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

October 8, 2009

And where does "Dr. Paul" fit in with this discussion?

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.

Again, I’d chosen not to reply to the 9/11 Truther Crackpot’s last email. So he tried a new strategy. He would appeal to one of my passions — the American Idea.


What benifites are there to living in the American democracy?

E. V.

dave small

Are you that blind? You don’t see that you have the freedom to create the life you want to live? You can say what you want, practice the religion you want, have the career you want, raise your family as you want, participate in the political process and help shape the laws that govern us… You don’t see that we’ve created a society in which someone like Oprah Winfrey or Jay-Z can go from rural or inner-city poverty to billionaires on the strength of their own talent and hard work?

Further we are not a democracy. We are a republic. In a democracy 51% of the population could vote to rape and murder the other 49% if it wanted. We are ruled by laws, not by men.



Very good! Now what kind of republic?

OK, with that I was done with him. He was blatantly jerking me around with his condescending remarks. I’m the one who’s supposed to be condescending here! Being condescending is something I have a lot of practice at. I’m very good at it. It was time to cut our tether.

dave small

I have better things to do with my time than this.


Really? Or are you stuck? I’ll help you if you like.

E. V.

dave small

No, I’ve just got a job (maybe you should get one too) that’s more important than trying to educate conspiracy theorists. You’ve overstayed your welcome and I think I’ll just set all your emails to go into the trash.


And I did, his reply went into my garbage, and I have yet to hear from him again.

That my friends is how you deal with a Conspiracist Crackpot. You can’t really reason with them. You can’t indulge them in the intricacies of their argument. They’re not particularly different than talking with a troll or a racist. All one can do is properly diagnose the person as such and move on after you’re done having fun with them. The problem is not the specific conspiracy they embrace but how they think.

When Lionel Chetwynd emailed me the other day thanking me for linking to his discussion with Roger L. Simon about the Left’s defense of Roman Polanski he shared a Samuel Johnson aphorism which applies here perfectly:

“You cannot dissuade a man with reason from a position he embraced through passion.”

Understanding this element of passion as integral to conspiracist thinking we can understand why some of Beck’s opponents might try and stick the talker into the conspiracist bucket. Beck is certainly enthusiastic about defending the American Idea and can get a bit theatrical sometimes. So what? It’s showmanship, not a way of thinking.

Beck does not think like E.V. As a postmodern conservative Beck is a searcher, not a True Believer.

So now that we know how to identify and deal with Conspiracist Crackpots here’s how NOT to deal with them, unless it’s your objective to reveal to them that you’re secretly with them. Here’s what Congressman Ron Paul had to say when a Truther approached him:

(Hat tip to Calvin Freiburger for bringing my attention to this video.)

And to think people objected to my use of the term “Crackpot” to describe Paul. At the time I was referring principally to Paul’s crackpot, non-interventionist foreign policy. Now I stand by it more than ever.

  1. Brent Smith permalink
    October 8, 2009 12:41 pm

    You’re absolutely correct, David. There is no sense in getting dragged in to their ridiculous minutiae. Besides I have no idea what benifites even are. 😉

  2. In the know permalink
    October 8, 2009 1:24 pm

    But David, you never answered him. That proves you are in on it. LOL.

  3. Brent permalink
    October 8, 2009 3:20 pm

    Wow. Just got a chance to watch the video. It was not a short time ago that I liked a lot of things about Ron Paul. It doesn’t take much to ruin the whole thing, and that video tells me all I need to know.

