Essential Pittsburgh
6:02 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

"Meet the New Hate, Same as the Old Hate" Conspiracy Theories Through History

Arthur Goldwag worked in book publishing for more than twenty years, including stints at Random House, The New York Review of Books, and Book-of-the-Month Club.
Arthur Goldwag worked in book publishing for more than twenty years, including stints at Random House, The New York Review of Books, and Book-of-the-Month Club.
Credit Arthur Goldwag / Facebook

Arthur Goldwag, writer of The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right speaks at the Penn State New Kensington campus this Thursday. 

The talk will focus on "conspiracy theory as the canary in the mine shaft of the Democratic Party."

The New Hate discusses racism and paranoid speculations about money that have long thrived on the American fringe as possible conspiracy theories. 

It also links the hysteria about the Illuminati of the new American Republic of the 1790s and the McCarthyism of the 1950s, and considers the similarities between the anti-New Deal sentiments of the 1930s and the modern day Tea Party movement.

When Goldwag originally began his book he said he focused on the older conspiracy theories and then something changed.

“I had written it [the book] basically for fun and I didn’t realize just how mainstream these things were. Then the economy collapsed, we elected the first African-American President, the Tea Party rose, "Birtherism" rose, the John Birch society became more and more present, and I started to hear personally from a lot of the people that I had been writing about and I realized that this stuff still exists and it forms a lot of people’s thinking. A lot more people don’t even realize that their thinking is informed by it.”

In addition to the evening lecture, Goldwag will meet during the day with students in an honors seminar class that is taught by John Craig Hammond, who invited the author to campus and is an assistant professor of history. Goldwag is also author of The Beliefnet Guide to Kabbalah, Isms & Ologies, and Cults, Conspiracies & Secret Societies.