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The Dark History of Fear, Inc.

Back in 1835, Samuel F.B. Morse (who went on to invent the telegraph and the Morse Code), wrote a book about a plot to overthrow the American republic. The conspiracy, Morse wrote, was well-funded, highly secretive, and hatched in Vienna by members of the The St. Leopold Foundation, which had dispatched cells of Jesuit missionaries to the U.S. to forcibly convert the nation to Roman Catholicism. This was no small intrigue: The plot’s leaders, as Morse meticulously catalogued, were Austrian diplomat Klemens von Metternich, Ferdinand V of Hungary, and (of course) Pope Gregory XVI. “It is high time that we awakened to the apprehension of danger,” Morse wrote [1].

What is shocking about this nonsense is not that Morse actually believed it, but that millions of other Americans did too. Morse’s book seeded the rise of the nativist “Know-Nothing” party [2], whose goal was to curb immigration, root out Catholicism, and return America to its protestant ideals. In essence, they were the America-firsters of the nineteenth century. The Know-Nothings swept into office in Chicago, were strong in Massachusetts and, in 1856, nominated a national ticket (Millard Fillmore and Andrew Donelson), for the presidency; they tallied nearly 900,000 votes, one-quarter of those cast. “I know nothing but my country, my whole country and nothing but my country,” they chanted.

Historians have since excavated the Morse plot with relish, if only as a way to better understand a nation that, from time to time, enjoys being scared witless.

Before the Know-Nothings there were the Anti-Masons, a political movement that warned of a takeover by secretive apron-wearing do-gooders who met for god-knows-why. And before that Americans were warned about witches named Dorothy, Rebecca, Martha, and Rachel, dancing in New England’s forests. Some 120 years after Morse, in 1964, historian Richard Hofstadter dubbed this “the paranoid style in American politics”—a paradigm-shifting essay that catalogued a raft of intrigues peopled by witches, Illuminati, Masons, Jesuits, Mormons, Jewish bankers, Bilderbergers and, in Hofstadter’s time, communist dupes doing Moscow’s bidding. America’s enemies might be unseen, but they were everywhere.

“In the end, the real mystery, for one who reads the primary works of paranoid scholarship,” Hofstadter wrote, “is not how the United States has been brought to its present dangerous position but how it managed to survive at all.”

None of this qualifies as your typical run-of-the-mill lunacy (scented candles cause cancer), over-the-top tripe (the recent solar eclipse marks the beginning of the apocalypse), or unbelievable baloney (that man-made pyramids have been discovered in Antarctica). Rather, the paranoid style is rooted in pernicious, but believable, political fears: that the nation is under threat from people or movements plotting to do it harm and is teetering, teetering, teetering on the edge of an abyss. The problem is not that this is patently false (The Germans! The Japanese! The Russians!), but that it’s often exaggerated—and, sometimes, purposely so. Then too, as Hofstadter implied, preying on these fears for political gain not only isn’t new, it’s tried, tested, and often successful. Scaring the dickens out of voters is as American as the 4th of July.

The historical “for instance” in this is well-documented: during the 1960 presidential campaign, John Kennedy insisted that the Soviet Union had outstripped the U.S. in ballistic missile production. There was a growing and dangerous “missile gap” Kennedy claimed, placing the nation in great peril. Dwight Eisenhower, he said, had been derelict in not acknowledging the threat. An independent study commission issued a report that confirmed the fear and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave it credence: We are “turning out missiles like sausages,” he claimed. As it turns out, Kennedy was right: there was a missile gap, but not in a way that he thought—we had plenty, while they had none (a later CIA report speculated that, actually, they might have had three, maybe). Years later, Kennedy’s claim looked downright foolish: the problem for the Russians wasn’t that they couldn’t make missiles (they eventually did, and plenty of them), but that they couldn’t make sausages—which cost them their empire. The same kinds of claims were retailed by U.S. intelligence services about Russia’s allies: a 1987 CIA fact book [3] said that East Germany’s GDP per capita was higher than West Germany’s, a claim so ludicrous that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan dismissed it to a panel of CIA officers with a legendary quip: “I know a Berlin taxi driver who could have told you that wasn’t true.”

