There are some very contradictory and confused arguments in an article in today’s Salon, “America’s Conspiracy Mania: Why Ebola and 9/11 truthers reflect a tortured history.” The strange angle the author takes is that if the government would just stop lying to Americans so much, we might not have so many crazy conspiracy theories. Okay… Good luck with that.
On the one hand, the author details a number of times the government has lied and misled the American people, on the other, he flippantly dismisses the possibility that the government has lied about other issues, such as 9/11.
There is a long history of real U.S. government conspiracies, from the CIA’s Tuskegee syphilis experiments to dosing unsuspecting citizens with LSD to the fabrication of the Gulf of Tonkin incident to illegal mass surveillance by the NSA. But according to the author, there’s no reason to suspect any current conspiracy theories are legitimate.
As an example of our gullibility, the author points out that one-third of Americans polled in 2006 believed that the Bush Administration had either planned the 9/11 attacks or new about them beforehand and did nothing to stop. Perhaps, just perhaps, so many people believe this crazy conspiracy theory because there is a mountain of evidence indicating it is true.