I’ve just started reading Michael Barkun’s 2003 book, A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. I’m looking forward to it, having read and thoroughly enjoyed his earlier book, Religion and the Racist Right. One of the themes in the newer book is the inroads that one conspiracy theory is making into another, and in particular right-wing conspiracies about the New World Order gaining traction among UFO types.
If belief in crank ideas is the result of how some of our brains are wired, as Michael Shermer argues in The Believing Brain, then it follows that susceptible individuals would embrace more than one conspiracy theory. We’ve seen this to some extent with birthers and truthers, Vattelists and tax resisters, and one comment I heard by a birther on Internet radio that mentioned the Illuminati.
This all came to my attention this morning because of a link I received in email to a web site that had a link to a web site called Educate-Yourself: The Freedom of Knowledge, the Power of Thought. A quick look at their conspiracy topic menu lists everything from Chemtrails to HAARP. They carry this paranoid-sounding warning:
It is strongly recommended that visitors to this web site print out hard copies of the information that is of interest. Do not assume that your hard drive, this web site, or even the Internet itself will always be there to serve you….Ken Adachi, Editor
While Educate-Yourself doesn’t focus on birther issues, rather more on health-related conspiracies, they are quite eclectic and include Obama conspiracies from time to time, such as in the articles: Soetoro Produces Certified Long Form Birth Certificate Copy, a tongue in cheek ridicule of the long form and this Video Highlights Obama’s Ineligibility to be President (the video was from PPSimmons, a WorldNetDaily so-called document expert).
The other web site was The White Hats Report: Reporting What The Main Stream Media Refuses To Report. This site seems oriented toward the Bilderberger/New World Order side of conspiracies. Obama, we learn, is wheeling and dealing with billions of dollars internationally in cahoots with George Soros. In explosive report # 18 from April, 2011, Soros, Obama and the rest of the cabal about to be Trumped? we see that none other than George H. W. Bush has Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate and is using it to blackmail him.
With Donald Trump’s new investigations proceeding into Obama’s citizenship issue, will this, in one fell swoop, remove Bush Senior’s powerful grip over Obama by diminishing the affect of his holding the certified copy of Obama’s Kenyan Birth Certificate? What will happen when Trump starts investigating and tracking Obama’s offshore bank accounts? What will happen when Trump starts investigating Mitt Romney’s Achilles Heel? In one combined sweep, Trump could take out both contestants and begin cleaning up America!
These anecdotal examples lead one think that conspiracy-minded people naturally latch onto any conspiracy based on distrust of the main-stream official explanation of things. Whether birthers on the whole are just conspiracy-minded people, or whether something else is going on there, I’m still considering.