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Has Hysteria Conquered America?

Has Hysteria Conquered America? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Pankaj Mishra photo courtesy of Windham-Campbell Prize

A Zócalo/Noēma Magazine Event
Moderated by Ronald Brownstein, Senior Editor, The Atlantic and Author, The Second Civil War

The United States—once revered for its political stability—now seems gripped by political mania. American discourse, particularly around government and elections, is full of conspiracy theories, paranoia, xenophobia, and overheated denunciations. Such hysteria might be the product of more recent economic dislocation, failed wars, the digital revolution, or divisive elected officials. But perhaps it has deeper roots in America’s imperial history, and the contradictions within the country’s concept of itself. What explains the demented politics of the United States, and other countries in the West? Are the leading thinkers and policymakers of the West, who portray themselves as fighting political fanaticism, making any real progress—or are they making things worse?

Essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra, author most recently of Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race and Empire, visits Zócalo to discuss whether the United States has lost its political mind.

The Takeaway

It’s Time for the U.S. to Manifest Humility | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

It’s Time for the U.S. to Manifest Humility

America’s Political Crack-Up Is an Opportunity to Learn More From the Rest of the World

Political hysteria has conquered America—and made the United States much more like the rest of the world. So argued the London-based essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra during a fast-paced and …