Welcome Arthur Goldwag (blog, ArthurGoldwag) and Host Alexander Zaitchik (author, Common Nonsense)

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right

For anyone fascinated by the spectacle of colorful conspiratorial minds at work, the last decade has provided for some gripping snorkeling. The growth of the 9/11 Truth movement, the reemergence of the John Birch Society, the persistence of Birtherism and its variants — there’s been no shortage of conspiracy activity at which to gawk and attempt understanding. It was Arthur Goldwag’s fate that this bubbling in the fever swamps turned furious just he was submitting a manuscript to his publisher entitled Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies.

The sudden dynamism in a subject he had just written about historically left Goldwag with a choice. He could curse his luck and take a vacation, or he could turn his just-completed manuscript into the first half of a two-book project. The fruit of his decision, The New Hate, is the subject of today’s salon.

Goldwag’s book might have more accurately been titled with ellipses, The New Hate…, which would have implied the book’s central premise: the new hate, same as the old hate. Both are united, writes the author, in their drawing from a “toxic brew of racial, religious, gender, and nationalistic chauvinism, as often as not buttressed by foundational [conspiracy] myths.” While conspiracy theorizing per se is not unique to the right, this “toxic brew” is. Conspiracies about the dastardly scheming of all-powerful “others” — requiring exposure, forceful exclusion, or worse — date to the colonial period and have been with us ever since. Over the centuries, hysteria over subversive Masons and Jacobin Illuminati have given way to hysteria over Catholics and Jews and Communists. The specifics may be in constant flux, Goldwag argues, but certain groups have long maintained a pride of place in the populist right imagination. He sees the Jewish George Soros as the new Lord Rothschild, and ACORN and the SEIU as the new IWW and Third International. Many of the arguments heard today on WorldNetDaily and Fox News targeting Barack Obama are repackaged attacks first tried out against FDR and JFK.

The New Hate is full of historical echoes of the present, including some in perfect pitch with today’s news. In the book’s chapter on Henry Ford’s popularization of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, we learn that after the carmaker was successfully sued for defamation, he claimed ignorance about anti-Semitic articles that appeared under his byline in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. Like the more recent denials of authorship made by Ron Paul — a modern hero in many conspiracy subcultures — Ford claimed he had never authored or even read the articles in question.

Goldwag believes that rightwing conspiracy culture should be understood, if not quite accepted, as an outgrowth of aspects of human nature. As such, he expects it to be a permanent fixture of our social and political landscapes. “Conspiracism, like racial bigotry, is almost always a murky undercurrent in the mainstream of politics,” he writes. This is especially so, he believes, during periods of economic crisis and rapid social change like the one we’re living through now. Which seems like a good place to welcome Arthur and begin the discussion with a question about demographics and the new hate:

“In the book you discuss the relationship between previous outbreaks of conspiracy-tinged bigotry and immigration. How has the browning of the American population, symbolized by the election of Barack Obama, contributed to the current ‘fear and loathing’ you discuss on the populist right?”

119 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Arthur Goldwag, The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right”

BevW March 4th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Arthur, Welcome to the Lake.

Alex, Welcome back to the Lake and thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Great to be back.

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Arthur — what do you think about starting off with the question at the bottom of the intro?

dakine01 March 4th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Arthur and Alexander and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Arthur forgive me if you address this in the book since I have not read it but what do you think has allowed the once fringe hate groups to be so main stream these days. I’m nearly 60 and I understand how the scapegoating of “other” has allowed so much of the Right to demonize targets as the cause for ‘discomfort due to change’ but why does so much of the TradMed give a voice to the hate?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Hi and sorry I’m late. I was here early and then all of a sudden, I lost the page. I’m back now and will try not to hit any of the wrong buttons on my computer!

hpschd March 4th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I just got the book from the library and I’m reading as fast as I can.

I’m constantly amazed at the persistence of these hate themes, recurring in different times, but with an amazing intensity. Are they always there in some smouldering subconscious only to flare up when something or someone serves as a focal point?

BevW March 4th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

As a technical note,
there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and number you are replying to and helps for everyone in following the conversation.

(Note: If you’ve had to refresh your browser, Reply may not work correctly unless you wait for the page to complete loading)

Also to refresh your browser
PC = F5, MAC = Command + R key

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I think Barack Obama has become an absolute lightning rod both for the “browning of America” (because he’s brown and first generation on his father’s side, because he is the bearer of a Muslim name)and for the right’s deepest fear, that it will be cast on the dust heap of history by the triumphant left.

Obama is just as brown as they fear but nowhere near as left. Somehow that doesn’t matter.

What’s different today than in the old days when the enemies were Masons, Catholics, Wobblies, Jews?

We have a marvelously developed mass communications machine, which not only allows a finely honed message to be beamed out instantly and personally to millions of people, but allows people to confine themselves in a bubble in which they only hear the voices of people they agree with–or who pander to their deepest prejudices.

