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negativ
18th June 2009, 10:37 AM
I searched several different ways, but I didn't see anyone mentioning it here. If it's already been discussed to death, I offer my apologies and my ex-wife.

http://www.publiceye.org/conspire/toxic2democracy/index.html

Chip Berlet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chip_Berlet) of Political Research Associates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_Research_Associates) has written a paper that should be of interest to this forum.

From the media release:

Tracing the roots of conspiracism throughout U.S. and European history, Toxic to Democracy challenges it as a form of political analysis. Modern conspiracism is rooted in bigotry, especially antisemitism and racism. Conspiracy theories encourage demonization and scapegoating of blameless persons and groups—distracting society and would-be agents of change away from the real causes of social and economic injustice. It’s practiced by demagogues on the Right and on the Left—and both inside and outside the corridors of power.

And a little from the executive summary:
The 9/11 conspiracy theory alleging 4,000 Jews were warned of the attacks is a clear case of antisemitic conspiracism peddled by certain Political Right groups as a recruitment tool. Their ultimate goal is mobilizing people to oppose progressive social and economic justice campaigns by targeting vulnerable communities as scapegoats. The progressive version of the 9/11 conspiracy generally avoids blatant antisemitic references. Some on the Left, however, picked up phrases such as “international bankers,” “globalist elites,” “secret government,” “international bankers,” and “banksters,” that historically have been used as coded references to alleged Jewish power. While their target was Bush and Cheney, the accusations and catchphrases employed were laden with antisemitic bigotry.

Familiar themes to us.

Childlike Empress
19th June 2009, 11:27 AM
This (http://truthaction.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5504) comment over at truthaction says it better than I could:

I agree that conspiracies are toxic to democracy. When the CIA successfully conspired to overthrew Allende in Chile it was toxic to democracy. When Kermit Roosevelt conspired to blow up a prominent cleric's home in Iran in order to demonize Mossadegh supporters it was toxic to democracy. The Gladio conspiracy was toxic to democracies throughout Europe. The COINTELPRO conspiracy was toxic to democracy in the United States. And so on.

You can make an argument that some forms of "conspiracism" are toxic to democracy. The theory that Jews are to blame for all of the world's problems, for instance. But not all conspiracies are created equal. Chip lumps them all together.

The dichotomy that some leftists draw between "conspiracism" and "structuralism" is false. More often than not conspiracies arise from visible or known institutions like CIA -- institutions that were created for the express purpose of "plausible deniability". Yes, conspiracies take place in smokey, dimly lit rooms with men sitting around a table. Conspiracies are a mainstay of state policy and an important weapon of class control. People who cry foul at "conspiracy theories" are forced to acknowledge this fact, if pressed. What they object to is "conspiracy theory" in the here and now. It's ok to talk about Gladio in the 21st century, but if you alleged such a conspiracy as it was occurring you would be a "conspiracy nut".

Part of this is the intense desire to remain "credible" in bourgeois society. Journalists and pop psychologists are forced to create bizarre, pseudo-Freudian theories about the "comfort" of "conspiracism" in order to avoid looking at the facts objectively.

"Black Propaganda" -- which includes assassinations, false flag operations, funding of paramilitaries, election tampering, evidence planting, "enhanced interrogation" (meaning torture) and many other "dirty tricks" is just as important as "white propaganda" (which includes most of what we call "journalism"). Numerous declassified or leaked documents admit to these techniques. Therefore it is disingenuous, at best, to attribute "conspiratorial" thinking to mental illness or some other psychological defect. Acknowledging the strong probability that conspiracies abound in modern politics is completely rational, especially when solid evidence exists for a particular theory. Claiming that they don't is not only irrational, it is naive beyond belief.

JohnG
19th June 2009, 11:46 AM
This (http://truthaction.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5504) comment over at truthaction says it better than I could:


I think you and the person you quoted are missing the point. I doubt that anyone here would argue that pointing out/discussing/analyzing, etc. actual conspiracies is inherently racist or "toxic to democracy" if there is solid evidence to indicate there is some truth to the theory regarding said conspiracy.

