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Crackpot Chronicles: Van Jones, Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Rorschach, the Truthers, And Me – Part III

October 6, 2009

9-11_truther

We cannot confront the fallacies of conspiracy thinking in our political culture if we do not understand it. In recent weeks Van Jones, the President’s Green Jobs Czar, lost his job because of his embrace of conspiracy thinking. More recently popular talker Glenn Beck has been smeared by his opponents as a conspiracy nut. We can only decipher these issues and win these intellectual fights if we know just what kind of thinking needs to be isolated from political life.

Click here for Part I

Click here for Part II

When we last left my dialogue with a 9/11 Truther Crackpot I’d grown tired of his filibustering and had decided it was time to confront him on what he actually believed:

dave small

Do you believe 9/11 was an “inside job” perpetuated by the US government?

southpark-911truth-org

Before I can consider who, or why, I have to know what. I will tell you that until I saw certain “official” videos I also was inclined to believe that things were as advertised. To follow but one of them. It is very short. I is not logical that a plane would inflict this type of damage to a structure. Offical staterments appear to be in error. Judging by the video that does not appear to be an incredible statement.

The Truther then insisted I view 2 videos, one of an animation of the plane striking the pentagon and the other of multiple shots of the World Trade Center collapsing. I didn’t see anything extraordinary, but then again I’m not trained to analyze demolitions.

dave small

What field do you specialize in and what are you educated in?

southpark-911truth-org

Would it change anythig you saw?

dave small

It would demonstrate if you’re qualified to analyze this stuff. If you’re a building engineer or a demolitions expert or a physicist or something like that then you know how to analyze this. If not then you’re just someone playing around with conspiracy theories.

-D

southpark-911truth-org

My “qualifications” notwithstanding, common sense is usually a good starting point in order to assess any need for investigation. Is what you see appear to be, without a doubt, the damage you would expect from an aircraft of that size? Let’s look at the pentagon first. Let logic be your guide. The devil is in the details.

E.V.

dave small

So basically what you’re telling me is that you have no qualifications, training, or expertise to judge this stuff.

southpark-911truth-org

Basically I’m “asking you”, as an intelligent, observent, analytical, american citizen, if you are troubled by the damage seen in the video.(before the collapse of the structure) And the claims made that this damage was caused by a aircraft the size of the on said to have crashed into said structure? If you think the damage is “consistent” with such an occurrance, the the answer is yes. If you think it inconsistent, then no.

Conspiracy theorists are usually not trained in what they’re analyzing. They’re entirely self-taught. By now I was starting to run out of gas with dealing with this guy.

dave small

Yes. Can you present me with the analysis of any demolition or buildings experts who would have superior knowledge than uneducated individuals such as you and I who would suggest otherwise?

southpark-911truth-org

Sorry for the delay. Here’s something to chew on while I address a few computer bugs. Shouldn’t be too long. [He forwarded me another boring youtube video before emailing me again later.]

southpark-911truth-org

Again my apologies for the interuption of the discourse. The information contained in the short video appears to be both consise and accurate. Furthermore it is conveyed in a way as to avoid any unessesary technical jargon.

You have mentioned human nature. Can I assume you believe all people are basically the same? That no group of people or persons are inherently are superior?

dave small

I didn’t find the video compelling or revelatory as you did.

“Can I assume you believe all people are basically the same? That no group of people or persons are inherently are superior?”

Further clarify your questions. I am not a racist. No group of people is “superior” to another. However, I think certain groups of ideas which individuals embrace can be superior to another. I think the West’s democratic capitalism is far superior to the Middle East’s Islamist, misogynist police states.

All people are not basically the same, though. On an individual to individual basis talent, discipline, and ability are not equally distributed. Some individuals are naturally more talented, creative, intelligent, etc. than other individuals.