The claims now are not only as breathless as anything the CIA said about East Germany in the 1980s, they’re as suspect: Mexico is “on the verge of collapse”—a claim made by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly—that Russia is providing arms to the Taliban (retold by the recently retired commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr., and, just the other day by James Mattis), that the U.S. military will be “outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries in the future” (noted by national security adviser H.R. McMaster prior to his service at the White House) and that, as Donald Trump himself said during his address to the United Nations, large parts of the world “are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell [4].”  

The problem with the claims is that those who are asked to dismiss them are required to defend the opposite—that Mexico is economically healthy (it isn’t, but it’s hardly on the verge of collapse), that Russian weapons haven’t shown up in Afghanistan (they have, though not simply in the hands of the Taliban), that Russia and China aren’t developing new and more sophisticated weapons (they are, but so what?), or that it’s ridiculous not to believe that “major portions of the world are in conflict” (that’s always been true). The other problem with disproving the claims is that doing so contains a whiff of weakness, or naiveté: that the skeptic favors open borders, supports Afghan terrorism, doesn’t support a strong military, or is hopelessly misinformed. In fact, however, each of these claims have been made before—and refuted by expert testimony.

Gen. Barry McCaffrey said that Mexico was in a state of collapse back in 2009, a claim contradicted by then-Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair. More recently, and before the recent earthquake shook Mexico City, the collapsing Mexican government offered to help provide aid to Texans victimized by Hurricane Harvey. It’s a wonder they would think of us as the walls were coming down around them. Then too, if Mexico is really on the verge of collapse, shouldn’t the administration be doing something about it—perhaps we should appeal to the international community to provide the Mexican government with low interest loans, or maybe we should deploy a U.S. aircraft carrier group to the Gulf of Mexico. Or perhaps, just perhaps, the claim is Morse-like: designed to frighten us, perhaps, into building a wall as a barrier to keep immigrants who are not pouring over the border from pouring over the border.

The same holds true for each of the other claims. Following Gen. Nicholson’s statement that Russia was providing arms to the Taliban, his claim was given short shrift by both the Defense Intelligence Agency and by Jens Stoltenberg, the General Secretary of NATO. Stoltenberg acknowledged that he’d seen the reports, adding that the only thing they lacked was proof. But Stoltenberg went further, inviting Russia to be a part of the Afghanistan peace process [5]—a strange request to a nation that a top U.S. general claims is helping the enemy. Even so, the claim was repeated just this last week by Defense Secretary James Mattis, who added Iran to the growing list of Taliban allies. Of course, Nicholson and Mattis might be absolutely right, but they’re saying so doesn’t make it so. Then too (we shuffle our feet, look at our shoes, mumble to ourselves), the Taliban’s best friend in Afghanistan isn’t Russia or Iran, it’s Pakistan—our friend.

That Russia is an antagonist is now widely accepted, and it is trivially true that Moscow’s nuclear arsenal (with or without the help of China) could lay waste to the U.S. But outgunning us? Russia spends a fraction of what the U.S. spends on its military establishment (some 14 percent of what we spend, in fact) and so must pick and choose what weapons it will develop. The result is that the Russian Federation continues technological advances in some weapons systems, but lacks significant technological depth elsewhere. During its 2015 May Day military parade, Russia showed off its new state-of-the-art T-14 main battle tank, complete with a new-fangled APS (active protection system) designed to defeat anti-armor weapons. Onlookers ogled the tank, oohing and ahhing at its shiny exterior, its impressive armament. But then, just as it was about to exit Red Square it broke down—and had to be towed. Is Russia a threat? Sure, it’s a threat. But Russia has many of the same problems now that it had at the end of the Cold War. It ranks 53rd in per capita GDP—just behind Panama. [6]

The world has problems, big problems but it is not going to hell. Here’s what going to hell looks like. In the autumn of 1941, Europe was under the domination of a genocidal regime that had extended its murderous policies through all of Europe and whose armies were headed towards Moscow. In Asia, large swathes of China and all of Southeast Asia were occupied by Japanese militarists. The two, with Italy, had formed an axis and controlled significant portions of the globe. Their enemies were teetering on the edge of defeat. The world was going to hell, alright, but the U.S. had yet to get into the war.

