November 1964: 'The Paranoid Style in American Politics'

     Richard Hofstadter delivered the first version of "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" as a Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford University in November 1963, the same month that President John F. Kennedy was murdered; an abridged version appeared in Harper's Magazine the following year. The lecture had grown out of Hofstadter's long-standing apprehensions about the rise of American right-wing extremism after World War II -- most conspicuously the McCarthyite hysteria of the early 1950s but also the profusion of new right-wing organizations such as the John Birch Society. ... 
     Hofstadter discovered a chronic, rancid syndrome in our political life that he called, loosely, "paranoid." The paranoid style, he contended, had long afflicted radical movements on the left as well as the right, and had even touched some good causes, including the antislavery movement. Usually, however, it appeared in bad ones. ...
     Hofstadter studied the Goldwater campaign closely and wrote an essay about its worrisome paranoid emanations. ... To read these selections today is to see a devoted liberal of moderate disposition aroused by his realization that, despite Goldwater's crushing defeat in 1964, some of the worst distempers of American democracy had become, as he wrote, "a formidable force in our politics" -- and, quite possibly, a permanent one.
     -- From the forward to "The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays" (2008 reissue)

* As printed in Harper's Magazine (November 1964): @
* As printed by Harvard University Press (1996): @
* "A Long View: Goldwater in History" (Hofstadter, The New York Review of Books, October 1964): @
* "Richard Hofstadter: A Reading List" (New York Times, 2006): @
* "Why Richard Hofstadter is Still Worth Reading but Not for the Reasons the Critics Have in Mind" (Jon Weiner, University of California, Irvine, 2006): @
* "Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography" (David S. Brown, 2006): @ 

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