I never thought in a million years I would see it.
In the telephone survey of 1200 individuals, just 47% agreed that “the 9/11 attacks were thoroughly investigated and that any speculation about US government involvement is nonsense.” Almost as many, 45%, indicated they were more likely to agree “that so many unanswered questions about 9/11 remain that Congress or an International Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success.”
Un. Be, Lievable.
This is a direct, purposeful consequence of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Or let’s just call it what it really is: Hatred. Unreasoning, stupid, blind, insane hatred for George Bush and the people who support him.
It’s not difficult to see what happens when the fringe politics of hate goes mainstream. The conspiracy theories, the dark forces that people imagine are controlling their lives (so much easier to blame for life’s failures and disappointments), the Men in Black, the aliens, corporate plots, the Freemasons, and yes, The Davinci Code – these are no longer relegated to the the dark recesses of people’s minds. The beasts have been loosed and they now run amok, wreaking havoc wherever there’s an internet connection and a chat room.
Egged on by supposedly mainstream liberal websites like Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, and other blogs associated with the left, the dark hints and barely concealed innuendo that He knew…He knew…He wanted it to happen… have found an eager audience in the population at large. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is a de-emphasis during the last 25 years in secondary education of subjects that develop critical thinking skills. And Jeff Goldstein could explain better than I the consequences of the battles between intentionalists and their enemies, the post modernists. But more than anything, it is a loss of faith.
The politics of hate has enabled the worst in us to get the better of us. Believing your political opponent capable of such monstrous evil that presupposes thousands of dead Americans bespeaks a sickness in thought and reason for which there is no cure. Not even giving them what they desire more than anything – power – will assuage the psychic pain that causes them to descend into such fits of paranoia and fantasy. If given the opportunity, they would see enemies behind every tree and plotters under every bed.
The politics of paranoia afflicts both right and left for sure. But it has been fully mainstreamed by liberals, wrapped up and sold in slick, well written brochures and talked up in the leftist salons of both Hollywood and New York. Celebrities casually mention their belief in cockamamie theories and are inserted into the 24 hour news cycle so that their inane, idiotic comments are repeated ad nauseum every news update on the half hour. Every time a member of the Glitz and Glitter crowd whose intellectual achievements may include being able to count the number of times they grab their crotch while performing on stage, mouth some ridiculous anti-Bush sentiment, an army of worshipful reporters and cynical paparazzi report and repeat their incoherent ramblings as “news.”
And ordinary people who don’t have the time nor inclination to read the 9/11 Commission report or Popular Mechanics or the dozens and dozens of scientific, peer reviewed articles in the most respected professional journals in the world that fully, completely, and totally debunk most conspiracy theories surrounding the attacks find it easier and more exciting to believe in make believe rather than the cold, hard truth.
After all, believing in conspiracy theories is fun! You’re “in the know.” You know something that others don’t. It makes you feel important. And it gives you a feeling of belonging – belonging to a group of people more noble, more important, than the rest of us simple, drab, hum drum humans.
Except this sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen in educated, western populations. Daniel Pipes did a scholarly study of the history of conspiracy and found that the idea had been declining in western countries over the last 50 years until recently. A resurgence occurred with the Clinton hating of the far right a decade ago as one conspiracy theory after another was advanced against the President, none of which achieved anything close to mainstream acceptance by conservatives.
But when you have a Congressman of the United States – Cynthia McKinney – accusing the President of the United States of having advance knowledge of the attacks on 9/11, you’re not going to get much more mainstream than that.
What enables all of this is hatred of the President. And what is truly frightening is that there are those who don’t hate the President as much as they hate the United States of America and are using the hatred of the conspiracists to advance their agenda.
It might be interesting for some enterprising blogger or reporter to look into the funding for this group, 9/11 Truth.Org. The Zogby poll referenced above was commissioned by this group in conjunction with a conspiracy spectacular they are putting on in Chicago in early June. What is enormously worrying about this “movement” is that the facts don’t matter one iota. You can talk until your blue in the face about the study done by the American Society of Civil Engineers about why the World Trade Center towers fell and it simply goes in one ear and out the other. They will insist, despite the fact that there is not one piece of evidence to support it, that the towers were brought down by a demolition crew.
And with this kind of fevered, religious belief at work, someone could very easily turn such a movement into a crusade. Such shows of emotionalism are not healthy for supposedly rational societies and the leaders they throw up are not usually candidates for the Democracy Hall of Fame.
If this irrational hatred has led us to this point, what will it be like 2 years from now? And if the left were to win back power, would we on the right descend to that level of rage and stupidity? Is it ever going to be possible to find our way back to sanity in our politics and political discourse?
Perhaps part of the answer is at the conspiracists “education and strategy session” coming up in a couple of weeks. I plan on attending this conference and report on what I find there. Stay tuned.