chapter  1
The American Far-Right in Perspective
Pages 10

More than a half century ago, sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset (1960) postulated that each stratum of modern society-upper, middle, and lowerhas a characteristic brand of demagogic extremism and an audience for it. “Working-class authoritarianism,” for example, finds its core of support among the lower stratum of manual blue-collar laborers and peasants. Conservative authoritarianism, on the other hand, attracts the upper stratum of nontitled gentry, landed aristocrats, ordained clerics, and the general staff of the military. As for the middle stratum of small merchants and farmers, craftspeople, low-level clerks, and professionals, they gravitate toward what Lipset calls “classical fascism,” an objectionable label that I will avoid in these pages (for a scathing critique of the rhetorical abuses of “fascism,” see Gregor, 2006).