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Crazies and Danger

Reader comment on item: [Michael Barkun on] Old Conspiracies, New Beliefs

Submitted by Fay Voshell (United States), Jan 16, 2004 at 14:40

I think it was Thorstein Veblen who characterized America as one giant psychiatric ward, but I'm not sure. Anyway, if he wrote it, he had a point.

The history of the US does reveal it has hosted more than its fair share of troubled visionaries, each leader and each group with its unique version of apocalypse now. Even science, which is considered the most rational of all disciplines, has its own apocalyptic eschatology complete with THE END: deep freeze or heat death--whichever you prefer.

But the crazies and their predictions come and go like most fads, while the vast majority of citizens read such ideas with mild interest and probably a lot of amusement-- and then get back to living.

So I don't think there's much danger in an Illuminati/reptilian conspiracy taking over our country. On the contrary, I think the most dangerous ideas are most often those that seem the most emminently reasonable. The most dangerous ideas are those that claim quick fixes to the problems most people worry about most of the time: financial stability, a steady political order; safety of hearth and home, a secure future.

It will be the Huey Long populist types who pose the greatest threat to this country, not the overtly and obviously crazy.

Fay Voshell

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