It's the lying, the making stuff up or even sincerely believing in a conspiracy but not offering any real evidence to support your beliefs that is what's "toxic" about conspiracy theories. A conspiracy is either real or it isn't. Talking about and investigating real conspiracies is worthwhile and sometimes even heroic. Believing anything and everything you hear if it supports your personal disdain for a group of people is anything but worthwhile or heroic.

dudalb
19th June 2009, 12:10 PM
Part of this is the intense desire to remain "credible" in bourgeois society.

I thought that kind of Marxist rhetoric went out with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

INRM
20th June 2009, 05:45 AM
So basically all conspiracy theorists are racist scapegoaters and are a threat to democracy?

So essentially anyone who offers a theory to events in history that are poorly explained or don't add up are automatically to be assumed to be threats to democracy... great


INRM

ParrotPirate
20th June 2009, 05:49 AM
I heard an interview with Mr. Berlet on NPR last week. He did make some interesting points. I haven't read the whole paper/article yet,but it sounds like it would be worth looking at.

JimBenArm
20th June 2009, 09:23 AM
So basically all conspiracy theorists are racist scapegoaters and are a threat to democracy?

So essentially anyone who offers a theory to events in history that are poorly explained or don't add up are automatically to be assumed to be threats to democracy... great


INRM
No, just the stupid ones. Like 9/11, JFK, chemtrails, moon hoaxers, or Zionist ones.
The others that might have some factual basis are worth discussing.

Ysidro
20th June 2009, 09:43 AM
No, just the stupid ones. Like 9/11, JFK, chemtrails, moon hoaxers, or Zionist ones.
The others that might have some factual basis are worth discussing.

This of course, is difficult for some people to understand. CTers don't seem to make the distinction between Conspiracy Theories and actual conspiracies. I guess that to admit that some CT could be wrong is to admit their own personal CT could be wrong. That and to deny the rather obvious (to non-CTers) pathology they exhibit seems to keep them going in the face of reality.

Fiona
20th June 2009, 11:48 AM
I am not sure but I think this post I made a little while ago is relevant to this thread: if it is off topic then feel free to skip

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=4805229#post4805229

TS-
20th June 2009, 09:52 PM
Read through about 75% of the paper, have to say it's a bit heavy-handed. The author seems to want to dismiss people with personality disorders and/or the occasional mental disorder, and try to make it a right-wing political thing.

As someone who's hung around this place and another board or two where conspiracy theorists randomly wander into for some time, I've seen the same people who were pushing CTs about Bush and 9/11, now bringing up stuff about Obama. There are many examples of that on this board. There are a group of people who's political bias is paranoia, and not right or left.

There has certainly been an upswing in right-wing/conservative rhetoric since the Democrats came back into power (I listen to Shawn Hannity for amusement purposes- he's an awful man who should be struck by lightning), but conspiracy theorists don't all fit into one group. From what I've read, he's trying to break them up strictly into right/left for the most part, which is a bit clumsy.

Also, while I understand why antisemitism is a big theme, as many CTs follow themes from anti-masonic/antisemetic CTs or information sources, but, as the author points out, there are many people who don't know that their conspiracy theory of choice is tied at all to antisemitic thought, and object to the implication. I think this group is huge, and it would be important to point out how many people are using codewords (Zionist, bankster, Mossad etc) without neccessarily knowing their implication.

Skeptic
21st June 2009, 02:05 AM
As someone who's hung around this place and another board or two where conspiracy theorists randomly wander into for some time, I've seen the same people who were pushing CTs about Bush and 9/11, now bringing up stuff about Obama. There are many examples of that on this board. There are a group of people who's political bias is paranoia, and not right or left.

Exactly. Without missing a beat, too! You'd think the fact that Bush did not, after all, declare himself dictator-for-life or impose the new world order before leaving office would register with those guys, but noooooooooooo.....

By the way, as an Israeli, I know what "mossad" means in Hebrew, what the mossad's official name is, and can name a few actual zionist leaders. I'll bet good money 99.9% of conspiracy theorists can't.

Caustic Logic
22nd June 2009, 11:02 PM
I thought that kind of Marxist rhetoric went out with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Apparently this person didn't hear about the Berlin Wall conference, where the word bourgeoisie was banned.