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I’m afraid we may have lost our author briefly… Let’s give him a minute

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

The major media that’s been most active in disseminating these theories has been Fox News.Do you find it significant that Napolitano and Beck have lost their perches there?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I have this untested theory that hate IS the same–that neurologists and experimental psychologists can do experiments and learn which words and associations set off which parts of the brain. It’s fascinating to me how people with dementia develop the same kinds of paranoias–the proverbial tin hats, the fear that people are robbing them and controlling their thoughts. Constant suspicion must have been an excellent survival mechanism at one time; it’s a problem for people who live in civil society however.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

As for Fox…. I do find it significant, because I think Fox is ultimately more pragmatic than the super right wing haters who honestly don’t care who gets elected, only who they can destroy. Beck jumped the shark when he called Reform Jews Jihadists.

Rush Limbaugh might have jumped the shark this week when he called everyone’s mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, and friend a slut…. I suspect he’s too big to be taken down, but I also suspect that the money men behind him might take him down a peg or two. Intriguing to think that Bain owns Clear Channel–when Romney does get the nomination, the biggest name talkers (Hannity, Rush, Levin) will undoubtedly fall into line.

HelenaHandbasket March 4th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

We have a marvelously developed mass communications machine, which not only allows a finely honed message to be beamed out instantly and personally to millions of people, but allows people to confine themselves in a bubble in which they only hear the voices of people they agree with–or who pander to their deepest prejudices.

In other words, people believe what they want to believe and disregard the rest?

I suspect the right is fearful that the ‘others’ may be encroaching on their “God-given superiority” and having more fun in life, too.

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Speaking of Limbaugh, how would he fit into the picture of “organizing hatreds” without playing off classic conspiratorial templates. Or are his endless rants about liberals “not being like us” just that?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I think the right is rightly fearful of just that–they may be paranoid, they may be crazy, but the world really is changing and leaving them behind. As for having more fun….. I let myself digress in the book and speculate about how haters always believe that others are getting more than they are. Hitler imagined Jews seducing Aryan women; American slaveholders imagined blacks raping their wives (even as they happily raped their slaves)…. Not only do they imagine the other as getting more, but being more endowed. The upper class has traditionally ascribed tremendous sexual powers to people they fear….

spocko March 4th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I’m always interested in the campaigns, and efforts to have an impact on the people who propagate hate speech. 
So for example, what worked on Fr. Coughlin?
How do South Poverty law center techniques work?

Right now we are seeing people convincing advertisers that Rush’s statements are “beyond the pale.” to go the financial angle.

I’m also interested in how the people push hate speech blocked these attempts. I see the right uses 
Multiple techniques starting with, “free speech” through claiming they are “misunderstood” or “joking”

Historically what techniques did the hate speakers use to fight the push back?

dakine01 March 4th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 15

Arthur, please see this comment from Bev on using the “Reply” button



Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I just learned how to reply properly–apologies to Helena if your reply is out of order. I have always thought of Limbaugh as less of a programmatic hater and more of a classic right wing Republican…. A sexist, racist rich guy who’s angry when he sees his high taxes going to support welfare queens and the like. He isnt a conspiracist–he doesn’t tell the kind of global story that Glenn Beck does, about the enemy’s grand plan.

At the same time, he’s kind of the Republican id–since he doesn’t have to get elected, he has been able to get away with making the jokes that political correctness no longer allows people to make. Just a few months ago, he talked about the Obamas “uppityism”. Can you imagine? Unfortunately for him, PC really does reflect changing mores. Many women (and men) are more likely to take offense when you call them sluts, as one example.

DWBartoo March 4th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thank you, Arthur and Alexander, for joining us this evening.


Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

You’re welcome, DW.

Arthur, you used the term “upper class” a couple of comments ago in describing who crafts the form of fears given expression by conspiracy theories. Can you talk a little about the class dynamics of conspiracy theories — Henry Ford may have been a wealthy man, but the audience for his conspiratorial anti-Semitic publications were not necessarily the elite.

Twain March 4th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Arthur, thank you for being with us today. Are there any studies showing that the Haters are being hit hard by the recession? I think they would be Haters anyway but perhaps if they are being financially hurt they might be looking for someone to blame and who better than a brown skin person.

Sharkbabe March 4th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I am very much enjoying your words thus far Mr. Goldwag

(carry on, everyone)

tuezday March 4th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Arthur, I was really shocked, in reading your book, the extent to which Henry Ford loathed Jews. And that Hitler revered Ford. I found that to be an interesting historical fact of which I knew nothing.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to spocko @ 16

What destroyed Father Coughlin was his own excesses–he started to appear at Bund rallies, giving Hitler salutes; his anti-Semitism got more and more overt and explicit. There were uniformed, para-military groups associated with him that marched around harassing Jews and blacks and other minorities. All this took a toll on his mainstream support. Finally when war broke out, his isolationism became a liability–and the government lifted his postal permits, so he could no longer mail his magazines and fliers. Then the church silenced him with a threat of excommunication and he finished out his days in silence. Amazingly enough, he lived into the 1970s.

