We cannot confront the fallacies of conspiracy thinking in our political culture if we do not understand it. In recent weeks Van Jones, the President’s Green Jobs Czar, lost his job because of his embrace of conspiracy thinking. More recently popular talker Glenn Beck has been smeared by his opponents as a conspiracy nut. We can only decipher these issues and win these intellectual fights if we know just what kind of thinking needs to be isolated from political life.
When we last left my dialogue with a 9/11 Truther Crackpot I’d grown tired of his filibustering and had decided it was time to confront him on what he actually believed:
Do you believe 9/11 was an “inside job” perpetuated by the US government?
Before I can consider who, or why, I have to know what. I will tell you that until I saw certain “official” videos I also was inclined to believe that things were as advertised. To follow but one of them. It is very short. I is not logical that a plane would inflict this type of damage to a structure. Offical staterments appear to be in error. Judging by the video that does not appear to be an incredible statement.
The Truther then insisted I view 2 videos, one of an animation of the plane striking the pentagon and the other of multiple shots of the World Trade Center collapsing. I didn’t see anything extraordinary, but then again I’m not trained to analyze demolitions.
What field do you specialize in and what are you educated in?
Would it change anythig you saw?
It would demonstrate if you’re qualified to analyze this stuff. If you’re a building engineer or a demolitions expert or a physicist or something like that then you know how to analyze this. If not then you’re just someone playing around with conspiracy theories.
My “qualifications” notwithstanding, common sense is usually a good starting point in order to assess any need for investigation. Is what you see appear to be, without a doubt, the damage you would expect from an aircraft of that size? Let’s look at the pentagon first. Let logic be your guide. The devil is in the details.
So basically what you’re telling me is that you have no qualifications, training, or expertise to judge this stuff.
Basically I’m “asking you”, as an intelligent, observent, analytical, american citizen, if you are troubled by the damage seen in the video.(before the collapse of the structure) And the claims made that this damage was caused by a aircraft the size of the on said to have crashed into said structure? If you think the damage is “consistent” with such an occurrance, the the answer is yes. If you think it inconsistent, then no.
Conspiracy theorists are usually not trained in what they’re analyzing. They’re entirely self-taught. By now I was starting to run out of gas with dealing with this guy.
Yes. Can you present me with the analysis of any demolition or buildings experts who would have superior knowledge than uneducated individuals such as you and I who would suggest otherwise?
Sorry for the delay. Here’s something to chew on while I address a few computer bugs. Shouldn’t be too long. [He forwarded me another boring youtube video before emailing me again later.]
Again my apologies for the interuption of the discourse. The information contained in the short video appears to be both consise and accurate. Furthermore it is conveyed in a way as to avoid any unessesary technical jargon.You have mentioned human nature. Can I assume you believe all people are basically the same? That no group of people or persons are inherently are superior?
I didn’t find the video compelling or revelatory as you did.
“Can I assume you believe all people are basically the same? That no group of people or persons are inherently are superior?”
Further clarify your questions. I am not a racist. No group of people is “superior” to another. However, I think certain groups of ideas which individuals embrace can be superior to another. I think the West’s democratic capitalism is far superior to the Middle East’s Islamist, misogynist police states.
All people are not basically the same, though. On an individual to individual basis talent, discipline, and ability are not equally distributed. Some individuals are naturally more talented, creative, intelligent, etc. than other individuals.
But regarding human nature, once one has an understanding of it then any and all conspiracy theories (much like your 9/11 Truther bulls***) begin to fall apart. You just realize that a large group of people could not accomplish the conspiracy — at least the probabilities are incredibly low. People screw up. People make mistakes. People double-cross one another. Conspiracies (especially really large ones like your 9/11 Truther stuff which would require hundreds of people) cannot be maintained for long.
How old are you if you don’t mind my asking? Or is that another thing about you that you’re not going to tell me because it would undermine your credibility. (Not that age makes one qualified, there are plenty of older people who embrace conspiracy theory.)
Now here’s a video for you:
I didn’t find the video compelling or revelatory as you did.
Which part? The description of an 80 ton aircraft? Or the lack of evidence that said aircraft was present?
“Can I assume you believe all people are basically the same?…”
It’s not wether they actually are superior or not. Sometime it’s wether they believe they are superior, or can convince others they they are superior, that provides a motivation to hatch a conspiracy. To put things right, as it were.
… I think the West’s democratic capitalism is far superior to the Middle East’s Islamist, misogynist police states….
Democratic capitalism? In this country? How is that possible with this form of government? Capitalism is an economic theory. Misogyny is a is a perception dictated by ones’ cultural psychology.
… Some individuals are naturally more talented, creative, intelligent, etc. than other individuals….
So then these people would most typically become the leaders of any group of like minded individuals.
But regarding human nature, once one has an understanding of it then any and all conspiracy theories (much like your 9/11 Truther bulls***) begin to fall apart.
Is it this single subject that you have gathered sufficient evidence to convince yourself and others that events are as advertised?
You just realize that a large group of people could not accomplish the conspiracy — at least the probabilities are incredibly low.
I’m sure the past and present despots wwould be happy to encourge your thinking.
People screw up. People make mistakes….
All levels of government are by definition, conspiracies within conspiracies. Yes people within then engage in all types of behavior, some to the detriment of the conspiracy. However if one does question the legitimacy of the consiracy, these hinderances will not stop the general motion of the “group” towards the objective.
How old are you if you don’t mind my asking?
Over 50, but don’t look a day over 20.
Or is that another thing about you that you’re not going to tell me because it would undermine your credibility.
The message I believe has been generally addressed above. As far as conspiracies having a limited life span, that is true. Two thing must be remembered. One conspiracies have objectives. The seek to do things. These things can be as benign as conspiring to plant a community garden. Or as with the more notewothy conspiracies, such as the Nazis, or the cultural revolution, conspiracies can be malevolent. The lifespan of consiracies depend to a large extent on the people who thoughtlessly follow the manipulations the conspiracy must engage in in order to accompish its’ objectives. Manipulations are effected through force, persuasion, information control, disinformation, etc. Mao se tung once said,”At the bottom os every pile of administrative orders lies a gun”.
I didn’t respond to him. But… he.. kept… emailing!
Join us for Part IV of “Crackpot Chronicles: Van Jones, Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, the Truthers, And Me” tomorrow.