Just read enough of the article to see they were mostly referring to verifiably nutty anti-rational CTists, which is good, as I was gonna harp on the irony of accusing the evil scapegoating paranoids of being toxic to democracy. "So that's our problem, those damn scapegoaters. Revive Democracy! Kill them!" Plenty of room for idiocy on both sides of this debate.

TS-: good post.

INRM
23rd June 2009, 08:23 PM
JimBenArm,

No, just the stupid ones. Like 9/11, JFK, chemtrails, moon hoaxers, or Zionist ones.
The others that might have some factual basis are worth discussing.

But if you give the government the right to designate what conspiracy theories are dangerous or not, who's to say they won't designate all conspiracy theories as dangerous to outlaw all discussion and scrutiny?

I mean, some conspiracy theories are ridiculous and have little to any factual basis, but some are valid and have factual basis to support them -- who's to say that conspiracy theories that you and many people consider to be valid, and say even are, the government declares as being "dangerous" and people who believe them to be "domestic terrorists"?


INRM

JoeyDonuts
23rd June 2009, 10:31 PM
I mean, some conspiracy theories are ridiculous and have little to any factual basis, but some are valid and have factual basis to support them -- who's to say that conspiracy theories that you and many people consider to be valid, and say even are, the government declares as being "dangerous" and people who believe them to be "domestic terrorists"?

Call it learning from being burned. There has been a serious uptick in violent lashings-out by people who hold conspiratorial beliefs and feel they are being oppressed by forces that don't actually exist. A man who is active on internet conspiracy forums screaming about the evil Zionist overlords and advocating violent action against them, has a history of firearms violations, and a rabid fan of The Turner Diaries should probably attract law enforcement attention. Will he? Hard to say. Law Enforcement in these cases tend to be reactive, but they are starting to look for 'the signs.'

So, if you're on the internet gibbering about NWO/Chemtrails/Illuminati/what have you, and you DON'T have an arsenal of illegal weaponry, DON'T associate with violent anti-government groups like the Freemen, you most likely have nothing to worry about. Someone from the FBI might read some of your posts, flag them, do some digging on you, get your name, realize you're a "dry hole" and move on. In any case, you won't know it's ever happened. And it's not a big deal. Sometimes the police will run your plates if they happen to be behind you in traffic. Their lights will never come on, and you'll never know whether or not it happened. Big deal? Not so much.

Where there's smoke...there might be fire. Should a Middle-Eastern man with a one-way ticket and no checked baggage get closer scrutiny at an airport than a 75-year-old grandmother with an oxygen tank? You tell me.

INRM
25th June 2009, 10:28 AM
JoeyDonuts,

I really don't think it's a good idea to give the government the power to designate certain conspiracy theories as being indicative of domestic terrorism.

I think it's likely that it could easily be abused to label anybody who holds beliefs the government doesn't agree with as being tantamount to being a domestic terrorist.

Sure it can start with quasi-legitimate things but it could easily evolve to the point that I just described -- the government labeling anybody who holds beliefs they don't agree with as being domestic-terrorists. When you consider that Obama has actually considered a policy of indefinite preventative detention for people who he deems a national security threat, this can be very dangerous. In it's extreme it would be completely contrary to the First Amendment...

I should note that there are many people in this country who hold conspiracy theory beliefs who are not violent and who have not engaged in violence.


INRM

JoeyDonuts
25th June 2009, 09:31 PM
I really don't think it's a good idea to give the government the power to designate certain conspiracy theories as being indicative of domestic terrorism.

Nor do I. That's not what's happening.

I think it's likely that it could easily be abused to label anybody who holds beliefs the government doesn't agree with as being tantamount to being a domestic terrorist.

If you're actually going to make the argument that the United States is a police state or turning into one, I'm going to go make a sandwich.

Sure it can start with quasi-legitimate things but it could easily evolve to the point that I just described -- the government labeling anybody who holds beliefs they don't agree with as being domestic-terrorists. When you consider that Obama has actually considered a policy of indefinite preventative detention for people who he deems a national security threat, this can be very dangerous. In it's extreme it would be completely contrary to the First Amendment...

