Monday, September 15, 2003
Conspiracy Theories, Redux [UPDATED]

As I was sitting in class this evening - more precisely, as I was waiting for the professor to show up (which he did, five minutes late) - I realized that my argument against passive acceptance of conspiracy theories left out an important third reason why Westerners seem so eager, in spite of the freedom they are so privileged to have, to buy into the fact that there are widespread efforts within their own government bodies to subvert their (the citizens') every move. It's rather simple, and it actually occurred to me (I noted it for later use) while I was writing the first piece, but I promptly forgot about it as I was typing. Never fear, however, for here is the third reason:

Political maneuvering. It's related to the idea (as they all are) of blaming someone else for your own problems. This one is more vicious, though. Instead of merely believing that people are out to get you (paranoia in the extreme), this one goes on the offensive, and concocts crazy scenarios that portray one's enemies in the worst possible light, assuming they are true. This is precisely the kind of argument the 'inside job' 9/11 theory attempts.

Someone is disappointed, frustrated, angry, or whatever, about the Bush administration's post-9/11 popularity, so (possibly subconsciously, though that's very hard to envision) they try to cast the White House in the most horrible of scenarios - that of killing a huge number of their own citizens - in the hopes that an investigation will be started, and will uncover the (supposedly) terrible secrets lying underneath the worst act of US domestic terrorism in history. Or perhaps (and this is a more plausible scenario, for the fabricator knows that the end result of an inquiry will be his or her own exposure as a fraud) the perpetuator of the vicious and deadly rumor desires not an investigation, but merely to plant seeds of discord in the hearts of those who would normally (and rightly) give their support to the President in his efforts to defeat world terrorism. After all, no one wants to be aligned with a murderer. (Well, okay, MAYBE, but only if that murderer is Saddam Hussein).

Again, though, just like the first two reasons (not having experienced life without absolute corruption, and desiring to blame some mystical entity known as 'they' for your own difficulties), at the core of this motivation for crafting a Conspiracy Theory is deceit, self- or otherwise.

debi corresponds
Hitler used a tactic to deceive people called The Big Lie. If you tell an outrageous lie often enough and convincingly enough (not with logic and facts, but with emotion) thinking people will believe it. And it worked. The same principle applies to CT.
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