The New Hate

Ebook $11.99

Vintage | Feb 07, 2012 | 384 Pages | ISBN 9780307907073

  • Paperback$16.00

    Vintage | Sep 04, 2012 | 400 Pages | 5-3/16 x 8 | ISBN 9780307742513

  • Ebook$11.99

    Vintage | Feb 07, 2012 | 384 Pages | ISBN 9780307907073

Praise

Praise for The New Hate:

“Titillating, shocking, brilliant, and often hilarious . . . a mesmerizing tour through the landscape of nutbaggery in the US.”
The Advocate 

“The most up-to-date. . . . The best written and the least paranoid [book] about paranoid haters.”
In These Times
 
“Arthur Goldwag’s dig through the history of American hate groups and haters . . . finds plenty of demented, paranoid, vitriolic dirt. . . . Goldwag is at his best when finding xenophobic parallels between anti-Catholic nativists and flamboyant anti-Semites, or language shared by extremist critics of FDR and Obama.”
The Portland Mercury
 
“A provocative, intellectually rigorous book written clearly and with an admirable lack of hatred.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Goldwag has performed a valuable service in tracing the history of the new hate to the old.”
—Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler and How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III
 
“A comprehensive history of hatred—it’s a history of misunderstanding fueled by a brand of ignorance so unbelievably irrational, so egregiously wrong, so utterly antihuman, that it staggers the imagination of thinking adults. What Goldwag shows clearly is that the new hate is the old hate of anti-Semitism, overt racism, and paranoid conspiracy warmed up and served cold.”
—LA Progressive
 
“Fantastic—well written, clear-headed, sober. . . . Arthur Goldwag’s The New Hate helps lay bare and make excruciatingly clear why the populist right is what it is at present. . . . A riveting read. . . . If you’re just coming to (socio-political) consciousness and want to understand how we’ve moved in the ways we have for the past decade+, this book’s where to go.”
—Weston Cutter, Corduroy Books
 
“Loaded with insightful and obscure information about groups and movements, from the John Birch Society and the Freemasons to the tea partiers and ‘Birthers’. . . . If you are easily roused into rage by the blind ignorance of others, this is not a book for bedtime reading.”
Willamette Week
  
“A lucid and detailed account of the irrational and bigoted right-wing populists and their conspiracy theories of power in the United States. These conspiracists are like intellectual vampires sucking the blood out of the body politic and leaving behind a weakened democracy in a fading twilight for civil society. Goldwag illuminates the conspiracists to reverse their trajectory of increasing influence, which is a periodic problem for our nation.”
—Chip Berlet, co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America
 
“Arthur Goldwag confronts conspiracist fantasies and paranoia with reason and humanity–not to mention the briskness and drama of great historical storytelling. [His] dissection of how the political fringe has edged into mainstream culture deserves the attention and admiration of everyone who is concerned about the coarsening of our politics.”
—Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation
 
The New Hate is a timely examination of the deep roots of the conspiracy theories that have animated the American radical right for more than a century. This important book gives readers the background they need to understand the astounding extremist rhetoric that now passes for mainstream political debate.”
—Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center
 
“This exhumation of the deep and gnarled roots of the American conspiratorial tradition could not be more timely. Combining a sweeping historical eye and sharp contemporary analysis, Arthur Goldwag explains not just why American politics in the Age of Obama is infected by a virulent strain of right-wing conspiracism–but why it has always been thus. . . . The New Hate covers everything you need to know about the paranoid style in American politics.”
—Alexander Zaitchik, author of Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance
 
“An informative and lively history of organized hate groups and their role in U.S. politics. . . . A witty narrator, Goldwag combines his research with contemporary analysis to explain what conspiracy theories all have in common and to show how the new hate is the same as the old, though it’s now ‘hiding in plain sight’. . . . Exhaustively well researched and passionately written. . . . Goldwag excels at showing how the obsessions of the past connect with those of the present.”
Publishers Weekly
 