There is a system of checks, balances, and oversight to ensure this doesn't happen. Also, government isn't populated with bloodthirsty fearmongers the way you might think. This kind of argument might have had very thin traction under the previous administration, but you're out of your element here, Donny. Belief in unfounded conspiracy theories is simply one indicator of instability that by itself means absolutely nothing. You're free to believe and post whatever you want inside the confines of the law. It's when it combines with other factors like illegal firearms hoarding, a history of domestic violence and outbursts, and making specific worded threats against government officials/abortion doctors/military recruiters/etc. that it becomes a problem.

Anything can be dangerous in the extreme. This is not a nation led by extremists.

I should note that there are many people in this country who hold conspiracy theory beliefs who are not violent and who have not engaged in violence.

Agreed. I'd wager the vast majority of them are non-violent.

Toro
28th June 2009, 07:58 AM
Read through about 75% of the paper, have to say it's a bit heavy-handed. The author seems to want to dismiss people with personality disorders and/or the occasional mental disorder, and try to make it a right-wing political thing.

As someone who's hung around this place and another board or two where conspiracy theorists randomly wander into for some time, I've seen the same people who were pushing CTs about Bush and 9/11, now bringing up stuff about Obama. There are many examples of that on this board. There are a group of people who's political bias is paranoia, and not right or left.

There has certainly been an upswing in right-wing/conservative rhetoric since the Democrats came back into power (I listen to Shawn Hannity for amusement purposes- he's an awful man who should be struck by lightning), but conspiracy theorists don't all fit into one group. From what I've read, he's trying to break them up strictly into right/left for the most part, which is a bit clumsy.

Also, while I understand why antisemitism is a big theme, as many CTs follow themes from anti-masonic/antisemetic CTs or information sources, but, as the author points out, there are many people who don't know that their conspiracy theory of choice is tied at all to antisemitic thought, and object to the implication. I think this group is huge, and it would be important to point out how many people are using codewords (Zionist, bankster, Mossad etc) without neccessarily knowing their implication.

He does focus more so on right-wing conspiracies but in his NPR interview, he also mentions the left-wing conspiracies, particularly those behind 9/11.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105531867

NWO Sentryman
28th June 2009, 08:00 AM
I thought that kind of Marxist rhetoric went out with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

unfortunately, it did not.

Tippit
28th June 2009, 08:44 AM
I think you and the person you quoted are missing the point. I doubt that anyone here would argue that pointing out/discussing/analyzing, etc. actual conspiracies is inherently racist or "toxic to democracy" if there is solid evidence to indicate there is some truth to the theory regarding said conspiracy.

It's the lying, the making stuff up or even sincerely believing in a conspiracy but not offering any real evidence to support your beliefs that is what's "toxic" about conspiracy theories. A conspiracy is either real or it isn't. Talking about and investigating real conspiracies is worthwhile and sometimes even heroic. Believing anything and everything you hear if it supports your personal disdain for a group of people is anything but worthwhile or heroic.

Conspiracy theories are what we're left with after the Kangaroo Court has ruled that there was no conspiracy. Conspiracy theories are what you're left with when you have a keen understanding of human nature, and a healthy skepticism of what the facts and evidence really are. Believing anything negative about people who I personally disdain for entirely rational reasons may not be "heroic", but it does serve to protect me.

WilliamSeger
28th June 2009, 08:45 AM
This (http://truthaction.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5504) comment over at truthaction says it better than I could:

Since the fundamental premise of conspiracism is that "conspiracies happen," many conspiracists seem to think that "conspiracies don't happen" is a fundamental premise of their critics. I don't believe that's generally the case. Rather, it's the gap between knowing that some conspiracies happen and determining that a particular conspiracy happened, and the rather dismal track record of conspiracists in successfully bridging it. Conspircists are not ridiculed for thinking that conspiracies happen, but rather for the junk they try to stuff into that rather large space between "conspiracies happen" and "... therefore 9/11 was an inside job."

Tippit
28th June 2009, 08:57 AM
I think this group is huge, and it would be important to point out how many people are using codewords (Zionist, bankster, Mossad etc) without neccessarily knowing their implication.

