The Leader pp 153-170 | Cite as

Paranoid Leadership

  • David M. TermanEmail author


Richard Hofstadter’s astute analysis of the paranoid style in American history—from an eighteenth-century group of New England clergy who feared a massive subversion from a small European enlightenment group, the Illuminati through the many nativist movements and virulent hate groups in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, along with, one might add, the activities of right-wing extremists since the election of Barack Obama—notes the significance of the paranoid theme from the very beginnings of our political and cultural experience. This troubling tendency in human affairs is not, as some authors have said, characteristic of modern times—especially the twentieth century. I believe we can even see evidence of it in ancient Egypt, while perhaps the urtext of the paranoid organization is the book of Revelation, written in 95 AD, that concludes the New Testament. Such paranoid thought that I have called the “paranoid gestalt” has since arisen in large groups and small throughout Western history, and we have seen it in other cultures as well.


Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian Government Paranoid Thought Narcissistic Injury Half Brother 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chicago Institute for PsychoanalysisChicagoUSA

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