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The Politics of Fear: The Peculiar Persistence of American Paranoia

The Politics of Fear: The Peculiar Persistence of American Paranoia

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  • ISBN-13: 9780593467060
  • Book Condition:LikeNew
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From the author of Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies, a probing exploration of the bizarre and dangerous conspiracies that have roiled America over the past decade and captured the minds of so many Americans

Among the more disturbing recent trends in politics is the unholy marriage of populist politics and virulent conspiracy theories. These theories not only contest the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and the allegiance of American officials, but claim that Joe Biden was executed and replaced by a hologram, that the ship stuck in the Suez Canal in 2021 was filled with children sex-trafficked for Hillary Clinton, and that John F. Kennedy Jr. faked his death and will one day make his return. Who is susceptible to such absurdities, and what makes them so politically potent?

Investigating recent conspiracy theories and their historical forebears, Arthur Goldwag helps us make sense of the senseless. As he dissects these strange beliefs and answers the broader question of why so many Americans have fallen prey to them, three uncomfortable truths emerge: that the theocratic authoritarianism that undergirds so much of Trumpism is as deeply rooted in our American heritage as the Enlightenment principles that informed our founding documents; that they will outlast the Trump era; and that the fears that animate both sides of the partisan divide--that our system is "rigged"--are not altogether unfounded. The real question is: For whom is it rigged, and why?

A considered, surprising, and critical examination of America's paranoid style in the modern era, The Politics of Fear sheds new light on an old question: What exactly are we so afraid of?
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