Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Conspiracy Theories and Propaganda

I’ve been thinking a lot about conspiracy theories lately.

Over the weekend, I saw the Mel Gibson movie “Conspiracy Theory” and I was reminded of a quote from that movie that Randi Rhodes recently talked about: “A good conspiracy is unprovable. I mean, if you can prove it, it means they screwed up somewhere along the line.”

We’re currently living in a time where reality seems like a conspiracy theory. And conspiracy theories are provable. It’s frightening to me. However, I’ve noticed from time to time posts on message boards that seem to go off the deep end of reality. I think conspiracy theories are interesting and compelling, but I always try to think through the logic of the conspiracy. What is the purpose of the conspiracy, if true? And Why? And what motive does the poster have for spreading the theory?

I’ve come to the conclusion that many conspiracy theories are diversionary tactics created by right wingers to marginalize certain groups of critical thinkers and the so-called liberal media. If you create the illusion that truth is a conspiracy theory then main stream people won’t listen to the truth. And, in order to marginalize the truth, you have to create many little diversionary unprovable conspiracy theories.

For example, 9/11 conspiracy theories.
Many of them started out mostly based in reality, the government fucked up and wasn’t paying attention possibly on purpose. There are many documents to support the administration ignored the warnings, and yes PNAC is a real group. The American Enterprise Institute is equally frightening to me and also needs to be closely watched.

Clinton was vindicated, because as it turns out, he was trying to fix this terrorism problem after all. Most people in the main stream rallied behind the President thinking we needed to be a united front against terrorism (myself included). I genuinely thought and hoped the right wingers would have learned something from 9/11; namely our foreign policy over the last 30 years had added to the problem of terrorism. Obviously 9/11 only emboldened the extremists in the White House. They took advantage of this new found unity and exploited it order to ram their agenda through while they still had public support. It wasn’t until people started to question their “mandate” that it became blatantly obvious that they fucked up. People began to question why we were setting our sights on Iraq and then all of a sudden wild conspiracy theories started to weed their way through the internet. I don’t mean to offend anyone that believes some of them, but I feel we are undermining our cause by giving some of these conspiracies credence.

I read one recently that claimed the World Trade Center had bombs planted in it. And the planes (flights UA# 175 and AA# 11) weren’t actual passenger planes but drones. I can’t help think of Karl Rove when I see these claims because they only serve to benefit the right wingers. When I read it, I had to say to myself “damn you Karl Rove and your divide and conquer tactics!”

I live near the water across from the World Trade Center. I used to be able to see the World Trade Center from the roof of my building and fire escape. I stood on the waterfront that day and watched my city get attacked. And yes, I did see the second plane hit the building. It was the most horrifying day of my life. Randi Rhodes said one day on her show, “If you get a certain kind of cancer, you’ll do everything you can to learn all about it and what kind of medicines are used”. I read hundreds of documents about 9/11 and have seen many documentaries on 9/11 and the government. While I think the 9/11 commission report was lame and didn’t go far enough to expose the failures of the administration, I believe the information in the report is accurate and verifiable for the most part. I still have unanswered questions and feel we haven’t admonished the irresponsible parties who ignored the warnings. Our relationship with the Saudis is incestuous and we need to get off the oil crack. But I don’t think there is a major conspiracy here.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from right wing friends and relatives “don’t believe everything you read on the internet” when I was quoting from official government documents. I have all the pdfs of the official records and have sent them to many people over the last few years to prove my points. And when I hear conspiracy theories that have no documents to back up the claims, I can’t help but have a cynical, skeptical attitude toward the author of the conspiracy theory. Please don’t send me the Pentagon link, I’ve seen it 30 times already. Do you really think these theories helped win over moderates and non-politicos during the election season? They only serve to divide the progressives and moderates of the Democratic Party. What was that expression I heard? “Democrats tend to circle the wagons and then begin to shoot at each other.” If you tell me Democrats and Republicans are the same then leave. Go join the Libertarians or the Greens, we don’t need your diversionary tactics right now. If you want to stay and fight with us, then stay and give me some solutions to your problems. While we can debate and disagree about economic and political theories or how to get election reform with the Republicans in control, WE MUST REMAIN A UNITED FRONT.

Even some truths can serve to divide us. I just read recently George Bush and John Kerry are very distant relatives (cousins several times removed) and both belonged to Skull & Bones in college. I say, “SO WHAT?!” I admit I’m suspicious of Kerry for these reasons, but I don’t have the energy to focus my attention on him. For now, he’s on our team. While we’re wasting our energy focusing negative attention on Kerry, the Republicans are laughing at us and running off with the piggy bank.

My point is this: When you see or hear conspiracy theories or even truths, be very careful about what you are reading or you may become a victim of Rovian diversionary tactics.

Logic and reason are the keys to our future political successes.



At 2/01/2005 2:48 PM , Blogger ProgressivePatriot said...

Brilliant post, Amy!!

At 2/01/2005 3:29 PM , Blogger Amy said...

aw thanks (blush)

At 2/01/2005 3:29 PM , Blogger Amy said...

aw thanks (blush)

At 2/01/2005 5:34 PM , Blogger KyndCulture said...

Awesome Amy!

Take PNAC for example, pretty hard to call that a conspiracy theory when they signed their own names to it's manifesto.

At 2/01/2005 9:44 PM , Blogger Amy said...

Yes. That's why I was trying to make the distinction between verifiable conspiracies and totally unverifiable conspiracies. PNAC and AEI are scary right wing groups who have a very strong influence on the government. I'm amazed how little press coverage they've gotten from journalists. Thanks for the comments.

At 2/02/2005 11:06 PM , Blogger D Thomas Humphrey said...

It's a good thing that the world has liberal patriots out there. I mean, if we didn't who would kill all of our unborn babies? Who would sit around while terrorists blew us to pieces? And who would the GOP beat up on in elections?

At 2/02/2005 11:22 PM , Blogger ProgressivePatriot said...

Keep drinking the kool-aid wingnut....LMAO!!


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