I’m not in favor of censorship (and Coughlin did endure government censorship late in the game). But just calling people like Limbaugh out, forcing them to acknowledge in front of the larger public what they say to their claques, is extremely effective, I think. Even after his “quasi-apology” he is still losing advertisers…. He and his followers will style themselves as First Amendment martyrs, but of course the First Amendment doesn’t protect you from criticism–and no one has a Constitutional right to receive 30 million plus a year for spewing venom and bile.

Sharkbabe March 4th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Rush Limbaugh and the lizard brain media complex he embodies literally broke up my family. Does your book deal with the personal aspect?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Class dynamics are so complex…. and one important thing to remember is that 1) America is only nominally a ‘middle class’ nation anymore–the unionized working class has disappeared along with the ‘clerk’ classes; the more relevant divisions nowadays are between skilled tradesmen who do ok; educated salaried people who do better; extremely well-salaried people; people who live off of investments; and then a large, struggling service class. The conveyor between the classes is broken and a lot of people are slipping backwards.

More educated people–or at least more educated states and metros–tend to fall out on the more liberal tolerant side of the spectrum.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to tuezday @ 23

Isn’t that something? It’s not a secret–there have been a bunch of books about it–but the only people who took it seriously tended to be Jews. For everyone else, it was a kind of quirk. You see in Berg’s Lindbergh biography how biographers justify or paper over their subjects’ anti-Semitism, when he quotes a really vile passage from Lindbergh’s diary about how America has too many Jews as evidence of Lindbergh’s lack of anti-Semitism. It was much, much worse with blacks–we considered ourselves a beacon of freedom while we still had Jim Crow laws on the books.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:38 pm
In response to Sharkbabe @ 25

Not really, although I try to personalize and individuate both the perpetrators and the victims where I can. I write mostly about ideas and big trends.

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Do you think your history shows that there’s a natural ceiling in this country in terms of the impact that rightwing conspiracies can have on mainstream politics? We’ve never had a major political party adopt a position, say, for the veracity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This would be hard to imagine. But major figures in the GOP have encouraged wild theories and empowered their messengers. Is there a line, and is it shifting?

Sharkbabe March 4th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 28

Can hardly blame you for that, there’s enough to study in the horrible bigger picture.

But if we all survive this, I imagine some Oprah-esque book about our loved ones with radios and spare time becoming nazi-ish strangers.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to Twain @ 21

When you look at the maps of the hardest hit places post 2008, you get the old industrial cities of the so-called Frostbelt and the wide swath of the south and the sunbelt–the old Confederacy. The midwest and the south were always susceptible to populist upsurges, which could be politically radical and racist/anti-Semitic at the same time, because agriculture has always been such an unstable way of life in this country. Big cities and college towns tend not to be as susceptible.

The thing about the New Hate though, as I write about it, is that it’s something that influential people can use. The Koch brothers have done fine, but they know that they can get people to vote against their economic interests by demonizing minorities and immigrants.

Someone commented on one of my posts somewhere recently that the challenge for the left is to get voters angry at their economic superiors rather than their inferiors.

spocko March 4th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 24


I studied the Father Coughlin example when I developed my campaign to defund the right wing radio hosts in San Francisco at K S F O.

The reason that I went with a financial method is that in their world, the dollar was the highest authority. For Coughlin he finally submitted to the Church which had greater authority over him.

Also, because I knew that the right would scream “they are trying to silence us!” when I wrote to advertisers I made it clear that the hosts were free to say what they wanted but that the advertiser was also free to protect it’s brand from their violent rhetoric.

The other example I learned was how the right used the FCC and built in government censorship to get Howard Stern off the air. I didn’t want to use that route because the 1st Amendment people would feel obligated to come out and defend the radio hosts.

By making it a “free market” exercise and not a free speech exercise I kept the topic away from the people who felt compelled to defend any kind of speech.

So the host can say what he wants, but he doesn’t have to get rich on it, worked.

It was very effective. 32 Advertisers left the station. The financial consequences lead to the hosts being let go. I taught the same techniques to the group ‘Hate hurts America” that used them on Michael Savage costing him 18 advertisers and 1 million in revenue.

I then advised Color of Change and Angelo (@stopbeck) on the Glen Beck action taking the financial issue all the way to the investors at News Corp) (See my call to Rupert Murdoch during the NewsCorp financial confernce call) where I made it clear to the investors that Beck was a “non-performing product” that was not producing revenue. Eventually he was let go because of the failure to produce the kind of revenue the investors demanded.

eCAHNomics March 4th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Going along with the theme so far, but asking the Q in my/Zinn’s words. Zinn in People’s History would argue that the formation of hate groups is largely engineered by PTB (Powers That Be) or RWMs (Rich White Males) as I call them, to divide & conquer 99%ers, so that the many don’t gang up on the few. Tea Party is a creation of Koch Bros, as John Birchers were of their father, for example.

Do you agree/disagree & why?

Is there asymmetry? Are these tactics more effective on the right than on the left?