“Wide-ranging narrative. . . . A useful primer on the nation’s ‘long-standing penchant for conspiratorial thinking, its never-ending quest for scapegoats’. . . . [Goldwag’s] thoroughness in exploring this subject is impressive.’”
Shelf Awareness
 
“A well-reported study of disaffected groups who hate other groups whose members look or think differently than the haters.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)
 
“Goldwag’s book makes a wonderful complement to Frank’s more openly polemical analysis [in Pity the Billionaire]. While Frank stresses the unique aspects of the Tea Party movement, Goldwag stresses its continuity with the past (the ‘new hate,’ he argues, is the old hate repackaged). Between them, they get to the heart of a movement that it’s all too easy to dismiss out of hand. Both books are excellent, but together they’re essential.”
The Australian

Author Q&A

Q: You talk about the fervor over Obama’s birth certificate as one of the factors that made you want to write this book. What else led you to write a book about the role of conspiracy and hatred in America?
 
A: America’s Founders were men of ideas. But some of the most powerful tropes in the American identity are borne of faith rather than reason. America is the New Jerusalem, blessed and chosen by God; America is Exceptional, it has a Manifest Destiny. But Eden had its serpent—and the obverse side of blind faith is blind hatred. Our long-time adversaries in the USSR were so dangerous because they subscribed to an absolutist ideology, in which the ends always justified the means. American religiosity can be equally dangerous, because it so often devolves into scapegoating.
 
You know what really got me going, though? It was when I started to read about myself online as a paid tool of the Zionist-Rockefeller-funded New World Order. These people knew nothing about me, but they thought they knew everything. They believed that the world was run by a secret cabal but that somehow it was transparent to them.  
 
I started to read America’s historic haters in a continuous present tense—and I began to see that there has never not been a New Hate of one sort or another.
 
 
Q: Did you find that the patterns of conspiratorial thinking and the quest for scapegoats have been most prevalent in times of recession and hardship?
 
A: Yes, and it’s even more important to recognize that economic hardships have rarely been equally shared. Foreclosed farmers have long felt victimized by eastern bankers—as why wouldn’t they? Unemployed blue collar workers feel victimized by the internationalist fat cats who off-shored their jobs. Societies’ economic winners have always worked hard to deflect the anger of the left-behind onto someone more exotic and sinister-seeming than themselves (Jews, Catholics, immigrants, secular Masons, intellectuals, uppity blacks, homosexual activists, anarchists or, at the outer edges, even semi-hallucinatory factions: devil-worshipping Bilderbergs; billionaire Communists, baby-killing feminists).  It’s a vulgar shell game, and it makes me furious that the people who have the most to be angry about let themselves be misled.      
 
 
Q: Which groups and individuals do you consider to be the largest promoters of The New Hate today?
 
A: What astounds me is how determined the mainstream media is to NOT acknowledge how much hatred is out there. Ron Paul, a long time Bircher, has appeared countless times on Alex Jones’s conspiratorial 9/11 denialist radio show and signed his name to undeniably racist, homophobic, and conspiracist screeds. Pundits furrow their brows and say, “yes, but he doesn’t seem hateful.” In the meantime, as seemingly disparate groups as white nationalists, Christian dominionists, and Ayn Rand libertarians claim him as their own.
 
Herman Cain’s basic brand proposition was that he was the antidote to Obama—his own black skin would magically cancel out whatever advantage Obama had gained from affirmative action. He embraced the role of being one of “our blacks,” as Ann Coulter so charmingly put it. Newt Gingrich leapt into the presidential race calling for a ban on Shariah law and mosque-building with the same zeal that Henry Ford attacked the Jewish kahal in the 1920s; Rick Perry tried to revive his foundering campaign with an appeal to defeat the homosexual agenda and beat back the people who declared war on Christmas. Rick Santorum promises us that the day will come when women will be forced to give birth to their rapists’ children. And Mitt Romney, the benign pragmatic businessman, told a rally in Iowa just the other day that “President Obama wants to make us a European style welfare state, where instead of being a merit society we’re an entitlement society, where government’s role is to take from some and give to others….If they do that, they’ll substitute envy for ambition, and they’ll poison the very spirit of America and keep us from being one nation under God.” In another day, they might have called that McCarthyism.
 
