Quick Reads: “The United States of Paranoia” by Jesse Walker


 

The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory
By Jesse Walker
HARPER

Democrats didn’t engineer a malaria outbreak to halt Andrew Johnson’s impeachment. Zachary Taylor didn’t eat poisoned cherries. Safeway isn’t controlled by the Illuminati (so far as we know). Reason editor Jesse Walker doesn’t just catalog conjured cabals, but offers his own conspiracy theory, too: that paranoia isn’t limited to the fringe—it’s everywhere, from post-9/11 foreign policy to liberal backlash against the tea party. Conspiracy theories “are not simply a colorful historical byway,” he writes. “They are at the country’s core.” And the dark and powerful force that penetrates the farthest reaches of society while remaining unknown to most Americans? That’s just our psyche.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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