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Conspiracism [...]is almost always a murky undercurrent in the mainstream of politics [...] especially so [...] during periods of economic crisis and rapid social change like the one we’re living through now.

In other words, when there is as failure to mitigate social aggravations, “conspiracism” grips the population instead. Can you comment, Arthur, on how this reflects on those not suffering from the conspiracy (ambiguity intended)?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I fervently hope it isn’t. As I wrote about the anti-Masonic movement, when it was at its perfervid height, the president was a Mason. When the KKK was in the ascent in the 1920s, they hurt Al Smith, but they couldn’t stop a Catholic from being nominated. And with all the revenant racism and sexism and red-baiting today, we still elected an African American president by a substantial majority.

I suspect Romney will be the nominee and he will try very hard, as I say in my book, to stuff all those unruly genies back in their bottles. It will be hard for him to do and we shouldn’t let him get away with it.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to spocko @ 32

You have done fantastic work and I applaud you. Boycotts are not censorship–and they are tremendously effective.

hpschd March 4th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I found the New Yorker cover art parody of Obama as Muslim and Michelle as terrorist quite disturbing. This particular style of parody shows a peculiar relationship between hate and humor. Attempting to deal with hateful phenomena by mockery can backfire.

What was your reaction to this cartoon? (anyone)

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to spocko @ 32

Why is it that advertisers require a temperance campaign, hmm?

eCAHNomics March 4th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Another Q: There are REAL conspiracies. Scores of ‘secret’ wars conducted by CIA, increasingly by JSOP. It’s common to be able to know about these in real time, if one pays attention. But as the majority of people must work hard to make ends meet (another story therein), they become shocked to learn 25 years later that the Iranian revolution was about USG overthrowing democratically elected Mossedeq in 1953. Is it any wonder that both left & right look for conspiracies since so many are actually perpetrated?

seaglass March 4th, 2012 at 2:52 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 18

Lot’s of classic Psychological Projection going on on from the right Arthur.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 33

I was reading about Theda Skocpol’s study of Tea Partiers this morning (I haven’t read her book yet). She found that the Tea Partiers themselves, the grass roots types (as opposed to the people who join astroturf groups) are locked in what they perceive to be a generational war–that it’s them against their own children and grandchildren, who they perceive to be spoiled and lazy and greedy for entitlements. As for their own entitlements–Social Security and Medicare–they feel they earned it and they want to keep it absolutely. The Republicans miscalculate egregiously when they think they can get people to give up entitlements they already enjoy.

But yes, the biggest picture is the 1% versus the 99%–although not all members of the 1% are necessarily on the far right.

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 2:56 pm
In response to seaglass @ 40

Psychological projection is very useful in a race to the bottom.

oldgold March 4th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Does your book pay homage to Richard Hofstadter’s seminal essay, “The Paranoid Style of American Politics?”

In this essay Hofstadter establishes the new, at that time [1964], was pretty much the old.

American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority.

The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent.

spocko March 4th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 36

Thanks. One other thing. I was VERY clear to NEVER call it a boycott. I also made it clear that Color of Change should never call it that.

It was an Advertiser Alert program.

The reason for this is that advertisers didn’t like being pressured in the traditional boycott fashion (if you don’t pull your advertising we won’t buy your product!).
The reason for this was because it is hard for advertisers to see the impact of a boycott for some time.

I also taught people how to communicate to the advertisers so that they could see that this action is really in line with their own values (diversity, non-discriminatory, open to all religions) I often linked to their own internal ethics and values statements to point out that their support of this host was in direct conflict to who they are as a company, or as individuals.

When one of the hosts made a anti-Muslim bigotry statement I showed the advertisers the audio clip followed by the live read of the advertisers commercial (United Airlines) I told the VP of Marketing, the head of brand management and the HR head to imagine the host who just read your commercial wearing the United livery. He IS the voice of United in that ad spot, how does it make you feel about the brand to here him calling for the Genocide of Muslims the next instant. United pulled their ads.

tuezday March 4th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Arthur, do you have any idea as to why there is so little, if any pushback, from the left against this hate? Most of it is easily refuted, as you even mention in your book, but the left never seems to get out in front of this hate.

(forgive me if this is in your book, I’m only on page 102).

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:01 pm
In response to hpschd @ 37

I didn’t think it was particularly funny, though I understood the joke. Mockery–as I keep learning for myself, when I go out in the world and meet the people I’ve mocked, however gently and with however much good humor–is often completely misunderstood.

At the same time, the other side gets so much mileage by presenting us as cartoons–Leftist Extremists, Blame America Firsters, Food Stamp users, Sluts.

I think it’s important for people to avoid name calling, because so many people on the right are voting against their economic interests because they think we elitists on the left have contempt for them and their ideals. We don’t have to pander to them, we don’t have to pretend to be gun-loving Nativists ourselves, but we don’t have to ridicule them either. We should never stop appealling to their better instincts, especially since the right is so assiduously appealling to their worst instincts.

