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The Paranoid Style - always in vogue


Guest Mark Valenti
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Guest Mark Valenti

Richard Hofstadter, DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University, gave a speech about how paranoid fringies have infected public debate for centuries. His book, “Anti-intellectualism in American Life,” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. This essay is adapted from the Herbert Spencer Lecture delivered at Oxford University in November 1963.

It's interesting for the way he captures the spirit of the political paranoid - the compulsive obsessive constantly seeking the frisson of "new discovery" - differentiating him from the serious historical researcher.

"One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows.

It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed.

Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency.

But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates :evidence.

The difference between this “evidence” and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world.

The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it."

Edited by Mark Valenti
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Richard Hofstadter, DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University, gave a speech about how paranoid fringies have infected public debate for centuries. His book, “Anti-intellectualism in American Life,” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. This essay is adapted from the Herbert Spencer Lecture delivered at Oxford University in November 1963.

It's interesting for the way he captures the spirit of the political paranoid - the compulsive obsessive constantly seeking the frisson of "new discovery" - differentiating him from the serious historical researcher.

"One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows.

It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed.

Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency.

But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates :evidence.

The difference between this “evidence” and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world.

The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it."

Mark,

A valuable posting and a fitting tribute to an uncommonly prescient political scientist. To think that he wrote this before the composition of the Presidential Commission of enquiry was known - it's incredible.

I mean, a committe of enquiry nominally presided over by a man who had interned large numbers of American citizens for possession of Japanese surnames, reporting to a President haunted by the menace of "yellow dwarves," and populated by such towering intellects as Gerald Ford and, well, all the rest of them!

And the report, what a triumph of reason supported by,er, public money...thank goodness Hofstadter never critiqued that. We'd have died laughing.

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This "paranoid style of american politics" is very typical of the cold war elitism among liberals in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s.

It went hand in glove with another book that was all the rage among liberal intellectuals, The End of Ideology by Daniel Bell. Bell essentially argued that the role of ideology in poltics was through, because the era of the technocrats and had superceeded it, making class conflict no longer relevent. This period coincided with the working class getting paid better, and the greatest rise in social mobility in U.S. history. Labor historyian Daniel Lichtenstein, in a book about Walter Reuther, described what he called the "Treaty of Detroit": the 1950 General Moters' contract with the UAW. In essence, the union gave up on all the more radical shop -floor co-management demands of the 30s and 40s in favor of more pay-- lots more pay. Of course this lead to greater worker passivity, Union leaders flying to Bocca, and eventually Jimmy Hoffa type shenanigans, that were far removed from the rank and file's ken.

Later critics of Bell argued that his end of ideology was very ideological, because it tried to supercede opposing ideologies like Marxism , in a world system called modernization. They argued that the most effective ideologies are invisible, disguised as laws of nature or science. These critics pointed to U.S. defeat in Vietnam as the moment when this whole "end of ideology argument" become most visible as a distinct ideology. A failed one.

Bell's book was published in 1960. It shares with Hoffstadter's view a basic distrust in the political capcities of the average citizen. Critics have also connected it to the "top-down" approach of liberal reforms of the 1960's, and to reasons why these reforms failed.

Although I have never read Francis Fukiyama's book "The End of History and the Last Man", which came out around 1991, it sounds similarly triumphalist. Perhaps we are now beginning to see the falacies of Fukiyama's triumphalism, just as Vietnam tought some of us the mistakes in Bell's.

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...so much crap in that from Hofstadter...I suggest he and you read 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. Of course some people are clinically paranoid, but most put in that 'catagory' see behind the curtain of Oz or the fact the Empire has no clothes, but this upsets the drugged and delusional zombie, yes-men and women, and frightened followers, etc. I'd posit that those falsly labeled 'paranoids' are those who have changed societies for the better most of the time by first seeing the problems and then acting upon them. Better to name them independant thinkers who only seem 'paranoid' by those who refuse to question orthodoxy fed to them by the ruling elites.

235-237-34853_insane.GIF

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...so much crap in that from Hofstadter...I suggest he and you read 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. Of course some people are clinically paranoid, but most put in that 'catagory' see behind the curtain of Oz or the fact the Empire has no clothes, but this upsets the drugged and delusional zombie, yes-men and women, and frightened followers, etc. I'd posit that those falsly labeled 'paranoids' are those who have changed societies for the better most of the time by first seeing the problems and then acting upon them. Better to name them independant thinkers who only seem 'paranoid' by those who refuse to question orthodoxy fed to them by the ruling elites.

