By Bill Maher
It’s often said that you can measure the health of a society by
how readily it believes in conspiracy theories. …OK, maybe it’s not
often said, because I just made it up, but it should be. Because it’s
Now, our fair country has its share of conspiracy theories, and we
may have just added another: that the Boston Marathon bombing was a
false flag operation designed to frighten the citizens so the government
can take away our rights and our guns. Or something like that. I try
not to click on those links so my IP address doesn’t get “pinged” in the
FBI’s PND — Potential Nutcase Database.
But when anything major happens in America, you can set your watch
and within 48 hours someone will be explaining to you how some nefarious
group wanted this to happen, and also planned it. These are usually
fringe, Alex Jones-type groups, but not always. The 9/11 Truther
movement wasn’t exactly tiny, probably about the same size as the Ron
Paul movement. Because they’re the same people. Then there are the
Roswell/UFO conspiracy types, the U.N. black helicopter conspiracy
people, those who think the moon landing was faked. Not to mention the
people who think all the fat black women in Tyler Perry movies are
actually Tyler Perry.
But nothing compares to the Middle East, where conspiracy theories
are so pervasive you’d think the whole region was entirely backward and
overly religious or something.
For instance, a 2011 Pew survey
showed that 75 percent of Egyptian Muslims don’t believe that Arabs
were behind the 9/11 attacks. They believe it was…oh, I’ll let you guess
who they think did it. But it rhymes with “Da Blues.”
But there’s a reason people in the Middle East believe in so many
conspiracy theories — because their governments are often so corrupt and
evil, they are working behind the scenes to screw their
people. And then blame it on America and the Jews. In the Middle East,
people are also usually confined by a state press and have no history of
not being lied to.
Also, we’re now in an era where, in addition to porn and bomb-making
guidelines, you can see any amount of crazy information you like on the
internet, whereas before you could only communicate with like-minded
losers via ham radio or at a Star Trek convention.
But we should be way ahead of societies where everything the
government does is greeted with automatic suspicion, and I’m not sure we
are. In America, there seems to be a very thin wall separating those of
us who are being critical and skeptical and those who are just being
conspiratorial and crazy.
Isn’t that, you know, bad for democracy?