But that’s not the worst of it. During the early morning hours of September 26, 1983, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov was notified by his computer system that the U.S. had launched five intercontinental ballistic missiles at Russia. Petrov sat there for a moment, when he should have been on the telephone to his superiors. After several moments he concluded that the warning just didn’t make sense. Why would the U.S. launch only five missiles at Russia, when everyone in the Soviet military supposed they would launch a barrage. “The siren howled, but I just sat there for a few seconds,” he later told the BBC, “staring at the big, back-lit, red screen with the word ‘launch’ on it.” Petrov ignored the warning—and may well have prevented a nuclear holocaust.    [7]

So, yes, we’re in deep, deep trouble—just as we were when witches danced in Ipswich, when Samuel Morse claimed we were being subverted by papists, when Joe McCarthy saw a communist under every State Department memo—and when the Russians were producing missiles like sausages.

Now, as then, we have two choices: we can either embrace our fears and shake in our boots, or we can tell the sky-is-falling crowd what Samuel F.B. Morse’s friends told him all the way back in 1835.

Get a grip.

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst and the author of  The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur. His next book, The Pentagon’s Wars, will be released in October. He tweets @markperrydc [8]

43 Comments (Open | Close)

43 Comments To "The Dark History of Fear, Inc."

#1 Comment By Nelson On October 5, 2017 @ 11:12 pm

Fear is the biggest cause of the worst portions of our politics and policy.

#2 Comment By Fayez Abedaziz On October 6, 2017 @ 1:32 am

Yeah, well, do you all notice that the fear is coming mostly from the ‘news’ media, all of ’em, and from the conservative forums and summits and so, I see that, then I look around
and…this… and the two generations before it know nothing and wanna know nothing.
A bunch of weasels more concerned with their headphones, ‘smart’phones, what some stupid celebrity or athlete has to say and oh…tattoos and holes in their pants.
Don’t wanna or just don’t believe me?
Ha ha stand on a main downtown street
in any city and look at the American sheeple.
hey hey- whatdoya say, what?

#3 Comment By Dan Stewart On October 6, 2017 @ 3:33 am

Thanks Mark. It’s nice to read the voice of reason from time to time–especially now, when nary a day goes by without news of fresh crimes by Russia, China and Iran.

#4 Comment By Jeremy Buxton On October 6, 2017 @ 4:22 am

Thanks for a great dose of common sense. Poor old Morse wasn’t aware that Emperor Ferdinand of Austria (not Hungary) had what we now call “learning difficulties” and wasn’t up to much plotting.

There are no bigger fools than credulous cynics and alarmists.

#5 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On October 6, 2017 @ 6:07 am

At least no one is on the verge of a nuclear war this time.

#6 Comment By Liam On October 6, 2017 @ 7:34 am

Anxiety is addictive, and there are pushers (dealers) in it who sell it to credulous suckers. This is such an important part of American culture that our consumer capitalism is mostly based on pushers pushing anxiety buttons that can be *temporarily* relieved by the consumption of a good, service, experience or idea. The key is that the relief is only temporary, and then sucker are ready to rinse and repeat.

A classic example of this can be seen on morning infotainment shows (Today, GMA, et cet.), which usually have a health segment – very often trafficking in anxiety about weight – and are liberally sprinkled with commercials for … processed foods (especially breakfast/lunch foods). Nothing gets people to eat comfort food like pushing their anxiety buttons about their weight. This is an incredibly successful formula for making money off anxiety.

Politics is no different.

The solution is to learn to take fierce inventory of pushers of anxiety, and wean yourself off them – hard and cold.

#7 Comment By KD On October 6, 2017 @ 9:26 am

Its pretty clear that this phenomenon is all the result of structural white supremacy.

#8 Comment By EliteCommInc On October 6, 2017 @ 9:32 am

“Get a grip.”

There’s plenty of reason to fear our careless immigration policies and how it has been used to undermine US citizens.

And more reason to be concerned if you are among those having to compete with the consequence. During Pres. Bush’s tenure, I was shocked that the res of another country was actually promoting illegal immigration and inconjuction with our own admin and a endless mile of liberals and conservatives supported the practice.