235-237-34853_insane.GIF

**************************************************

Here's your CLYDE AWARD for the week, Dinny.

Edited by Terry Mauro
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Guest John Gillespie

Richard Hofstadter, DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University, gave a speech about how paranoid fringies have infected public debate for centuries. His book, “Anti-intellectualism in American Life,” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. This essay is adapted from the Herbert Spencer Lecture delivered at Oxford University in November 1963.

It's interesting for the way he captures the spirit of the political paranoid - the compulsive obsessive constantly seeking the frisson of "new discovery" - differentiating him from the serious historical researcher.

"One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows.

It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed.

Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency.

But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates :evidence.

The difference between this “evidence” and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world.

The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it."

...so much crap in that from Hofstadter...I suggest he and you read 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. Of course some people are clinically paranoid, but most put in that 'catagory' see behind the curtain of Oz or the fact the Empire has no clothes, but this upsets the drugged and delusional zombie, yes-men and women, and frightened followers, etc. I'd posit that those falsly labeled 'paranoids' are those who have changed societies for the better most of the time by first seeing the problems and then acting upon them. Better to name them independant thinkers who only seem 'paranoid' by those who refuse to question orthodoxy fed to them by the ruling elites.

________________________________

Nathaniel and Peter:

Bravo, gentlemen. I suspect Mr. Hofstadter was a member in good standing of the Council On Foreign Relations. I don't even have to look. Ok, I just did (AFTER I wrote that sentence; don't know if he was in membership but, gee, they liked him. Read on.).

This is the distilled elitist propaganda approach in all its indecent exposure. Note the exquisite timing, (1964, not 1963, as written above) as well. There is nothing new under the sun about it: the attempt at dismissing the opposition by way of branding (name calling) and the devaluation of facts; the use of the intimidation factor through the usual appeal to Elitist wannabes, many of whom crawl amongst us. These techniques are among the core practices of Psy Ops and other forms of manipulation aimed at Lenin's Soul Brothers, those "useful idiots" who make life for the Elites so much easier than it ought to be.

Another favorite ruse of these frumpy obfuscators in bad suits is the guilt - by - association referencing that lumps their critics with infamous icons, to wit: "As examples, he cited a 96-page pamphlet by Joseph McCarthy that contained 'no less than 313 footnote references' and a book by John Birch Society founder Robert Welch that employed 'one hundred pages of bibliography and notes”'to show that President Eisenhower was a communist. " That's from a review of the speech by...The Council On Foreign Relations. Just another lucky guess.

If Hofstadter's speech is interpreted as apparently intended, then the works of Dick Russell, Jim Hougan, Colodny/Gettlin, Mary Ferrell, Ashton Gray et al are worthless. Warren Commission members must have taken him to dinner and a show. Despite his professed fear and loathing of all things voluminous, I didn't see any protests in his speech about SIXTEEN VOLUMES. He wants to cite McCarthy? We'll call...and raise you an Arlen Specter. In Hofstadter's defense, someone had to massage Academia. The rest of us were left as prey for Life Magazine.

We see these tools in even greater use today, constantly applied via mass media agitprop (news, drama, commercials, the latter perhaps most insidious) to attempt to embarass those not 'with it.' Pity, we should all just read Kipling, and daily.

Regards,

JG

Edited by John Gillespie
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Mark, cant tell if you are a fan of Hoff. or not. Probably you will take this as a complement, because this is what we are taught is "objectivity" these days.

I am very distrustfull of the label "parnoid style" unless this description involves annalysis of the communications environment of politics.

Those who agree with government narratives (any governments, but ESPECIALLY ours during post war global uptic) have a tremnous ease provided them. They are always provided with facts connected to more facts on all channels, so that when they go to the watter cooler at work they KNOW that Joe "knows" the basics, and that is the basis, the starting point, for discussion.

Almost any challenge to these state sanctioned views is subject to scattershot quotation, straw-dog treatment and simply being ignored by the practically-state-sponsored-treatment. If the proponent of these views is very lucky this treatment will rise to corporate villification and mockery.

To define anything as "Paranoid" or "Conspiratorial" is very problematic, unless one includes a discussion of how democratic-- as in open to dissent, and disagreement with the river-like flow of governement narrative-- the media is in that particular country and historical period.

