Truthers

I have a friend who’s a 9/11 Truther.  Without getting into the specifics of the debate, such as it is, I’ve noticed, in discussing the topic with him over the years, a definite parallel between Truthers and the Intelligent Design crowd. 

The ID’ers don’t believe that humans resulted from evolution because such a complex life form couldn’t possibly have come into existence without the help of an omniscient and omnipotent being.

Truthers, all supposed facts aside, don’t believe that 9/11 could have been the work of 19 hijackers because such a complex operation couldn’t possibly have been pulled off without the help of an omniscient and omnipotent organization (i.e., the US government and/or the Israelis).

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7 thoughts on “Truthers

  1. Joe,

    I think I’m with you here, but then… I wonder if I really am. I guess it depends on what is a “Truther,” and on what is the model of “conspiracy” one can or cannot believe is working in America. For evidence of large-scale human conspiracy working effectively I would point to: The Mafia, any multi-state business entity, the Democratic party, the Republican party, and any branch of the US Military. All 5 categories contain many people working toward a similar goal using similar tactics which still allow for personal flaw, error, mis-step, etc.

    People who are raised with, or grow up “independently” with, common cultural standards don’t need to have a Conspiracy Playbook. Their common goals are the playbook.

    Now as to people gathering under a banner such as “Truther” and ignoring reality in favor of their chosen “conspiracy” — well, yeah. Jonestown. Jimmy Jones. Guyana Flavr-Aid.

    But is everyone who sees 9/11 as an “inside job” just like a Jonestown casualty?

    The Weimar Republic’s transition to The Third Reich happened conspiratorially. Is the idea that such things are limited only to Germany in the 30s and 40s?

    All are Qs worth considering.

    • Karl,

      By “Truther” I’m referring specifically to people who believe that 9/11 was planned and executed by the Bush admin in order to provide a pretext for invading Iraq. In my experience, their position seems to rest upon a lot of unproven assertions and emphasis on coincidences that couldn’t possibly be coincidences and “Well, how do you explain this, then?” type of gotcha questions. The whole line of “argument” has a flavor of religious belief to it–hence my comparison to the ID’ers.

      I’m with you on your other examples of conspiracies. I think your description of people being guided by common cultural goals is a pretty good explanation of how the ruling class operates, a “conspiracy” I definitely buy into.

      As for the Third Reich analogy, I’d just say this: No, such conspiracies are definitely not limited to 1930s Germany, but even the Nazis didn’t resort to killing 3000 of their own citizens in order to provide a pretext for invading Poland.

  2. But Joe, why would 9/11 not be an inside job by various people? What’s the argument against it?

    The one I’ve heard most often is “too complex, too many opportunities for error.”

    And I just don’t agree with that argument. I’ve helped multinational corporate entities run complex schemes in multiple jurisdictions, under the practical logic of conspiratorial purpose. We didn’t have problems coordinating efforts. When people’s livelihood and personal wealth-accumulation or power-aggrandizement depends on following through, they tend to follow through, as requested, and on time.

    It’s really not that hard for me to imagine. Reichstag Fire!

    • I don’t have trouble believing that it could have been an inside job, I just doubt that they’d go to that extent for a rationale to invade Iraq, which is the only argument I’ve heard for why they did it. It strikes me as massive overkill (no pun intended). Of all the bogus, staged incidents in US history that were used as pretexts for starting wars, none involved anywhere near that much destruction and killing of US citizens. Not that that automatically means they couldn’t have upped the ante, I just don’t see why they would have needed to go that far. There were already troops, ships, and war planes in the middle east; the USG was already de facto at war with Iraq. Why not just stage another USS Cole incident, or shoot down an F16, and blame Saddam?

      The Reichstag fire was set at night, though, when the building was empty. They didn’t set a bomb off during the middle of the day. If it were something more along those lines, I’d have much less trouble believing it.

  3. I’m not really following your objections, though.

    Because it didn’t happen at night? Seriously? Why would that matter? Is it the issue of killing your own countrymen?

    They do that every time they send a military or quasi-military (merc, spook, wet work goon) into harm’s way. Every soldier killed during my lifetime has been an innocent who didn’t need to die.

    How is it different conducting a “surgical strike” against your own country? Why is that different? What makes it different, inconceivable, or …maybe… ludicrous?

    I don’t see the problem. Most of the powerful I’ve known consider themselves and their caste/tier of America to be beyond reproach and quite a bit superior and more worthy of living than those beneath them. There’s very little valuation of the lives of the lower classes. Very little.

    I have no problem imagining this scenario to be fully cooked up and implemented from within. None whatever. That it would be craven and murderous to do as an inside job doesn’t make me think otherwise.

    Anyway, this discussion won’t solve the question, but I think it’s worth considering the extents to which Our Dear Leaders actually would protect (or inverted, destroy) the lives of those who are at the lower levels of society.

    • Karl,

      To an extent, yeah, it’s the issue of killing your own countrymen, but not only that, it’s the magnitude. Why would they kill so many people, blow a huge hole in the middle of the country’s biggest financial center (if nothing else, you’d think the hit to the “economy” would be enough of a deterrent), just for an excuse to invade a pariah country like Iraq? The potential downside to a plot like that getting leaked is pretty huge, especially when in the past just making up a bullshit story was enough to justify starting a war.

      I completely agree with you regarding the wealthy class’s lack of concern for the lives of the lower orders, but I see it more as indifference than any active ill will. It’s one thing to send someone off to be killed in a pointless war, or allowing them to die through some kind of neglect; it’s another to pull the trigger yourself. (From the perspective of the ruling class, that is, which, if nothing else, wants to maintain its perceived legitimacy so it can continue to rule; from the perspective of the dead person the distinction doesn’t matter, of course.)

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