I have been told to take it easy, relax and get healthy. To avoid losing all mental exercise I have been watching hours of documentary films. And i can say with complete confidence, anyone afraid of what is happening regarding immigration practices and their consequence is well founded.

We have been telling black people that their fears are irrational, and the record makes plain, whatever their irrational concerns, reality is probably one step behind or two steps ahead.

“The solution is to learn to take fierce inventory of pushers of anxiety, and wean yourself off them – hard and cold.”

The only aspect of that reality that may be worse has been the use of women and the advocacy of women to be the icing on the cake. I have had a lot of disagreements with blacks over the years. I have no intention of abandoning my conservatives principles, but I am having to incorporate a mountain of historical data which is disturbing every foundation I have.

No amount of self help can change the mountain artificial hurdles. Sobriety, hard work, integrity, battling one’s own shortcomings, faith in God, . . . in the end whether conservative or liberal — the expectation of mewling to the dominant society is expected and one should courtsey upon receiving the crumbs.

Getting a grip can be a fearful process.

I agree had we actually examined the data sets about the Soviet Union, we could have expected them to collapse. Given the system they chose, it was dead fro the start. But I am not going to dismiss entirely our fears concerning communism. Because every where one looks at the system, it was intensely brutal with its constant purges. irrational in the application of the same.

No greater the guilt for our having abandoned the S, Vietnamese, who had decided for themselves which form of government and society they desired. There is nothing imaginary about the mass destruction of re-education foisted on millions across the globe. Whatever our imagined fears, for ourselves, they no doubt experienced in tons.

I remember pushing back about the first Twin Tower attacks in the 1990’s. I remember saying let’s not go overboard — and them.

In the back of mind, as I push back against irrational fears of Muslims, I am confronted with how active Muslims from outside the US are in response to slights. Interestingly enough, I am not afraid of our “Black Muslims”. Perhaps, because they have never demanded that I call Mohammed, honorable.

I have never considered AIPAC a threat to the US. But the data suggests they have an unhealthy powerful influence over US policy. It’s disconcerting that we have a body politic that would even considering sanctioning anyone who criticizes the state of Israel or hews in general. It took more one hundred years for the nation to consider that lynching was acceptable policy.

I don’t like Premier Hitler analogies, as they are usually over wrought. But a lot of imagined fears were ignored until those fears were realized and then it as late.

I never imagined that anyone would consider a foreigner for public service. But the state of CA hat call is is being advocated with increasing frequency. The city of san diego actually formally rebuffed a US pres for his desire to enforce the law and put his fellow citizens first. Should US entrepreneurs be concerned about competing with illegal cheaper labor —

I think so. And I care not how paranoid one considers the concern to be.

One should avoid weaning oneself off reality.

#9 Comment By Michael Kenny On October 6, 2017 @ 9:46 am

A rather poor argument. Putin, and the article is clearly about Putin, is just another crazy American conspiracy theory! Russian arms may not have shown up in Afghanistan but they have shown up in Ukraine. (By the author’s logic, doesn’t that mean that the US should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan and send them to Ukraine?) Putin has made himself the first European leader since Hitler and Stalin in 1939 to invade and annex the territory of another sovereign European state. Like Hitler, Putin is a revisionist, seeking to reverse the post-cold war settlement. How far he intends to go remains to be seen. All he has got for the moment are two expensive white elephants. We can logically conclude therefore that whatever Putin wants, he hasn’t yet got it. That uncertainty makes him a present and future threat. The US can’t stay out of the fight with Putin. It’s already in it up to its neck. Indeed, the US very largely created the fight in the first place. Part of the US intelligence community seems to have tried to use Putin as a “useful Idiot” to destroy the EU, promising him God knows what in return, but like so many such operations, that has now blown up in everybody’s face. There is thus a split between those who think that Putin must be removed before he destroys US credibility entirely and the “spooks” who are trying to defend their “asset”. That’s what makes Putin a threat to the US.

#10 Comment By Allen On October 6, 2017 @ 10:32 am

“Fear is the mind-killer.” Frank Herbert.

That’s why politicians and the mainstream media use it so much. Scared people are easier to control. Just watch your local news. Nearly every day they have a story about “This Common Household Product Can Kill You.” You could make a drinking game out of it.

