe and Mail
“Kinsella doesn’t pull any punches…. Fight the Right…provide[s] readers with a glimpse into the kinds of strategies that have made Conservatives successful and lay out a credible roadmap for progressive forces to regain power.”
“First, he deserves credit for writing this book, period…. We need to air ideas and strategies, to nominate, debate, discard and to choose. And, we’ll not get there without more public efforts like Kinsella’s…. Second, he is absolutely on the money regarding the need for the Liberals and the NDP to embrace math and to realize that as long as they divide the progressive vote, the Conservatives will build a dynasty…. Finally, Kinsella’s book is at its best when it does what he does best—giving specific election advice…. Progressive politicians should take Kinsella’s advice about authenticity, simplicity and speaking to the heart.”
—The Huffington Post Canada
About the Author
WARREN KINSELLA is a lawyer, pundit, political consultant, and a newspaper and magazine columnist. He is the author of The War Room and the bestselling Web of Hate. He lives in Toronto, is a dad to four amazing kids, still plays in a punk band and is the president and founder of the Daisy Group, a political consulting group.
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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.
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Before I begin this review, I'll leave you with a quote from the author's blog to help characterize him. This message was directed at a heritage group:
"Don't try and post here. I won't approve your comments.
I'm sick of you. I detest you. I don't want to hear from you. No sane person wants to hear from you.
You're a variant on al-Qaeda, and you're too deranged to realize it.
Go to Hell, where the likes of you belong."
The author seems to have desperately wanted to put on airs of toughness with the aesthetics of this book, from the pseudo-stencil graffiti font of the title, to the pre-tattered and uneven page edges. The illusion attempted here, I suppose, is that the book is supposed to look like it has seen many hard miles in the messenger bag of a modern progressive revolutionary, ever there as a seminal go-to political bible that just might save your life in a conservo-fascist tear gas attack. You will also notice that each time you see the letter R capitalized, it has an elongated tail, almost as though it was the "prescription" glyph.
Looking beyond the poser-ish exterior, let's examine the content. The author starts each chapter with an italicized snippet which appears to be an attempt at emulating a quote from an archaic book of scientific lore, with fake latin and everything. The author seems to get bored of his own little schtick by the later chapters. For that matter, so had I.
You might find that the chapter titles are a bit misleading. The chapter entitled "How to Identify a Conservative" is far from accurate. This is the chapter where the author tittilates his progressive readers with plenty of derogatory descriptions of conservatives; as ignorant mouth-breathing bigots who hate arts and culture, resentful of the progressives for their "book-learnin". Although this chapter may be effective as a nice little written pep rally, it offers nothing for the 'outsider' audience, apart from a sense of wasted time and a clearer picture of the contempt espoused by the left for people of opposing viewpoints.
The following chapters are a completely unremarkable string of name-droppings, endless asinine anecdotes, and conspicuous self-inclusion. The reader can safely skip the middle chapters if he can mouth the following words: "Yes, Mr. Kinsella, we get it: You were a somebody, back when your colleagues were figures of significance."
Let's have a little browse at the last two chapters. Let's pay particular attention to this section of the book, because the final chapter throws down a gauntlet: "HOW TO FIGHT THE RIGHT (AND KICK ASS). Ooooohhhh... Wow.... this has got to be good! I mean, after all, someone compared him to a modern day machiavelli! Well, I'll summarize the conclusion;
In 1964 L. B. Johnson was running against Goldwater in the US presidential election. Johnson was getting spanked. He had a dude put together a television advertisement known as "Daisy", in which the message is "Vote for Johnson or we all die in a nuclear apocalypse". Johnson won. Kinsella spends the sunset of his book vaunting and venerating the cat that whipped this advertisement together. Kinsella's conclusion is this: Since appealing to the voter's mind is a losing tactic for the progressives, the only arrow left in the quiver is to appeal to the voter's emotion and scare him or her.
For an example of this magic bullet in action, do a youtube search for "The True Nature of the Harper Government", and see the PSAC's modern take on "Daisy" as per doctor Kinsella's prescription.
If you've read this entire review, you could really skip the book, unless you have an affinity for long drawn-out explanations of why the publication of a picture of Jean Chretien on water skis was the penultimate and crucial moment in Canadian politics. Seriously, you could save yourself 80 minutes of reading, and instead go have an incredulous laugh at the libta-... progressives on rabble.ca
I didn't read it of course; I stopped needing pedants to spoon-feed me what I should think and do when I learned that words are sometimes just sounds filling an otherwise welcome silence.
But, if you're looking for a good firestarter, this book is for you!