Zionism is a political movement that happens to involve an ethnic/religious group that has been persecuted throughout history. If criticizing a political movement is necessarily racist, then implicit in this is that there is no legitimate means of criticism. This is both ridiculous, and irrational, as political groups must be subject to criticism, or they will operate with misplaced moral impunity.

The banking systems of the world are corrupt, usurious, inequitable, and the primary cause of wealth condensation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_condensation). If criticizing these institutions is racist, and using terms like "bankster" to refer to those who control these institutions is racist, then this implies there is no legitimate criticism of these institutions. This is both ridiculous, and irrational, when these institutions are prima facie systemically corrupt.

History has been replete with tyrannical regimes that hide behind the veil of political correctness. This doesn't mean all criticisms of such regimes are valid, but it certainly doesn't mean that all or even most critics are bigots.

JohnG
28th June 2009, 10:40 AM
Conspiracy theories are what we're left with after the Kangaroo Court has ruled that there was no conspiracy. Conspiracy theories are what you're left with when you have a keen understanding of human nature, and a healthy skepticism of what the facts and evidence really are. Believing anything negative about people who I personally disdain for entirely rational reasons may not be "heroic", but it does serve to protect me.


What I still can't get past is the basic non sequitur that seems to be at the heart of your beliefs regarding any and all conspiracy theories:

People in general and people in positions of power in particular are corrupt, therefore the rational default position to take on any conspiracy theory is that it is true...even if the theory is on its face absurd, or if there is a serious lack of evidence to support said theory or if one conspiracy theory completely contradicts another, etc.

Even if we, for the sake of argument, agree on your basic proposition, I just don't see how your conclusion in any way logically follows. For example, to go back to my Jack The Ripper analogy from another thread, I think most sane, ethical people would agree that the person known as Jack The Ripper was a thoroughly evil individual guilty of heinous crimes, but to use him to try to explain all of the murders, suspicious deaths, violent assaults, disappearances, etc. that took place in London of the late 19th century is in my opinion both intellectually and morally lazy, to put it mildly. It is so for two reasons; firstly because it is absurd to picture this individual dashing around London 24 hours a day committing murders over a period years, sometimes being in two or more places at once, without ever being caught and often placing himself at unnecessary risk. The second reason the theory is lazy is that there is no evidence to suggest that Jack The Ripper is the culprit in all of these other cases.

You are welcome to your low opinion of certain people, I may even share it to a certain degree. What you are not welcome to is to accuse these people of crimes based solely on your opinion of them.


ETA: I left out two important reasons why the Jack The Ripper theory is lazy; it doesn't take into account that there are other evil people, with their own demons and motives who have the means to carry out similar sorts of crimes. I chose the word "lazy" because by simply dismissing all crimes as being the responsibility of one entity, the investigator (wrongly) absolves himself of the responsibility of doing all the difficult "legwork" (both physical and intellectual) to properly and objectively investigate any/all of the crimes.

Tippit
28th June 2009, 02:46 PM
What I still can't get past is the basic non sequitur that seems to be at the heart of your beliefs regarding any and all conspiracy theories:

People in general and people in positions of power in particular are corrupt, therefore the rational default position to take on any conspiracy theory is that it is true...even if the theory is on its face absurd, or if there is a serious lack of evidence to support said theory or if one conspiracy theory completely contradicts another, etc.



My default position is to be highly skeptical of what is apparently obvious. I can't guarantee that you won't find some of my opinions to be absurd, or irrational, however, I already tried to explain the paradigm in which I exist that causes me to assign a higher probability to something you might consider "absurd".



Even if we, for the sake of argument, agree on your basic proposition, I just don't see how your conclusion in any way logically follows. For example, to go back to my Jack The Ripper analogy from another thread, I think most sane, ethical people would agree that the person known as Jack The Ripper was a thoroughly evil individual guilty of heinous crimes, but to use him to try to explain all of the murders, suspicious deaths, violent assaults, disappearances, etc. that took place in London of the late 19th century is in my opinion both intellectually and morally lazy, to put it mildly. It is so for two reasons; firstly because it is absurd to picture this individual dashing around London 24 hours a day committing murders over a period years, sometimes being in two or more places at once, without ever being caught and often placing himself at unnecessary risk. The second reason the theory is lazy is that there is no evidence to suggest that Jack The Ripper is the culprit in all of these other cases.



