Conspiracy Theories

And On This Day A Book Is Born

United States of Paranoia roundup.


Today is the official release date for my book The United States of Paranoia, which means you can now peek inside it at Amazon. In related news:

A vast conspiracy wants you to buy this book.

* A lengthy excerpt from the book appears in Salon today. Here is an, um, excerpt from the excerpt:

When George W. Bush was president, the group most frequently invoked as a symbol of political paranoia was the 9/11 truth movement, nicknamed the truthers, who believed that a cabal within the U.S. government had either organized the 9/11 attacks or deliberately refrained from preventing them. But the truthers were ultimately a side attraction. The most prevalent form of paranoia after 9/11 was the mindset that allowed officials to mistake a harmless school project for a jihad. Americans were on edge, waiting for the next deadly attack. And in a change from the Cold War, when we at least knew the form such an attack would take, all sorts of activities or objects could be construed as a threat.

It was the same species of fear that had flared during earlier hunts for spies and saboteurs. But now the consequences of failing to spot the conspirators seemed much more catastrophic. Anything might be a weapon; anything might be a clue.

* The Washington Post did a video interview with me about the book. You can watch it here.

* National Review did an audio interview with me about the book. You can listen to it here.

* The Sandusky Register did a print interview with me about the book. You can read it here.

* Chip Berlet, Lance deHaven-Smith, and I debated political paranoia on Al Jazeera this afternoon. I don't think that show can be viewed within the U.S., but international Reasoners can try their luck here.

* The New York Daily News reviewed the book, and so did a blog called the Reading Glutton.

* If you live in the D.C. area and the above links haven't made you completely sick of the sight of me, you can come see me read at Politics & Prose tonight. If you don't live anywhere near D.C. but are still curious to watch the show, it will be streamed on C-Span's BookTV website. C-Span 2 will air it on cable this weekend.


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  1. “Peak” inside it?

    I miss Lucy.

    1. Wasn’t she just an intern….

      Though they gave her a guest spot on that Russian news channel.

      I have no idea.

      1. “Just”.

        Was WWII “just” a war?

  2. The left’s anti-establishment stomach is beginning to rumble… and their own people are running the kitchen.

  3. Nick won the beard contest so i am hoping this book sells better then Independents.

    The facial hair growing bastard needs his comeupins.

  4. Chip Berlet, Lance deHaven-Smith, and I debated political paranoia on Al Jazeera this afternoon. I don’t think that show can be viewed within the U.S., but international Reasoners can try their luck here.

    That’s what they would have you believe.

  5. You had a book coming out? You should’ve told us so we could pre-order it!

  6. I hope you updated the book with a chapter on the Prepper/Goldbug CT Nuts led by the Beckerhead, of course.

    1. Still at it, eh doofus?

    2. You mean that idiot who said people should buy gold when it was $500-$800/oz? He sure looks foolish now that it’s about $1,400/oz, huh?

  7. Did you publish out of Bethlehem?

  8. And thats a pretty cool looking book if I say so myself. Wow.

    1. Jack Prapp agrees

  9. This book better be worth it, Walker. It’s on my birthday list and I’d hate for a family member to blow good money on it. Although, knowing my family, I’ll probably have to spend my own hard-earned cash on it.

    1. I peeked.
      You’re getting something out of the Sharper Image catalog.

  10. Well? Why hasn’t it shown up in my mailbox yet?

  11. Too bad Borders is dead and gone Jesse. It would’ve been immensely satisfying to go back to see your own title on the shelf.

  12. A funny illustration of the loony paranoia following the 9/11 attacks.

    My brother was a manager at a Wal-Mart at the time. A few days after the attacks, he got a call from one of his underlings, who was in a panic because there was a family of Arabs buying pillow-cases. He wanted to know if they should lock down the store and call in the authorities.
    My brother is a level-headed, rational sort of guy who once had a Jordanian wife, and as far as I can tell, this wave of paranoia never affected him at all. So he calmly talked to the guy, and tried to get a straight answer as to what could possibly be dangerous about people buying pillow-cases. He said the guy never could come up with anything coherent. It was all just ‘Arabs!’, ‘pillow-cases!’, ‘what could they possibly be planning?!’ The guy never could come up with anything, but he was absolutely certain there was something suspicious about it.

    Fortunately, my brother was able to talk him out of taking any action.


      Thanks to cheap and plentiful Chinese made pillowcases the Ottomans were able to quickly subdue the Eastern seaboard in the fiercest pillowfighting this reporter has ever seen. I still wake up in tears thinking of fallen Americans covered with goosedown.

      *sobs dramatically and returns to ages 2 and up coloring book*

  13. Ah, the Truthers, who were unreasonably paranoid, who STILL believe that a massive government conspiracy was behind the 9/11 attacks were a ‘side issue’ and the not unreasonable uneasiness many Americans felt in the wake of 9/11 is the REAL paranoia?

    Are we defining paranoia as ‘thinking the people who’ve said they’re out to get you are out to get you’ or as ‘thinking random and often spurious or imaginary groups of people are out to get you’?

    Because there is a difference.

    Both reasonable and unreasonable paranoia often lead to bad actions and policies, but the bad policies that tend to stem from reasonable paranoia always seem to be created by objections to reasonable precautions.

    Take the TSA. Had we simply quietly raised our scrutiny of questionable Muslim travellers there would be no need for the intrusive bureau–but that would be ‘profiling’, and profiling is bad, mmm’kay? So we instead created something that–based on numerous incidents–fails miserably at what should be a simple task.

    We move from sanity to paranoid police state. Not out of paranoia at an enemy, but at paranoia about appearing to be profiling.

    Is that looked at in the book? The paranoiac state engendered by good intentions?

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