"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil" Isaiah 5:20
Every conspiracy theory by Anti-War activists and 9/11 Truthers has one thing in common. It calls good, evil... and evil, good. Its overriding message is that America is the center of all the world's evil. We are the imperialists. We are the colonizers and the occupiers. When terrorists kill us, we're the ones responsible. Either because we angered them, or because secretly we were the ones who did it. When we die, it's because we're sheep who deserve what we get. When we fight back, it's because we're amoral monsters.
They cannot mourn the dead of the attacks of September 11, the way decent Americans can. Because that would force them to look upon those men and women as human beings. And to stop their demented attacks on their country for at least a single night. Instead they hijack commemorations, they mock the dead, they spread claims that the dead are really alive and that they were in on it all along. They bring their bumper stickers and their banners. They sneer gleefully at the pain they cause to others. "The Sheeple," as they call them.
What drives them is the same thing that drives the Westboro cult protesters. To justify their hate by completely dehumanizing their targets. And in the process, they themselves become less than human. Ghoulish creatures fed by hate, spreading their lies through every vector. Like most conspiracy theories, the lies themselves don't matter. The details are ornamentation to make the lie more believable. But the lie itself is superfluous. It's not really about the temperature at which steel melts. It is about the twisted minds of those who cannot accept a world in which America is the victim of a foreign attack-- rather than the enemy, the perpetrator, the Red, White and Blue devil that must be torn down and stamped into the dust.
Such conspiracy theories are not new. Every major attack on Americans in the 20th century, from the sinking of the Lusitania to Pearl Harbor to the Pueblo Incident all follow the same pattern. The enemy, whether it's the German military, Imperial Japan, North Korea or Al Qaeda are always in the right. And America is always in the wrong. We are always the bad guys. And the bad guys, are always the good guys.
America goes about its imperialistic ways, offending benevolent Nazis and Communists who never intended us any harm. And then when we push those noble mass murderers too far and they finally fight back against us, they're there to stand up for the poor downtrodden tyrants and expose all the lies that the government tells us. Someone had to stand up for Uncle Adolf and Uncle Joe, and Uncle Osama-- a late addition to the nuclear family. Someone who knows that the real enemy isn't Adolf, Joe or Osama-- but that unrepentant villain, Uncle Sam.
Anti-War activists helped set this pattern in WW1, boiling together a stewpot of conspiracy theories that attracted everyone from racists to anarchists and socialists. That stewpot converted Henry Ford into a raving lunatic obsessed with the Jews and international banks. The same thing was repeated again in WW2. In an outbreak of utter madness, British dockworkers during WW2 were told that American GI's weren't coming to fight the Nazis, but to suppress labor protests. For the next 50 years, the left went on repeating it to mobilize opposition to the US presence in Western Europe.
The Truthers are not a new phenomenon, but a very old one. Their ideological ancestors spread rumors that Washington's men had begun the Great Fire of New York. Today they claim that Bush's men blew up the World Trade Center. The basic narrative hasn't changed much across some two centuries. Only the location has moved across the river. There's more pretend science in the mix now, but all the cardboard models and temperature talk, it's not about the science. It's about the hate. Their hate for everything that America is. They may and do dress it up in talk of the Constitution or civil liberties. But the only people whose civil liberties they support, are those who tear down the country.
Like Hitler and Stalin shaking hands, follow a circle far enough at either end and you wind up with two reflections of the same thing. The Bush Administration was a time when the left and the far right realized that they had more in common than they thought. For all their disagreements, they had one vital point of consensus. They both agreed that America was evil. Abominable. A monstrous regime on the verge of turning into the next Hitler. And so they formed their own little Hitler-Stalin pact. Pat Buchanan joined the Anti-War movement. The same media which regularly opined that anyone to the right of Clinton was the devil, suddenly found a lot of good things to say about Ron Paul. The Anti-War movement had become bipartisan, in the sense that it consisted of two groups of people who wouldn't spit on an American soldier if he were on fire.