In most cases oposition views are destroyed by the media doing their job: NOT MEDIATING a potentially enlightening discussion between various viewpoints.

Any description of a "paranoid style" that does not take into question this epistomological crap, is, in the end, higher namecalling.

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Guest John Gillespie

This is the distilled elitist propaganda approach in all its indecent exposure. Note the exquisite timing, (1964, not 1963, as written above) as well.

MV: Actually it IS from 1963. The speech was given then, but the article came out nearly a year later.

There is nothing new under the sun about it: the attempt at dismissing the opposition by way of branding (name calling)

MV: You mean like calling people provocateurs or Lone Nutters?

If Hofstadter's speech is interpreted as apparently intended, then the works of Dick Russell, Jim Hougan, Colodny/Gettlin, Mary Ferrell, Ashton Gray et al are worthless.

MV: Not so. They are serious, heroic intellectuals who have sacrificed blood sweat and tears to push through the deceptions of the Warren Report. There is nothing more damaging to their good work than the lunatic ravings of modern-day conspiracy Armageddonists who foul the debate with daffy theories which are obviously wrong. Equally egregious are the fan club members of these loonies who cheer them on despite their errors. Special shame on them for defending the indefensible. Paranoid Postulaters are far more harmful to the truth than Posner could ever hope to be.

I read no protests in his speech about the SIXTEEN VOLUMES.

MV: As mentioned above, he made the speech prior to the release of the official government version.

Here's an interesting point of view from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, originally published in The Washington Post, December 29, 1991:

"It happens I was in the White House at the hour of John F. Kennedy's death. There were a dozen or so of us (I was an assistant labor secretary at the time) seated in a circle in presidential assistant Ralph Dungan's large southwest corner room on the first floor. We were a few doors down from the Oval Office, where the rug, or something, was being changed and the furniture emptied out. The president's famous rocking chair was resting on top of a pile of cabinets and such in the little anteroom just outside. (Come to think of it, this may be the only "proof" of a conspiracy that Oliver Stone's movie JFK somehow overlooks.)

There was no formal announcement that the president had died -- just a time when everyone knew. Nor did we do anything; there wasn't anything to do. Or not much, anyway. McGeorge Bundy got up and went over to a telephone, asking in a quiet voice that he be put through to the secretary of defense, Robert McNamara. The door opened, and in burst Hubert Humphrey, eyes streaming. He grasped Dungan, who had risen. "What have they done to us?" he gasped.

"They," of course, were those people down in Dallas. No one in particular, just the bunch that never did like Kennedy, one of them -- or whatever -- crazed enough to do some cowboy shootout thing. A little later I was interviewed on television, and from some unfathomed recess there rose the opening words of Prospero's soliloquy in "The Tempest": "Our revels now are ended."

That is what had happened. But there was another matter. What would the American people think had happened? Late in the afternoon I learned on the radio of the arrest of a man involved with Fair Play for Cuba, or something like that. Oh, my God! I thought, the Texans will kill him. Keep in mind that this was a nation only just coming out of a period of near hysteria on the part of some about the menace and influence of communism.

At midnight I went out to Andrews Air Force Base to meet the plane bringing back the Cabinet and subcabinet members, who had been halfway across the Pacific, heading for Japan, when the assassination occurred. I pleaded with any who knew me: "We must get hold of Oswald." No one had the foggiest idea what I was talking about. I went away with the sense that not enough of these people had ever been in a police station.

Oswald was killed presently, whereupon a complicated thing happened. I did not think there had been a conspiracy to kill the president, but I was convinced that the American people would sooner or later come to believe that there had been one unless we investigated the event with exactly that presumption in mind. John Macy, who was then Civil Service commissioner, is now dead, and so I must be careful in what I say he thought. But I believe he agreed, and I know he began to join me in meeting with people who might make a difference, and making the same argument I did. At one point I was carrying with me the 19th century "memoir" of Pastor Charles Chiniquy, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome. I used it as evidence of our utter credulity. Chiniquy tells of an "interview" warning Lincoln of a Catholic plot against his life. Lincoln agrees (according to Chiniquy's fantastical account, responding as follows):

"I will be for ever grateful for the warning words you have addressed to me about the dangers ahead to my life, from Rome. I know that they are not imaginary dangers. If I were fighting against a Protestant South, as a nation, there would be no danger of assassination. The nations who read the Bible, fight bravely on the battle-fields, but they do not assassinate their enemies. The Pope and the Jesuits, with their infernal Inquisition, are the only organized powers in the world which have recourse to the dagger of the assassin to murder those whom they cannot convince with their arguments or conquer with the sword."

