Monday, July 07, 2008

Conspiracy

Firstly let me just state some facts: I used to be an X-Phile (a fan of the X-Files, and “used to be” is probably a lie) and even now find it hard to resist the urge to buy magazines such as Fortean Times.

However, despite reading many articles on the “fake Moon landings” and the case of the missing cosmonauts (supposedly lost in space) with great interest, I am not a believer in these conspiracy theories. I obviously do not have the information and evidence at hand to completely debunk them so I always maintain a healthy skepticism but, based on the facts known to me, I think they are nothing better than lies and misunderstandings.

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the July 7th bombings on London Transport (I refuse to call them 7/7 as I think that is just a silly, tabloidy thing to call such a serious event) and I’ve seen and heard a few conspiracy theories rehashed from that time mostly referring to this being a false flag attack. These deserve about as much attention as the 9/11 Truth Movement guys (September the 11th sounds so much more ominous than 9/11 don’t you think and given the circumstances I thus prefer the long form); i.e. NONE.

I don’t think that conspiracy theorists make up the theories because they are liars or nuts (ok… some are nuts). I think they just labour under two particular major misunderstandings:

1) they are unable to accept the fact that small groups of people and individuals can have such a massive, malign influence on so many lives. People would find it easier to understand a grand conspiracy lead by George W. Bush to destroy the Twin Towers in order to start a new war, using all the technology and power at his disposal, than believe that 19 guys armed with small sharp objects and some luck on their side could cause such havoc. It’s sort of comforting isn’t it, to believe that there is some major Government involvement with a purpose, rather than think that your lives are so susceptible to other’s whims. It’s a very scary fact but one we, and the Government, needs to come to terms with.

2) They have too much faith in the power of their Governments. The image of a Government firmly in control, able to manipulate events with ease and secretly planning a New World Order is one used often in the media. But this ignores the fact that the Government is a group of human beings. Humans make many mistakes. There is no way, I repeat, NO WAY that secrets as large as a Government conspiracy on the scale something like September the 11th would require could be kept a secret for long. The amount of people required to perpetrate some of the theories espoused would be astronomical. And we are meant to believe these people are going to just keep quiet??? Never. Secrets only work in small groups and/or where the reasons behind the secret are inherently just.

To be honest I feel as if those who support the 9/11 Truth Movement and other conspiracies are scared of facing reality. A reality where the Government cannot protect us, no matter how hard it tries, and where we are left personally responsible for our own lives and the lives of those we are directly involved with. These conspiracy theories allow them a comfort blanket, and if the consequences of the theories wasn’t so horrid then I’d say “let them have it, whatever gets them through the day”.

Alas these theories are, I’m sure, a terrible thing for the families. Some might embrace the warmth and safety of them; but others will be only further harmed by the continued espousal of these ideas. Imagine having a family member who died in a terrorist attack and then being told “Oh no, those planes were empty/didn’t exist.” Or being Jewish and losing a friend and being told this was a Zionist plot to bring about war in the Middle East. No one should need to go through that after all they have suffered already.

I believe that questioning the truth of everything you are told is healthy (if done politely and intelligently) but disregarding facts in pursuit of your own selfish need for reassurance in the face of other’s personal tragedy is almost criminal.

2 comments:

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