The Paranoid Style comes to Alameda

Paul Krugman’s column in yesterday’s NYT was on the ascendancy of the paranoid style in American politics.

Richard Hofstadter’s essay introducing the term “paranoid style” was inspired by his observations of the radical right-wingers who seized control of the Republican Party in 1964. Today, the movement that nominated Barry Goldwater controls both Congress and the White House.

As a result, political paranoia — the “sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy” Hofstadter described — has gone mainstream. To read Hofstadter’s essay today is to be struck by the extent to which he seems to be describing the state of mind not of a lunatic fringe, but of key figures in our political and media establishment.

The “paranoid spokesman,” wrote Hofstadter, sees things “in apocalyptic terms. He is always manning the barricades of civilization.”

See any similarities between Hofstadter’s observations and the rampant innuendo and conspiracy theories that the Slate supporters often resort to? Unfortunately (for the Slate), the truth does catch up (as always!).

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One Response to “The Paranoid Style comes to Alameda”

  1. Jim Says:

    Hofstadter is spot on! He was 40+ years ahead of the times when it comes to Alameda’s elections and the fear mongering being spread by the Slate.

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