Monday, June 01, 2009

Resistance is futile!

I watched New World Order on Independent Film Channel. It's a fascinating--and somewhat disturbing--documentary look at groups of people who believe in massive conspiracies. Among other things they believe that 9/11, and the collapse of the Twin Towers, was a plot by our own government. They also believe that a group called the Bilderbergers runs the world. The Bilderbergers include folks like Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, and their goal is world domination.

You can't convince the conspiracy believers them they're wrong because they've got all the evidence they need--or manipulate until it fits their theory--to support their ideas. They write books about it, they make DVDs. They stand on the streets of places like Ground Zero in New York and give away free DVDs that "explain" the plot.

It's paranoia, of course, on a grand and global scale. If you believe there are cabals who rule the world it's not a stretch to think that our own government could pull off the events of 9/11 for their own nefarious purposes.

The film followed three men, but the one I was impressed with was Alex Jones, who has a radio program, has written several books, and is spooked by things like hotel fire alarms which he sees as a plot against him.

My mother was like that, but her paranoia was centered on neighbors she was convinced were persecuting her. The rest of these folks whose actions remind me of my mother think on a grander scale, like shadow governments or conspiratorial types in the highest levels of the U.S. who order the killings of its own citizens.

I'm not saying that such things aren't possible. Stalin killed millions of his own citizens, Hitler and his cronies wiped out millions in an audacious plot against minorities, and you go back in history to find that governments are not always the friends of their own citizens. The groundwork is laid for projecting events of history onto the current administration and the people who hold the power, who often aren't working for the government but who can help direct it. Think Karl Rove.

The folks who propagate these conspiracy stories have the zeal of missionaries out to convert the heathen, if only they could just show them the light. Some of the documentary showed these paranoid missionaries in verbal altercations with people who disagree. I'm sure that when they meet up against such adversity they think of those doubters as brainwashed by the government.

In the first place, as to how people feel about their government, there are a great many people in this country and around the world who don't give a damn. As long as they can go about their own business they're OK, they don't want to rock the boat. If their government herds people into death camps well, as long as its not them, then they really don't want to know about it. If you quizzed Americans at least half couldn't tell you the three branches of government, who the mayor of their town is, who their congressperson or senator is. They really don't care. Bilderbergers? Aren't those the short order cooks who make hamburgers?

Then there's the other thing about keeping secrets. Nobody can. One of the worst kept secrets in history was the lie that went into starting the Iraq war in 2003. Despite the lie being told in the highest levels of government it was no time before the truth got out. The more people who know a secret the more chances there are it won't remain a secret. The old Mafia stuff about omerta (silence) doesn't work, not for long anyway. There's always someone to spill it. There are probably a lot of secrets the U.S. has been able to keep because the people keeping the secrets are kept by loyal Americans: military or intelligence secrets for instance. But sinister plots like bringing down the Twin Towers with explosives would involve too many people, and unless they were all killed someone would talk. (And I'm sure I'll get a note telling me that all of the workers involved in surreptiously planting dynamite in the World Trade Center have all been killed. As if someone could prove it one way or another.)

The other thing feeding the paranoia is government action against citizens like the Waco raid on the Branch Davidians or the Ruby Ridge killings. I personally feel it was idiocy more than conspiracy that dictated those hamfisted actions.

Paranoia grows. Paranoia is infectious and it's catching. You hang around with paranoid people and you start to think like them. You let someone give you a good story and it's entertaining like The X-Files and many people are going to suck in to the paranoia.

If you want to check some of this stuff out there are hundreds if not thousands of web sites ruled by paranoia. This morning I was entertained looking at Alex Jones' site. He'll sell you all kinds of stuff to convince you.

And what about my conspiracy theory? That if government wanted to actually commit these crimes against their citizens they could get people like Alex Jones and Jack McLamb to help them by shouting about it from the rooftops. They're perceived by people like me as at least little boys crying wolf, or at most as raving paranoics. So if I hear them ranting I automatically dismiss them as lacking credibility. Because of their bug-eyed histrionics I disbelieve them, and disbelieve their message, even if by some stretch the message is true.

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