The president particularly regretted "the Roman Catholic traitors" that so infested the Union army. Let it be noted that Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton, believed that the assassination had indeed been a Catholic plot. Note also that the copy of Fifty Years that I was carrying around had been specially reprinted for the 1960 presidential election, which is the only reason I knew about it.

We got nowhere, Macy and I. In truth, I probably got into trouble. I was heard as saying not that people were likely to think there had been a conspiracy unless we investigated properly, but that there had been a conspiracy. The Warren Commission did not see its work in anything like the perspective I had hoped for. It was Lyndon Johnson at his worst: manipulative, cynical. Setting a chief justice of no great intellect to do a job that a corrupt FBI was well content should not be done well. Edward Jay Epstein laid it out in a master's thesis written at Cornell a few years later.

More relevant to the present moment, however, is Richard Hofstadter's incomparable essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," which, as it happens, he delivered as the Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford within days of the Kennedy assassination. (It was published in Harper's Magazine a year later.) He begins: "Although American political life has rarely been touched by the most acute varieties of class conflict, it has served again and again as an arena for uncommonly angry minds."

Hofstadter begins with the panic in New England in the 1790s over the dangers to religion of the Bavarian Illuminati. On to the anti-Masonic era: them that is what drank wine from human skulls. Next "Catholics and Mormons-later Negroes and Jews lent themselves to a preoccupation with illicit sex." (Probably the most widely read contemporary book in the United States before Uncle Tom's Cabin was Awful Disclosures (1836), one Maria Monk's "account" of her escape from a convent/brothel in Montreal.) On to the John Birch Society.

Hofstadter (as also Daniel Bell) was at this time primarily concerned with the conspiratorial fantasies of the right -- Ike as a tool of the Reds etc. -- and certain of their characteristics, such as the redemptive role of ex-communists in exposing the conspiracies (similar to that of the ex-Catholic priests of yore). But he knew well enough the paranoid style of the left also, as is illustrated in this passage:

". . . the clinical paranoid sees the hostile and conspiratorial world ill which he feels himself to be living as directed specifically against him; whereas the spokesman of the paranoid style finds it directed against a nation, a culture, a way of life whose fate affects not himself alone but millions of others. Insofar as he does not usually see himself singled out as the individual victim of a person conspiracy, he is somewhat more rational and much more disinterested. His sense that his political passions are unselfish and patriotic, in fact, goes far to intensify his feeling of righteousness and his moral indignation."

It is in that sense a rationalizing mode. Facts are everything -- and facts are never accidental. "For every error or act of incompetence one can substitute an act of treason." And always, of course, this is proof of "the existence of a vast, insidious preternaturally effective international conspiratorial network designed perpetrate acts of the most fiendish character."

And so to JFK. It could be viewed as a parody. The homosexual orgies in the New Orleans town house of the villain Clay Shaw are straight out of Maria Monk's nunnery in Montreal. The generals boozing it up as they plan the murder of their commander-in-chief are straight out of Ramparts in a slow week in the '60s. The black waiter who hears nothing is, well, MGM in the '30s. A John Birch look-alike is the fake erudition. Garrison is forever going on about those who practice to deceive, about riddles wrapped in mysteries inside enigmas. Of particular note: "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall." At one point I but yelled out: "Jim! Use the code! Fiat Justicia Ruat Coelum."

But it is not parody, and it is not funny. It could spoil a generation of American politics just when sanity is returning.

All of us in politics ought to see it: This is what citizens under 30 or 40 are going to be thinking soon. But don't despair. We have got through worse. As a matter of fact, an inadvertent illustration is there in the movie itself.

In one of the longer scenes, Jim Garrison meets with a renegade Pentagon officer who explains the whole plot. They sit on a park bench, with the Washington Monument at some distance in the background. Now if you just closely at the monument, you will see that about a quarter of the way up, the color of the stone changes, gets lighter. That is because in the 1850s the pope donated a block of marble to the private association that was building the memorial. It was widely believed that there was a secret purpose in this act -- that when the block was actually set in place, it would be the signal for the Masonic-Papist seizure of the White House. A band of alert citizens saw to it that the marble ended up in the Potomac instead. Work stopped, only to be resumed by the Corps Engineers 30 years later, in time for the 1888 centennial, and that is the reason for the difference in color.

