If he were still alive, Hofstadter probably wouldn’t be surprised to find that what he called “the paranoid style” is back. He wrote his essay about this phenomenon shortly after Senator Joseph McCarthy’s lurid press conferences and demagogic congressional hearings about a supposedly vast communist conspiracy riveted and repulsed the nation. But Hofstadter argued that McCarthyism was simply the latest iteration of a longstanding American tradition. Over and over again, he observed, America had become an arena for “uncommonly angry minds” on the Right and the Left, who imagined that a diabolical conspiracy was on the verge of destroying the nation. What he described was more like a state of mind—one of “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy”—than an ideology or movement. One can be uncommonly angry and paranoid at any point on the political spectrum.