#11 Comment By Billy Bob On October 6, 2017 @ 10:36 am

What an absolutely pointless article.

#12 Comment By Sid Finster On October 6, 2017 @ 10:51 am

Ukraine would not have been a problem if the United States had not made it one.

#13 Comment By Fran Macadam On October 6, 2017 @ 11:10 am

What about the brouhaha over the extent of Israeli influence that some have been highly critical of, stoking fears that the wars are driven by neocons whose loyalty to the U.S. Is compromised by supposedly putting its interests second?

Although this particular political fear isn’t mentioned, it’s been rumored that TAC has ended its long relationship with former CIA agent Philip Giraldi, a number of whose articles on the topic have been that neocon influence in warmaking has been driven by not only Israel’s own government, but by “America’s Jews.” I think the unfortunate title chosen for the article in question, which was not entirely accurate of its overall content, buttressed certain poorly worded sentences in it, that caused some to see a trend of analysis similar to those described above, which may not have been entirely fair to Giraldi’s actual thinking. He did publish a clarification that he certainly didn’t mean to imply a universal Jewish conspiracy.

#14 Comment By FiveString On October 6, 2017 @ 11:54 am

Rush Limbaugh proved that there’s lots of money to be made with fear. Now, right-wing demagogues are trying to outdo each other: “Immigrant crime wave!” “Sharia law!” “Democrats/liberals/Hillary are helping the terrorists!” Birther Trump rode this to the presidency.

The left can be guilty too, but for whatever reasons, leftist demagoguery doesn’t pay — the ratings aren’t there.

#15 Comment By One Guy On October 6, 2017 @ 11:56 am

One overlooked aspect is that we people with a grip can win cash and prizes from the scared minions. For example, a friend bet me a bottle of nice liquor that Obama would cancel the 2016 elections.

That Bailey’s Irish Crème sure went down smooth.

#16 Comment By Dan Green On October 6, 2017 @ 12:40 pm

History is quite clear. Empires come and empires go. As a student of WW 2 so far nothing compares to what Roosevelt and Churchill faced.

#17 Comment By swb On October 6, 2017 @ 12:47 pm

Sounds like the business model of Fox news. Quite successful in certain areas of the country. I kind of doubt this or any article is going to change that, especially after reading the first set of comments.

#18 Comment By Janek On October 6, 2017 @ 1:14 pm

I think the best response to this article would be the joke about the spermatozoids. It goes like this: gentlemen to the left, now to the right, gentlemen forward, … etc., etc. Gentlemen backward. Gentlemen stop! This is treason, we are in the a.s.

#19 Comment By Speedle24 On October 6, 2017 @ 2:50 pm

Five String says “Leftist demagoguery doesn’t pay – the ratings aren’t there.

Well that should tell you something Five String. The Left’s demagoguery is unbelievable even to the great unwashed.

#20 Comment By VikingLS On October 6, 2017 @ 3:29 pm

@Michael Kenny

Putin has aided two secessions in tiny sections of Georgia the Georgians had tried to ethnically cleanse, taken in a part of Ukraine that had tried to secede 3 times, and aided rebels in Ukraine that saw the government they elected overthrown by a US backed coup TWICE.

Now look at that area, and then find a map of the Soviet Union. It took Putin almost two decades to take control of three relatively small territories , all of which were ethnic minorities in their own countries who had suffered threats and intimidation from their own governments. At the rate he’s going Putin will manage to reunite the old Soviet Union, or even the reach of the Tsarist empire if he remains in power for a couple more centuries.

Now I know what you’re doing reading this, you’re not absorbing my point, you’re getting angry and falling back on your presumptions. That’s because you have the kind of acquired mental illness this article is about. It’s the same one that has thousands of people in this country convinced that Trump is Hitler, that the police are mowing down unarmed blacks on a daily basis, and that the result of Trump’s election is that the American people will abandon the GOP forever.

All are wrong.

Get a grip.

