Why conspiracy theories?
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The fact that I don’t necessarily agree with the 9-11 truth movement certainly doesn’t mean that I agree with the official stance, which is to deride anyone who suspects that our government hasn’t told us the truth about what they know. To criticize “conspiracy theorists” is to blame the victim instead of taking on the perpetrators. There is a reason why people come up with conspiracy theories—they happen to be a normal and healthy response to the experience of being forbidden access to relevant information and being constantly lied to by the people who do.
The radical therapist Claude Steiner once said that paranoia is actually a heightened state of awareness, in which the paranoid put together narratives that make sense of the only information they have available. He gave an example of a woman he treated who believed that her husband was engaged in several elaborate plots on her life. What Steiner did was to interview the husband, who was disturbed by his wife’s narrative. The husband was in fact thinking of having her permanently committed to the funny farm, but he always responded to his wife’s questions about what was wrong between them by saying “Nothing, honey.”
That was the crux of the problem. The wife was in a heightened state of awareness and knew only that “Nothing, honey” was a pile of steaming bullshit. Not having access to real information about what was going on in her husband’s head, she invented some. Steiner’s ultimately successful therapy was simply to convince the husband to stop lying and withholding information. In this case, the husband did not exactly lead the examined life, and was unaware of the harm that social “white lies” can sometimes cause. Being genuinely concerned about his wife, he agreed to try to be more introspective and commit to being honest about his feelings. The wife agreed to acknowledge this effort, and to be more persistent about asking for information instead of automatically assuming the worst. Of course members of the current administration have no such commitment to making it all better for the rest of us—see the classic Ingrid Berman/Charles Boyer movie Gaslight for a psychological take on their game.
The bottom line here is that it is a basic requirement of sanity to be able to make sense of one’s information environment, to be able to put it into a coherent and meaningful picture, and if those people who know what is going on behind closed doors constantly lie to the public and withhold information, the inevitable result is that people will naturally want to fill in the blanks by any means available to them. This process is analogous to the effects of sensory deprivation—float in one of those tanks long enough to deprive your brain of sensory input, and it will quickly start inventing some.
Current official explanations of 9-11 are like a picture puzzle with half the pieces missing. Many people have been taking magic markers and extrapolating from what is visible to fill in the missing spaces in an attempt to put together the entire picture. They are constantly ridiculed for this, and opinion makers who wish to be taken seriously always bog the discussion down in disputes about whether or not the colored-in parts really look like the original pieces. Some will be closer approximations than others, of course; a few may well be wildly off. But the really important issue (which remains for the most part unaddressed) is “What in bleeding hell gives our government the right to hide the pieces in the first place?”
Attacking people who are trying to make sense of their information environments with limited data is highly unethical, no matter how nutty their theories may sometimes sound. It’s exactly like putting a rape victim on trial for her previous sexual history instead of going after the rapist. Theories may fall anywhere on a continuum from plausible to seriously off-base, just as women’s prior sexual histories may vary from none to very experienced. By any objective analysis, some unofficial theories of what happened on 9/11 are prim virgins in high-collared white lace blouses, and some are prancing around in tight red spandex streetwalker outfits. But either way, it just plain should not matter—critics should focus on calling the rapists, liars and secret-keepers to account rather than slandering their victims.
“Conspiracy theorists” are commonly dismissed as irrational or unscientific. It’s true that scientific training helps people to cope with not having certain and final answers, and that only a minority of the population has such training. One important part of scientific training is learning to avoid speculating beyond the data, but this requirement of the scientific process depends critically on the assumption (which is almost always valid) that scientists will present all relevant data and methodology to their research community as accurately and as completely as they can. Since this condition is not currently met by our government (and most certainly not by the 9/11 Commission), it is outrageous to attack as “unscientific” people who express concern about a government that insists on keeping secrets from them, especially when those secrets threaten the foundation of our democracy. The attacks should be directed instead toward those who are keeping what should be publicly available information from them.
How long will the official arbiters of “reality” continue to defend the rapists, the liars, the secret-keepers who conceal information that in a real democracy ought to be made available to the public? If we could spend $40 million investigating a blow job, surely we could spend more than $15 million on finding out what really happened on the day of the worst attack on our soil. I hope that more people will join with those who are demanding honesty and transparency in the public sphere. The urge to be accepted as a real member of the elite class of reality creators, those who claim the right to lie and withhold information on the grounds that they alone are entitled to decide what the public should know, can be very tempting. Any person who gives in to this temptation badly fails our democratic republic. What is tyranny but a system in which rulers assert the right to know everything about their subjects while keeping their own operations strictly undercover?
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
February 14, 2021 at 1:00 PM #403406Canoeist52Participant
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If governments were truly transparent there would be no conspiracy theories.
And if investigative journalists did their job, we wouldn’t have to try to fill in the blanks.
"There is nothing pragmatic about an incremental solution to a catastrophic problem." - Ron Placone
February 14, 2021 at 5:05 PM #403448game meatParticipant
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Anything outside the official narrative gets smeared as a ct. Everything from the fantastical and the delusional to the most reality grounded skepticism gets lumped together under the same umbrella term: conspiracy theory. When everything is a ct, then nothing is; the term loses its meaning from overuse and abuse.
Most conspiracy theories grow from facts that led to questions that never received answers. Lack of closure leads to rampant speculation. Qanon believes our elites are operating a global pedophile ring. Am I the only one who noticed this gained in popularity after Epstein was found to be doing just that, and then went on to die in questionable circumstances which were never adequately explained?
February 14, 2021 at 5:16 PM #403453
February 14, 2021 at 6:04 PM #403467doh1304Participant
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The first is as the srticle says. I can add little except that ultimate;y probably wrong, they usually prove to start with something that is essentially correct. But there is a second kind, theories that are totally unbelievable, that are based on the presence of people who could not have been there wielding powers that they do not or did not possess for goals that are illogical or contradictory or scientifically impossible. These theories are based on fear and hatred.
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