Lorraine Watkins March 4th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

We have been ignoring the depth of hate and its consequence paranoia among the right wing ideologues and followers to our peril. I am shocked at the really mild responses by liberals and Democrats toward Limbaugh’s almost psychotic outbursts this week. This man is dangerous and so are those with what I will call the Tea Party mentality. As with any psychotically obsessed and enraged, to placate is to only encourage it.

It is good to see some serious literature beginning to appear.

Jupiter Jones March 4th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

It’s rather irritating that people still propose that false equivalence between the 9/11 truth movement and birtherism. Beyond alleging conspiracy, those two movements could not be more different.

9/11 truth proceeds from an essentially rational initial suspicion: that it is a bit too convenient that the very people who wanted a “new pearl harbor” to move us into the fast lane on the road to full fascism got just that, and just months after they stole an election to get their puppet installed in the White House. That’s how fascist regimes always consolidate power- there’s always some faked attack that provides cover and excuse for removal of civil liberties at home, and war.

That is not to say that there is incontrovertible evidence in the public domain that proves that the 9/11 attacks were faked by forces within our own government. I have no such evidence. But the initial suspicion that they could have been is essentially a rational one.

Birtherism, on the other hand, is the hate child of racism, tribalism and right wing sore-loserism. Whereas “9/11 truth” starts with an emminently plausible motive – they faked the attacks to consolidate power – birtherism can offer no such motive. Special interests have a pool of millions of naturally born Americans to pick a puppet from who’ll do anything for money- they don’t need to recruit Kenyans.

Lorraine Watkins March 4th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I have to run to dinner. I look forward to reading the discussion later this evening. Thanks for coming.

hpschd March 4th, 2012 at 3:09 pm
In response to oldgold @ 43

From the index of the book:
Hofstader, Richard: 7, 13-14, 42-43, 64, 81, 98, 207, 216, 250, 285


tuezday March 4th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

At the same time, the other side gets so much mileage by presenting us as cartoons–Leftist Extremists, Blame America Firsters, Food Stamp users, Sluts.

However, if you talk with them one on one, we are all in agreement. There seems to be a kind of tribalism on the right. I don’t even think most on the right know why they are “conservatives”. Aside from hating this or that.

For instance, this afternoon a friend and I were approached by a guy asking for signatures to get on the ballot as a state congressional rep. Aside from the fact he is pushing a no new taxes meme, we all agreed on everything. Including that private prisons are bad (there is hope for Florida). He’s a republican and I’m sure he would have gone home and showered if he knew he was talking to two progressives, hell socialists.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:11 pm
In response to Ludwig @ 34

We all feel like circumstances are conspiring against us–life is hard and full of disappointments for many of us and at the same time, we see some people are blessed by nature (they’re good looking or athletic or super smart), by birth (they grew up in a stable, upper middle class household–the biggest factor for academic and economic success), or by something else that was denied us.

Conspiracism teaches us that they’re cheating–that they’ve rigged the game against us.

In some ways this is even true–the rich, the beautiful, the smart DO have advantages. But if you’re a politician, you don’t alienate people whose votes you actually need (unless you’re a Republican in the Southwest and California with Hispanics–you’d think they would have learned their lesson with Pete Wilson!). So you choose someone ungodly (Jews, Muslims) or unclean (brown-skinned foreigners). And then you posit a superhuman evil intelligence that’s controlling them–the Rothschilds, Satan.

This is how you get the people you’re exploiting to fight for you–by leveraging and diverting their envy, by convincing them that they have more to fear from an invisible enemy than they do from you.

I’m going on at way too long a length, but my point is that we need to suspicious of these stories–of Glenn Beck’s blackboard, of all those crazy diagrams. We need to recognize scapegoating and demonizing when we hear it.

DWBartoo March 4th, 2012 at 3:12 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 46

Arthur, this comment shows that you are an activist after me own heart. If we seek common ground in our common plight, then it little avails us to demean or seek to diminish the feelings, fears, and misconceptions of others.

Neither does it advance our interests, our common interests with others to periodically suggest that others are stupid, a tactic those on FDL do not appreciate, even in the slightest, when they are on the receiving end of trollish and intentionally hurtful, or destructive comments.

Further, it is equally counter-productive to suggest that our ostensible allies are mean-spirited when they become emotionally distraught.

It IS fair, however, to call out intentional manipulation or behaviors destructive to reason, tolerance, and understanding.

Lies have consequences, even of causing nations to go to war or of people to act, or “vote” against their best interests.

The entirety of the political class, which includes the media, must regularly and often, be taken to task for such transgressions against civil society and the Rule of law.


Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:12 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 47

More than literature with Limbaugh–finally some real action. He’s too big to fail, I think, but this is a start.

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 3:14 pm
In response to richie73 @ 48

I’m sure Arthur will have more to say about 9/11 Truth, but I included it in the Intro because no evidence has emerged to justify the suspicions or claims of the grander versions of the theory, which has more adherents than ever; also, 9/11 Truth rarely occurs in a vacuum — it’s almost always a part of a larger culture of conspiracy that ramifies off in many and often much more dangerous directions.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:15 pm
In response to hpschd @ 50

I adore Hofstadter. I used a quote from him as an epigraph for my book–”the ecumenicism of hatred is a great breaker-down of precise intellectual discriminations.” Talk about your understatements!

