Monday, May 12, 2003

Yes, You're Paranoid. Yes, You're Being Followed

A lot of you (okay maybe 3 of the 5 people that read this blog) are probably unaware of the rather heated debate between various liberals about the circumstances surrounding the 9/11 attacks. I don't want to get into the particulars of the theory because they take too long. The question I have is why are we so quick to dismiss conspiracy theories?

For one the label "conspiracy theorist" has all sorts of yucky hermetical, X-File-ophile, grassy knoll-ish connotations. And when you are a discontented liberal with a clear-cut polical agenda to pursue, you don't want that image. You want to be taken seriously.

For another, the rational mind has a tendency to dismiss the irrational. It's too horrible/outrageous/ill-conceived to be true therefore it must be false. This is totally understandable. It's good to trust rationality. The mistake is the assumption that rationality, or at least your version of rationality, is a widespread state of mind.

The problem with this particular conspiracy theory is that when the rational mind picks through the evidence, separates the wheat from the chaff, it can't help but think the unthinkable. But since the label of "conspiracy theorist" acts like a big red C sewn to the chest, the information is never shared.

My opinion on this particulary theory? It's entirely probable, nay likely even. Stranger and more diabolical things have happened. I'm vain enough to hate being wrong so I'm going to stop short of saying yes it's all true. More to the point, I think skeptics should be a little open to the fact that something far-out might be true, and even if it's not, the conspiracy theorists aren't wrong to wonder.

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