It is good to know that paranoia is not the exclusive property of our conservative elements. The Russian meteor strike brought to the fore that country’s doomsday fears and even included one politician who attributed the matter to the United States. It made me think of other countries in the world who blame the U.S. anytime so much as a burp takes place in their country.
All humans are so ready to blame. All of us. When calamity befalls us…and even minor mishap or misstep in our day-to-day life—it is easier to attribute blame than to consider happenstance or, cursed be the thought, that we have made a series of poor decisions. And, yes at times there is inexplicable tragedy for which there is no explanation.
One of my favorite paranoid frothings was the Lubbock, Texas judge last fall, Tom Head, who warned that the U.S. was facing a Civil War if Obama was re-elected. He also voiced fears that Obama would use the United Nations to intrude in our country and force its will on us. This is an age-old fear—some big and powerful “other” is going to intrude on our private little world and stomp us into oblivion.
And then I love “penetration phobia.” Last year Michelle “Deep Penetration” Bachman, a representative from Minnesota, warned of an Islamic infiltration of our government which had already succeeded in “penetrating deeply” into our governmental operations. In my youth, it was the “Communists” who lurked around every corner and were threatening us from within, bound and determined to take over our country.
The “slippery slope” argument is again being utilized. This argument asserts that a line must be drawn on particular issues because if that line is crossed by the government…or whoever “them” happens to be…one thing will lead to another and devastation will follow. The gun issue and second amendment matter is catching the brunt of this logical fallacy. “If we increase regulation of guns,” they argue, “that is a violation of the 2nd amendment and that will be only the start! Then they will go after the rest of the Bill of Rights.”
But, underlying the paranoia is fear and all of us are fearful little creatures. At times fear can be overwhelming and it is so easy to just cave in and allow despair to overwhelm us. And the far-right in our country includes an extreme base who can best be described as “dispossessed” and their alienation leaves them feeling powerless…and scared! But the axe I really would like to grind…once again…is with the media who exploits this non-sense, knowing that intimating some crazy paranoid suspicion is like throwing slop to pigs.
And I close with the observation of Aeschylus from thousands of years ago, “The gods create disaster so that mankind will have something to talk about.”