But for those like Alex Jones, it was a gold mine. Some did it for the money. And there was and is good money to be made in promoting this stuff. Books and DVD's to be sold. Conferences to be organized. For others, it was political. 9/11 Trutherism was the ultimate way to project their vision of America as an absolutely evil regime. If America could be blamed for 9/11. Then it could be blamed for anything. Anything at all. And that was the point.
9/11, like the Holocaust, represents an almost insurmountable historical obstacle to specific groups of people. Most choose to avoid confronting it head on. Or limit their criticism to sideline attacks, as Michael Moore did in Farenheit 9/11. But some choose to push straight through. Turning the attacks of September 11 from a crime against America-- into a crime by America, is the goal here. To erase Muslim terrorists from the picture, as a distraction from their overriding message. That America is evil. Irredeemably evil. So evil that it is the real enemy, not some people living in caves overseas.
The more mainstream left reacted by equating Bush and Republicans with the Taliban. One of the more famous such responses early on was a book cover which photoshopped Bush in Taliban garb. A more recent notorious example was Grayson's Taliban Dan ad. This line of attack has been fairly standard among left wing movements through the 20th century. Its underlying argument is that the same evils that exist abroad, also exist in America. And so there's no call to go fighting them overseas. There are American Taliban right there in the form of Christian conservatives, and we should be fighting them instead.
The left had followed this line with the Holocaust by turning the Jews into the "New Nazis". Americans accordingly were the new Taliban. Standard moral equivalence which shifts victims into perpetrators, and eventually turns perpetrators into victims.
But for the far left and the far right, it wasn't enough to merely equate the two. They had to show that there was no Muslim enemy. Just a phantom foe created by our real enemy. Bush and his various puppetmasters. Such a line of thinking makes Trutherism inevitable. It makes it positively mandatory. For their worldview to hold up, there can only be one great enemy. And that enemy is the United States of America.
9/11 Truthers followed the same line that Holocaust deniers had. They began with the "bridge". The bridge is the element of their argument that crosses the gap from a more mainstream radical critique to a denial position. On the Holocaust, the "bridge" has been the claim, popular among some on the left, that Jews were complicit in Nazism. Pushed a little further, this turns Nazis into agents of the Jews. Which then leads to the claim that the Holocaust never really happened and was the work of a Jewish conspiracy.
The 9/11 Truther bridge was the claim that America had backed the Taliban and armed Al Qaeda. This allowed them to position Muslim terrorists as agents of America. The next step over the bridge, was to move to arguing that America carried out the attacks of September 11. Not only were we the "New Taliban", but we were the Taliban all along. And Al Qaeda and Hamas and all of them rolled into one. Like a magic carpet, we become our own enemies. There are never any real enemies but the secret forces running the country. The secret forces who turn out to be much the same groups who showed up in WW1 conspiracy theories.
The denial mongerers have never had a single original idea since World War I. The various technological twists added on, conceal the rottenness of the superstructure which is still based around 19th century obsessions with secret elite organizations, Freemasonry, the Jews, the banks and the currency. Russia Today, which is funded by Putin's KGB regime, purveys virtually the same conspiracy theories as the Okhrana, the Czarist secret police, the originators of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, did and as the NKVD and KGB did before and after the Cold War. The difference is that they do it digitally.
It has never been about the facts, but about the fanatic zeal to conduct a campaign of hate against America. Whether it's the 9/11 Truthers, the Anti-War protests or the Westboro Baptist Church-- you can always see the hate. You can smell it. The curled lips. The bared teeth. The mocking grins. The defacing of American symbols. The predictions of doom. All those come out of a darkness in the soul. They have found their enemy. And we are it. That single destructive impulse characterizes their entire political worldview.
There is no reasoning with them. Because there is no reasoning with hate. Hate is by its very nature irrational. You can only banish it. Turn your back to it. And leave in the darkness of its own making. Because where others see light, they can only see their own darkness.