Wednesday, April 24, 2013

foil helmet brigades

In November 2008, the London Telegraph listed thirty top conspiracies. Many were familiar, many were American. A very few had not caused a blip upon my radar. On the last one, the writer used the phrase "right-wing radio shows in the US". O, yea.
American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years, we have seen angry minds at work, mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated, in the Goldwater movement, how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But, behind this, I believe, there is a style of mind that is far from new, and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style, simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind. — The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Richard J. Hofstadter. 1964. 
Hofstadter *1916, 1970† was a professor and public historian of an earlier generation. Goldwater would be a liberal Republican to-day. 

Some of these crazy beliefs have over a century of conflicting adherents. Mark Twain in response to the controversy promoted by Delia Bacon, that a group of men, primarily her kinsman, Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare: "If it wasn't Shakespeare who wrote Shakespeare, it was another guy named Shakespeare!"  Now, sit down and read the Elizabethan Bacon, dull and turgid. The similarity is the language used, English. Now, the candidates have expanded (not unlike the President Kennedy assassination). There are even fine Shakespearean actors, who believe in these fantasies. These 'anti-Statfordians' are jackasses, but they don't roil the body politic (although, one, Scalia, sits on the Supreme Court, and now maybe you know he is crazy).

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a tsarist secret police hoax that will not die. It was, and still is used, to stir hatred against Jews.

Some of these were active in my childhood; the Roswell Flying Saucers of 1947 and Area 51, and then one of the big ones — the moon landing was faked, Paul McCartney is dead (no, he was alive throughout the 1960s, and still performs to-day; now two other Beatles are dead, one being assassinated by a cracked pot, and another almost so, but survived the murder attempt and fell to cancer), and conversely, Elvis did not die. The biggest was the various individuals and groups that killed John Kennedy. You know, there are 'x' amount of propositions, and at least 'x-1' are necessarily false and why then not 'x'?
Another political conspiracy is that Pearl Harbor was allowed to happen. This boils down, in some cases, in an excuse to defame Franklin Roosevelt. 

As the fascists who hated Roosevelt have reproduced, they still hate everything Roosevelt did, and they hate his political party. So, a whole barrel of crazy stories they tie together: FEMA has created several concentration camps to imprison Americans, Barack Obama's birth certificate is not real, black helicopters are waiting to kill Americans, global warming is a hoax...New World Order/United nations/George Soros/Illuminati/Jesuits/Jews/Freemasons/atheists/liberals/socialists/communists (and anything Glenn Beck gloms on to next) forms a world wide conspiracy to enslave "us".

Besides the political yahoos, and there are too many (some in Congress: Michele Bachmann, Jim Inhofe, being the extremes), there seems to be an inability to either grasp science or to think badly written science fiction is real. They are willfully ignorant of both the historical, and scientific methods, or what Karl Rove called "the base".
Here is a partial list of more nonsense:
  • Diana, Princess of Wales, was murdered
  • Bible/Jesus conspiracy/Da Vinci Code (bad novel as history)
  • 9/11 was not al-Qaeda, but an inside job
  • Chemical jet contrails
  • tobacco has no effect on cancer [really, i thought that was not debatable anymore]
  • AIDS came from a laboratory
  • Fluoridation of water attacks our health
  • Aluminum foil will prevent people or waves reading my mind
  • Computer chips will be placed in our necks 
  • Our guns will be taken away, and we will be helpless 
  • a particular color of chocolate candy is dangerous
  • vaccinations cause autism 
  • extra-terrestrial beings are kidnapping people to probe them
postscriptum: 2 May 2013. New crazy [click], with gun nuts and super crazy republican (senator Okla.) Jim Inhofe. The President is causing a bullet scarcity by hoarding ammo to use on citizens.

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