TRUST NO ONE: The paranoids are out to get you!
Or so it seems in this era of conspiracy theories. To conspiratorialist wingnuts, the world isn’t ruled by ideas and physical laws. No—powerful plotters operating At The Highest Levels are running things.
The fifth anniversary of the 9/11 atrocity has come and gone. Many of us took time to remember the fallen, and to reflect upon the wider meaning of the ideological threats to our way of life.
Regrettably, these somber remembrances and thoughtful reflections were marred by the loud, incendiary claims of conspiracy theorists.
The New Invidualist
Surely, you have heard the 9/11 conspiracy theories by now. The U.S. government—not Osama bin Laden and radical Muslims—brought down the World Trade Center. Attacked the Pentagon. Tried to hit Congress, even. Or at least allowed these things to happen—then covered it all up.
Why? To justify launching the War on Terror.
And why launch a War on Terror?
If you are a Muslim conspiratorialist, it’s because the Great Satan wishes to destroy the Muslim world.
If you are a libertarian conspiratorialist, it’s because a War on Terror would allow excuses for the diabolical neocons to violate our liberties, vastly increase government spending, and consolidate power.
If you are a leftist conspiratorialist, it’s because that gives the imperialistic U.S. a rationale to colonize the Middle East.
If you are a conservative conspiratorialist, it’s because it gives the communist Insiders and international bankers a greater stranglehold on our economy.
The wonderful thing about the 9/11 conspiracy theory is that it can be cited to explain damned near anything, for damned near anyone. Like the Blob from the 1950s horror movie, an ambitious conspiracy theory like this one can expand amorphously in any direction, allowing it to encompass—and account for—any conceivable fact, thus allowing its proponent to imagine himself unassailable to any challenge.
Of course, the “theory” (if we dignify it with that label) is complete nonsense. Recently, Popular Mechanics editor Jim Meigs and his staff took on and meticulously refuted the various 9/11 conspiracy theories in several long articles, a dedicated blog, and a book, Debunking 9/11 Myths. Naturally, none of this matters one whit to the conspiratorialists: clearly, Popular Mechanics has been co-opted or duped by The Conspiracy, you see.
This prompts me to address a wider issue: the general susceptibility of many people to conspiracy theories of all sorts.
(There is much more; click here for the entire November 2006 article.)