  4. ElanaSe permalink
    October 8, 2009 6:08 pm

    Conspiracy theorists are adults who got stuck in the teenager stage of the mental development. What cracks me up is their stubborn “OK but you’re still stupid” answer to any reasonable fact presented, and this guy seems like the angry one (“The world is sh*t and nobody understands me. And I’m the one who knows the truth.”)
    Conspiracy theory is a safe harbor for confused immature people. Notice that almost all of them are not professionals, scientists or specialists in the field of the conspiracy theory they believe in. Like the most teenagers wearing weird clothes and coloring hear pink, those are proudly wearing their theories as a sign of exclusivity. As those clownish teenagers, they don’t understand how ridiculous they are most of the times.
    And Ron Paul is a nut, no matter how many times he’s right about some issues, he’s as much wrong on many others (you can’t trust broken clock, can you?). What’s interesting about him is his crowd, which is saturated with conspiracy theorists and some truly loons. Only by knowing his homogeneous admirers and without knowing his policy you already suspect that’s something is wrong with this guy.

  5. October 8, 2009 7:45 pm

    I’d like to add into the mix the birthers who post on the conservative news forum Serious to the extreme, passionate, and convinced that the future of America hinges on exposing Obama’s true citizenship. True believers all.

    I recently leveled some stern criticism and got a handful of weird and strident replies. I answered a couple of them and then realized I was in a room full of self-righteous fanatics. It was like I’d stumbled into a Scientology group-auditing session. So I decided instead to back away quietly like I was never there.

  6. October 8, 2009 10:03 pm

    Were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson also “crackpots” in their non-interventionist foreign policies?

    • October 9, 2009 5:25 am

      They would be if they advocated them in 2009. You do understand that the practical consequences of Ron Paul’s foreign policy ideas are the destruction of Israel, the deaths of millions of Israelis, and the empowerment of Islamofascist anti-Semites don’t you?

      • Jack Hampton permalink
        October 9, 2009 6:40 am

        Mr. Swindle
        He probably does and is rooting for that very outcome.

      • October 9, 2009 5:23 pm

        So are we now discussing Israel’s foreign policy? I was under the impression that we were discussing America’s foreign policy. Israel is perfectly capable of defending itself from foreign attack and has demonstrated that in the past.

        Do you suggest that we are in (an undeclared) war in the Middle East to protect Israel, not to capture or kill bin Laden and the other terrorists responsible for the atrocities on 9/11?

        Do you disagree with the intentions of the Founding Fathers, yes or no?

        “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”
        — Thomas Jefferson

        • October 10, 2009 5:23 am

          1. America has a vested interest in the survival of Israel.

          2. Israel is not capable of defending itself without the 3 billion in aid it receives from the United States every year. Please provide an analysis by a foreign policy expert who would argue that if we completely cut off ties with Israel it would be fine. I made this argument on a previous thread with another Ron Paul True Believer. He said that he would get back to me with evidence. He never did. That’s because this analysis is a mainstream opinion going across the majorities of both parties. It’s rejected only at the kook fringes of the Right and the Left.

          3. Intentions are not what matter, practical results are what matter. If Thomas Jefferson magically rose from the dead do you think he would support a policy that resulted in millions of Jews being killed and Islamofascists being empowered? Or do you think he would realize that the world has changed and a non-interventionist foreign policy doesn’t work as well as it did in the 18th century?

          • Jack Hampton permalink
            October 10, 2009 5:51 am

            Damn, Mr. Swindle that was very impressive and I believe if it could happen would be very accurate. This will however have no effect on the Paulist among us.

            • October 10, 2009 5:58 am

              Thanks Jack. 🙂

              You’re right it won’t have any effect.

          • October 10, 2009 6:55 am

            What is a “Ron Paul True Believer”? And why are you making assumptions about me when I am only asking questions. You seem to not be very friendly, and I must say, your attitude is not well received. Do you treat all people with whom you have a civil debate in this fashion? Are you even capable of having one?

            • October 10, 2009 7:09 am

              I’m being entirely civil. You’re the one unable to defend your positions so you shift the debate into my use of the term “Ron Paul True Believer” which is a much friendlier term than I could have used.

              If you don’t want to discuss the issue then you don’t have to. But I have nothing to apologize for in my engagement with you.

