American Paranoia

A strong paranoid streak has been embedded in the American psyche from nearly the first arrival of Europeans on these shores.  We need only think of the Salem Witch Trials and much else that followed in the past three-hundred years.  The staying power of American paranoia was documented by Richard Hofstadter, one of the country’s leading historians, and by other writers.  In fact, this phenomenon does not require scholarly detection, as there is evidence of its existence in our daily lives.

We encounter American paranoia at the airport, including the lunatic requirement that we take off our shoes and the equally inane requirement that we discard bottles of liquid before we board.  On top of all of this, there are the machines that photograph our bodies and the excessive pat-downs that have become so routine that one wonders whether Transportation Security Administration employees are trained in sexual perversion.

Ever since 9/11, things have gotten much worse and in the same way that the paranoid streak is embedded in our collective psyche, gratuitous invasions of our privacy are also being tolerated.  We seem to be sold on the notion that without invasive measures, the security of this country will be compromised.

Israel, which obviously is in a far more endangered place than the United States, does not come close to engaging in the extreme measures that are now part and parcel of the American landscape.  Of course Israel is on the lookout for possible terrorists and a tiny number of people are subject to special screening.  But routinely, tens of thousands of passengers can board planes without taking off their shoes or without being patted down or without being body scanned.

We do not know the full facts regarding the charges brought against an Indian diplomat who was strip-searched.  That is, we do not know whether she mistreated her employee.  We do know that she was mistreated and we do know that what she was subjected to is routine police procedure, just one more aspect of the paranoid society that has now become an ordinary part of our lives.

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6 comments to American Paranoia

  • sass

    I think you’re way off the mark here. This is not a function of American paranoia, it’s a function of American hyper-political correctness, in which profiling is not permitted. Of course Israel does not require the full body scans or the shoes to come off for everyone, since they can actually target the people most likely to fit the terrorist profile. The differences you mentioned have zero to do with paranoia, and everything to do with political correctness and disallowing profiling.

  • Bob Miller

    Israel has professionals screening airline passengers using professional methods. The US TSA sees no need to employ such professionals and instead concentrates on procedures and equipment that can be used by random people with few skills. The politically correct TSA also shuns profiling, so it wastes much time harassing ordinary travelers. The problem here, beyond mistreatment of these travelers, is that the procedures and equipment are well-known to terrorists, who have had ample time to find ways to work around them.

    However, we’re not really talking about paranoia, because genuine threats do abound. Our borders are increasingly porous, and the same government that runs the tragicomical TSA also winks at or even favors illegal immigration. That same government colludes with rogue states like Iran.

  • Mr. Cohen

    Marvin Schick, with respect, this American-bashing article is beneath you.

    I am not convinced that Americans are more paranoid than others,
    and I suspect that many other nations are more paranoid than Americans.

    The “lunatic requirement” that we take off our shoes did not materialize
    out of thin air; it started on 2001/12/22, when Mr. Richard Reid,
    a convert to Islam, became the infamous shoe-bomber.

    It is interesting to see how India refuses to tolerate the unintentional
    humiliation of its diplomats, while Israel tolerates much more intentional
    humiliation; for example, when President Obama was photographed pointing
    his feet at the Prime Minister of Israel, who was then subjected to the
    additional indignity of being forced to leave the White House through
    a door normally only used by low-level servants.

  • L. Oberstein

    I guess if you say something that readers agree with , they don’t feel the need to comment.Since the paranoia you describe is applicable to the whole country, it doesn’t single out any one political or social group. I assume that making one take off his shoes and throw away a bottle of soda is a case of being “machmir” . The NSA/CIA?FBI people, if they would talk, might say that this has done something to prevent terrorism ,but it may be that it hasn’t. It certainly has added a lot of TSA workers to the roles of wage earners.Paranoia doesn’t mean that someone isn’t out to get you. It is ironic that the mass killings have not come from foreign terrorists, only from Amricans with easy access to guns who kill scores of children and innocent people that they don’t even know. Of course if you condemned that, you would get a lot of responses saying it is un-American not to allow everyone to have any weapon their hearts desire.

  • cvmay

    I see it a bit differently.

    America has rules, regulations and procedures that people from other countries are not accustomed to. For instance, Rasmieh Odeh, an Arab-American community activist from Chicago is on trial for immigration fraud…for deceit in filling out her visa papers. There is a Rebbe from Israel/Monsey who has also been indicted for visa/immigration fraud. This Indian diplomat and the other two examples do not ‘get’ the stringencies of American law and the fine for disobedience.

  • Adi

    Dear Sir:

    Unlike EY, the U.S. has to avoid “discrimination” at all costs. Literally. Even if it means the debasement of the people who pay for the TSA (“Goyim”) and make the ultimate sacrifice (75% of all casualties in Afghan/Iraq combat operations are “Goyim.”) in the form of virtual rape, more often than not, at the hands of barely literate Hispanics and Blacks who, sadistically, enjoy the infliction of such humiliation.

    Whereas the Jewish community is, virtually, united in its support of Israeli ethno-centrism, the very same community will scream bloody murder if the U.S. employs anything resembling border control or an immigration policy designed to maintain America as a white, Protestant nation.

    I am not trying to be provocative, nor am I lumping you with detestable hypocrites like Sheldon Adelson and Abe Forman. I am merely stating a fact: whereas the current Liberal Dispensation that treats our ports of entry as some sort of hippie commune crossed with a sexual pervert’s dream come true and our immigration policy as an extension of the “Civil Rights (i.e. White dispossession) Department” could not have come about without goyisch approval, nay, fanatic adherence to this cult, the role of the Tribe in turning a once-great and rational nation into a racial-socialist mega-corporation devoted to the annihilation of its traditional culture and the dispossession of its historic majority cannot be denied.

    Under these circumstances, it is doubly offensive to suggest that we are “paranoid.” We are not paranoid, we are afraid. Afraid of being destroyed if we make a joke, afraid of being imprisoned if we dare to express our religious beliefs, afraid of being murdered if we defend our honor and our persons against feral predators, terrified of wishing someone “Merry Christmas” since it could be a “hate crime.”

    “It isn’t paranoia when they are out to get you.”

    You seem to be a rational and godly man. Therefore, I am sure you will agree that the foregoing is not only an accurate depiction of the average American’s state of mind, but also an equally accurate account of the evil and ungodly nature of the US Government. It is equally accurate to state that unless men, such as yourself, are able to dissuade your coreligionists from supporting this evil, life will only get worse as our society becomes completely Balkanized and we turn into a third rate has-been power.

    The real lunacy, from the Jewish point of view, is that this Dispensation will place the second-largest Jewish population in the world at the mercy of Hispanics, Chinese, Indians, Blacks and other nations that, having been raised on a steady diet of anti-white propaganda, detest whites and openly fantasize about their imminent destruction, make no distinction between goyim and Jews. Jewish support for the colonization of America by the third world is a form of collective suicide.

    Replacing the most philosemitic goyim with third world nations bearing an implacable hatred against the US is resulting in increasing restrictions on speech, association, and even religion. Do you think that these people will continue to fund holocaust museums, Israeli defense, and other measures that receive an almost universal approval from white Americans (assuming that they are even capable of maintaining the sort of revenue stream required for such ventures)?

    Unless your community is willing to support the sort of patriotic border and immigration control practiced by EY, you have no moral authority to complain about security measures designed exclusively to humiliate white Americans which are enforced by affirmative action non-white hirees. And you cannot call us paranoid while your community actively agitates for further humiliation and dispossession.