 
Q: In today’s politics, many mainstream Republicans are trying to court these extremist fringe groups stir up anger and regain power, even if they don’t necessarily support their messages. Could this backfire on the party?
 
A: I dearly hope so. Occupy Wall Street arose out of frustration with Republican hubris and Obama’s exasperating fecklessness. Now that Obama seems to be adopting some of OWS’s combativeness, his reelection campaign seems less hopeless. Certainly the spectacle in Iowa that just came to such an inconclusive conclusion hasn’t covered the Republican brand with glory.
 
I think it’s one thing to tell people that Obama wants to kill your grandparents or to rail about Cadillac-driving welfare queens. It’s much harder to take back the few entitlements
that your own constituency has left—and if the Republicans do win in 2012, they will roll back Obamacare, privatize social security and Medicare, and maybe even take us into another unfunded war. I think the Republicans have seriously underestimated the extent of economic misery that’s out there. Reagan’s blue collar Democrats still had good-paying jobs. Today’s blue collar workers are deeply distressed. Obama hasn’t delivered on his promises to them, but neither have the Republicans.
 
 
Q: Readers will be surprised by some of the history you present in THE NEW HATE, such as the revived Ku Klux Klan in the 1910s and 1920s, which was run on a for-profit basis. What were some other forgotten histories that you uncovered?
 
A: One of my favorite anecdotes happens in 1798, when Samuel Morse’s father stands up in the pulpit of his church and says, just like McCarthy would about the Communists a century and a half later, “I have, my brethren, an official, authenticated list of the names, ages, places of nativity, professions, &c. of the officers and members of a Society of Illuminati (or as they are now more generally and properly styled Illuminees) consisting of one hundred members, instituted in Virginia, by the Grand Orient of FRANCE.” 
 
I grew up in the certainty that Eisenhower was a reactionary. It was something of a revelation to me when I learned how potent the forces on his right were, and how hard he worked to hold them in abeyance. Unfortunately, the ideological heirs of people that Eisenhower and Nixon would have regarded as troglodytes are now calling most of the shots.
 
 
Q: You write that what’s new about The New Hate is how widespread and mainstream it has become thanks to the internet and the 24-hour news cycle. Had these resources been available to hate groups in America’s past, how do you think our history would have been different?
 
A: We had a very active press and a cheap and efficient postal service—people could read broadsides that were brimming with anti-Masonic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, pro-temperance, abolitionist, Confederate, Silverite, Populist, Radical sentiments, and there were paperbacks and pamphlets that put sites like ConspiracyPlanet and InfoWars to shame. People were bigger joiners in the old days too—there was a whole panoply of single issue political parties for people to join.
 
But all of that involved a lot of self-selecting. If you were going to join a Know Nothing group, you had to make some effort—maybe you had to buy a uniform and learn a secret handshake and some doggerel, and go to long meetings every week. Nowadays people can pick up crazy conspiracy theories just by clicking on WorldNetDaily’s site—stories that are ratified by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin when they listen to the radio in their car, or tune into Fox News before dinner. Politicians can reference them, directly or indirectly, with codewords like “Socialism” and “Soros” and “Bill Ayers” and “Saul Alinsky.” The funny thing is that Ron Paul—who is the most deeply steeped in conspiracy theory and who clearly believes his fringe economic theories—is less manipulative in some ways than a cynical, opportunistic figure like Newt Gingrich, who is a much more practiced demagogue.
 
 
Q: In addition to your book, you maintain a blog. Do you frequently encounter conspiracists in this forum? How do you communicate with them? Do you try to reason with them?
 
