9/11 CONSPIRACY NUTS:
POPULAR MECHANICS STRIKES BACK:
In her ceaseless prowling of the internet, looking for mice to pounce upon, Molly came on a real gem recently. In March 2005 the venerable magazine 'Popular Mechanics' published an article on the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon explaining the rather simple physics and engineering behind how the attacks were so destructive. To that point the editors of that magazine, fascinated as they were with wiring and widgets, were rather naive children is the forest of fringe politics. The naivety didn't last. Their article was greeted with a massive internet flurry of abuse, none of it answering their article of course.
On October 13th, 2006 they published a rejoiner which can be found at http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/4199607.html . The flavour of the attacks on them can be gauged with the sentence that the author uses to introduce this article. It says,
"On February 7, 2005, I became a member of the Bush/Haliburton/Zionist/CIA/New World Order/Illuminati conspiracy for global domination."
Yup, Popular Mechanics actually took a look at the conspiracy nuts who generated much of the hate mail, and I guess they were actually surprised to turn over this rock and find the maggots of nostalgic admirers of Hitler crawling beneath. It hardly surprises Molly. Bizarre conspiracy theories were a staple of ultra reactionaries long before old Adolph's great, great, great grandfather was a wiggling little sperm. They bequeathed this inheritance to their fascist descendants, and they, in turn, bequeathed it to their admirers today. No real surprise there, and the editors of Popular Mechanics should count themselves lucky that they had no previous contact with this underworld. Wiring and widgets may be sterile, but sterile beats putrid any day of the week. Molly has had her own little encounters with another "underworld" in her decades as an anarchist. Sympathy for acts of mindless violence amongst a few anarchists in modern decades, a small minority I assure you, has usually gone hand in glove with an absolutely uncritical admiration for other terrorists who wear an ill-fitting leftist disguise. The whole idea that anarchism should be utterly and completely opposed to Leninist tyranny and those who seek to impose it by acts of mindless violence seems a non-starter to those people. The last century and a half of anarchist history is actually a non-starter. Their world view is fueled by rather childish emotions, and the obvious futility of such tactics penetrates as deeply as the facts do for their right wing brothers. At its worst such people make common cause not just with the pathetic remains of Maoism but with neo-nazis. The attraction of using brutality is far greater than any political ideology in these cases.
But anyways have a look at the above essay for an amusing and interesting tour through the logical fallacies of "conspiratorism". The tour is instructive because the errors in thought pop up over and over in much other political discourse- just not in such concentrated and massive form.
If you are interested here are a couple of other references from critics of the 9/11 conspiracy nuts:
The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060925/cockburn
and a longer version at Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn09092006.html
Of course you shouldn't miss George Monbiot's piece in The Guardian entitled '9/11 Fantasists pose a mortal danger to popular oppositional campaigns' . Molly love the way he describes the 9/11 conspiracy nuts as engaging in "displacement behavior" similar to that of a squirrel that sees a larger squirrel taking a nut and rather than attack it opponent turns on the tree and gnaws it to shreds. Hence the graphic above, and also Molly's recommendation to visit Scary Squirrel World, a subject too long neglected on this blog. Go over to SSW for the only conspiracy theory worth taking seriously (and funny too).