Palli March 4th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

How do you address this: The galling thing fact that haters talk as if the ‘the other” aren’t even in the room…but they are: the air waves, our daily lives.This contempt for women’s choice is done by fathers who have daughters and wives and each uses birth controls. How can this duplicity stand up in reality? How can feats of irrationality be spread so easily.

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 3:16 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 52

Thank you, Arthur.

Don’t you find it ironic, then, that we are encouraged to envy?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:16 pm
In response to tuezday @ 51

For what it’s worth, I was heckled recently by someone who accused me of “demonizing Rush Limbaugh” and supporting North Korean-style politics. Then he bought a copy of my book! I was flabbergasted and delighted. Maybe I’ll have changed one mind….

Twain March 4th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

How do we reach the haters when we are in most cases ignored by the mainstream media? The talking heads let the haters say absurd things and never question it or make them explain their reasons. It’s very disheartening.

spocko March 4th, 2012 at 3:17 pm
In response to Palli @ 57

Excellent question. How does this happen Arthur?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:19 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 39

I write extensively about real conspiracies–coups, assassinations, insider trading, etc. They are very different than imaginary conspiracies. They take place in real time, with real players. One of the biggest problems with imaginary conspiracies is they distract attention from the real ones.

hpschd March 4th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 53

Hear, hear! Well said.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:26 pm
In response to richie73 @ 48

I don’t want to get into a whole 911 thing…. What I would say is that the lies that were told immediately after the planes and the towers and the Pentagon, the way the event was harnessed to an obscene agenda, exists in the realm of politics rather than conspiracism.

Palli March 4th, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Has there been a breakdown somewhere…or a necessary finger rest? I cannot refresh to continue reading

tuezday March 4th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
In response to Palli @ 65

I think there is some thoughtful typing going on.

Twain March 4th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
In response to Palli @ 65

Refreshing is very iffy for me, too. Have to do it about a dozen times to get the next comment.

dakine01 March 4th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to Twain @ 67

Don’t think there are any systems problems, just comments aren’t coming as fast as they do on some Book Salons

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to Twain @ 60

We shouldn’t let ourselves get too caught up in resentments the way the right does. We need to keep plugging away and calling things by their real names. It’s probably not very helpful to call our adversaries would-be Hitlers, but if you’re talking about the Mideast, I see no reason not to use the word Apartheid, so long as you’re not also talking about “the Jews” or the “Zionists” in global, totalizing terms. We need to avoid using the language of conspiracy and The Protocols of Zion ourselves; we have to be cognizant of our adversaries humanity at all times.

Palli March 4th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I’ll be patient…sorry Oh if it’s questions you want…

How do we introduce the history of any particular barrage. For example, the new georgia anti-union sit down law is no different than the first 1961 sit-in. My comment to that effect on another blog was ignored but it seems to be prestigious that others have gone before.

Twain March 4th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 68

Thanks. Thought it was my computer for awhile.

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

In your book, you discuss the two original American conspiracy theories – Freemasons and the Illuminati. They were strange targets given that both groups had anti-Royalist, basically rationalist politics / philosophies that were in line with Republican values. What about these groups so frightened some early Americans, and how is it that have these two foundational conspiracies endured to the present day?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:37 pm
In response to Palli @ 57

The New Hate works most effectively through innuendo and dog whistles; through deniable signalling. Frankly, it makes me happy to have high ranking Republicans and right wing pundits foaming at the mouth and attacking half the human race. It flushes them out into the open. In an ideal world, Obama could run against a Gingrich or a Santorum–then voters could have a real choice. My expectation is that Obama will have a hard fight against a Romney who will have spent months appealing to the middle…. For that reason, I think it’s important that we stay focused on winning and not get distracted when Obama inevitably insults and marginalizes some of us.

Palli March 4th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

if it is questions you need:
do we introduce the history of any particular barrage? For example, the new georgia anti-union sit down law is no different than the first 1961 sit-in. My comment to that effect on another blog was ignored but it seems to be prestigious that others have gone before?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I think the big issue then and now is a secular world view vs a religious world view. The Masons were Deists and rationalists; the Illuminati hysterics in the 1790s were mostly New England Congregationalist ministers who feared the church would lose its moral authority. During the 1820s and 30s,the original anti-Masons were the denizens of the upstate NY “burned over district”–a hot bed of evangelical religiosity and the ground that apocalyptic Millerism, Seventh Day Adventism, Mormonism, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses sprung from.

The church and state question is very far from settled in the minds of a lot of Americans.