Don't despair, but maybe do read a little. The members of the Warren Commission could have done that for us. They could have known our past better. Hofstadter closes with this pearl from the British historian L. B. Namier: "the crowning attainment of historical study" is to achieve "an intuitive sense of how things do not happen."

_______________________________________

I quite agree with your breakdown of 'JFK.' I do not agree, obviously, with Hofstadter's premises because, as you point out, some of these things continue to cut both ways:

'MV: You mean like calling people provocateurs or Lone Nutters?'

Yes, precisely, you get it now. You're on to it!

You have exposed yourself openly, though, MV. We knew you as a poseur after you cut and pasted something out of an encyclopedia. then had the poor manners to show yourself to disadvantage by actually posting it.

I just dissected Mr. H's propaganda and yours. Matter of fact, you already had performed that chore by your own hand: "I read no protests in his speech about the SIXTEEN VOLUMES. -JG

MV: As mentioned above, he made the speech prior to the release of the official government version. "

Ah, there's a distinction with a difference, MV...way to go, and that's how to cut to the chase on Mr. H's hypocrisy, too.

Let's face it. Your pathetic, transparent babble is the rust-proof coating to the car that Hofstadter was trying to sell and none of the recent posters here are buying it, MV. All you've accomplished with these, your latest droppings, is the usual name-calling - so handy a drug for the Pretenders - and the presentation of an increasingly desperate posture. Do stay in touch, though.

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'Mark Valenti' wrote:

[...]

But there's a line that the Paranoid Postulaters cross - repeatedly - with no regard for the damage they do to the serious researchers who've nobly stood up against the Powers That Be for decades.

When they're proven wrong, they rarely if ever acknowledge it. They just keep coming up with more half-baked theories. And their acolytes are just as bad. They parrot, they echo, they cheerlead and keep the fires burning. It's an inbred, unhealthy circle.

Dick Russell, Mary Ferrel, Waldron, North - and many more - they are heroes. When they are lumped into the CT category along with the deluded, all research suffers. That is why I try to draw a clear distinction.

MV

sounds like a paranoid in-bred postulator to me... but don't let that distract you, we're hoping for something from you, we've waited 40+ years...

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Guest John Gillespie
Mark, cant tell if you are a fan of Hoff. or not. Probably you will take this as a complement, because this is what we are taught is "objectivity" these days.

I am very distrustfull of the label "parnoid style" unless this description involves annalysis of the communications environment of politics.

Those who agree with government narratives (any governments, but ESPECIALLY ours during post war global uptic) have a tremnous ease provided them. They are always provided with facts connected to more facts on all channels, so that when they go to the watter cooler at work they KNOW that Joe "knows" the basics, and that is the basis, the starting point, for discussion.

Almost any challenge to these state sanctioned views is subject to scattershot quotation, straw-dog treatment and simply being ignored by the practically-state-sponsored-treatment. If the proponent of these views is very lucky this treatment will rise to corporate villification and mockery.

To define anything as "Paranoid" or "Conspiratorial" is very problematic, unless one includes a discussion of how democratic-- as in open to dissent, and disagreement with the river-like flow of governement narrative-- the media is in that particular country and historical period.

In most cases oposition views are destroyed by the media doing their job: NOT MEDIATING a potentially enlightening discussion between various viewpoints.

Any description of a "paranoid style" that does not take into question this epistomological crap, is, in the end, higher namecalling.

___________________________

Mark,

"Higher namecalling." Beautiful. That's so very cogent and succinct. They try so hard to conceal their contempt and animosity but it's the first club out of the bag, after all. I just wrote the following and may as well put it here:

I believe this posturing to be transparent but I wonder why, if our brethren recognize it in the main, it isn't cited. We've all seen this technique, typical of the arrogance of some cloistered theoreticians.

Carl Sagan's haughty put-down towards an accomplished astronomical researcher comes to mind: "...you're not even part of the conversation."

JG

Mark, cant tell if you are a fan of Hoff. or not. Probably you will take this as a complement, because this is what we are taught is "objectivity" these days.

I am very distrustfull of the label "parnoid style" unless this description involves annalysis of the communications environment of politics.