              When I write a post attacking Ron Paul and you show up to defend Paul’s ideas it’s a safe assumption that you’re a Paul supporter. My post wasn’t even about Paul’s non-interventionist foreign policy but you show up to this forum for the first time and that’s what you want to talk about, ignoring the main subject of discussion — Paul’s embrace of 9/11 Truthers.

    • October 9, 2009 5:27 am

      Further, how can THAT be your response when I’ve just demonstrated that Paul is a 9/11 Truther who just doesn’t have the guts to really declare his position?

    • ElanaSe permalink
      October 9, 2009 6:18 am

      Oh yeah, and they also blamed Israel for all the hatred toward the US…
      Catholic Church burned people for heresy 400 years ago. Should they adopt the same policy today?
      There is contest and circumstances to every political decision. As someone who has made a research on Thomas Jefferson and familiar with his writing and policy making I’m amazed how easily people fall for this kind of manipulation of the historic facts.

  7. Jack Hampton permalink
    October 9, 2009 5:07 am

    I am still amazed that some people took Paul seriously. But hell some people I guess took Edward Noonan serious as well. By the way do you think we can Nominate Edward for a Nobel Peace Prize?

    • Brent Smith permalink
      October 9, 2009 5:31 am

      Sure we can. I mean he hasn’t accomplished that much less than Obama so Uncle Ed at least has an outside shot.

  8. Jack Hampton permalink
    October 9, 2009 12:22 pm

    Maybe he can get a relative to nominate him. It does not appear he can get any of them to vote for him.

  9. Craig Goodrich permalink
    October 20, 2009 12:22 pm

    Good piece, and interesting.

    Three points:

    1) Vince Foster was murdered. It may or may not have been a conspiracy, but anyone who knows anything at all about guns and bodies would recognize that from the evidence and documentation. (Yes, I have some expertise in that area.) As to the dead Clinton enemies, I have no idea.

    2) Ron Paul is a libertarian. I was a Libertarian candidate a while back. The reason for a noninterventionist foreign policy is very simple; it works against you more than it will for you most of the time. (Israel is a this point perfectly capable of defending herself, if we get out of the way.) The reason for abolishing the Fed and returning to a gold standard (which could be simply accomplished by repeal of legal tender laws) is the recession we’re now in, and the inflation to come. One advantage of being a Libertarian is that you don’t have to worry about the popularity of your positions, since you are very unlikely to win anyway, so you can argue for an ideal solution.

    3) It is not necessary to have an actual conspiracy for some event to look like one; a convergence of interest from different power centers will do. (People who are upset that Fox caused Jones to be dumped should consider that CNN caused NATO to blow up large sections of Yugoslavia.)

    • October 20, 2009 12:43 pm

      Thanks Craig.
      1. I remain unconvinced that Israel would be perfectly fine if we were no longer an ally with her and we stopped giving her 3 billion per year in aid. Perhaps you have some compelling facts or arguments to present to demonstrate otherwise. Most Ron Paul supporters turn and run when I ask this of them.

      2. Paul’s economic ideas (Gold Standard, ending the Fed, etc.) are not really my primary concern regarding him as a political candidate and thinker. They’re unusual but they might have some merit.

      Far more important are his intolerable foreign policy views (which unless you can convince me otherwise equate with the wholesale destruction of Israel) and even more important is the above video I posted which demonstrates that he’s basically a 9/11 Truther who’s only not speaking out more because he knows if he does he’ll lose support.

    • Jack Hampton permalink
      October 20, 2009 12:57 pm

      If we no longer supported Israel it would not be that long till she was attacked on several fronts by several rogue nations. Israel with out our support would swiftly run through there stock pile of munitions, bombs, spare parts and many other vital weapons systems. They would be forced to use nuclear weapons which they may be forced to any way. I hope not.


  1. Crackpot Chronicles: Van Jones, Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Rorschach, the Truthers, And Me – Part IV « NewsReal Blog
  2. Truther Crackpot Punksmacks of the Day: Making the Point « NewsReal Blog

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