Palli March 4th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 75

as well as the question of church and non-church. typing & thinking are not my strong suit sorry for edit problems

DWBartoo March 4th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 73

Here, Arthur, I must, most respectfully, disagree. Electing Obama, who HAS engaged in attacks upon the Rule of Law, who has sided with the 1%, does NOT constitute “winning”, indeed, it perpetuates the unitary executive and locks us, all, further into the lies and manipulations of a political class, which, in its entirety, supports and furthers the interests of the corporate and monied classes … there is a class war, and the political class is NOT on the side of “the people”.


Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Yes of course. I’ve been caught up in the question of how we deal with Romney’s Mormonism. On the one hand, there’s such a terrible history of prejudice and persecution of Mormons; on the other hand, there’s a dominionist strand that runs through the LDS. Romney’s seeming lack of a moral center may be disguising something else.

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Can you talk a little about this dominionist strand in the LDS?

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:48 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 77

If I believed that electing a Republican would hasten the Revolution, I would seriously consider it. But as disappointed in Obama as I’ve been (and I could go on and on at considerable length), I respectfully disagree that there is no difference between him and Romney (or Gingrich, Santorum, et al). I heard the same things said about Gore/Bush a long time ago.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

The LDS is an Americanist version of Christianity; there’s a foundational myth that the Mormon elders will save the Republic when the Constitution hangs by a thread. Thoughtful people should be made a little nervous about that, I’d think.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:51 pm
In response to Palli @ 74

Would you like to expand on this question?

Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Do you think this should be getting more attention? And do you think it will if Romney is nominated? There are a lot of skeletons in the Mormon political closet, many of them conspiracy-related, as you mention in the book, which by the way everyone should buy…

hpschd March 4th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

How do you deal with hater mongers who make up phony quotations from Founding Fathers, Presidents, etc.
It’s hard enough to expose even obvious lies, but faking history? Fact-checking is important, but it is very time consuming (and therefore after the fact) and doesn’t seem to change many minds anyway.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to Ludwig @ 58

Or accused of envy, when we question the prerogatives of the very rich. It’s a Catch 22.

Palli March 4th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Mr. Goldberg, in the course of your research did you read childrens literature of the mid30s to late sixties? Literature that read like stories, not lessons, but real morality.

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 69

But along with the habit of projection, the right not only engages in conspiracism, they conspire. The perpetually “unsettled” church-state separation being continually attacked and their paranoia exploited by politicians serving propertied interests.

Wouldn’t you call that a conspiracy?

tuezday March 4th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 80

Ah, but things are different now. We have Occupy and a whole generation that has grown up with the world wide web. We now know, that we are everywhere.

BevW March 4th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon discussion,

Arthur, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book.

Alex, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Arthur’s website and book (The New Hate)

Alex’s website and book (Common Nonsense)

Thanks all, Have a great week.

If you want to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to hpschd @ 84

Made up quotes from Founding Fathers are an old standby of the conspiracist right. Back in the 1930s, Pelley made up a speech from Benjamin Franklin, warning about the dangers of letting the Jews into the country. It’s still quoted to this day. One good antidote is REAL quotes from the founders–like Washington’s letter to Muslims that the US is not a Christian country.

I saw on Jon Stewart the other day that some jackass was enlisting Jefferson in the fight against contraception. Stewart called him out very effectively.

HelenaHandbasket March 4th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 75

What relationship, if any, do you see with the apocalyptic cults and end-timers and their hate and loathing?

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 85

Yes, the trap is exactly captured in that very accusation. It’s a moral hell.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:57 pm
In response to Ludwig @ 87

I would call it politics and influence peddling–and sometimes, yes, conspiracy. But with a small “c.” I think that Hillary was right, by the way, about what the Scaifes and others were up to.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Thanks everybody for all these really interesting questions! I’ve had a lot of fun. And thank you for your patience with my slowness…. I tried to do your questions justice.

DWBartoo March 4th, 2012 at 3:59 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 80

I do not postulate that there is no difference, Arthur, I suggest, instead, that, in some very serious ways, Obama is MORE of a danger than his Republican “foes”, for he will dismantle the New Deal and further the endless wars (including the war on drugs, a war full of scapegoating and the abuse of the Rule of Law, through the “forfeiture laws”, while his supporters raise no questions, their “side” having “won”. Obama can destroy the social contract far more easily than a Romney … and he belittles and marginalizes any meaningful agenda within the black community, as well.

Unless these consequences are honestly added into “future” calculations, then the people, will, once again have been duped and fatuously “mislead”.


Twain March 4th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Arthur, thanks. Great Book Salon.

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I wish I could answer this question in 10 seconds. I think apocalypticism has a huge influence on right wing (and left wing) thinking. It inflects some of the anti-environmentalist thinking on the right.

tuezday March 4th, 2012 at 4:00 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 94

Thanks Arthur, Alex and Bev. Great book salon.

CTuttle March 4th, 2012 at 4:01 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 94

Mahalo, Arthur and Alexander, for a great Book Salon…!

Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Good afternoon/night all! Thank you for having me.

Thank you Bev and Alex!

DWBartoo March 4th, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Thank you, Arthur and Alexander, it has been a most interesting discussion, and I hope that either or both of you might soon return to FDL.