#21 Comment By Colm J On October 6, 2017 @ 4:08 pm

If the anti-Russian hysteria tells us anything it is that those who use the term “conspiracy theorist” as a catch-all insult are avid hawkers of conspiracy theories themselves. Indeed even as an insult “conspiracy theorist” is now a redunant term with no objective meaning. To paraphrase Graham Greene, “conspiracy theory” is the term we use to describe theories about conspiracy we don’t approve of. Thus the Anglo-Protestant tribalist (as opposed to white nationalist) Richard Spencer, often uses – with no apparent sense of irony – the term “conspiratard” to mock his adversaries on the “alt-lite”, and alt liters for their part, and with equal absence of conscious irony, mock Spencer & co for peddling far fetched conspiracy theories about white genocide.

Likewise the same corporate media that have spent the last 15 years hurling insults at 9/11 “truthers”, now openly embrace the most baroque
and unsupported conspiracy theories imaginable.

And what was the avidly promoted idea of Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction if not a conspiracy theory?

#22 Comment By Tomonthebeach On October 6, 2017 @ 4:27 pm

One point this essay overlooks is that because Russia lacks formidable conventional warfare capacity, it is rapidly taking the lead in cyberwarfare.

Russia continues to spray digital fuel on smoldering US ingroup/outgroup fires like racism, homophobia, gun rights. We hear today that Russia has hacked the mobile phones of NATO-deployed US troops and even Trumps COS! Russian influence snipe hunts all over the Mall are daily reporting digital footprints linking Russia to mischief.

The Russians are merely doing what the US has been doing for 30+ years – only better; and that is dominating the Internet the US invented. Because American culture and language dominates the Internet, an awful lot of fools buy Alex Jones-like conspiracies they read and hear over the Internet as homegrown oblivious to their Russian origins.

#23 Comment By Michael N Moore On October 6, 2017 @ 4:58 pm

Regardless of ideology, the primary goal of the US imperial elite is stalemating Russia. When Russia was Communist, Communists were relentlessly hounded. Now that Russia is Christian and illiberal, the religious and the politically incorrect will be hounded. The consensus about empire is remarkably consistent throughout.

#24 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 6, 2017 @ 5:57 pm

Today the Ca legislature passed a bill to make Ca a sanctuary city . . .

I think there is sufficient evidence to suggest that politicians in CA are more than happy to undermine US citizens in the state.

“The left can be guilty too, but for whatever reasons, leftist demagoguery doesn’t pay — the ratings aren’t there.”

You of course kidding:

rape culture
war against women
millions denied healthcare
Youth suicides up
Internet bullying crisis
Rage on campus
DACA . . .

Fear mongering is why we have same relational marriage . . . Libya, the Ukraine, Syria . . .

An entire investigation bout Russian collusion with the Pres predicated on absolutely no evidence.

#25 Comment By M_Young On October 6, 2017 @ 7:44 pm

Silly know nothing white Protestants. It’s not like immigration would lead to a situation where they only hold 1, sometimes 0, seats on the most powerful governmental institution — the very Court they created. It’s not like immigration would make them a small minority in the country they created. What a bunch of alarmists!

#26 Comment By TR On October 6, 2017 @ 8:54 pm

Fran Macadam may be a little off topic. If so, I want to join her in deploring the firing of Philip Geraldi. Sometimes he impressed me, sometimes he didn’t. But to be fired for stating the obvious because he didn’t insert the proper number of caveats suggests something other than a strictly editorial decision lies behind his dismissal.

#27 Comment By Emil Bogdan On October 6, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

It may or may not be a “problem” or a cause for fear, but we as humans are global top dog and have eliminated all of our predators. This will lead us to completely destroy our environment. We’ll be like the Easter Islanders, who in their unstoppable self-worship destroyed all their trees to erect giant stone heads. Global civilization is an organic system whose biologically determined constant aim is more, more, more.

#28 Comment By surly On October 6, 2017 @ 9:26 pm

The difference between now and 1835 is that this time the Know Nothings got their guy elected president.

#29 Comment By polistra On October 7, 2017 @ 4:13 am

” The other problem with disproving the claims is that doing so contains a whiff of weakness, or naiveté: that the skeptic favors open borders, ”

Nope, that’s backwards.

The scaremongers are the open-borders advocates. They want open borders BECAUSE they want to keep us scared and vulnerable. It’s part of the same program. People who feel insecure and unprotected and jobless are easy prey for scaremongering.

