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The Paranoid ApocalypseA Hundred-Year Retrospective on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion$
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Richard Landes and Steven T. Katz

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814748923

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814748923.001.0001

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Protocols to the Left, Protocols to the Right

Protocols to the Left, Protocols to the Right

Conspiracism in American Political Discourse at the Turn of the Second Millennium

(p.186) 14 Protocols to the Left, Protocols to the Right
The Paranoid Apocalypse

Chip Berlet

NYU Press

This chapter shows how a shared conspiracist metanarrative permits people to take conspiracy allegations rooted in the Protocols, sanitize the anti-Semitic references, and peddle the resulting analogs to the political left. It explores the impact that apocalyptic beliefs can have on Protocols-inspired conspiracism in triggering murderous scapegoating, as apocalyptic beliefs dualize all human interactions into good and evil forces. To illustrate, the chapter traces the career of the “Heroic Gnostic” who gains a following and, using scapegoating of the apocalyptic enemy as their major rhetorical trope, launches a movement that moves from the margins to the center. Like Hitler with his “Nationalsozialismus,” the Gnostic hero moves back and forth from right to left, from authoritarian to egalitarian, with ease, making sure at every step to foment violent hatred.

Keywords:   shared conspiracist metanarrative, Protocols-inspired conspiracism, scapegoating, Heroic Gnostic, apocalyptic enemy

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