In the case of Jack the Ripper, I think it's reasonable to assume that a crime scene that fits a certain MO belongs to a certain profile. That doesn't mean you take shortcuts in the investigation. It's worth noting that there is a conspiracy theory associated with the Jack-the-Ripper killings:



From Hell takes as its premise Stephen Knight's theory that the murders were part of a conspiracy to conceal the birth of an illegitimate royal baby fathered by Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, slightly modified: the involvement of Walter Sickert is reduced, and Knight's allegation that the child's mother was a Catholic has been dropped. Knight's theories have been described as "a good fictional read" whose "conclusions have been disproved numerous times".[1] In an appendix added to the collected From Hell, Moore writes that he did not accept Knight's theory at face value (and he echoed the then-growing consensus that such claims were likely hoaxes), but considered it an interesting starting point for his own fictional examination of the Ripper murders, their era and impact. However, in the serialised publication of Dance of the Gull-Catchers Moore included an "author's statement" which consisted of a blown-up panel from the prologue, depicting the psychic Robert Lees confessing that although his visions were fraudulent, they were accurate: "I made it all up, and it all came true anyway. That's the funny part."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_Hell





You are welcome to your low opinion of certain people, I may even share it to a certain degree. What you are not welcome to is to accuse these people of crimes based solely on your opinion of them.



I wouldn't say I have a low opinion of certain people, I'm just skeptical of power. I base this on my understanding of myself, and what my motives would likely be if I were already wealthy beyond belief, my family's every material want satisfied for hundreds of generations. Then I recognize the system which has made this a reality for certain families, and I note their attempts to cultivate a low profile, and so I'm suspicious.



ETA: I left out two important reasons why the Jack The Ripper theory is lazy; it doesn't take into account that there are other evil people, with their own demons and motives who have the means to carry out similar sorts of crimes. I chose the word "lazy" because by simply dismissing all crimes as being the responsibility of one entity, the investigator (wrongly) absolves himself of the responsibility of doing all the difficult "legwork" (both physical and intellectual) to properly and objectively investigate any/all of the crimes.

I think you're describing the accusation of Osama Bin Laden quite accurately.

JohnG
28th June 2009, 11:23 PM
My default position is to be highly skeptical of what is apparently obvious. I can't guarantee that you won't find some of my opinions to be absurd, or irrational, however, I already tried to explain the paradigm in which I exist that causes me to assign a higher probability to something you might consider "absurd".


That's it in a nutshell isn't it? The difference between "skeptics" and "believers"; assigning different probabilities to the likelihood of extraordinary phenomena. I understand where you're coming from, I really do. As recently as 20 years ago there wasn't much I didn't believe. The trick to hanging on those beliefs is to avoid learning about and soberly considering "the other side of the story". My problem was that I was so interested in the extraordinary, I'd read anything I could get my hands on, even if the author took a skeptical approach to the subject at hand. After a while I somewhat reluctantly realized that "the other side of the story" made more sense and jibed with the real world more than my long held beliefs. The experience wasn't remotely pleasurable, but I wouldn't go back to my old way of thinking for anything.


It's worth noting that there is a conspiracy theory associated with the Jack-the-Ripper killings:


Odd, isn't it, that the only conspiracies the average CTist is interested in are the same "sexy" ones that would make a top notch graphic novel and/or summer blockbuster? Sort of like how most Cryptozoologists are much more interested in Bigfoot, the Chupacabra or Nessie than they are in rumors of some hitherto undiscovered species of Chipmunk or Sea Anemone?


I wouldn't say I have a low opinion of certain people, I'm just skeptical of power. I base this on my understanding of myself, and what my motives would likely be if I were already wealthy beyond belief, my family's every material want satisfied for hundreds of generations. Then I recognize the system which has made this a reality for certain families, and I note their attempts to cultivate a low profile, and so I'm suspicious.


I don't want to sound like an armchair analyst (there are far too many self styled "experts" on the internet as is), but I believe that is what's known as projection.


