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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Conspiracy Theorists

A programme on the "Fernseher" recently had me alternating between extreme impatience and outright amazement. It covered a number of "conspiracy theories" currently in vogue on the internet and elsewhere. The majority seem to be fueled by people in the US, though support comes from all over the world. One of the biggest is the whole "Bush bombed the Twin Towers to start a war" theory, which is, as one would expect, extremely popular with the Iranian regime who never lose an opportunity to remind people that the images of the airliners - from umpteen different cameras and people, are all "CIA fakes."

According to the guy they featured the other night, the Pentagon was hit, not by an airliner, but by a missile fired from one of the US Navy's own nuclear submarines. In his view, there was no part of any airliner visible in any photograph and all the pieces recovered, were from a missile. How he worked that one out when the film shown on our TV clearly had large sections of aircraft marked up in the livery of the airline in it, defeats me. But he claimed in an interview that all these pieces were "fakes, planted by the military" to "stir up the people and provoke a war." Yes, I'm sure it was - how else do you stir up a war? And the Pope is the leader of the Protestant Churches ...

I find the mindset that dreams up these theories, then fosters and nurtures them, developing all kinds of "evidence" to support their claim, difficult to grasp. Some of these folk seem to make a complete industry out of "proving" their theory and "confronting the XXXX with the evidence."

Another popular one is the whole "The Moon Landings were faked by Hollywood" theory. It ranges from supposedly professional photographers who claim "there are no shadows on the Moon" to so-called "engineers" who claim it is impossible for the Lunar Lander to have actually safely made the descent and taken off again. Then you have the movie makers who claim to be able to "prove" the films and photos taken on the Moon's surface were "faked" in a laboratory. I did enjoy the clip shown with one of this last class confronting Neil Armstrong on the steps of the Capitol. He had his full camera crew and sound recorders, lighting team and all the hangers-on with him as he charged up the steps shouting "Senator Armstrong! You claim to have walked on the Moon. I say you're a liar, a thief and a fraud. What do you say to that?"

Neil Armstrong turned, shook off the restraining hand of his companion, and slugged the guy, knocking him off his feet. Perfect timing. If only someone would do it to the likes of Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 911) and all the others of that ilk.

The damage these clowns do to the standing of their own nation is incredible, yet, the strange thing is, they claim to be "serving the interests of the people" by "exposing the lies and deceits of ...." Funny thing, I don't recall ever voting for any of them, so how are they serving? Ah, of course, that simple expedient of self delusion and media exposure. Dream up a story wild enough and preferably with a government whose popularity is shaky as its focus, and some folk will believe anything. Never mind the evidence, do I want to believe President G W Bush is an enemy of the world, the people, the country? If yes - then no matter how wild or stupid, the conspiracy theorists must be right.

Another subject touched on was the idea that the Titanic didn't in fact sink. That her owners actually sent the Olympic out with a name change so they could claim the insurance. This ignores the fact that the Olympic was, in fact, slightly smaller and had a number of fairly obvious differences in her appearance. Titanic's other sister, Britannic (Originally Gigantic), would have been a better candidate for the switch since she would have been identical in appearance, but she was still on the slipway when the Titanic sank. Britannic wasn't, in fact, completed until 1915, largely because, after the Titanic sank, she was heavily modified to take into account lessons learned in the sinking. That doesn't stop the conspiracy theorists running the theory though.

This strangely twisted way of thinking seems to permeate a whole range of subjects, from the Moon Landings, through 911 and on out into the world of Climate Change. On the flimsiest of evidence people's integrity, motives and even intelligence are called into question. One of the things I find most depressing is that it is usually the supposedly intelligent younger generation, many at university, who ardently believe all this garbage. It must be some sort of reaction to the discipline of study - or perhaps it stems from the fact their lecturers may be ardent believers themselves in a "greater government conspiracy."

Returning to the Twin Towers, one "investigator" claimed to have found "explosive residues" in the debris - proof in his mind that G W B had had the Towers destroyed by demolition charges. There are any number of perfectly reasonable explanations for his "tests" having given a "positive" result, not least among them being what is called "expectation bias." Others claim the films and photos of airliners striking the Towers are photoshopped and the actual strikes were anything from missiles to F-16s of the USAF "ordered" to attack the Towers by the President himself.

