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A history of America's demons 1693: Cotton Mather suggests that the spirits attacking Salem are allied with the colony's human enemies. At their "Cheef Witch-meetings," he writes, "there has been present some French canadians, and some Indian Sagamores, to concert the methods of ruining New England." 1835: A gunman tries to kill Andrew Jackson. The president accuses a senator of plotting the assassination. Jackson's critics counter that the shooting was arranged by the president himself to gain public support. 1868: An article in the New-York Tribune declares that the Democrats have engineered malaria outbreaks in the nation's capital, pumping "the air, and the water, and the whisky of Washington full of poison." 1967: President Lyndon Johnson asks his cabinet if the Communists are behind the country's urban riots. The attorney general tells him that the evidence isn't there, but Johnson isn't convinced. Conspiracy theories aren't just a feature of the fringe. They've been a potent force across the political spectrum, at the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. In The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker explores this rich history, arguing that conspiracy stories should be read not just as claims to be either believed or debunked but also as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it reveals something true about the anxieties and experiences of those who believe and repeat it, even if the story says nothing true about the objects of the theory itself. In a story that stretches from the seventeenth century to today, Walker lays out five conspiracy narratives that recur in American politics and popular culture. With intensive research and a deadpan sense of humor, The United States of Paranoia combines the rigor of real history with the punch of pulp fiction.
A reference guide to conspiracy theory presents over 300 entries describing events and theories, analyzing the historical, intellectual, and political context of each, and offering evidence to support or refute each one.
Democracy may be one of the most admired ideas ever concocted, but what if it’s also one of the most harebrained? After many years of writing about democracy for a living, David Harsanyi has concluded that it’s the most overrated, overused, and misunderstood idea in political life. The less we have of it the better. “Democracy” is not synonymous with “freedom.” It is not the opposite of tyranny. In fact, the Founding Fathers knew that democracy can lead to tyranny. That’s why they built so many safeguards against it into the Constitution. Democracy, Harsanyi argues, has made our government irrational, irresponsible, and invasive. It has left the American people with only two options—domination by the majority or a government that can’t possibly work. The modern age has imbued democracy with the mystique of infallibility. But Harsanyi reminds us that the vast majority of political philosophers, including the founders, have thought that responsible, limited government based on direct majority rule over a large, let alone continental scale was a practical impossibility. In The People Have Spoken, you’ll learn: Why the Framers of our Constitution were intent on establishing a republic, not a “democracy” How democracy undermines self-government How shockingly out of touch with reality most voters really are Why democracy is an economic wrecking ball—and an invitation to a politics of envy and corruption How the great political philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Burke and Tocqueville predicted with uncanny accuracy that democracy could lead to tyranny Harsanyi warns that if we don’t recover the Founders’ republican vision, “democracy” might very well spell the end of American liberty and prosperity.
Conspiracy Theories in the United States and the Middle East is the first book to approach conspiracy theorizing from a decidedly comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. Whereas previous studies have engaged with conspiracy theories within national frameworks only, this collection of essays draws attention to the fact that conspiracist visions are transnational narratives that travel between and connect different cultures. It focuses on the United States and the Middle East because these two regions of the world are entangled in manifold ways and conspiracy theories are currently extremely prominent in both. The contributors to the volume are scholars of Middle Eastern Studies, Anthropology, History, Political Science, Cultural Studies, and American Studies, who approach the subject from a variety of different theories and methodologies. However, all of them share the fundamental assumption that conspiracy theories must not be dismissed out of hand or ridiculed. Usually wrong and frequently dangerous, they are nevertheless articulations of and distorted responses to needs and anxieties that must be taken seriously. Focusing on individual case studies and displaying a high sensitivity for local conditions and the cultural environment, the essays offer a nuanced image of the workings of conspiracy theories in the United States and the Middle East.
For many years, conspiracy theories have been among the most popular story elements in Hollywood films. According to the “conspiracy culture,” Government, Big Business, the Church, even aliens—all of which, bundled together, comprise the ubiquitous “Them”—are concealing some of the biggest secrets in American and world history. From The Manchurian Candidate (1962) to JFK (1991), The Matrix (1999) to The Da Vinci Code (2006), this decade-by-decade history explores our fascination with paranoia. The work paints a vivid picture of several of the more prevalent conspiracy theories and the entertainment they have inspired, not only in theatrical films but also in such television series as The X-Files, Lost and V.
Narratives based on conspiratorial and paranoid thinking have become increasingly prominent throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. From the prosaic to the outlandish, conspiracy theories involve aliens and Nazis, underground bases and mind control technology. They range from sinister tales of malevolent reptilian beings infiltrating our government to fears of the New World Order rounding up patriotic Americans and putting them into internment camps. These stories and their underlying concerns have a long history in the U.S. and have often been bolstered by revelations of real conspiracies and cover-ups by private and public entities. This book examines conspiracy theories and the narratives constructed by those who believe and propagate them, providing a unique view of U.S. history and highlighting fears both founded and unfounded.
Reveals how groups, such as the Moral Majority and survivalists, believe in the existence of anti-American conspiracies and how these conspiracies are created from the thinnest fabric

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