But regarding human nature, once one has an understanding of it then any and all conspiracy theories (much like your 9/11 Truther bulls***) begin to fall apart. You just realize that a large group of people could not accomplish the conspiracy — at least the probabilities are incredibly low. People screw up. People make mistakes. People double-cross one another. Conspiracies (especially really large ones like your 9/11 Truther stuff which would require hundreds of people) cannot be maintained for long.

How old are you if you don’t mind my asking? Or is that another thing about you that you’re not going to tell me because it would undermine your credibility. (Not that age makes one qualified, there are plenty of older people who embrace conspiracy theory.)

Now here’s a video for you:

southpark-911truth-org

I didn’t find the video compelling or revelatory as you did.

Which part? The description of an 80 ton aircraft? Or the lack of evidence that said aircraft was present?

“Can I assume you believe all people are basically the same?…”

It’s not wether they actually are superior or not. Sometime it’s wether they believe they are superior, or can convince others they they are superior, that provides a motivation to hatch a conspiracy. To put things right, as it were.

… I think the West’s democratic capitalism is far superior to the Middle East’s Islamist, misogynist police states….

Democratic capitalism? In this country? How is that possible with this form of government? Capitalism is an economic theory. Misogyny is a is a perception dictated by ones’ cultural psychology.

… Some individuals are naturally more talented, creative, intelligent, etc. than other individuals….

So then these people would most typically become the leaders of any group of like minded individuals.

But regarding human nature, once one has an understanding of it then any and all conspiracy theories (much like your 9/11 Truther bulls***) begin to fall apart.

Is it this single subject that you have gathered sufficient evidence to convince yourself and others that events are as advertised?

You just realize that a large group of people could not accomplish the conspiracy — at least the probabilities are incredibly low.

I’m sure the past and present despots wwould be happy to encourge your thinking.

People screw up. People make mistakes….

All levels of government are by definition, conspiracies within conspiracies. Yes people within then engage in all types of behavior, some to the detriment of the conspiracy. However if one does question the legitimacy of the consiracy, these hinderances will not stop the general motion of the “group” towards the objective.

How old are you if you don’t mind my asking?

Over 50, but don’t look a day over 20. 🙂

Or is that another thing about you that you’re not going to tell me because it would undermine your credibility.

The message I believe has been generally addressed above. As far as conspiracies having a limited life span, that is true. Two thing must be remembered. One conspiracies have objectives. The seek to do things. These things can be as benign as conspiring to plant a community garden. Or as with the more notewothy conspiracies, such as the Nazis, or the cultural revolution, conspiracies can be malevolent. The lifespan of consiracies depend to a large extent on the people who thoughtlessly follow the manipulations the conspiracy must engage in in order to accompish its’ objectives. Manipulations are effected through force, persuasion, information control, disinformation, etc. Mao se tung once said,”At the bottom os every pile of administrative orders lies a gun”.

E. V.

I didn’t respond to him. But… he.. kept… emailing!

Join us for Part IV of “Crackpot Chronicles: Van Jones, Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, the Truthers, And Me” tomorrow.

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23 Comments
  1. Mark J. Koenig permalink
    October 6, 2009 1:55 pm

    This person amply demonstrated his inability to even acknowledge the possibility that he might be wrong. He is therefore not worthy of engagement. He presented no relevant evidence to support his conspiracy theory. As you revealed, he has no training or expertise in the fields necessary to challenge the heavily documented scientific evidence and analysis that has been done by structural engineers regarding the collapse of the twin towers and the attack on the Pentagon.

    Popular Mechanics did an excellent, comprehensive job of debunking these asinine 9/11 claims back in March of 2005. Their article can be read in its entirety here: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.html

    True to form, demonstrating that their beliefs are not based upon evidence, but are in fact tenets of a twisted RELIGIOUS FAITH, some “truthers” continue to argue that this article proves nothing, and that the scientists consulted in it were “all paid off by the government.” This is psychosis – and engaging it a complete waste of time for anyone with a rational mind.

