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Ed Driscoll

The United States of Paranoia

January 20th, 2014 - 7:24 pm

Glenn Reynolds, in his latest USA Today piece, writes that “government conspiracy theories aren’t crazy — From the IRS to the NSA, Americans have reasons not to trust the Obama Administration”:

Spend a little while on Twitter or in Internet comment sections and you’ll see a significant number of people who think that the NSA may have been relaying intelligence about the Mitt Romney campaign to Obama operatives, or that Chief Justice John Roberts’ sudden about-face in the Obamacare case might have been driven by some sort of NSA-facilitated blackmail.

A year ago, these kinds of comments would have been dismissable as paranoid conspiracy theory. But now, while I still don’t think they’re true, they’re no longer obviously crazy. And that’s Obama’s legacy: a government that makes paranoid conspiracy theories seem possibly sane.

The problem with government is that to be trusted, you have to be trustworthy. And the problem with the Obama administration is that, to a greater extent than any since Nixon’s, it is not. Do not be surprised if the result is that people mistrust those in authority, and order their lives accordingly. Such an outcome is bad for America, but bad governance has its consequences.

If more and more everyday Americans are engaging in conspiracy theories about the federal government, it’s worth noting that the federal government and the elite MSM that supports it (and often serves as a farm team for it) at the dawn of the Obama administration was rife with conspiracy theories about everyday Americans.

Most people think of conspiracy theories occurring almost exclusively among disenfranchised groups on the fringes of politics. However, as Jesse Walker noted first in his must-read 2009 Reason article on the paranoid center of power, and then his follow-up book last year titled The United States of Paranoia, Beltway and Northeast Corridor elites have plenty of conspiracy theories of their own. They viewed the rise of the Tea Party as an enormous threat to a political class that believed it was at long last now hermetically sealed off from criticism, now that the next FDR was ensconced in power as Time claimed, and hence, “We Are All Socialists Now,” as the Washington Post added on the cover of Newsweek. Picture Pauline Kael’s infamous quote after Richard Nixon won reelection that “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them,” and update it to reflect not Nixon voters, but everyday conservatives and libertarians. Couple it with Charles Krauthammer’s 2002 observation that “liberals think conservatives are evil,” and you begin to get a sense of what was going through the leftwing minds of those in the Obama White House, the IRS, the NSA, and of course, the MSM.

msm_paranoia_1-20-14-1

Related: Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon on ‘“The Left’s War on the Free Press.” But do not miss the backstory for his article, here.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
And the Republicans are doing very, very, little. It is as if they have been co-opted. Or intimidated. Or have been in on it all along. But there are no parts of the US government defending the rule of law and the Constitution. If that is the case, then our allegiance to the commands given by that government is limited to the ground they stand on and the range of their weapons.

Subotai Bahadur
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember Sherlock Holmes and the dog that did not bark? Silence can speak. These fears are being fed by as much by what's not happening as by what is happening.

Watergate was followed by judicial action as well as a bipartisan congressional investigation and wide press coverage. There was an aggressive special prosecutor. This time around, it's only the Republicans who're doing anything about IRS persecution, Fast and Furious etc.

That suggests that more is going on than has come to light.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I've mentioned before -- the lesson the left took from the 1994 midterm debacle was the next time they had control of both the White House and Congress was: Do health care nationalization first. They thought the delays on HillaryCare that took it into the '94 election cycle were what killed its chances, which is why the ObamaCare push from early 2009 to the spring of 2010 took precedence over everything.

This time, in the wake of their 2010 losses, ObamaCare's impending face-plant and the looming 2014 midterm nightmare, the lesson the left has taken to heart isn't anything about government over-reach; instead it's the next time the have both the White House and Congress in their control, silence your enemies first. They thought the ability to simply throw the race card at anyone who opposed Obama would be enough, but even at the start of his term in 2009 the loudest voices on the left wanted to use government to silence talk radio, Fox News and conservative internet websites, if not to outright start arresting people like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld for war crimes. Obama can do some things like IRS harassment without having full control of Congress, but they can't avoid some oversight with the House in GOP hands. But those on the left have noted the problem and will deal with it the next time around.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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No, this administration is not trustworthy.

My private name for Obama is Mussolini for Morons. And like Mussolini, Obama didn't announce his intentions in advane. He had designs on this country, but like il Duce, he knew he had to keep them quiet until he was in a position to put them into effect.

