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Article
The Paranoid Style in Politics: Ideological Underpinnings of the Discourse of Second Amendment Absolutism
Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict (2015)
  • Adam Hodges, Carnegie Mellon University
Abstract
In American politics, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has asserted itself as a leading voice in the gun rights movement. The strident rhetoric emanating from the NRA leadership impacts the development of a broader discourse in American public life over gun rights — a discourse of Second Amendment absolutism — that articulates a set of assumptions and explanations in defense of an absolutist stance against gun regulation in any form. This paper examines the ideologies that underlie this absolutist discourse and the identities those ideologies help to construct. In particular, the absolutist discourse is analyzed through the lens of what historian Richard Hofstadter termed “the paranoid style in American politics.” The aim is to isolate and expose the extremist elements of this discourse, which polarize political debate and hinder the democratic process.
Keywords
  • Gun rights movement,
  • Second Amendment absolutism,
  • Ideology,
  • National Rifle Association,
  • Paranoid style
Publication Date
2015
DOI
10.1075/jlac.3.1
Citation Information
Adam Hodges. "The Paranoid Style in Politics: Ideological Underpinnings of the Discourse of Second Amendment Absolutism" Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict Vol. 3 Iss. 1 (2015) p. 87 - 106 ISSN: 2213-1272
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/adamhodges/59/