I think you're describing the accusation of Osama Bin Laden quite accurately.


For crying out loud, he announced on national television in an interview a couple of years before 9/11 that it was his intent to attack America in some spectacular fashion. He wasn't some crank living in his Mother's basement either, he was an intelligent, highly trained and experienced fighter who had the means and the motive to carry out such an attack. It would have been perverse not to consider him as the number one suspect. I know he's the first person I thought of that morning and I didn't need any prodding from the press or the government.

Tippit
29th June 2009, 03:59 AM
That's it in a nutshell isn't it? The difference between "skeptics" and "believers"; assigning different probabilities to the likelihood of extraordinary phenomena.



It really is. It's like when I used to play a lot of blackjack, and was counting cards. I would sit at 3rd base and observe the decisions of other players. A typical player might assume his probability of drawing a bust card is ~31% (16/52). If I know, on the other hand, that the true count is +6, then I also know that the probabilities of him drawing a bust card are closer to 35%. My perception, in that case, is closer to reality than the other players at the table, and I'm able to profit directly by that, both by increasing my bets at the right time, and sometimes even altering my play strategy. Arcane knowledge can close the gap between perception and reality.



I understand where you're coming from, I really do. As recently as 20 years ago there wasn't much I didn't believe. The trick to hanging on those beliefs is to avoid learning about and soberly considering "the other side of the story". My problem was that I was so interested in the extraordinary, I'd read anything I could get my hands on, even if the author took a skeptical approach to the subject at hand. After a while I somewhat reluctantly realized that "the other side of the story" made more sense and jibed with the real world more than my long held beliefs. The experience wasn't remotely pleasurable, but I wouldn't go back to my old way of thinking for anything.



Aside from a few fundamental differences about how the world really works at a political and economic level, and how a few monumental historical events went down, I doubt our "beliefs" are that much different. I wouldn't characterize myself as someone who is "interested in the extraordinary". I like to play video games, eat cheeseburgers, and hang out with friends. All pretty routine, ordinary things.



Odd, isn't it, that the only conspiracies the average CTist is interested in are the same "sexy" ones that would make a top notch graphic novel and/or summer blockbuster? Sort of like how most Cryptozoologists are much more interested in Bigfoot, the Chupacabra or Nessie than they are in rumors of some hitherto undiscovered species of Chipmunk or Sea Anemone?



I dunno. The most important conspiracy to me, by far, is the Federal Reserve conspiracy. People's eyes tend to glaze over when I attempt to discuss what is for most people an utterly boring topic. I don't believe in ghosts, psychics, bigfoot, or the Loch Ness monster. I believe our money system is a gigantic scam, and that the world is run by a handful of elite, low-profile banking dynasties who engineer the wars, fund the sides, and profit by it. If that makes me crazy, so be it.



I don't want to sound like an armchair analyst (there are far too many self styled "experts" on the internet as is), but I believe that is what's known as projection.



Well, it's also what I've observed in other people, ie: the tendency to be greedy, manipulative, selfish, and deceptive. I might be a little too cynical, but then again, it serves to protect me, and I've done quite well for myself and I have friends I can trust.



For crying out loud, he announced on national television in an interview a couple of years before 9/11 that it was his intent to attack America in some spectacular fashion. He wasn't some crank living in his Mother's basement either, he was an intelligent, highly trained and experienced fighter who had the means and the motive to carry out such an attack. It would have been perverse not to consider him as the number one suspect. I know he's the first person I thought of that morning and I didn't need any prodding from the press or the government.

Is that the totality of the evidence? Even if Osama Bin Laden were responsible, who is Osama Bin Laden anyway? Based on my worldview, he's a tool of intelligence agencies, which themselves are tools of the dynastic banking elite. If Osama was involved, then I don't believe it stops with him, or that organic terrorism was the primary motive.

DC
29th June 2009, 04:02 AM
Toxic to Democracy- State Secrets and Private owned news outlets.