When you feel secure, and when you feel useful and confident in your skills and abilities, you’re much harder to scare.

#30 Comment By Colm J On October 7, 2017 @ 6:25 am

M. Young: “Silly Know Nothing white Protestants”.

The anti-Catholic Know Nothings weren’t all white Protestants by any stretch: one of the movement’s main leaders, Lewis Charles Levinson, was Jewish.

I’ve always found it deeply odd the way both liberal leftists and many “white nationalists” often portray Protestantism and “whiteness” as synonymous. The vast majority of African Americans are Protestant and the vast majority of Catholic Americans are white. Even in the hispanic community Protestant evangelicalism has made rapid inroads over the last few decades.

Also, the idea that white Protestants are the special target of liberal establishment hatred is a myth: the corporate media and the cultural left direct the vast majority of their anti-Christian fire at the Catholic Church.

#31 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 7, 2017 @ 6:30 am

Correction: the state of CA has moved to become a sanctuary state.

“I want to join her in deploring the firing of Philip Geraldi. Sometimes he impressed me, sometimes he didn’t.”

Since I don’t know the issues, I cannot indicate that Mr Giraldi’s departure, if accurate is anything other than deeply, deeply disappointing.

He will be sorely missed. As with inspector Ritter, the volume of information he loaded to an issue in perspective and data will be sorely missed.

I could only hope that CA was a mere city given the direction its leadership has taken.

#32 Comment By Laualie On October 8, 2017 @ 12:08 am

I was really hoping for more on the real monsters. It’s not hard to demonstrate how fear addicted we are. What we’re missing deserved more attention.

#33 Comment By M_Young On October 8, 2017 @ 3:16 am

Colm J, as a cultural Catholic I can both agree with you, to an extent and say that whatever ‘hostility’ Catholics — esp. trad Catholics — might experience it is nothing as compared to being demographically and otherwise displaced from the institutions your people created.

That has happened…and it matters. E.g. we used to have a lot of movies about the winning of the frontier. Now we have immigrant heroics and gangster worship at the cinema.

#34 Comment By Alex On October 8, 2017 @ 7:55 am

You are not a “conspiracy theorist” to point out obvious cultural threats. Example: Joe McCarthy gets blasted as a paranoid anti-Communist. But he was right! There were thousands of Communists at all levels of influence in the government and media. Communism was a mainstream idea in the Left. McCarthy exposed these people for the better of the USA.

I don’t believe in a global “conspiracy” of the Bildebergs, the Trilateral Commission, the CFR. Who needs to? The “conspiracy” is quite open. Global cultural, political, and financial elites want to erase national boundaries and dissolve identities into a consumerist collective. There’s no secret society. But globalism is taught as orthodoxy in every elite institution in the US. It’s very much in the open.

The paranoid style is dangerous when it comes to singling out races, faiths, or some other immutable characteristic. But paranoia about radicals of all stripes? These are real fears.

#35 Comment By mrscracker On October 8, 2017 @ 10:44 am

Colm J,
Thank you so much for your comments. I’d never heard about Lewis Levin before. What a strange history!
It’s interesting that his anti Catholic energy seems to have mostly been spent up North.
The South for all it’s troubles was more welcoming to Jews and outside of Anglo areas, color and sectarian barriers were much more flexible.
Yes, I think it’s odd that “Protestant” is automatically connected to “White” in some people’s minds. Ditto for “Old American stock”. My guess is that most people of color can trace their African ancestors arrival here much earlier than folks who immigrated from Europe in the 1800s.
God has a sense of humor about these things. I’m reminded of someone who held virulently anti Semitic and segregationist views. They had WASP American roots going back 400 years. In researching family history originally collected for membership in the DAR it turned out they were descended from early American Jews who had assimilated. There were suggestions of African family connections, too.
And if your family has been here since colonial times, there’s a very good chance your history contains a variation on that theme.
It’s really about conserving culture, not color. Just my thoughts.

#36 Comment By Dixie_Pixie On October 8, 2017 @ 4:31 pm

The problem with “Lunatic Conspiracies” is often they are very real.