A: I never reason with them. We might have a common language, but we have no common ground. I don’t censor their posts and I try to do justice to their ideas when I write about them—I’m not into ad hominems—but I don’t engage with them directly, in the same way that I try not to make eye contact with people who preach on subways.
 
 
Q: Is there any hope for us to break the cycle of hate?
 
A: We’ll never break it if we don’t call it what it is. That’s what I’m all about—getting people to recognize the proverbial elephant in the room. 
 
 
 

 

Q: You talk about the fervor over Obama’s birth certificate as one of the factors that made you want to write this book. What else led you to write a book about the role of conspiracy and hatred in America?
 
A: America’s Founders were men of ideas. But some of the most powerful tropes in the American identity are borne of faith rather than reason. America is the New Jerusalem, blessed and chosen by God; America is Exceptional, it has a Manifest Destiny. But Eden had its serpent—and the obverse side of blind faith is blind hatred. Our long-time adversaries in the USSR were so dangerous because they subscribed to an absolutist ideology, in which the ends always justified the means. American religiosity can be equally dangerous, because it so often devolves into scapegoating.
 
You know what really got me going, though? It was when I started to read about myself online as a paid tool of the Zionist-Rockefeller-funded New World Order. These people knew nothing about me, but they thought they knew everything. They believed that the world was run by a secret cabal but that somehow it was transparent to them.  
 
I started to read America’s historic haters in a continuous present tense—and I began to see that there has never not been a New Hate of one sort or another.
 
 
Q: Did you find that the patterns of conspiratorial thinking and the quest for scapegoats have been most prevalent in times of recession and hardship?
 
A: Yes, and it’s even more important to recognize that economic hardships have rarely been equally shared. Foreclosed farmers have long felt victimized by eastern bankers—as why wouldn’t they? Unemployed blue collar workers feel victimized by the internationalist fat cats who off-shored their jobs. Societies’ economic winners have always worked hard to deflect the anger of the left-behind onto someone more exotic and sinister-seeming than themselves (Jews, Catholics, immigrants, secular Masons, intellectuals, uppity blacks, homosexual activists, anarchists or, at the outer edges, even semi-hallucinatory factions: devil-worshipping Bilderbergs; billionaire Communists, baby-killing feminists).  It’s a vulgar shell game, and it makes me furious that the people who have the most to be angry about let themselves be misled.      
 
 
Q: Which groups and individuals do you consider to be the largest promoters of The New Hate today?
 
A: What astounds me is how determined the mainstream media is to NOT acknowledge how much hatred is out there. Ron Paul, a long time Bircher, has appeared countless times on Alex Jones’s conspiratorial 9/11 denialist radio show and signed his name to undeniably racist, homophobic, and conspiracist screeds. Pundits furrow their brows and say, “yes, but he doesn’t seem hateful.” In the meantime, as seemingly disparate groups as white nationalists, Christian dominionists, and Ayn Rand libertarians claim him as their own.
 
Herman Cain’s basic brand proposition was that he was the antidote to Obama—his own black skin would magically cancel out whatever advantage Obama had gained from affirmative action. He embraced the role of being one of “our blacks,” as Ann Coulter so charmingly put it. Newt Gingrich leapt into the presidential race calling for a ban on Shariah law and mosque-building with the same zeal that Henry Ford attacked the Jewish kahal in the 1920s; Rick Perry tried to revive his foundering campaign with an appeal to defeat the homosexual agenda and beat back the people who declared war on Christmas. Rick Santorum promises us that the day will come when women will be forced to give birth to their rapists’ children. And Mitt Romney, the benign pragmatic businessman, told a rally in Iowa just the other day that “President Obama wants to make us a European style welfare state, where instead of being a merit society we’re an entitlement society, where government’s role is to take from some and give to others….If they do that, they’ll substitute envy for ambition, and they’ll poison the very spirit of America and keep us from being one nation under God.” In another day, they might have called that McCarthyism.
 
