Author, Political Psychologist, Psychoanalyst

Advance Praise for Hatreds We Love

“A remarkably well-written and lucid excavation of the current political psyche. The growth of tribalism, the propensity for treating political antagonists as “psychological wastebins,” and the seductions of authoritarianism are only a few of the tough subjects Stephen Ducat takes on in this astute and necessary book.”

Laura Kipnis, New York Times Editor’s Choice author of Love in a Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis.


“With so many books about Trump, it is refreshing to read one that analyzes the power he has over his followers, especially his ability to tap into an eagerness to form groups that embrace their numerous grievances. Dr. Ducat is a psychoanalyst who lives in a rural setting awash with Trump signs and MAGA hats, making this deep dive into what he calls ‘tribal psychology’ unusually authentic and well-worth reading.”

Justin A Frank, M.D., New York Times best-selling author of Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President.


“Ducat argues convincingly that the disturbing social and political trends we are witnessing today are nothing new. His is the most compelling analysis of this distressing truth I have read since Hannah Arendt’s.”

Mark Solms, Ph.D., author of The Hidden Spring: A Journey to the Source of Consciousness.


“Amid a searing indictment of Trumpism and the Banana Republican values that produced it, Stephen J. Ducat lucidly synthesizes the psychological and tribalistic roots of today’s democracy crisis. This is a wide-ranging and penetrating look at how we got to this sorry pass in our national life and how we might move beyond it by adjusting the moral frames that drive our politics. Xenophobic versus xenophilic; social dominance versus empathetic egalitarianism—the fissures are all here, in plain English.”

Jonathan Alter, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, NBC and MSNBC political analyst, and New York Times best-selling author of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life.


“Stephen Ducat aims to articulate the basis for the contemporary right-wing movement led by Donald Trump. He accomplishes this goal while avoiding reinforcement of the splitting that so divides this nation and the world. Ducat pulls no punches, while positioning himself in a complex and thoughtful way without disavowal and sanctimony. Those of us who are dismayed and confused by the world taking shape around us could do no better than to engage this extended conversation with Stephen Ducat.”

Neil Altman, Ph.D., author of The Analyst in the Inner City: Race, Class, and Culture Through a Psychoanalytic Lens and White Privilege: Psychoanalytic Perspectives.


“In the vast field of ‘Trump Studies,’ Stephen Ducat intervenes with a long overdue psychological analysis of the former president’s zealous supporters. Reviving the interpretative traditions of Wilhelm Reich and Erich Fromm, his work serves as a refreshing departure from studies that seek to understand Trumpism as either a form of class politics or simple race resentment. Written with panache, Ducat’s study successfully asks us to dwell more deeply and darkly into the meanings of our current crisis.” 

Richard Steigmann-Gall, Ph.D., a contributor to Fascism in America: Past and Present and author of The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Paleopsychology and Modern Politics

CHAPTER 1: Tribal Mind/Tribal Brain—Xenophobia, Disgust, Hatred, and Fear

CHAPTER 2: Tribal Mind/Tribal Brain—Dominance, Guilt, Shame, and Empathy

CHAPTER 3: Identity Politics on the Left—Cultural Purity and the Battle Against Burrito Colonialism

CHAPTER 4: Identity Politics on the Right—Race, Class, and the Freedom to Harm

CHAPTER 5: From Slave and Free States to Red and Blue States—Historical Continuities in the Politics of Identity

CHAPTER 6: The Tribal Politics of Sadism

CHAPTER 7: The Brittle Manhood of MAGA Males

CHAPTER 8: It’s a Partisan Day in the Neighborhood—The Geography of Political Tribalism

CHAPTER 9: Post-Truth, Autocracy and the Tribalization of News

CHAPTER 10: Tribal Folie à Deux—Trump’s Psychopathology and Those Who Love Him for It

CHAPTER 11: From Tribal War to Tribal Collaboration—Turning Enemies into Allies

Hatreds We Love: The Psychology of Political Tribalism in Post-Truth America


An in-depth study of the malignant power of group identity in contemporary politics.

hatreds we love book cover redStephen’s new book, Hatreds We Love, will be published by Skyhorse in June 2024. Given recent developments, this analysis of partisan enmity could not be timelier. Fueled by conspiracy thinking and a growing indifference to facts, some Americans, primarily on the Right, increasingly see their fellow citizens as threats that must be eliminated. We are witnessing an epidemic of domestic terrorism with a rapidly accumulating body count. In red states across the country, book bans, curricular censorship, voter suppression, assaults on women's bodily autonomy, and even secessionist movements are becoming the norm. We are in the midst of the most serious challenge to the integrity of the United States since the Confederate insurrectionists launched their assault on Fort Sumpter in 1861.