I'm sure every USAF pilot would obey THAT order... Yet, thanks to Michael Moore and his cohorts, this is exactly what Iranians do believe.

Having debunked all the theories included in the TV programme did ask the same question I am pondering. What is it that makes otherwise intelligent people adopt these strange theories? Why are they driven to be so vehemently convinced that they, and they alone, are right?

I think there might be a few doctoral thesis to be had in finding an answer ...


  1. The Neil Armstrong situation is frequently misunderstood to the point where it has become an urban myth. The real reason he didn't face criminal charges for assault was that his defence, and this was witnessed, was that his accuser was actually assaulting him at the time. Look more carefully for the accusers hand restraining Armstrong.....

    Tin foil hat wearers are a problem in that the more louder they shout, the more the real issues are hidden through association.

  2. Yes, that was pointed out. The moron actually had hold of Armstrong and was trying to drag him toward the top of the steps and the camera team. As you say, these clowns often mask some real issues with their zany theories.

  3. Here in the U.S. one meets "Bush destroyed the Twin Towers" theorists much too often and always by surprise: You'll be having what passes for an intelligent conversation with someone you've encountered who seems rational, and suddenly they're speaking of the Bush/Cheney "conspiracy" as if it were common knowledge.

    I've gotten to where I don't even argue anymore, I simply disengage politely from said conversation and go on my way.

    I just finished reading Ann Coulter's latest book, "Demonic", in which she discusses the mob mentality as equates to liberals and the way a mob is fed disinformation via slogans and brief catch phrases rather than rational explanation and, to the mob, these tidbits become "the truth".

    Anne is 100% right.

    It apparently doesn't take much to plant a conspiracy theory in the shallow minds of some...

  4. Well, I only wrote histories, but the damn plebians constantly mistake me for that schemer Nostradamus. So the Mayan calendar builders only had room on their rock to go up to 2012 in the Gregorian calendar. There are also two siblings in the Bavarian forests who escaped the clutches of the pleasant old woman in the confectionary cottage, Hansel and Gretel, diminutives of Johann and Margaret, obviously refering to the US president born in 1917 and the British Premier born in 1925 who could and should have been contemporary rulers if Richard Nixon had not had influenza, caused by a CIA experiment that yhen caused green monkeys to infect africa with HIV. This is nothing compared to the locations of the part Zombie William Wallace, who has no fewer than seven hands buried in various Scottish castles and churches, his lung in no fewer than four locations, but whose heart was kept by the English for use in Satanic or Masonic rituals of Rosicrutian origin involving goats, virgins and a man in a morning suit.

    In the town where I live a flagrantly falsified nativity scene was perpetrated last year as neither a virgin nor a wise man has been seen hereabouts since the Monk left its precincts. The thermometer on my wall tells me that global warming is a reality this afternoon, however, the weekend will disprove this theory as glaciers once more begin their growth in Scottish Corries.

    I've never had any difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction; the problem with that is that it has led to some very nasty "full and frank exchanges" with several people in authority, some of whom were in charge of my wage packet. Oh that I were simple enough to have been a reader of the News of the S̶c̶r̶e̶w̶s̶ , no sorry, World, it must be nice to be so easily entertained, now the National Enquirer, that's more like it...

  5. PS as I am not in Southern California, you will see that I wrote this response in anticipation of the post above...

  6. Mrs Wolf, I suspect the "mob mentality" that underpins this mindset is exacerbated by the disconnect most people feel between themselves and government. As your Constitutions says "We the PEOPLE ..." but increasingly, around the globe, the "sheeple" are ignored and "allowed" to vote occasionally to give the illusion of their having a say. Most politicians (and Civil Servants I've encountered) will, when challenged on this, trot out their usual line that the affairs of governing a country/nation/people are far too complex for ordinary people to understand... "The Masses" as some politicians like to refer to the rest of us are neither as stupid or as blind as they think and, in the absence of trust, conspiracies are fostered. It is stupid, but I begin to suspect that it serves the political classes well - they use some of this to foster their claims to need to impose ever tighter control over the rest of us, higher taxes to pay for the controls and so on ...

    Josephus is, as ever, identifying the fact that this isn't a new phenomenon, but it is one that is now made infinitely more dangerous by the rapid spread of the ideas through the mass information media we now have access to.

    I shall now have to go and join the Masons just to see this ritual with goats, virgins and a man in a morning suit ...