Thank you, Bev, as always.

And thanks to all who have participated this evening, making for a very fascinating Book Salon, indeed.


Alexander Zaitchik March 4th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Thanks, everyone!

Palli March 4th, 2012 at 4:05 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 82

I’ll try…Many of the laws for equality are not so recent history and have the feel of new fights. But in effect all struggles for justice are the same expanding struggle. How can the memory of the energy, strength, & techniques of how they were originally were won bulwark this renewed struggle without discouraging. I bring up the African American civil rights struggle so often to myself now because, for the most part, it was the ordinary citizen who worked the hardest for the change, not the pundits, politicians. Isn’t that what each generation needs to hear.? But how can it be said?

hpschd March 4th, 2012 at 4:05 pm
In response to Arthur Goldwag @ 90

It is critical to confront their lies.

I sometimes have to remind myself that ‘they’ are not the only ones who get it wrong.

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know.
It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” –Mark Twain

Perhaps that’s why we continually search for the truth.
But how do we know when we have found it?

Thanks to all for taking the time to share all this.

HelenaHandbasket March 4th, 2012 at 4:07 pm
In response to Palli @ 103

The most radical thing you can do is to have a memory.

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

DW, we only seem to lose the combat between evils. How are we to take seriously anything but a call for retreat?

Palli March 4th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

off to get the book tomorrow…thanks Mr Goldwag…….. thanks too. Helena

DWBartoo March 4th, 2012 at 4:10 pm
In response to Palli @ 103

You have, most eloquently, Palli, and very powerfully, just said it …

Well done!!!


Arthur Goldwag March 4th, 2012 at 4:14 pm
In response to Palli @ 103

Wow, it looks like I can still comment. If the opposition has been telling the same story about the wickedness and uncleanness of the “other” and the justness of its own privileges, our side has been telling our story too, all the way back to the parting of the Red Sea. I’m a great believer in archetypes. The right has a lot of memes that resonate with people’s fears, but we have a lot of memes that awaken hope.

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

And boy are we going to need them!

Thank you, Arthur.

DWBartoo March 4th, 2012 at 4:21 pm
In response to Ludwig @ 106

Ah, retreat AND regroup.

It is equally wise to know who, actually, is the enemy … to consider only half of the political class to be complicit in undermining civil society, is to be fully defeated and wholly adrift, Ludwig.

Clearly, Arthur sees the revolution coming, and nothing the political class can do will stop it. The more they, all together, oppress and attack, the more clearly will their full complicity in the assault upon reason, humanity, and civil society be revealed.

The wise ones amongst us, must now, be thinking beyond the next election, beyond politics as we know them … as many here, Ludwig, yourself very much included are so doing …

The future belongs to the far-seeing, not to those engaged in rear-guard skirmishing … which is what the ruling classes are doing.

The poverty of THEIR “philosophy” is self-evident, while the wisdom of what is to come is still opaque … yet it is coming into greater and more clear focus, each and every day …


hpschd March 4th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Right about now I’d like to hear some of those memes that awaken hope.

DWBartoo March 4th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Superb comment, Arthur, and I thank you once again.

A genuine pleasure to meet you, and I hope that you might return to share those memes …


Palli March 4th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

a hope filled meme a day

hpschd March 4th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I really love these book salons. Sometimes, they are the highlight of my week.

I check events to come and get the books and try to read them ahead of the salon. I check out other books by the same author and the books mentioned in connection.

I love it when someone recommends a good book, but when there’s a chance to talk with the author and friends – it is exciting, inspiring, aggravating, revealing, and it’s fun.

Many thanks to Bev and Arthur and Alexander and FDL and all.

radhika March 4th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Even as we speak, a new conspiracy could be brewing. Alex Jones, on Coast to Coast AM last night, posited that Andrew Breitbart was killed, assassinated. He was preparing to release some (cough) devastating info on Obama, like from college days.

Vince Foster meme revisited?

HelenaHandbasket March 4th, 2012 at 5:07 pm
In response to radhika @ 116

I heard Sean Hannity posit such several days ago on his radio show.

Ludwig March 4th, 2012 at 5:21 pm
In response to radhika @ 116

Methinks l’eau de mepris is their perfume for the “left”.

But A Breitbart vs. V Foster? Comrade, what are you smoking?

nonpartisanliberal March 4th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

If you’ve ever visited the intellectual ghetto that is the Yahoo! news comment sections, then you know that there is a contingent of semi-literate, prolific commentators (probably retired or unemployed) who are racist, socially conservative and ignorant. They pretend that anyone who is not a Republican is on welfare and lazy. They think that freedom of speech means that a conservative can say whatever he wants without being subjected to criticism, ridicule or condemnation. They constantly type pathetic invective against “libtards,” and some go so far as to wish all liberals and Democrats could be exterminated. Meanwhile, my wishes for conservatives are positive. Specifically, I wish they would wise up. Well, it would be ironic if they wished us the same.

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