Conspiring To Theorize

November 30, 2006 | By | 4 Replies More

I’ve seen a couple of those independantly produced DVD “exposes” about the 9/11 disaster–you know, the ones attributing sinsister intent to the United States government, that, in fact, we “knew” and did nothing in order to promote subsequent insanity.  I’ve been taking these things with large grains of salt for decades.  It’s not that they aren’t persuasive.  It’s that people are too willing to be persuaded.

You can find conspiracy theories about nearly everything.  The CIA murdered Jimi Hendrix.  And Jimmy Hoffa  (or was that the FBI?)  and the FBI assassinated JFK.

The thing is, during an episode wherein the stakes are so high, emotions are running on adrenalized atomic interaction, and absolutely everything takes on more significance than it can possibly support, the human desire to Make Sense Of Everything moves into overdrive and like the occultists dabbling in Alchemy and ancient wisdom, nothing is as it seems to be.

What I have found is that there is a far higher degree of overattention to unrelated details than anything tangibly connected.  The trouble is, of course, that sometimes some things are connected.  How is the question, and to what end are or were they connected once the connection is established.

There is a phrase I like to use in these discussions:  conspiracy of effect.  I heard it from an historian studying the course of the civil rights movement.  Looking at all the elements that fed into the checkered and often tragic history, it would be easy to assign blame to a single entity for all the bad that happened.  But instead, the reality is that the road blocks on the path to political equity in this country were all of individualized and separate origins.  Their confluence at given moments in history give the appearance of coordination, but there is no way such a complex of actions and intents could have been so coordinated.  It’s not that people aren’t that smart (or malign) but that not everyone can be that smart at the same time.  All you need, really, is a lot of people driven by a single impulse, acting separately, at more or less the same period of time…

Let’s step back and take a big example.  In his excellent book Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII  John Cornwell traces the history of one of the biggest bug-bears the Catholic Church has had to contend with since WWII–was there a plot between Eugenio Pacelli and Adolph Hitler to betray the Jews?  His conclusion is, no.  Although the Concordat signed by the Church and Hitler basically gave Hitler carte blanche in Germany by effectively destroying the only other legitimate political party in opposition to the Nazis, this was done for different reasons on both sides.  The Church was fulfilling a plan to gather absolute control of all its farflung branches, something commenced back in 1870.  Under the Church program, the formerly independent bishoprics would no longer have the autonomy they had exercised for centuries.  All authority was to reside in the Vatican.  They’d been working on this for decades.  It just so happened that in Germany they got it at the very moment Naziism was ascendent.  If Pacelli can be accused of anything, it would be the blindness of singlemindedness, which allowed Hitler to “play” him.  No conspiracy is required.

Pearl Harbor is another.  People have been trying for decades to prove that Roosevelt knew the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor and that he “let it happen.”  Detailed history shows that it was a confluence of dumb decisions on the part of many people all converging on one day. (There were some smart decisions, too.  Halsey’s “engine trouble” which kept his carrier group out of Pearl till after the attack.  You can question that all you want, but there is no causal link to Roosevelt…) 

Other factors, like the unfortunate confluence of Vietnam with Johnson’s Great Society programs that ultimately destroyed the Democratic Party and opened the way for the neocon revolution of the Eighties.  Conspiracy?  No one suggests it, but you could spin it if you like and come up with one.  One group taking advantage of the tragedy of colliding moments in history.

What about 9/11?  Well, Bush and Company had other things they wanted to do with their administration.  He’s tried to do them anyway and it appears they may all be discredited because of his mishandling of the aftermath of 9/11.  The fumblefingered manner in which all subsequent decisions have been made belies the idea that the intelligence and cooperation existed to mount such a conspiracy. 

No, it was just bad timing all around.  Unfortunately, conspiracy theory is so much more attractive.  A correspondent in Pakestan recently reported the belief among the educated sector in that country that the United States knocked it own buildings down so it could go forth and wreak hegemonistic chaos on the world.  It must be asked, however, that if that were true, why didn’t Bush do a better job of it?  They actually launched the Iraq invasion as if expecting to be out of there in six months.  Hardly the plan of a world conqueror.

In some ways, conspiracy would be a comfort.  You could deal with it, then, find the culprits, expose it, put them in jail, and enact safeguards against it.  It’s much harder to do that with incompetence.  Impossible to do it in the case of plain bad timing.

But the theorizing continues.  It’s a national pasttime.  When 9/11 gets old, you see, there are still the alien bodies in the freezer at Area 51 and the United Nations’ black helicopters kidnapping people for having opinions.

So when are they going to begin those courses in critical thinking for  grade schoolers?

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Category: American Culture, Communication, Culture, Current Events, History, Media, Politics, Psychology Cognition, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

Comments (4)

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  1. Eeeeeeeexellent smithers. I would additionally like to see some scientific links about how hot the flames would have been to melt the structures, but I am certainly satisfied with Jason's post as helping to debunk CT. However, stepping into the shoes of the CT, I can see how Bush (his expression) seemed to almost expect the news he got the morning of 911 while reading to children (so innocently). Interesting that my mind works just like the CT's, latching onto anything suspicious as if it were gospel. At this point I will probably do the research myself and provide links accordingly. The whole thing is probably a result of the YouTube phenomena, and is just a precursor (of things to come).

    -S

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    Iron does not need to melt to structurally fail. Heat a 3/4 inch iron bar to orange heat over charcoal and you can bend it easily by hand. Ask any blacksmith.

    The temperature of the flames in a gas stove is well over the melting point of aluminum or copper, yet these are good materials with which to cook over these flames. There is more to understanding the effect of heat on materials than reading a link can teach. But, maybe this article at

    ScienceDaily.com will help.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    "[W]herein the stakes are so high, emotions are running on adrenalized atomic interaction, and absolutely everything takes on more significance than it can possibly support, the human desire to Make Sense Of Everything . . . "

    I vote for Intelligent Design as the Grandest Conspiracy Theory of All. What underlies the vast complexity of biological life on Earth? A massive confluence that gives the appearance of [intentional] coordination.

  4. Impact Zone says:

    I did not know that…

    "Damage resulting solely from the metal fuselage, engines and other aircraft parts is not as great as that resulting from the mass of fluids on board. You could think of the aircraft as a sausage skin. Its mass is tiny compared to the plane's fluid contents." (Thanks to Dan/Science Daily)

    Which possibly explains away CT about any irregular shaped/sized hole from impact.

    One other "mystery" my friend mentioned was the "fact" that no debris can be seen in the photos of the crash. He says "How could a 747 disappear into thin air?" I told him something to the effect of, "it disintegrated upon impact", to which he replied, "then how did they find DNA evidence if everything disintegrated?". I couldn't win.

    -S

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