Posted 1 year ago on June 8, 2012, 4:52 a.m. EST by treasure
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S. (And even if he was, no matter: He's still fixing to impose socialist tyranny on America); Osama bin Laden is still alive, or died long ago. 9/11 was an inside job. In case you hadn't noticed, conspiracy theories are big these days. Of course, they've always been big – for which, see Freemasons, Satanic cults, the JFK assassination, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Paul McCartney's death, and on and on. But it's hard to shake the feeling that conspiracy theories are getting out of hand. Cass Sunstein, a Harvard legal thinker now in the Obama administration, wrote an influential paper in 2008 arguing that conspiracism poses a threat to democracy and government needs to start taking it very seriously. And more recently, Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay, who has a new book out about conspiracism, has written Internet-fueled conspiracy theories have caused "nothing less than a rift in the fabric of consensual American reality" – meaning, we don't agree anymore on what reality is.
Below, posts looking at at conspiracy theories in America today. Check back here for updates.
Top 10 conspiracy theories
Jews run the world; 9/11 was an inside job; Obama is a radical socialist; fluoride is sapping our national strength – and other paranoid fantasies believed by millions
Book excerpt: Among the Truthers
Journalist Jonathan Kay spent two years two journeying in America's "vast conspiracist subculture." He came back with a warning: conspiracy theories are tearing our society apart
Q&A: Jonathan Kay on America's vast conspiracist subculture
The author on on why conspiracists aren't crazy (or dumb), what they get out of believing, and why "birtherism" isn't about race
Photo Gallery: Eight Types of Conspiracy Theorist
Conspiracy theories are spreading faster than ever and causing real damage to America, says journalist Jonathan Kay. His new book, Among the Truthers, describes' his two-year "journey through America's growing conspiracist underground." Part of the book explains conspiracism historically – as a reaction, in part, to big national traumas, like wars or assassinations; but the heart of the book, a section titled "Why They Believe," looks into the psychology of conspiracism – that is, what makes individuals believe seemingly nutjob theories. He comes up with a field guide that breaks conspiracy theorists down into eight distinct types, as you'll see in the following slides.
The last bit, the 8 types of conspiracy theorists in interesting. Worth a look. As for our 3 in-house conspiracy theorists, I would classify shadz66 as the The Cosmic Voyager, arturo as The Evangelical Doomsayer, and Renneye as The Clinical Conspiracist.
A great comment from the article comments:
"Isn't a conspiracy theory just an alternative narrative?
No, it isn't. By definition, a conspiracy theory contains some element of belief or, at best, missing evidence. Historians can (and usually do) argue over alternative narratives. But that's because historians use a discipline that distinguishes between fact and supposition. Without that discipline, the debate is powerless.
"Do we really need to suppress all narratives except for the official ones?
Definitely not! Debate is the foundation of all good human interaction - personal, social, scientific and political. So just as we should question what politicians say, we should question what the questioners say.
The real danger comes not from conspiring politicians or free-speaking citizens, but from people who don't think critically. A theory may be attractive, because it fits our world view. But that doesn't make it true. Many facts of life are inconvenient. The world (as the evidence now shows us) is not flat.
If you act out on belief rather than on evidence, you will at best achieve little and at worst do harm to those around you.