Thursday, November 05, 2009

'An intuitive sense of how things do not happen'

Seems like a good day to wrap up Paranoid Style Week, doesn't it? Let's turn to the comments section on the Lede blog at the Nation's Newspaper of Record, discussing the Fort Hood killings:

Stories aren't adding up here. First we're told by the government the main shooter was dead. Now they're 'admitting' he's alive, and in fact, not even near death. So how do you get that little fact wrong? Then, reports indicated from witnesses that there was more than one shooter. And now you hear nothing about that. I don't mean to be paranoid, but to what lengths would the Obama administration go to make this seem the work of one looney, and not a terrorist act?

In that light, the closing paragraph of Richard Hofstadter's essay is especially appropriate:

L. B. Namier once said that "the crowning attainment of historical study" is to achieve "an intuitive sense of how things do not happen." It is precisely this kind of awareness that the paranoid fails to develop. He has a special resistance of his own, of course, to such awareness, but circumstances often deprive him of exposure to events that might enlighten him. We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.


Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Paranoiacs rarely mean to be that way...

5:56 AM, November 06, 2009  
Anonymous raYb said...

I'm not so sure these are true paranoiacs. Call me paranoid but my take is that a lot of these characters are purposefully taking their prejudice and applying it to everything. It' s not that they really see things that way. They know better, but they want others to see things that way.

8:08 AM, November 06, 2009  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

I don't think they're true paranoiacs either - I was just commenting on the risibility of his statement, which was surely really meant as a proactive defense of the "I know this sounds crazy" type.

9:13 AM, November 06, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be paranoid, but [insert paranoid comment here].

9:19 PM, November 06, 2009  

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