    • Brent permalink
      October 6, 2009 6:23 pm

      These conspiracy nuts need lives. Any hobby would be more productive and life fulfilling than this. Although maybe they just really love the tinfoil hats.

  2. October 6, 2009 8:05 pm

    Let’s see…. Leaving aside that I would be called a birther because I believe “the messiah” is hiding something in not showing his long form birth certificate, these babes in bikinis say 9/11 is an inside job.

    I need to spend some time with them to tell them that I agree and we need to discuss this over a candlelight dinner.

    p.s. On a serious note, the History Channel ran a special on the truther conspiracies with the truthers and the “Popular Mechanic’s” people matched nearly split screen with their arguments. It lasted two hours and was quite good.

  3. Rafe permalink
    October 7, 2009 12:42 am

    I wonder where he leaves his “The End is Nigh” sign when he’s replying to you.

  4. Jack Hampton permalink
    October 7, 2009 6:36 am

    I have to go with Popular Mechanics take. the fact is the jet fuel burning weakened the steel structure and the floors collasped on them self gathering force with each floor. Yes Rosey Red fire melts steele. It is done all the time every day actually. Is it okay to infer that she is not ver bright in this area?

  5. Jack Hampton permalink
    October 7, 2009 6:51 am

    Kind of reminds me of the role played by Kareem Abdul Jabbar in the Stand when he would ring the bell and yell bring out your dead!

  6. jac mills permalink
    October 7, 2009 6:51 am

    David

    I know some nut-theories have to be addressed, but this guy wasted your time. One post from you could have shut him off. You were too kind.

    • October 7, 2009 7:07 am

      It was more for my own amusement and analysis — and yours. I had no hope of changing his mind.

  7. Wayne permalink
    October 7, 2009 9:38 am

    Using the term “truther” to label someone in a derogatory way somehow seems wrong to me. Don’t rational and reasonable people attempt to understand the world around them using their mind? By piecing together information in the real world, one piece at a time, one step at a time, don’t most thinking people attempt to arrive at some understanding of our world? It only follows, in my opinion, that accepting what is true or seems to be true is a noble and honorable thing to do. Using the label “truther” seems to be attacking individuals who honestly seek an understanding of a complex world. People can be mistaken and an honest individual would reject earlier misperceptions, if later information proved them wrong, no?

    Even the term “birther” seems to be a convenient term used in a derogatory way at least in terms of the present day controversy. Doesn’t the American Constitution state that to be President the individual must be a natural born American citizen. Is proof actually demanded of all candidates in an election? If not, why not? Shouldn’t any candidate standing for election be required to produce documentation proving place and time of birth. Most people have no problem producing these records for more mundane reasons like a drivers license, yet on and on the noise continues about the Obama birth certificate. If he has already produced it in compliance with the requirements of the Constitution, then those demanding it should shut up. If he hasn’t produced it, then he should nail a copy of it to the door of the White House and then tell the noise makers to STFU. Wouldn’t that solve the problem?

    • October 7, 2009 9:51 am

      You don’t understand the terms. “Truther” refers to those who identify with the 9/11 Truth movement. They believe that there was a government conspiracy to take down the twin towers. “Birther” refers to those who identify with the Obama Birth Certificate movement. They believe that there’s a vast conspiracy to hide the “fact” that Obama was born in Kenya and is thus ineligible to be president.

      These are not “truth-seeking” people. They’ve already found “the Truth” and are working to evangelize it to the rest of us in much the same fashion as the religious cultists they resemble.

      • Wayne permalink
        October 7, 2009 10:38 am

        The point I was trying to make is that “truther” is a strange label to in many respects. Seems to have more in common with ED Schultz, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow — it apes their manner of denigrating an individual by name calling and attempting to attach that label to anybody who
        questions the so-called conventional wisdom of “official stories”.

