9/11 Truthers, Alan Moore, Alex Jones, Conspiracy Theorists, David Icke, David Livingstone Smith, Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories, Kevin Moore, Michael Ruppert, The Evolution of Superstitious and Superstition-Like Behaviour, The Holocaust
“A society enamoured with conspiracy theory is sliding into barbarity.”
~ David Livingstone Smith
Since Kevin Moore has twice mentioned a supposed “cognitive dissonance” with myself concerning Mike Ruppert over at NBL, I feel I must clarify things and correct him.
If you actually read the post I wrote about Mike Ruppert, then you would know that I was hardly “celebrating” Mike Ruppert’s life and work. Let me quote a line:
“In their search for the truth, perhaps some travel too far down the rabbit hole of civilizational and environmental collapse to ever escape its malignant shadow; it consumes them like a cancer.”
Ruppert was eaten up by his own obsession of finding meaning and truth in a chaotic world. My own thoughts on 9/11 go no further than it being blowback from American foreign policy and bureaucratic incompetence. I have no desire to waste time on wild and improbable conspiracy theories which have already been easily disproved numerous times. Do governments conspire to do underhanded things? Of course they do, but not all events are a government plot nor the handiwork of TPTB. It’s human nature to try to make sense of traumatic events and look for connections and patterns, very often where none exist, in order to manage collective anxiety in the face of uncertainty:
…Hyper-intellectualism is a driver of extreme political movements, too, whose leaders keep their followers riled up by serving them a steady diet of paranoia-inducing conspiracy theories. By “conspiracy theories” I don’t mean the belief that terrible conspiracies exist (they obviously do), but the fiction that attributes all the world’s ills to the secret machinations of an identifiable foe: the Jews, the Templars, the Jesuits, the “bankers,” the blacks, patriarchy, whomever. Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, wrote a 1,500-page manifesto that purported to expose the “alien system of beliefs, attitudes and values….that we have come to know as ‘Political Correctness.’” Its proponents, he said, included Islamists, Feminists, Frankfurt School Marxists, and multiculturalists of every stripe, all working together to bring about the collapse of the West…
…A study by scientists at Harvard University and the University of Helsinki, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, put his theory to the test and concluded that “behaviours which are, or appear, superstitious are an inevitable feature of adaptive behaviour in all organisms, including ourselves.”
All of us, in other words, are primed to believe evidence that supports our prejudices and predispositions, even when they’re wrong and the evidence for them is dubious or contrived…
The propensity of people to simultaneously believe multiple convoluted and oftentimes contradictory conspiracy theories despite repeated falsification has been empirically explained by University of Kent psychologists Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas and Robbie M. Sutton in a paper entitled “Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories,” published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Unfounded conspiracy theories have led to wars and mass death in the past and it’s my belief that we have to use reason over prejudice and suspicion in order to avoid such tragic outcomes. For example:
Giving credence to alternative realities, whether it be by techno-utopians who think our technology will save us or business-as-usual proponents who claim that global warming is more beneficial than harmful, is not the aim of this website and I’ve only dabbled in such visions as an allegorical device in some posts. The realities of industrial civilization’s environmental meltdown are frightening enough without diverting our attention and degrading our credibility with outlandish and comical conspiracy theories of a faked lunar landing and controlled demolition of the WTC skyscrapers. Consider that our CO2 emissions will be in the atmosphere for thousands of years. That’s what makes AGW so catastrophic — their effect is essentially forever on a human and civilizational time scale. And climate change’s evil twin of ocean acidification will last for tens of thousands of years. When the cold hard facts are killing us systematically, why deal in fantasy?