The latest was the Bill Kristol’s demented #NeverTrump “Strategic Voting Plan” to throw the 2016 Election into Congress to stop Donald Trump from being the 45th President. The theory was a compelling third option vs Trump / Hillary in strategic voting districts would pull enough votes to deprive both Trump and Hillary of enough Electoral Votes to win. Thus Congress would decide who would become the 45th President.

Evan McMullin was placed on as many Presidential Ballots as possible after Romney and David French declined the mission. The only result was to throw Utah to Trump as most of McMullin votes came from Hillary’s vote total.

So yes there was a Kristol #NeverTrump conspiracy to deprive Trump of the 45th Presidency.

So was there a Catholic Conspiracy to overthrow Protestantism in the Federal Government.
Consider there is no Protestant members of the Supreme Court. Only Jewish and Catholic members.
So it must have been so in some fashion.

#37 Comment By EiteCommInc. On October 8, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

” . . . that the police are mowing down unarmed blacks on a daily basis, and that the result of Trump’s election is that the American people will abandon the GOP forever.”

I am not sure that people think “blacks are being owed down.” I do think there is a clear case that the criminal Justice system is bent uniquely against blacks. And he evidence is mounting given the role that “high profile” cases bring to bear on the question.

Even I have to wince at the last public case despite the gentleman’s history. How these issues are managed by the system is very disturbing. I think the assumption that blacks are incapable of deciphering intellectually disparity is troubling.

I am also ever mindful that blacks can be just as unfair and they are usually more so against people of their similar skin color. Whose politics aren’t their own.

#38 Comment By A. Nuran On October 9, 2017 @ 2:31 am

“The Paranoid Style in American Politics” was correct when it appeared 53 years ago. It is even more accurate today.

#39 Comment By Fran Macadam On October 9, 2017 @ 10:16 am

The serious deficiency of The Paranoid Style was ascribing the syndrome solely to the right.

#40 Comment By mrscracker On October 9, 2017 @ 10:51 am

Alex says:

October 8, 2017 at 7:55 am

You are not a “conspiracy theorist” to point out obvious cultural threats. Example: Joe McCarthy gets blasted as a paranoid anti-Communist. But he was right! There were thousands of Communists at all levels of influence in the government and media. Communism was a mainstream idea in the Left. McCarthy exposed these people for the better of the USA.”
Poor Sen. McCarthy seemed very troubled towards the end. But yes, even if he was partially paranoid, we’ve found out- after the fact- that he was also partially correct.

#41 Comment By JN On October 9, 2017 @ 7:15 pm

The mentioned Russian T-14 MBT is in the state of development. In 2015 those T-14s were mere demonstrators!
(I know for sure that the M1 did not become what it is overnight, and its filters performed poorly during the Gulf War, plus it still lacks active or reactive armor).

The F-35 fighter is a big expensive flop.

The V-22 VTOLs have taken so many lives of their pilots and crews by now and the program costs what seems as 15x its original budget.

And the author childishly shows pride in the amount of the US military expenditures!

The author is very poorly informed in the areas of military technology.

#42 Comment By elkern On October 10, 2017 @ 11:30 am

Is it paranoid to say that someone (Trump, NY Times, Fox, MSNBC, pick your poison) is using FEAR to manipulate people’s behavior for political reasons?

Apply Hanlon’s Razor.

Or maybe Heinlien’s Razor (because, sometimes they really are out to get you).

Mostly, keep an open mind, kind heart, and use heterogeneous sources of information.

#43 Comment By EliteCommInc On October 15, 2017 @ 7:18 pm

” My guess is that most people of color can trace their African ancestors arrival here much earlier than folks who immigrated from Europe in the 1800s.”

That’s a tough sell. Since black africans were imported without regard to their multiplicity of societies, many of whom had never come into contact with one another, what exists in the US is a people who’s history only generically began in the continent of africa.

As a society they exist purely as citizens, whole new and complete. No other people that make up the US population can make such a claim. They are a population of citizens wholly and near completely new.

Some may be able to trace their homeworlds, but slavery and colonialism all but destroy their ancestral origins. Without dna the break is near complete for US blacks.

It is not 100% but ore than close enough to support my observation