Hatreds We Love is an insightful psychological reading of our current political moment. It is grounded in the illuminating scholarship of social psychologists, psychoanalysts, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and historians. In addition, author Stephen J. Ducat draws on his own clinical experience, research, and values.

In 2021, even after the January 6 MAGA coup attempt, many Americans breathed a sigh of relief that our nearly 250-year experiment in democratic governance seemed likely to persist. The giddiest of optimists began to speak of the "post-Trump" era. Alas, little did we know back then that we would not reach a post-Trump epoch at this point. After what looked like the former president's political death – multiple electoral and judicial defeats, publicly revealed treasonous acts, corruption, and numerous criminal indictments – he has risen to his feet again. Trump has been a bit like the proverbial movie monster, seemly finished off by mortal wounds, who nevertheless refuses to die, devours his pursuers, and returns to star in the sequel.

Of course, xenophobic bigotry, violent aversion to democracy, political cults of personality, and indifference to facts are global phenomena and not limited to the US. But America plays a prominent role, even abroad. For example, in December 2022, it was revealed that a right-wing coup attempt in Germany was, to some extent, modeled on America’s own post-election insurrection, which was planned and executed by the paramilitary wing of the MAGA movement. That German episode was not the first time that the actions of American anti-democratic and white supremacist groups became the template for similar efforts worldwide.

In the 1930s, German fascists looked to America as a blueprint for implementing race-based tribalism. Hitler so admired Jim Crow laws in the US, especially concerning citizenship and antimiscegenation, that he sent a team of legal scholars to America to study its statutory framework for addressing the problem of "racial pollution." While the Nazis initially found much to love and incorporate into the Nuremberg Laws, they ironically rejected a good deal of the American model as too harsh.

Many opinion writers have decried the “extremism” of Trumpian lynch-mob politics. On the contrary, Hatreds We Love argues that it is contiguous with the long history of American conservatism going back at least to the antebellum South. From this perspective, the worldview and actions of the GOP's MAGA faction are not outliers, but the logical outcomes of the consistently expressed right-wing ethos of domination, xenophobia, and the "freedom" to harm that has driven conservative politics for centuries.

Although pundits and political analysts have done an excellent job presenting the journalistic what regarding the current attacks on democracy and consensual reality, the psychological how and why are missing. What calls for an explanation is not so much the motive of MAGA politicians; there is little mystery in the sociopathic pursuit of power and wealth. Instead, the self-defeating passionate delirium of the MAGA cult members themselves, the base, is what requires the insights of psychology.

Although there is much handwringing about the toxic synergy of authoritarian political forces, white identity politics, and the embrace of post-factuality, there is insufficient understanding of the links between them. Chief among those links is tribal psychology. Yet, public discussion rarely addresses more than its most disturbing symptoms. Hatreds We Love speaks to the causes and underlying dynamics of what is now one of the greatest threats to the viability of what remains of American democracy and global democratic governance more broadly.

Zealous in-group loyalty is such a powerful driver of political behavior that people will readily abandon their values and long-held moral principles. They will even sacrifice their lives and those of their loved ones to avoid tribal exile – a fate more dreaded by some citizens than death itself. Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s Strongmen has given us powerful insights into the common features of authoritarian leadership. Hatreds We Love complements her work by illuminating the psychology of followership. It will also offer readers ideas they can readily use to craft new, more effective forms of pro-democratic political action, including strategies for creating bridges across seemingly unbreachable tribal boundaries.

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THE WIMP FACTOR

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“Everyone should read this book. It explains so much about how the world got the way it is.”

- An Amazon Reviewer

In this landmark exploration of how male anxiety has come to define our political culture, Stephen J. Ducat shows the link between the desperate macho strutting of male politicians, the gender gap in voting behavior, and fundamentalist holy wars. He argues that a direct association exists between the magnitude of a man's femiphobia – that is, his terror of being perceived as feminine – and his tendency to embrace right-wing political opinions.

TAKEN IN

taken in sj ducat

“…indeed, this may be regarded as a state-of-the-art application of psychoanalytic and social theory…”

- Joel Kovel, MD

Many journalists and scholars have marveled at the power of Reagan’s rhetoric, his charisma, and the durability of his Teflon exoskeleton in the face of multiple scandals. Taken In challenges those critics who have credited him with a Machiavellian intelligence and strategic cunning of such magnitude that he could successfully deceive and manipulate the public.