JohnG
29th June 2009, 09:43 PM
It really is. It's like when I used to play a lot of blackjack, and was counting cards. I would sit at 3rd base and observe the decisions of other players. A typical player might assume his probability of drawing a bust card is ~31% (16/52). If I know, on the other hand, that the true count is +6, then I also know that the probabilities of him drawing a bust card are closer to 35%. My perception, in that case, is closer to reality than the other players at the table, and I'm able to profit directly by that, both by increasing my bets at the right time, and sometimes even altering my play strategy. Arcane knowledge can close the gap between perception and reality.


I'm more of a Cribbage man myself.

Aside from a few fundamental differences about how the world really works at a political and economic level, and how a few monumental historical events went down, I doubt our "beliefs" are that much different. I wouldn't characterize myself as someone who is "interested in the extraordinary". I like to play video games, eat cheeseburgers, and hang out with friends. All pretty routine, ordinary things.


Just as I figured. Another one of those "video game playing, cheeseburger eating, hanging out with friends" types. Typical.

I dunno. The most important conspiracy to me, by far, is the Federal Reserve conspiracy. People's eyes tend to glaze over when I attempt to discuss what is for most people an utterly boring topic. I don't believe in ghosts, psychics, bigfoot, or the Loch Ness monster. I believe our money system is a gigantic scam, and that the world is run by a handful of elite, low-profile banking dynasties who engineer the wars, fund the sides, and profit by it.


My point is, that it's the majority of people who go in for the big, sexy, action packed, suspense filled, special effects extravaganza type Conspiracy Theories whose eyes really would glaze over if you were to try to engage them in conversation about your "utterly boring" Federal Reserve conspiracy or even, say Watergate. On the other hand, there are many "Debunkers" here who'd love to discuss your theory with you. They may disagree vehemently with you, but I doubt they'd dismiss the subject as "boring".

Does that tell you anything?


If that makes me crazy, so be it.


Why do you keep implying that I keep implying that you're crazy?


Well, it's also what I've observed in other people, ie: the tendency to be greedy, manipulative, selfish, and deceptive. I might be a little too cynical, but then again, it serves to protect me, and I've done quite well for myself and I have friends I can trust.


That's human nature for you. But whereas you seem to think "people basically suck" makes for a good punch line, I think it works better as the setup. It's a subtle distinction, I admit, but an important one.


Is that the totality of the evidence?


Nope, but it was a hell of a good start the morning of 9/11. For information regarding the other evidence that was uncovered in the years following that tragic morning, please refer to, well every news outlet on the planet.


Even if Osama Bin Laden were responsible, who is Osama Bin Laden anyway? Based on my worldview, he's a tool of intelligence agencies, which themselves are tools of the dynastic banking elite. If Osama was involved, then I don't believe it stops with him, or that organic terrorism was the primary motive.


Maybe you should decide who is guilty and who isn't based on evidence rather than your "worldview"?





Have I mentioned that I really don't think you're crazy?

Micromegas
5th July 2009, 08:04 PM
I agree with Berlet's critique.

It’s a mistake to consider conspiracy theories actual attempts at inquiry instead of convenient fantasies that excuse people’s resentment and suspicion. People who believe conspiracy theories do so for reasons that have nothing to do with facts and evidence.

That’s not to say that conspiracy theorists don’t use the term “evidence” quite a lot, but the term loses its meaning when it refers merely to an incoherent slew of factoids. The conspiracy theorist’s “research” involves assembling a mass of bizarre and irresponsible claims. He makes his “case” merely by forcing rational people to spend a lot of time assessing each claim and explaining the context he has conveniently ignored, then moving on to the next of his literally endless list of factoids.

Conspiracy theories grow in soil rich in inexperience and amateur arrogance. Those who peddle these weird theories pretend they’re experts in various disciplines (civil engineering, biology, history) simply by having surfed the Web extensively and selectively. Their lack of contact with experts in the mainstream of any field relevant to their “research” is endlessly amusing.

The theories are really nothing more than excuses to vent their anger and frustration against the powerful, as well as insult those they consider the minions of these elites.
But conspiracy theories don’t empower people supposedly excluded from public discourse. In fact, they accomplish just the opposite: unless legitimate alternative researchers distance themselves from the tinhats, people assume that all dissent is characterized by the lunacy and arrogance of conspiracy theorists.

-Mike