How paranoid is too paranoid?

Yes, there are a lot of things wrong with the world. Yes, powerful people are doing bad things to us normal folk, sometimes in secret, just to make money and/or gain power. So I’d like to ask everyone: how bad is it, really?

For example, threads have been started here challenging why public cameras, such as those in Tampa and in England, scanning for criminals with face-recognition technology, are so bad. I’ve seen arguments that the government could use it to track, then eliminate, those they consider subversive without raising a fuss and without having to send out operatives, using information gained to embarass or discredit enemies of the state. I’m still not sure what I think of this.

Then there’s stuff like that described in this link:

(derived from a story on, which I swing by occasionally, mostly for the political stories)

Yeah, we all know that the government doesn’t always do what’s in our best interest. If’s users, and plenty of other people, are to be believed, for example, there will be armed revolution, or at least mass immigration to Canada or Europe, as the government quickly strips away so many rights that the country will be a police state, since the “common man” doesn’t know or care about the issues they care about, some of which are pretty serious.

So I toss out this question: what do you all think of the state of the nation and world today, in general? When someone on a message board or Web site starts ranting about this kind of thing, what’s your reaction? Do you trust the police, or do you fear and hate them as bringers of oppression? In short, do you think we NEED to be paranoid?

I think that a person should be suspicious of people with power over them; the degree of this suspiciousness should be directly proportional to the amount of power these people have.

I think that you are too paranoid when you are wrong. The real problem is treating “the common man” or the police as different than you.

“Paranoia” is not the realization that you may have enemies. Paranoia is the overwhelming application of that opinion as the basis of all life’s decision processes. It is “wrong” if the limitations on your life coming from self-protection are greater (or significantly more likely) than the limitations your enemies might accomplish.

There certainly are people who wish to do things that would cause harm to others, and some of those people are in positions of power. However most of them have never heard of you, don’t care about you, and have no interest in your actions. Making yourself secure from violence is not paranoid, but staying in your fortified home at all times is. Who, but yourself has made you a prisoner?

A tin foil hat will cause you no physical harm. It will gain you some derisive comments from others, and establish you as unusual to most people. But it will not protect you from anything at all. So the minor damage to your reputation is unreasonable for the benefit gained. Therefore wearing a tin foil hat is paranoid.

Scrupulously examining the entire record of every candidate to public office for which you are entitled to vote will not, by itself, save the world from bad politicians. But it will play a small part in making government responsive to the will of the people, and it costs very little for you to do it. It might be ineffectual, or not, but it does offer some possibility of benefit, in comparison to very little harm to the self. Voting itself is not paranoid, no matter how paranoid your choices are.


“He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~

Technology is not the problem, just the means it is put to.

Secret police have been around for eons… the chances of anyone ever finding out exactly what is going on are very slim.
Fortunately I have great faith in the mundanity of reality, if it sounds boring i.e the X files are made up then it is probably true.

As for me, I just kick back and reap the benefits of the paranoia of others.
No video camears.
No weapons.
No alarms.
Ah, sweet bliss.

The police are the tool of the society in which they operate. They can be the executors of oppression. In centrist situations such as China, the reigning dictator is the “bringer of oppression”. In our representative republic, the people themselves would be the “bringers of oppression”, by way of the representatives they’ve put into office, and the laws they’ve allowed to pass.

Camera’s could not be put in place in Tampa unless the majority of the society approved that action, either directly by supporting the action or indirectly by not opposing the action.

One could argue that the installation of cameras represents paranoia on the part of the public: Who could be in the stands? Where will crime happen next? The only safe place is one under contant surveillance. Stay tuned, same bat-time, same bat-channel.

Paranoia is in the eye of the beholder.

It sure looks like Big Brother is coming, and people are so interested in the latest scandal that they won’t even notice.

Sometimes, it’s hard not to be paranoid. Usually I go along semi-minding my own business, secure in the faith that since I don’t do anything very radical, I don’t warrant any kind of surveillance. You’d have to be REALLY bored to wanna watch me do much of anything.

On the other hand, when I hear of people being selected for airline searches for no other reason than “they fit a profile” (i.e. stereotype), it does make me nervous. Or when I hear of people in other countries whose civil rights are violated en masse. You start to wonder, and wonder leads to worry, and each time you see something like this, you get a little more protective of yourself.

As a parent, I have become increasingly aware of crimes against childen, and that makes me nervous. Granted these things are not as prevalent as the media might have us believe, still it’s a case where one instance is one too many and it makes me a little paranoid.

I’ll be in the corner under the tinfoil.

Big Brother is already here. Look at drug laws that can put a parent in prison if the child is selling drugs. Does that not say that parents are required to turn their children in for the greater good of society? What about Politically Correct speech? You are only allowed to say certain things in the public eye or you are condemned? Sounds like Newspeak to me.