Right-Wing Populism in America:
Too Close for Comfort

by Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons
New York: Guilford Publications, 2000

Reviews of Right-Wing Populism in America

Library Journal

"This detailed historical examination...strikes an excellent balance between narrative and theory. The authors see common threads in populist ideology, including the distrust of non-producing elements (such as bankers), the scapegoating of groups (Jews or gays), and the use of apocalyptic narratives to present ideas to followers."
-Stephen Hupp, Urbana University, OH

Midwest Book Review

Right-wing militia and other anarchist organizations have received renewed attention since the Oklahoma City bombing: Right-Wing Populism in America examines their historical roots and current operations in this country, with two leading political analysis providing the background and insights on conspiracy theory, ethnic scapegoating and other movement trademarks. From the Ku Klux Klan to nationalist cliques, this provides an important consideration of sentiments and motivations

Elaine Wolff:

In their new book, "Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort," Lyons and co-author Chip Berlet shed some much-needed light on the power behind the New Right coalition and its firm foundation in American history. Berlet and Lyons caution the reader that racism and scapegoating, far from fringe elements in our society, have been a key ingredient in the development of our nation from the very beginning because they speak to the human temptation to find an easy target rather than challenge the larger social and economic structures that create inequality....

...[T]he real problem with democracy is that almost no one really believes in it. Many, if not most, people I meet are convinced that they and their like-minded acquaintances are the only people fit to govern or vote. A pluralist society is supposed to be based on the notion of reconciling and compromising conflicting demands, but America has yet to see an era where one group or another wasn't being demonized as the root of her problems. Scapegoating is useful, as authors Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons note in their new book...it diverts attention away from the real causes of inequality.

Living Presence Ministries

Is there a cure for End-Time paranoia? Author Chip Berlet and Matthew Lyons think so and the solution lies in breaking the "demonization, scapegoating and conspiracy theory" cycle which predominates End-Time religion. Far more than what most Americans think, right-wing militias and other antigovernment organizations have influenced both mainstream politics and religion. This book offers an in-depth look at the historical roots and current landscape of right-wing populism in the United States. The authors illuminate how antielitist rhetoric, apocalyptic schemes, conspiracy theories, and ethnic scapegoating has fueled many political movements from the colonial period to the present day. Right-Wing Populism in America shows how large numbers of disaffected Americans have embraced right-wing populism in a misguided attempt to pinpoint scapegoats rather than create solutions to underlying problems.

Too Close for Comfort:

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