We have a diagnosis
Thank you, Fred Vultee, for giving us a term we badly needed.
At Headsup: The Blog, a post describes Pastor Terry Jones’s campaign of alarm about creeping Sharia in Dearborn, Michigan, as sharianoia.
Rough economic times have always seen Americans go a little batty.
In the nineteenth century, the influx of Irish immigrants, bringing their filthy folkways and alien religion with them, had true Americans fearful that their liberties would be swept away and that that sinister figure in Rome would call the shots.
The anti-Catholic paranoia was still there, though much enfeebled, fifty years ago when John Kennedy won the presidency.
And of course we periodically see flare-ups about that other group of sinister Semites with their filthy folkways and their alien Mosaic code whenever someone of shaky wits rediscovers that czarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Someone needs to keep saying that imposition of Sharia in the United States as civil law is as unlikely as imposition of the Deuteronomic Code or Roman Catholic canon law.
Though it needs to be said, I doubt that it will have much effect, because people who are fearful are also gullible.
This morning, even Ron Smith, whose forthright conservative views are so bracing on The Sun’s op-ed page, is muttering darkly that Barack Obama’s “original birth certificate, medical records, school records and legislative papers while a state senator in Illinois have all either been sealed or have simply disappeared. There has been an incredibly successful obliteration of the man's past. Which raises the inevitable question: Why?”*
The spread of the birther nonsense must surely be linked to sharianoia, both representing a generalized fear of Islam combined with the planted suspicion that the president of the United States is a sleeper agent of the caliphate.
That supposedly rational adults can assert such absurdities, and that a significant portion of the population can believe them, speaks well for neither the national intelligence nor the national mental health.
*This in the context of an article on how the menacing monolithic Media will never allow Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy succeed. Downtrodden Donald Trump! Donald Trump, who has had a free ride in the media for more than thirty years!