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Paranoid Style in American Politics

On The Virtues of Never Knowing Where To Stop, or, The Not-Paranoid-Enough Style in American Politics, or, Bakersfield: Capital of the Twentieth Century[1] (Guest Post by Kurt Newman)

(Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of weekly guest posts by Kurt Newman.) Preparing for upcoming exams,[2] I recently had occasion to reexamine Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics and some related secondary sources: David S. Brown’s excellent 2006 Hofstadter biography (which dwells at great length on the question of the “paranoid style”) and Lisa McGirr’s now-classic Suburban Warriors (2001), still the site, I think, of the best contemporary critique of Hofstadter’s notion. I haven’t always known how to feel about the backlash against the idea of the “paranoid style.” Certainly Hofstadter’s writing on the Read more