He described the paranoid politician viewing his adversary as “sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, and luxury-loving.” As a liberal, Hofstadter was writing about Barry Goldwater’s 1964 takeover of the Republican Party, but he acknowledged that the syndrome “is not necessarily right-wing.”
As Novak shows in his column, this style of projecting your opponents as evil, all-controlling conspirators is being increasingly adopted today by the Left.
Now just because a person is paranoid doesn’t mean everybody is NOT out to get him, but the demonizing of people we disagree with is surely a problem in today’s discourse and not just in politics. Isn’t this a serious moral problem today, preventing us from loving and serving our neighbors, including the neighbor who is our enemy but whom we are still enjoined to love?
UPDATE: Let me add some more thoughts: Of course we Christians believe that evil is real and pervasive in sinful human beings. Also that demons are real and that behind earthly woes lie spiritual powers and principalities. But human beings, however depraved, are not demons, are they? They are enslaved to the great demon, but God so loved the denizens of this fallen world that He died for them to give them liberty. Doesn’t this imply that we should look at sinners with pity and not just with hostility, lamenting their doom and hoping for their salvation?