        • October 7, 2009 10:51 am

          I didn’t invent the Truther label. But that’s what one calls people who promote the “inside job” theory.

          I’m not attacking those who question conventional wisdom. I’m attacking those who think in a conspiracist fashion.

          Truthers don’t question 9/11. They already have an answer that they’re promoting. And they can’t be reasoned with because they don’t think rationally. It’s like arguing with a racist or a Holocaust denier.

          • Wayne permalink
            October 7, 2009 12:07 pm

            The above YouTube video of Robert Alton Wilson is interesting. No doubt that he represents an example of what one could call anti-conspiracy thinking. He also uses denigration and name calling. He also mention that he considers those that point to the Council on Foreign Relations as being conspiracy oriented. I’m not sure what would motivate him to take that position on that institution, since there is plenty of good information around indicating its nature, including from one of the masterminds in creating it.

            How much of his thinking do you subscribe to? Or do you just reference him to provide an example of somebody denigrating “conspiracy-theory” or in today’s parlance “truthers”? He does have some very strange ideas, IMO.

            • October 7, 2009 12:16 pm

              Robert Anton Wilson is one of my most important intellectual influences. I don’t agree with everything he wrote and advocated but he’s been crucial in shaping how I view the world.

              Are you a Truther, Wayne? Is that why my series has offended you so much?

              Some things need to be denigrated. You’d denigrate racism and Holocaust denial wouldn’t you?

    • Jack Hampton permalink
      October 7, 2009 2:00 pm

      Wayne
      I would in no way compare the birther to the truthers who have serious problems.

  8. Wayne permalink
    October 7, 2009 12:17 pm

    An example of what I was talking about …

    What do you think of the “War on Terror”?

    Robert Anton Wilson: “It should be called the “War on Some Terrorist”, unless he plans to bomb the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. If he were serious about making a war on terrorists that is the first place he would bomb because they have been the worst terrorists in the last fifty years.”

    Hardly what I’d endorse as a rational thinker, but maybe that’s just me …

    • October 7, 2009 12:23 pm

      Reread:
      “I don’t agree with everything he wrote and advocated but he’s been crucial in shaping how I view the world.”

      Do you have to agree with every single thing that a person writes in order to take ideas from them?

    • October 7, 2009 12:26 pm

      Further, you may want to read this post of mine before you continue with this line of fallacious argument:
      http://newsrealblog.com/2009/09/20/salon-screeches-intellectual-ad-hominems-in-smear-of-beck-horowitz-and-conservatism/

    • Jack Hampton permalink
      October 7, 2009 2:06 pm

      Wayne there is a lot of difference in what Schultz and his pals do. To these people no amount of proof will be enough film, audio tapes eye witness never enough they work over time trying to find away around the facts. It has become compulsive to put it mildly.

  9. Judy permalink
    October 7, 2009 6:19 pm

    David S.,
    You are all wrong. Anyone with any amount of commonsense would know that it was flying saucers from Mars, and the pink death rays that they are able to shoot from orbit.David, nothing on earth will ever convice him of actual science. Having ” interesting” patients over the years with this particular form of delusion, has convinced me that the delusion fulfills a void in their perception of their (bland,ordinary) place in society. They are the Paul Revere’s of secret plots that will destroy mankind if not exposed and kept in check. However, you were very kind and infinitely more patient than I would have been. Kudos to you.As an interesting side note, my 11 year old nephew was watching me on the blog and noted that no one could have imagined that a oblique wind could have caused the collapse of the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge. As you can see, I am starting him off right in life. Hopefully he will continue to grow with an independent mind.

Trackbacks

  1. Crackpot Chronicles: Van Jones, Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Rorschach, the Truthers, And Me – Part II « NewsReal Blog
  2. Crackpot Chronicles: Van Jones, Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Rorschach, the Truthers, And Me – Part IV « NewsReal Blog
  3. The Final Word on the Crackpot Conspiracist Mindset « NewsReal Blog

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