Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Truthers Out There

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 true.

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?


C said...

I concur on everything especially the relation of health of society to conspiracy theories. The biggest problem in the world is most people don't think scientifically and hold a scientific worldview. It wouldn't be perfect but if everyone did have that, the world would be much much better and more peaceful than it is now which doesn't say much. We still have our fixed human nature with our evolutionary history. It's why multiculturalism failed (not diversity)... its not only untrue but is essentially tribalism. We need to expand our in-group. It's paradoxical that some of my fellow liberals seem offended or confused when I always talk about us as a species, the future of our species and taking the long view and seeing us as one instead of several.

Science and Technology are our only hope. No debate there. Yes it's double edge sword but without it we will just hang out as long as we can like the dinosaurs with an 100% end; Just matter of time. With science tech and reason we have a chance to manipulate human nature, extend our species existence and spread out to the stars indefinitely and perhaps forever. We owe it to our ancestors and future humans. If we are alone we must must keep the Universe awake.

Lil said...

I don't know about that Carson.
Humanity has made a significant progress in the scientific field since the dark ages, yet people are still dumbasses. Religion is still alive and kicking. Fundamentalism is out there.

I'm a proud Atheist from Israel, I study at the best university in my country (The Technion) and I still find myself arguing to idiot right winged creationists. Some of us have reason, others have religion. Which of these two groups do you reckon reproduces more? I was watching "Idiocracy" the other night and the sad thing was, I couldn't find the difference between the movie to present days.

Anyway, keep up the good work Bill. Israel needs a public figure just like you.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Bush lied about WMD'S was a conspiracy theory and turned out to be true

Anonymous said...

Call me stupid, but it actually took me a few minutes to think of what rhymes with "Da Blues." I skimmed the Pew pages linked in Maher's post but I didn't find any explicit note about Muslims blaming the 9/11 attacks on Jewish people. Is it supposed to be implied, or obvious, or is it a joke?

I'll look again in case I missed it.

Anonymous said...

Bill Maher is nothing more then an unfunny,foul mouuthed,spastic minded,brain,dead,moronic,talaneles hay shakers mistake with less talant then ie takes to have a bowel movement !!!!!!!.

Nancy Pelosi said...

I agree 100% you have described the idiot to a tee.

Jimmy Carter said...

You are so right on !!!

Bill Clinton said...

Bill Maher is a jerk.!!!!!

Hilary Clinton said...

The only funny thing about Bill Maher is his face. Talk about the Ugly American !!!!.

Unknown said...

Conspiracies are also created by leaders in the USA. George Bush told Americans that 9/11 happened because "they hate our freedom".

Despite this being totally illogical, a huge number of Americans seem to believe it, not questioning for a moment what the real reasons might have been.

Same with Pearl Harbour - "a day that will live in infamy" - unalloyed evil once again foisted upon an innocent nation, by a nation of evil barbarians. Never mind the fuel embargo that America was using against Japan at that time.

This is how it goes everywhere: leaders create images of horror to scare us into giving them more power. And it works.

birdseye said...

Bill. I think you're mostly correct here. I'd like to add that often, conspiracies aren't always perpetuated by what we imagine (in most cases a half dozen white men with scotch-induced halitosis). Very often what we believe is a conspiracy is a disorganized groundswell of opportunists cashing in on a random event, or "aligning' their interests to bring revenue to their team, or corporation, or industry, or what have you. The lobbying industry for example fits this bill, though I'm sure there's plenty of halitosis to found there. Another example is the marketing and business consulting industry, who study us as consumers, and have figured out exactly the right buttons to push to get us to buy their wares. Their corporate market lexicon is slick, in a "collateral Damage" kind of way, and yet at the very heart of it, it is about keeping us unhappy, and forever unsatisfied. I found an interesting video this morning that made me stop and think for a minute that in the case of consumer control, it's not exactly a conspiracy, but simply an established business model that perpetuates the consumer economy.

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