difference between reality and paranoia is NOT
based on whether or not an idea is "unthinkable" or
something "couldn't happen". The difference is based
on whether or not there are credible facts and
reasonable logic that support the fears. Here is an
If a Jew in Germany in 1939 was afraid that Germany
was heading for a degree of anti-Semitism that could
result in something like the pogroms of Russia, that
was a very reasonable fear. Although the Nazi death
camps were "unthinkable" and most people thought
that nobody would ever do such a thing, they did in
fact exist, and they killed about 12 million people
(6 million of them being Jews, and the rest being
primarily political dissidents). What Hitler did was
far worse than the Russian pogroms.
But if a Jew in America in 1950 was afraid that
there was growing anti-Semitism, and the American
government would do something similar to the Russian
pogroms, that was paranoia. In the America of 1950,
such things were more than "unthinkable." They would
never have been done under any circumstance. And
the public would never have allowed such things.
In considering whether something is a reasonable
fear or just paranoia regarding America in 2007, we
need to see whether or not there is credible
evidence, and whether or not reasonable logic based
on that evidence could give rise to reasonable
fears. And we need to think in terms of the America
of 2007, rather than the America that we grew up in.
America has changed. This is not the America that I
grew up in.