The Conspiratorial Style in American Politics

http://doesnoonehavevision.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-conspiratorial-style-in-american.html

 

Richard Hofstadter wrote a famous essay — followed by a book — on the ‘Paranoid Style of American Politics’. Of course, being a good Jewish liberal, his target was the American Right, but in reality, the ‘paranoid style’ was no less prevalent on the American Left as on the American Right. But the powers-that-be in the academia and media decide what is ‘extreme’ and ‘paranoid’ and what isn’t. One’s man paranoia is another’s truth, and vice versa. Though Hofstadter wasn’t wrong about problems of the American Right, the term ‘paranoia’, like ‘phobia’, has a way of shutting off than expanding debate. After all, who wants to be accused of ‘paranoia’ and ‘extremism’? When the powers-that-be in the academia and media label some people thus, most ‘respectable’ people distance themselves from the reviled group regardless of whether the charge is true or false. One might call this the ‘hysteric style of American politics’.

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