Truth and Untruth Both Lurk in Plain Sight
“Oh, him, he’s an anti-vaxxer, a dangerous crazy. Don’t pay any attention to what he says. The 9/11 Truth Movement? Them too. They’re all conspiracy theorists.” Well, not exactly. These are the two contrasting examples cited by Jaron Harambam, the Netherlands sociologist whose specialty is studying the subject of conspiracy theories and who argues in his recent book, Contemporary Conspiracy Culture: Truth and Knowledge in an Era of Epistemic Instability, that “we need to focus on the meaning, diversity and context of different conspiracy theories, as well as the people who suscribe to them.”
That seems to make sense, but how do we distinguish one from the other? That is the problem often posed by controversial affirmations on vital subjects. But is it enough to dismiss questionable truths by merely pasting a “conspiracy theory” label on them without taking a serious look at them? That seems to be the default reaction in the United States. If something is true, but is uncomfortable for important people or institutions, the most expedient way to deal with it is by heaping it with ridicule and denial until it fades out of sight. This procedure requires no research, no independent investigations, nor public debate, and it’s free. Who could ask for a more perfect method for curtailing debate and cloaking the truth?
Which is emphatically not to say that all “conspiracy theories” are baseless. Far from it, but when they all get lumped together in the same trick bag, it’s hard to tell them apart. How do you manage that? You do your homework. You read, compare versions of events, evaluate the sources, and weigh the probabilities. Then you make a considered decision based on all the facts you can muster. Yes, it can be work, but it is the most reliable way of getting to the truth. Admittedly, many conspiracy theories may not stand up to the truth. But, to the dismay of some important people, organizations and institutions, some will.
Harambam charcacterizes the 9/11 Truth Movement as “rather different, people who challenge the mainstream narrative of 9/11 with completely factual and scientific evidence.” He adds, “These activists profess knowledge of physics, construction and explosives, and ground their legitimacy in expertise. Harambam concludes, “Conspiracy theories are not uniform, nor should our engagements with them be.”
Kennedy Deserves Better
Another historic case that belongs alongside the 9/11 Truth Movement for plausibility, after about a half century of rich and varied independent investigation, is that of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I’m not sure if anyone is prepared to make a firm accusation in the matter, but it should at least be freely aired. That has not happened, and doesn’t look about to. The case carries an additional factor that serves to intensify the smell of conspiracy: government collusion in efforts to occlude evidence relevant to the case. What possible explanation can there be for that, aside from blatant malfeasance?
Yes, there was a hurried and slipshod official investigation, headed by Justice Earl Warren, a pillar of American judicial honesty. But it was neither thorough nor convincing. That brings up another question: can government authorities be trusted to excavate the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or are there some questions of security, diplomacy, or loyalty to be protected at the same time? That would preclude justice. I.F. Stone, the great American independent journalist, is quoted as saying, “If you can only remember two things, rememember this: ‘Governments lie’. If you can remember three, remember, ‘All governments lie.'”
What is truly remarkable in these cases in the United States is the extent to which a massive majority of citizens prefer just not to bother looking into so many vital issues, preferring to consign them to “conspiracy-theory” limbo. A quick Google search on the term will show you just how the playing field is tilted in favor of discrediting virtually everyone who proposes a seemingly unlikely or controversial theory. Almost all the Google articles are derogatory and refer more to “conspiracy theory subcultures” than to the questions at hand, as if anyone who subscribes to any conspiracy theory were an idiot. It’s not clear whether this inability to distinguish between fact and fiction is due to laziness or devious intentions. Coincidentally, almost none of the writers offer much evidence to sustain their affirmations. They don’t have to. Just labeling the issue a “conspiracy theory,” will satisfy the mostly bovine critical sense out there. One thing is certain. The Kennedy case will not be closed until all those papers are released.
While we’re on the subject of government intervention, maybe it’s time to drop one of my favorite conspiracy theories. Isn’t it at least possible that it was one of America’s all-powerful “intelligence” agencies that got the conspiracy-theory ball rolling? If they didn’t, they should have, judging by the wholesale confusion caused by the onslaught of “conspiracy theories” throughout the American population. That forms part of a couple of the spooks’ core skills: propaganda and thought control. What a wonderful, spacious, dark bin in which to tip the government’s dirty laundry, the larger part of which belongs to the intelligence community, itself. All the black ops, all the false flags, the regime change, the surveillance at home and abroad… It might have something to do with them being secret. Never mind. They were most likely just following orders. They’re clean cut American boys. They wouldn’t be involved in anything unchristian. Would they?
At bottom, though the Americans think they’re doing themselves a favor with the conspiracy-theories gambit, in reality they’re just adding liabilities to their assets. Too many people worldwide have done their homework on “theories” like Kennedy and 9/11, just to mention the most egregious cases, and are no longer hoodwinked by slick propaganda maneuvers. At the very minimum it’s clear by now that the Americans cannot be trusted. Just look at Russia’s situation today, hemmed in along their entire western border by NATO military bases and missiles, with the Americans baying for more in Ukraine. This, after American Secretary of State, James Baker, on February 9, 1990, famously assured Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, that NATO wouldn’t move “one inch closer” to Russia. The occasion of that promise, which was repeated several times during the proceedings, was the negotiations over the re-unification of Germany.
The next news we had on that, admittedly verbal, agreement–something that in Russian culture is to be honored–was when the Americans welched on it, alleging that it wasn’t in writing and it was made with the Soviet Union, not Russia. It’s almost as if an American Secretary of State’s word were not his bond. (See the full story here.) One wonders how many world leaders will find such a maneuver despicable. And how many of them will forget it? I don’t think that sort of forgetfulness abounds at the top of world governments, at least those that matter.