Are Conspiracy Theorists out of Their Gourds?

Of course conspiracies exist. Merriam-Webster says a conspiracy is ‘a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act.’ If two or more people plot to do something corrupt, criminal or not, it’s a conspiracy. The world is teeming with them.

But conspiracy theorists are assumed to fear something much larger and more insidious than run of the mill nastiness; their suspicions focus on vast schemes and secret societies that control the levers of government. Conventional wisdom calls these people crackpots, nut jobs, tin foil hatters. Wikipedia states that ‘conspiracy theorist is a pejorative term, used to dismiss claims that are considered paranoid, unfounded, outlandish, irrational, or otherwise unworthy of serious consideration.’

It seems that conspiracy theorists have all the credibility of members of the Flat Earth Society.

Are we to assume then that no governmental conspiracies exist? That the idea of the Bush administration lying to us, or pressuring other agencies such as the State Department, CIA, or Justice Department to lie to us is unthinkable? That it wouldn’t be possible, for example, for them to cook up a case for war against a country that never attacked us, using information they know to be false? That they might claim that we are invading to spread democracy, when they really have their eye on the $30 trillion in oil under Iraqi sands? That they are willing to be thought of as incompetent because they invaded without an exit strategy when not leaving is exactly what those double-dealing conspirators had in mind?

Me neither, that could never happen.

Who are these wild-eyed conspiracy theorists? One was JFK. In a 1961 speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association he said:

‘We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence-on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.’

Another was Hilary Clinton. In an interview on The Today Show in 1998, she referred to a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband.’

JFK and Hilary Clinton, two deranged, delusional denizens of the lunatic fringe, trying to undermine the country no doubt.

Conspiracy theorists are getting a lot of press these days, because they keep popping up in unexpected places. When several members of We Are Change infiltrated Real Time with Bill Maher last month to shout out their half-baked theories about 9/11 being an inside job, the incident was shown by Bill O’Reilly on Fox News and Jeanne Moos and Glenn Beck on CNN. O’Reilly and Beck roundly denounced the mush-for-brains radicals, and Beck posted a poll on his website, asking if viewers didn’t agree that anyone who thinks our government planned 9/11 is ‘insane.’

Unfortunately for Beck, 66% said no, they’re not. Is it possible that two-thirds of his viewers are insane as well?

They’re not the only crackpots. A September 2007 Zogby poll found that 51% of Americans want Congress to probe Bush and Cheney regarding the 9/11 attacks. A New York Times/CBS News poll from October 2006 found that only 16% of adults fully believe the official story about 9/11, while 84% believe the Bush administration is either hiding something or is lying.

Apparently large numbers of paranoid Americans doubt the story put forth by our esteemed leaders, the one about 19 hijackers from caves overcoming all the defenses of our $500 billion/year military while armed with nothing but box cutters. Many otherwise normal people wonder how a steel-framed skyscraper could crumble to the ground at free-fall speed because of damage at its top floors. Other no-good degenerates question why an airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania would leave wreckage over eight square miles. So be careful out there. Wear your seatbelt. These looney-tunes are everywhere.

Unfortunately the 9/11 Truth virus has infected the highest levels of society. Pilots, engineers, physicists, architects, CIA veterans and former government officials are among those raving about WTC 7, molten metal and Bush’s unusual absorption in ‘My Pet Goat.’ Can we trust them? Of course not, they’re conspiracy theorists.

But, just for arguments sake, consider if there were a vast conspiracy to cover up the truth about 9/11. Don’t you think they’d need an equally vast PR campaign to portray any conspiracy theorists in the worst possible light, so all 84% of us would keep our suspicions to ourselves, lest we be mocked mercilessly?

Me neither.

Sheila Casey is a DC-based journalist. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters, The Denver Post, Buzz Flash, Common Dreams and the Rock Creek Free Press. She blogs at blog. Read other articles by Sheila, or visit Sheila's website.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. greybeard said on November 19th, 2007 at 10:19am #

    Bravo, Sheila! The PR system is working well, but (amazingly!) the public seems to be waking up. David Ray Griffin (“Debunking 9/11 debunking”), Scholars for 9// Truth and Justice ( and Patriots question 9/11 ( all thank you. The official story has more holes than a screen door. An equally intriguing question is, who master-minded it. Since the advice to “follow the money” really means to ask who profited, who profited most by the public response to 9/11?

  2. simuvac said on November 19th, 2007 at 5:05pm #

    What happened to good old government transparency? Why can’t we have an “official” investigation of something important (such as 9/11) that actually investigates, you know, by using subpoenas and getting people to testify under oath, and by not tossing the physical evidence? When did the progressive Left become so cynical that it doesn’t even demand government transparency for the most important events in the history of America (JFK, 9/11, etc.), but instead hollers “conspiracy theory” at people who do demand transparency?

    The casual deployment of the term “conspiracy theory” is a pretty good indication of how much contempt most people have for democracy.