 
Q: In today’s politics, many mainstream Republicans are trying to court these extremist fringe groups stir up anger and regain power, even if they don’t necessarily support their messages. Could this backfire on the party?
 
A: I dearly hope so. Occupy Wall Street arose out of frustration with Republican hubris and Obama’s exasperating fecklessness. Now that Obama seems to be adopting some of OWS’s combativeness, his reelection campaign seems less hopeless. Certainly the spectacle in Iowa that just came to such an inconclusive conclusion hasn’t covered the Republican brand with glory.
 
I think it’s one thing to tell people that Obama wants to kill your grandparents or to rail about Cadillac-driving welfare queens. It’s much harder to take back the few entitlements
that your own constituency has left—and if the Republicans do win in 2012, they will roll back Obamacare, privatize social security and Medicare, and maybe even take us into another unfunded war. I think the Republicans have seriously underestimated the extent of economic misery that’s out there. Reagan’s blue collar Democrats still had good-paying jobs. Today’s blue collar workers are deeply distressed. Obama hasn’t delivered on his promises to them, but neither have the Republicans.
 
 
Q: Readers will be surprised by some of the history you present in THE NEW HATE, such as the revived Ku Klux Klan in the 1910s and 1920s, which was run on a for-profit basis. What were some other forgotten histories that you uncovered?
 
A: One of my favorite anecdotes happens in 1798, when Samuel Morse’s father stands up in the pulpit of his church and says, just like McCarthy would about the Communists a century and a half later, “I have, my brethren, an official, authenticated list of the names, ages, places of nativity, professions, &c. of the officers and members of a Society of Illuminati (or as they are now more generally and properly styled Illuminees) consisting of one hundred members, instituted in Virginia, by the Grand Orient of FRANCE.” 
 
I grew up in the certainty that Eisenhower was a reactionary. It was something of a revelation to me when I learned how potent the forces on his right were, and how hard he worked to hold them in abeyance. Unfortunately, the ideological heirs of people that Eisenhower and Nixon would have regarded as troglodytes are now calling most of the shots.
 
 
Q: You write that what’s new about The New Hate is how widespread and mainstream it has become thanks to the internet and the 24-hour news cycle. Had these resources been available to hate groups in America’s past, how do you think our history would have been different?
 
A: We had a very active press and a cheap and efficient postal service—people could read broadsides that were brimming with anti-Masonic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, pro-temperance, abolitionist, Confederate, Silverite, Populist, Radical sentiments, and there were paperbacks and pamphlets that put sites like ConspiracyPlanet and InfoWars to shame. People were bigger joiners in the old days too—there was a whole panoply of single issue political parties for people to join.
 
But all of that involved a lot of self-selecting. If you were going to join a Know Nothing group, you had to make some effort—maybe you had to buy a uniform and learn a secret handshake and some doggerel, and go to long meetings every week. Nowadays people can pick up crazy conspiracy theories just by clicking on WorldNetDaily’s site—stories that are ratified by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin when they listen to the radio in their car, or tune into Fox News before dinner. Politicians can reference them, directly or indirectly, with codewords like “Socialism” and “Soros” and “Bill Ayers” and “Saul Alinsky.” The funny thing is that Ron Paul—who is the most deeply steeped in conspiracy theory and who clearly believes his fringe economic theories—is less manipulative in some ways than a cynical, opportunistic figure like Newt Gingrich, who is a much more practiced demagogue.
 
 
Q: In addition to your book, you maintain a blog. Do you frequently encounter conspiracists in this forum? How do you communicate with them? Do you try to reason with them?
 
A: I never reason with them. We might have a common language, but we have no common ground. I don’t censor their posts and I try to do justice to their ideas when I write about them—I’m not into ad hominems—but I don’t engage with them directly, in the same way that I try not to make eye contact with people who preach on subways.
 
 
Q: Is there any hope for us to break the cycle of hate?
 
A: We’ll never break it if we don’t call it what it is. That’s what I’m all about—getting people to recognize the proverbial elephant in the room. 
 
 
 

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