First of all Weinberg points out that most of the writing from the left about the populist right has been angry "screeds featuring the dangers and hypocrisy of the New Right," but that Goldwag takes a different approach.
Goldwag wants to understand the origins of the hostility in his new book. Here is perhaps his best explanation: “The New Hate is at once the expression of a quixotic desire to turn back the clock to a mythical golden age when women and minorities and gays and foreigners were less troublesome than they are today; when the government only gave and never took; and a cynical ploy to up the turnout of Republican voters. Most of the time it’s reflexive and vindictive to its core.”
That ploy has been going in since our country's founding - as Tim Wise so brilliantly covers in this speech (I know, its 9 1/2 minutes long. But if you haven't seen it before, please take the time to watch).
Weinberg ends his review of the book with this.
Goldwag comes to realize that what stands out most about contemporary paranoids and conspiracists is, ironically, their lack of newness: “The most depressing thing about the demagogues who tirelessly exploit it – in pamphlets and books and partisan newspapers two centuries ago; on websites, electronic social networks, and 24-hour cable news today – is how much alike they all turn out to be.” They cannot, will not, look inside themselves for the source of their perceived or real suffering. Finding conspiracies to blame is their default position.(Emphasis mine)
Perhaps at least some of the haters are somewhat self-aware. As Goldwag concludes, “Though millions of Americans claim to believe that Obama is a Muslim and a foreigner, and some of them hate him because of the color of his skin, most of them know that the real issue isn’t what Obama is, but what they increasingly fear they’re not.” What they are not is part of the ruling class, despite the privilege they believe being born a white American should bestow.
Boy, does that ring true in my experience! The inability to look inside oneself as the source of both suffering and the potential for freedom from it is the crux of much that ails us. That is an age-old story that should provide us not only with an understanding of hate but a cautionary tale to guide us in overcoming it.