Yesterday I waffled on about extremism, and I hope I made my point. To recap, extremism is the result of all or nothing thinking. There are no ifs or buts or exceptions. If a certain governments in a certain sector of the world commits certain unethical acts towards certain people at certain times - THEN THE WEST IS EVIL.
I'm a westerner, and I'm not evil, and neither are you. But exceptions to the rule make no odds. You are guilty and so am I. We should both be killed. Right?
No, of course not, and the same applies everywhere.
We have more in common with those strange brown foreign people than you might think.
One of these things is a belief by the common man that they're all out to get you. This is a special type of paranoia, because let's face it, sometimes they are. But it's not actually rational, it's all based on rumours and conspiracy theories.
I want to discuss this because I'm hearing it more and more, especially on the topic of false flag operations. This is the idea that a government, or several governments colluding together, create a situation designed to cause fear (terrorism) to control the people and/or get support from the people for reprisals against The Enemy.
The year I was born, 1962, was a scary year for Americans and potentially the whole world. No, not because I arrived. It was the Cuban missile crisis. Many people, even those old enough to remember, are not aware just how close things came to the third world war. If you need to familiarise yourself with these events, please do. The hero of the hour, strangely, was on the Cuban side. He averted......the mind boggles as to what he averted....but anyway, he averted it by refusing to follow out an order. This stalled things. Great story. Go on, go look it up if you don't know it. But I'm assuming here that you know roughly what it was about.
What nobody knew at the time was that the US military were planning a false flag operation. It was called Operation Northwoods and it would have involved killing US civilians and blaming Cuba, as an excuse to "start something". Not familiar with this? Then you REALLY need to look this up.
Kennedy said no. Bless him.
Below is a list of all the other false flag operations known to have been carried out by the US since then.
I'm well aware that some of you are now shouting at the screen. Don't bother. You can't prove anything. Yes, I know how long it was before Northwoods was admitted. Yes, I know I said "known about". It is quite possible there have been others, but right now they remain possibilities and without solid evidence they remain rumours and conspiracy theories. Just like those which drive the hatred of the west (beyond what it really HAS done).
There's also the same good reason for people in the west to be as obsessed with this stuff as it is for "them". Governments do, routinely, tell lies and hide things from the people. That doesn't mean that the Illuminati are spraying you with overhead chemicals though. Just because you can't always believe your elected representatives doesn't mean you should instead believe a bunch of crackpots on the internet.
If we didn't find some of these conspiracy theories quite compelling literature and movies wouldn't be anywhere near as much fun. And let's face it, in a world where 64% of the population are religious, then people are willing to believe incredible things simply because somebody said so. So it's really no surprise at all that we have all these rumours circulating. Fact is, nobody really knows the truth about everything.
Except......somebody always does.
Many years ago on USENET (ah, those were the days) I got into a debate about just this, and the usual example was given, that I've never been to Australia but I believe it exists because I've seen so many photos and movies, and met so many Australians, and can think of no reason why anyone would bother to create such a vast hoax, that I think it's a safe belief. I was being slightly tongue in cheek, but some of those in the debate were not. I was told:
"Next thing you'll be telling me the Queen of England is real."
I assured them that she was. I was then treated to a long rant about why she wasn't, how it was obvious, considering the evidence, which was cut & pasted into the discussion for my pleasure, and when it was all over I said:
"But I've met her."
OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but she did walk past me. Still, you get the idea.
I was told I was lying. Flat out. No wiggle room.
And this is how these debates go.
1. I offer an opinion, based on something I'm actually quite well up on. Not expecting trouble.
2. Somebody challenges me for proof.
3. I provide it.
4. The proof is dismissed as fictitious.
How the hell do you get anywhere like that?
So, for example, argumentative Andy demands data on, say, prison inmates in the US. I find an article online, and he rubbishes it as being a left-wing biased site. So I send him to the official FBI statistics page. And he ridicules that, because OBVIOUSLY they tell lies, tsk. It's the bloody government! Well, what would he like me to do? Drive around and count them? If I did he'd call me a liar, so really what would be the point?
And what does HE offer in return? A conspiracy website run by a middle-aged man who still lives in his parents' basement. You know, an international security expert.
Maybe you've heard about the conspiracy theory that HIV doesn't exist, and/or doesn't cause AIDS. It's surprisingly huge, but I only found out about it when doing an online course about HIV/AIDS run by Emory University. Emory is one of the the leaders in AIDS knowledge worldwide. Experts par none. Has been right from the beginning. Imagine how frustrating this conspiracy theory is for them. Now imagine you are up against a government that believes it. Well that was the case with the South African president who followed Mandela, Thabo Mbeki. During his presidency it is estimated that well over 300,000 people died directly as a result of his beliefs being official policy.
Consider that when you ask yourself if rumours are a problem.
And yet when I found myself in a discussion about this, I was told that you couldn't believe the experts at Emory (and decades of work done there) because they were "all paid off by the government to cover up the real cause". Which is? Sorry, I didn't hear you? Well, frhtslfhgetmkfg. Ah, yes, that's right. You have a good SOLID alternative explanation.
The other version is that AIDS was created by the government in the first place, and deliberately released.
OK, so, the government wants AIDS to wipe out people at random. Just thinning the herd perhaps?
Like all of these theories that "The Government" (or possibly "The New World Order") is trying to kill us off arbitrarily (not the stupid ones, not the "difficult" ones, not the old or the weak, or even the poor) but also SECRETLY, I'm bound to ask why? What is the benefit of a smaller population? Less trouble come the revolution? Less cost of bullets to mow us all down? Less gas required to get rid of us all quickly? Couldn't you just release a really INFECTIOUS disease, not one so bloody difficult to catch?
And this critical approach to these theories needs to be applied every time. Ask why? Why would the evil government do these things. Money is always at the bottom of everything, so look for the financial benefit, the profit. If you can't find one, the theory is bollocks.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again...the readiness people have to believe really far-fetched conspiracy theories is the modern version of supersitition. In the middle ages there were devils and demons behind everything, now it's secret government agents. Same deal.