Those who agree with government narratives (any governments, but ESPECIALLY ours during post war global uptic) have a tremnous ease provided them. They are always provided with facts connected to more facts on all channels, so that when they go to the watter cooler at work they KNOW that Joe "knows" the basics, and that is the basis, the starting point, for discussion.

Almost any challenge to these state sanctioned views is subject to scattershot quotation, straw-dog treatment and simply being ignored by the practically-state-sponsored-treatment. If the proponent of these views is very lucky this treatment will rise to corporate villification and mockery.

To define anything as "Paranoid" or "Conspiratorial" is very problematic, unless one includes a discussion of how democratic-- as in open to dissent, and disagreement with the river-like flow of governement narrative-- the media is in that particular country and historical period.

In most cases oposition views are destroyed by the media doing their job: NOT MEDIATING a potentially enlightening discussion between various viewpoints.

Any description of a "paranoid style" that does not take into question this epistomological crap, is, in the end, higher namecalling.

___________________________

Mark,

Higher namecalling. Beautiful. That's so very cogent and succinct. They try so hard to conceal their contempt and animosity but it's the first club out of the bag, after all, and they call others paranoid.

I just wrote the following and may as well put it here:

"I believe this posturing to be transparent but I wonder why, if our brethren recognize it in the main, it isn't cited. Maybe their still kvetching. If only they would learn to love Big Brother.

We've all seen the techniques, though, typical of the arrogance of some cloistered theoreticians. Carl Sagan's haughty put-down towards an accomplished astronomical researcher comes to mind: "...you're not even part of the conversation."

JG

Edited by John Gillespie
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Thanx Andy. Had never heard of that one. Most of my paradoxes are unnamed and manifest themselves in evolutionary spelling.

It sounds like that one would definitely be kept out by Homeland Security!

Thank you Parmenides, let us think of of conspiracies rather than heaps :lol:

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Mark: Russel is one of my heroes too. His Man who Knew too much is definitely in my top two JFK books.

We might find that we agree on a lot of the facts surrounding the case.

What we seem to disagree with is the use of the term" paranoid style" with all of its baggage to describe the dabate on the assassination.

I think that the more one knows about Cold War propraganda history during this period the more PROBLEMATIC this "parnoia "rhetoric becomes.

But bluntly a hell of lot of our tax dollars have been spent muddying to deliberately muddy the watters. Fun books to read on this topic are

Christopher Simpson The Science of Coercion(1994) He is a history prof at American Universityl this book

is about how the ideology of the Cold War affected a new academic discipline called Communications.

The CIA and Culture: by Francis Saunders (New Press, 2001) She writes about how the CIA began funding left of center publications like Encounter magazine so that they could play the role of left gatekeepers--not her term. She documents meticulously how the CIA funded Encounter through the rockefeller and Ford Foundations.

Mr. Berlett is funded by these fortifications of reason too. AND WHAT DOES THAT PROVE Why nothing.

I heard mr B. on an episode of Democracy Now, precisely the type of forum where readers of Saunders book might expect left gatekeeping to occur. He appeared as a guest respondednt to David Ray Griffin,, after Amy Goodman had received lots of pressure to finally have Griffin on her show.

Of course Griffin was not told beforehand that Berman would be on and Berman had the advantage of preparation.

Mr. Bermans" presentation was very unimpressive. He chose to not address any of Griffin's presentation of the facts, and to call him names that essetially screamed "I can sound more middle class than you".

Finally Hoffs's rash jumping around from puritan times to the cold war is absurd. Does he take the degree of secrecy of government as an unchanging constant. Does he admit that at times governmental decisions are made with greater secrecy than at other times in history? Does he think the entire budget of the CIA and other Cold War intelligence agencies has been for the propagation of Tiddly Winks? These are variables that cold war academics were encouraged not to consider. (read No Ivory Tower about the falsly named McArthyism in the Universities.)

Probably I sound 77% patronizing by recomending these books. But they're good family entertainment. you can recommend some too if your in the mood.

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Bailyns' cool, man, but wasn't he essentially saying that the American Revolutionaries were "conspiracy theorists" i.e. that they approptiated the language of the British "outs" ie the Tories and their denunciations of Walpoles Namby Pamby use of patronage to gain control of Parliament.?

Couln't the "Ideological Origins of the American Revolution" be seen as an essay on the historical significance of what some might label "paranoia"?

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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