How To Be Right… in a World Gone Wrong | James O’Brien

Summary of: How To Be Right… in a World Gone Wrong
By: James O’Brien


Immerse yourself in a thought-provoking journey through the book summary of James O’Brien’s ‘How To Be Right… in a World Gone Wrong.’ Confront the prevalent societal challenges of stereotypes and biased beliefs, as O’Brien unravels the distorted logic that lays the foundation for discrimination. With real-life examples from his radio talk show experiences, the author sheds light on the deeply-rooted issues of immigration, prejudice against Muslims, Brexit, and the influence of misleading media outlets. Explore the power of information and truth in dismantling popular yet flawed notions, and venture toward a more rational and inclusive world view.

The Power of Generalization

The book discusses the persistent issue of generalizing individuals and groups based on their affiliations or backgrounds. The author shares his experiences of growing up amid IRA bombings and how the same logic is being applied to Muslims today. News and media outlets often use fear-mongering tactics to espouse their views and stereotypes. The author, a radio host, has received calls from individuals who generalize Muslims, and he engages them in conversations to dispel their misconceptions. The book highlights how we need to move beyond popular conceptions and stereotypes to see individuals as they are, rather than regarding them as a subgroup of some overarching paradigm.

The Reality of Brexit

The book explores how the lack of scrutiny in the mainstream media led to the successful promotion of unsupported arguments by the pro-leave faction during the Brexit campaign. The author of the book challenges the lazy opinions shared on social media and attempts to bring facts to the table by questioning them. He uses his radio show as a platform to ask callers to defend their positions with details and facts. The author encounters various callers who had voted to leave, and he challenges their reasons for doing so. One such caller was Andy, from Nottingham, who admitted that he had no valid reason to exit the EU when asked to name a single EU law that he was being forced to obey. However, Andy shifted the focus to immigration, which he claimed had been harming the economy, with no statistical evidence backing this up. During the conversation, it turned out that what really bothered Andy was the sight of “mobs of immigrants” who were “not willing to integrate.” The author then asked how leaving the EU would change anything about the supposed mob of immigrants who were already living in Nottingham. By the end of the conversation, Andy admits that he voted to leave because he doesn’t like mobs of people or following laws he doesn’t know anything about. While the conversation may seem comical, the book highlights the damage caused by Brexit to small businesses like Andy’s and the pro-Leave faction’s continued promotion of unsupported arguments.

The Origin of Anti-Homosexuality Stance

The argument against homosexuality often comes from a moral standpoint, but the basis of morality is controversial. The belief that homosexuality is a personal lifestyle choice is usually raised by male callers, to which the question of when they chose to be straight is posed. The Bible has been used to condemn homosexuality, but it is unclear whether the Old and New Testament is unambiguous on the issue. Leviticus chapter 18, verse 22, is often cited, but other verses in the same text are also considered “abominations,” such as wearing clothes made of two different threads or working on the Sabbath.

Winterval and the Misconception of Political Correctness

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four highlights society’s susceptibility to rage fueled by unclear matters. The Winterval controversy- a prime example of such redirectable anger fueled by tabloids such as Daily Mail. A harmless idea introduced by Mike Chubb in Birmingham to celebrate all end-of-year festivities lasting from October to December for cost-cutting purposes was mistakenly represented as an attempt to replace Christmas with a politically correct agenda. This example also applies to allegations of taking down Union Jack flags to appease Muslims- another distortion of facts fueled by sensationalist papers.

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