A well-reported study of disaffected groups who hate other groups whose members look or think differently than the haters.
In his latest book about ideologies, freelance writer and editor Goldwag (Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies, 2009, etc.) transcends numerous other books warning about the dangers of political conservatives who have assumed influence during the administrations of Reagan and the two Bushes. These haters—given voice by such high-profile individuals as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage and Michelle Malkin—worry about far more than who controls American politics. They worry about the atmosphere of family life, classrooms, corporate workplaces, public parks and just about every other venue where values antithetical to their own might seep into impressionable minds. Goldwag terms the phenomenon “the paranoid style of hatred,” and shows how that style has been linked to conspiracy theories for hundreds of years. The author examines with special depth hatreds against Jews, Catholics, Freemasons, African-Americans and the extremely wealthy. With the election of President Obama, the haters coalesced against what they saw as an obvious enemy. Goldwag is able to effectively use the hatreds toward Obama to illustrate the irrationality of the haters. Given that many, perhaps most, paranoids exhibit some form of brain dysfunction and that undocumented conspiracy theories in general are linked to instability, Goldwag could have written off the haters as mentally ill. Instead, he treats their hatreds as something to be seriously researched because of their undue influence on the tenor of electoral politics, as well as almost every other aspect of daily life in America.
A provocative, intellectually rigorous book written clearly and with an admirable lack of hatred. —Kirkus Reviews (Starred)