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I am new to Consensus historians and am adding this in the event that others might be as well.......
The label "consensus" history probably doesn't capture well the nuance in Hofstadter. I find Rogin's distinction between "realists" and "symbolists" to be more analytically musical. There is lack of consensus in Hofstadter's various historical narratives, it is just of a different order than that found in Beard. Hence Rogin:
The realist, instrumental approach is logically compatible with both radical and conservative politics. But for historical reasons it was originally employed by Progressive scholars like Charles Beard who were critical of dominant elites, scholars who uncovered buried special interests beneath the claims to national virtue. The symbolist approach developed in reaction to the interest-oriented exposés of the American political tradition. It shifted attention not only away from reason and interest and toward symbol and myth but also away from dominant American institutions and toward oppositional, fringe, and mass movements. This division in perspective split the American political tradition in two. Realists saw political repression when they examined countersubversion; symbolists saw paranoia. Michael Paul Rogin, Ronald Reagan, The Movie, 273
The writings of Hofstadter and a generation of social scientists emerging from left-wing politics of the 1930s on their way to the neo-conservatism of the 1970s (Daniel Bell, Seymour Martin Lipset, etc.) leavened in social scientific concepts of status honor and status conflict from Max Weber and psychoanalytic insights drawn from Freud (who was the rage in the early post-WWII era). This comes out especially clearly in the symbolists' analysis and critique of McCarthyism (see Hofstader The Paranoid Style and Daniel Bell ed. The Radical Right). In their analyses, a rational political center, organized around overlapping interests (see David Truman The Governmental Process) and an institutional disincentive towards ideology-driven politics (see Bell The End of Ideology; and Robert Dahl Who Governs?), faced ongoing challenges from the social and cultural margins, whether radical laborites or those groups exhibiting downward status mobility who were driven by uncompromising interests, beliefs, and values.
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