Book Review: Blinded By The Right

Blinded By The Right: The Conscience Of An Ex-Conservative, by David Brock

It should be noted that there are at least three things about the title of this book that are seriously mistaken, and those mistakes set the tone for the book as a whole. For one, the author was not blinded by the right, he was self-deceived by his own lack of sincerity and depth. For another, the author of this book does not show a great deal of conscience. To be sure, he states that he was remorseful for the hatchet job he did on Anita Hill by smearing her after her allegations of sexual harassment during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in the Senate, but this book is the same sort of sex-obsessed rumor-mongering libelous hatchet job on the right that he used to conduct on the left. He hasn’t acquired a conscience; he merely has changed sides and dished out to his former associates what he used to dish out on their opponents on the left. On top of this, the statements of the author, and his continual contempt for traditionalists and social conservatives demonstrates that he was never a genuine conservative at all [1], but either a hypocritical neo-liberal or a libertarian with a strongly socially liberal bent. This book says all the right things about it being a mea culpa, a tell all of his former sleazy days, but it ends up being as sleazy as anything he ever did while a self-confessed right wing hit man. Instead, he is merely left-wing hit man now, which is moving down in the order of things, rather than improving.

In terms of its contents, this book is a straightforward tale. It begins with a discussion on the author’s childhood, his discovery of his own homosexuality during his teenage years, his college experiences at Cal-Berkley that exposed him to the harsh left-wing radical political correctness that led him in his more libertarian bent to side with the right despite his hostility towards his paleo-Conservative father. Most of the book discusses the author’s double life as a neo-Conservative peddler of tabloid sleaze for various right-wing publishing houses and magazines on the one hand and as a hard-drinking but closeted gay man living in danger. Eventually, on the verge of being outed by the gay mafia, he comes out and is temporarily accepted by his conservative cohorts because of his writing against the Clinton administration, but when he writes what to him is a somewhat balanced and even-handed work on Hillary Clinton, his former associates turn on him, and he returns the favor, which this book is a part of. The end of the book attempts to provide a phony sense of starting over and rejecting the corrupt ways of the past, but the book as a whole is too full of dirty dishing on the sexual escapades of those who appear to be defenders of traditional morality to be anything more than a left-wing smear job of a particularly nasty kind.

Indeed, what was for me more interesting than reading the gossipy content of this book was trying to figure out why exactly the person who gave it to me, who is himself strongly leftist in his own political worldview but also a respected leader within our own congregation, found so praiseworthy about this book. Certainly, the moral life of the author, in his drunkenness and debauchery and moral dissipation, was no figure worthy of praise. It appeared to me that the person who loaned the book to me seemed to enjoy it merely because of the way it painted conservatives as hypocritical, dangerous to America’s freedom, and uninterested in the truth if it contradicts with a supposed right wing conspiracy, all while seeking to continue the false pretense that nothing similar to this problem exists on the left. Instead of presenting a genuinely worthwhile position, something worth modeling in public discourse or our own private lives, this book seeks to present a tired false dilemma, where the author was on both sides but never came to any sort of worthwhile position that truly comes to terms with the darkness and evil within his own heart, or the full extent of corruption within our body politic, of which this author is a prime example in so many ways.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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