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Politics & Current Affairs

Conspiracy Theory Politics

“Americans have more to fear from the folly of establishments than from the paranoia such follies summon up.” Ross Douthat says our over-the-top politics represent symbolic protest.

“Tuning in to Glenn Beck or joining your local Tea Party seems like a woefully insufficient response to the possibility that Barack Obama is a Manchurian candidate groomed from birth to undermine democracy and impose Shariah law. But if we understand those paranoias to be symbolic beliefs, rather than real convictions—an attention-grabbing way of saying, ‘I consider Obama phony, dishonest and un-American’—then conservative behavior makes a lot more sense. Such beliefs can still be dangerous. The line between what’s symbolic and what’s real isn’t always clear, and a determined demagogue can exploit symbolic beliefs as well as real ones.”


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