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Kauffman

Never a truer passage about contemporary politics has been written (a slight, but only slight, exaggeration):

Richard Hofstadter in The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1964). Hofstadter ascribed all dissent from the Cold War-Great Society consensus, whether on left or right, to mental illness. This was a gentler version of the Soviet strategy of committing dissidents to nuthouses, but the intent was the same: to strangle heterodoxy. The Hofstadterian diagnosis was revived in 1992, which in retrospect was an epochal election. Not because of the banal Bush and the crapulent Clinton, but for the electrifying presence of Buchanan, Jerry Brown, and Ross Perot, who revived a politics of populism that was hostile to concentrated power in all its forms: corporate, governmental, and cultural–in shorthand, Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood. When the potential appeal of this revolt against giantism became clear, each of the three insurgents was quickly psychoanalyzed and pronounced “paranoid” or “crazy.”

Bill Kauffman, Poetry Night at the Ballpark and Other Scenes from an Alternative America: Writings, 1986-2014

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