• The National Memo » Must We Go Here Again? Birthers, Neo-Birthers, And Right-Wing Sleaze
  • Schmitt: Is American politics fueled by paranoia? | A Better Iowa

    ….In 1964 historian Richard J. Hofstadter published an essay in Harper’s Magazine titled “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” That year was a cauldron of heated politics in America. The Vietnam War was pitting supporters and opponents against each other. Leftist groups were on the warpath soon describing the war as a capitalist imperialist bid to oppress third world people. There was a sharp shift to the right by the Republican party as it nominated Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater for the GOP Presidential bid for the white House defeating the bi-partisan and moderate Nelson A. Rockefeller of New YorkThe essay was required reading my first semester in the Public Law and Government PhD program at Columbia University because it addressed a large and overarching issues of the day namely the fact that, “American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years, we have seen angry minds at work, mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated, in the Goldwater movement, how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority.”

    The paranoid style differs from garden variety politics in that the paranoid leaders or spokesmen and their followers see the events of the day as a conspiracy and see “ … the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization… he does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician.”

    (read the complete aricle…)

  • Michael Gerson: The politics of polarization – The Washington Post
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