  3. AJ Nasreddin said on November 20th, 2007 at 11:08am #

    simuvac, unfortunately all of the physical evidence seems to have been exported as scrap metal – and Bush won’t even talk to Congress so I think the idea of transparency is dead.

    One would think logically that in order to shut up all those crazy conspiracy theorists they’d have a thorough investigation. So why did Bush stop it?

  4. Jack said on November 20th, 2007 at 3:12pm #

    Sorry, I’m just a very small french guy who doesn’t want to look like giving any lesson…. But, we’re not in 2001 yet… Where were you during these 6 deadly long years ????? And what are you waiting for ???? Your bloody chief to talk to congress !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please, open your eyes, that’s the best way to leave him going on sending your boys giving their life to kill children and wives all over the world… And why would your next president stop these ethnic and religious murders (there’s still oil under Iraqi sands or in any Muslin Nation) ?????

    As a democratic Nation, American people has a very huge responsability in it’s government’s acts !!!!! Either, wouldn’t it be a dictatorship ???

  5. George Bush said on November 20th, 2007 at 8:59pm #

    Hey, how could a moron like me fool so many people? Just wait ’til I turn my weather machine on the lot of you!! Buwhahahahaha!

  6. George Thompson said on November 21st, 2007 at 11:07am #

    I recently gave some thought to why Americans put up with so much malfeasance from our government. We’re cowards. People in other countries organize and march and boycott, etc. They are ready to die for their rights but Americans fear their government like the IRS. Americans are a fractured people. We are overindividualized through Hollywood infantilism and constantly chasing that next capitalistic dollar. We lack the unity to confront our government and force it to stop these ongoing illegalities. With incidents like the Plame outing people have come to fear their government because they know Bush and Cheney will do anything to ruin their lives and livelihoods. We have become a nation of cowards who would rather carve out our own little sphere of sheltered existence than fix the problem for society at large. We would rather benefit personally from evil, rich people that provide solutions to provide for the bulk of society. It is selfish. It is myopic and it is amoral. We will and are being punished for our complicity in these policies of US exceptionalism. The US is a failed experiment. All that has to happen now is for the dollar to finish crashing. We could’ve stopped all this with ten million people going to Washington DC and refusing to leave until changes were made but we turned politics into a spectator sport.

  7. amandla said on November 21st, 2007 at 5:47pm #

    I think the neo-con Bush regime must’ve been mighty proud after they pulled off 9/11. Their seemingly masterly scheme to bring about fascism in the United States by orchestrating attacks against the American people had been pulled off like a charm–but has it? Sure, we all bought into the official story of what happened initially, despite what our eyes saw thousands of times on the TV.

    For those of us who’ve had the courage to actually revisit those videos, listen to top scientists who question the official story, and do a little research, 9/11 looks completely different than the way it looked in the beginning. We’ve seen and felt exactly how powerful media-driven propaganda can be, how we can be told something over and over until it is completely internalized. I felt a tinge of shame the more I looked at the specifics of the attacks. Sure, I thought I was pretty informed and acutely aware of what was going on in this country, but I allowed myself to accept what I was told just like everybody else.

    If thousands more of us decide to brave the waters of our fears and anxieties and really look at the information for alternative theories about 9/11 (without the fear of being labeled “nuts”), we’d form a political bloc of voters too large to be ignored. The American people deserve to have their lingering doubts laid to rest, and we deserve to know what our elected officials have been doing; the blood of the innocents cries out for straight and true answers to the many questions of their, and if we allow the true perpetrators of 9/11 to ride off into the sunset.

    9/11 truth is not about political affiliations, race, gender, sexual orientation, weight, height, etc., it’s about Americans coming together because they at least want to keep some semblance of the ideals of this country that we all believe in (at least rhetorically). This is one issue which transcends all of the other divisions that have been stoked by the elected leaders and the political establishment of this country, to our loss.

    Any American who is against the emerging fascist state should give some deep, hard consideration to the evidence of the 9/11 truth movement. We are at a point in time where we can truly change the course of history in this country for the better, and it’s no time for self-interest, fear, or hestitation.

  8. Marq Goldberg said on December 2nd, 2007 at 3:40am #

    Talk show host and author Thom Hartmann has thoroughly analyzed the connection between a strong middle class and the demands they can make. Remember the ’60’s?

    But as long as people are kept scrambling for a living and in a state of constant fear they don’t ask for much. While Americans are left begging for scraps of health care and jobs with ever diminishing wages and benefits Europeans are leaping ahead of us on all fronts. We’re ranked last of all industrialized nations on infant mortality for f***s sake.

    And the dumbest thing about it is that American corporations think this attack on the middle class is helping its bottom line. And yet most of their profits these days are coming from Europe. Its a downward spiral that promises only to get exponentially worse. I’m afraid that by the time the revolution comes I’m going to be too old to enjoy it.