Glossary Index

Reality versus Paranoia

The 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 example.

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.

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