That is, il Duce didn't run on a platform of "war, empire-building and fame for myself as a new Caesar." And Obama, our il Duce for Dummies, didn't run on his real platform of "bashing my enemies-- like doctors, oil companies, Israel, and white folks -- and rewarding my homies with plenty freebies."

Obama is contemptible, deceptive, and manipulative. That's all he brings to the role of President.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get ya.

At this point, if you aren't afraid of our government, you haven't been paying attention.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's true about paranoia. Every day I find myself thinking things about the government that I would have laughed at just a few short years ago.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
A point I've been making of late is that conspiracy theses can be a useful mental framework for assessing the actions of the Left. Don't say "this is the work of a conspiracy," but rather, "if there were a conspiracy behind this, how would things be different?"

The use of a conspiracy as a mental framework focuses one's attention on MOTIVES. Actions toward a coherent goal strongly suggest shared motives, regardless of whether the actors in the situation are consciously collaborating. To undermine one's opponents and their strategy, one must know their motives. That makes discerning them the most important of all political undertakings.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
It isn't paranoia if it is true...
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, is it paranoia to believe the IRS targeted political opponents of the leftists?

Is it paranoia to believe that a Fox News reporter was isolated for punishment?

Is it paranoia to believe that a known to be innocent man was intentionally blamed for Benghazi, lied about, falsely arrested and jailed?

Is it paranoia to believe that guns were run to drug cartels?

Is it paranoia to believe that being told that you could keep your insurance was a known lie?

Is it paranoia to believe that czars and czarinas are used to circumvent the checks and balances built into our system of representative self-governance.

Is it paranoia to believe that our treatment of allies has been worse than our treatment of those who chant "Death to America"?

Is it paranoia to wonder what impact Frank Marshall Davis, Jeremiah Wright, Don Warden, Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, the Midwest Academy, UNO, ACORN/SEIU, radical professors at college and George Soros had on today's actions and policies?

Is it paranoia to wonder why the scrutiny given to high school behavior is important to cover for a Republican candidate, but NONE of the above is ...in fact ALL of it must instead be buried and covered up?

If those things are paranoia...then the word itself is a tool for imbeciles. It's a fraudulent charge.

Add all of the above acts together...and connect the dots. If you DON'T see a conspiracy you are a liar, a fool, blind...or some combination of all three.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
The antics of Obama and his cronies have make just about any paranoid explanation at least plausible. It also gives rise to speculation about what will happen with the upcoming elections.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Buffalo Springfield - "For What It's Worth"

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
Step out of line, the man come and take you away


43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Progressives can be counted on to defeat themselves...eventually.
This will not reduce the pain of their opponent's wounds in the interim.

The sooner the other Powers That Be in the US unite in opposition,
the less often they will have to say: I can't believe this is happening to me !
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember Sherlock Holmes and the dog that did not bark? Silence can speak. These fears are being fed by as much by what's not happening as by what is happening.

Watergate was followed by judicial action as well as a bipartisan congressional investigation and wide press coverage. There was an aggressive special prosecutor. This time around, it's only the Republicans who're doing anything about IRS persecution, Fast and Furious etc.

That suggests that more is going on than has come to light.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the Republicans are doing very, very, little. It is as if they have been co-opted. Or intimidated. Or have been in on it all along. But there are no parts of the US government defending the rule of law and the Constitution. If that is the case, then our allegiance to the commands given by that government is limited to the ground they stand on and the range of their weapons.

Subotai Bahadur
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the GOP has been both co-opted and intimidated with a Pearl Harbor of racial and sexist accusations. The problem is the GOP doesn't have anyone constructing counter-narratives to 20, 30 years of dirty work by insane racists like bell hooks.

And let's be clear: virtually the entirety of the rhetoric the Dem Party uses in 2014 is almost word for word the arguments of a movement that describes itself as Third Wave Black Gay Intersectional Feminists.

Get ready for more talk about cisnormative patriarchal capitalist privileged racists, because in 2014, that is the centerpiece of Dem Party orthodoxy.

Just today a completely middle class white male writer Tweeted this about the Grantland/ESPN "Dr. V" suicide controversy:

"It's a reminder, when it comes to transfolk and their lives (and how we portray them) there's so much cisfolk don't even know we don't know."

Hahahah. It's like the invasion of the bell hooks body-snatchers.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
All I want to know is : How in the world are they going to square all this "anything and everything goes" psychosexual claptrap with Islam?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Myself against my brother, my brother and I against our cousin, the three of us against the world."
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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