Conspiracy Theorists And Their Struggle With Reality

conspiracyAh, conspiracy theories. It seems like just about everyone has addressed this topic in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. I’ve actually tried to avoid pontificating about them since they are generally too far fetched for me. That isn’t to say I think they are all implausible. While I generally stray away from conspiracies, I must admit I do believe that more than one person was involved in the assassination of JFK, albeit I do not think it was a CIA  coup d’état. Moreover, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that conspiracy theories come from both the right and the left. However, lately it seems like most of the crazy is coming from people like Alex Jones and Matt Drudge rather than people like Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews. I find that these conservatives are absolutely doing a disservice to the reasonable right because they are eschewing mounds of crazy that not only make no logical sense, but border on the ironic.

As one of our other writers, Thomas Barr discussed in his newest piece, last night Rachel Maddow tore into Alex Jones and the Infowars crowd. Barr writes,

“She tackled conspiracy theorists and radical extremists with intelligence and facts. In her opening segment, Maddow played a series of clips showing how Jones uses pretty much every tragedy that happens in our country as an excuse to pull the “false flag” card and claim the government was behind it.”

Honestly, it was refreshing. I am seriously sick of hearing people call Boston a “false flag” attack. I find it disgusting, and a blatant insult to our fallen. While I think it is very American to be skeptical of government (that’s the American way) there is a line between skepticism of government and ostentatious conspiracy theory. While I’m not saying that our government is perfect (the US government does and has done in the past, things I don’t agree with – Iran-contra, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Iraq, drone strikes, etc.), I also refuse to believe that a government “of the people” would bomb their own just to have a good excuse to “take away rights.” It is way too far fetched for me and I refuse to play into unhinged conspiracy theories. Plus, do you know how many people would have to keep quiet if there was a vast government conspiracy? Too many, and eventually everyone talks.

But what I find most interesting about the “false flag” theory, is that the bombers themselves were conspiracy theorists, or at least the older Tsarnaev was. According to an article published by Slate magazine, Tamerlan Tsarnaev believed virtually every Alex Jones Infowars conspiracy in the book. David Wigel from Slate writes,

“The AP keeps digging into the dead bombing suspect’s past and finds him endorsing, at some point, not just a cocktail but a Long Island Iced Tea of conspiracy theories.”

Thus, the plot thickens into ironic soup, and the idea that government was behind the attack becomes more dubious and more dishonest. Think about it. If Tsarnaev’s motive behind the attack was his indoctrination by conspiracy theory, than logically speaking, the attack could not have been a “false flag” conspiracy. For that to be true, the government would have needed to convince Tsarnaev to carry out the very type of conspiratorial attack that Tsarnaev believed the government was guilty of carrying out in the past. If that were the case, we’d have a conspiracy within a conspiracy wrapped in a bigger conspiracy. I wonder if it occurs to the conspiracy theorists how unrealistic that proposition is.

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!


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