This last week I haven’t written as much as usual, because I’ve been helping my father who had surgery last week. As a result of that, I ended up in the emergency room on Wednesday. At that time, I met a very chatty man in the waiting room. He was interesting and intelligent. He seemed like the kind of guy who questioned the official line on things. Soon, however, I found out that he was that and more. He started talking about the 9/11 attack and how it was all a “false flag.”
As I’ve noted before, I have a certain fondness for people who believe conspiracy theories. They are at least open minded. But while talking to this guy, I saw that believing in conspiracy theories can also cause people to close their minds. It’s sad. Because these people clearly have good and agile minds. They should be spending their time on something more edifying than looking for holes in the “official” story.
This man who I met was not just interested in 9/11 and Building 7. We spoke for a half hour and I did my best to move the conversation away from conspiracy theories. Still, he managed to mention:
- He didn’t believe believe Obama was born in the US.
- Vaccines cause autism.
- Chem Trails are poisoning us with Al2O3.
- Elites are trying to create a one world government.
- Oklahoma City bombing was a false flag.
- Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t kill Kennedy.
- US government knew about Pearl Harbor and let it happen.
- Inflation is much higher than the government is letting on.
In his defense, he didn’t mention Roswell, crop circles, or theories about Elvis being alive and well. But it was only a half hour after all.
Here’s the thing: he didn’t seem crazy. In fact, with all the classic conspiracy theories he spouted, it all seemed amazingly normal to me. He was just this guy with a diabetic wife who had traveled 400 miles to come to the VA. If he hadn’t mentioned the conspiracy theories, I never would have known. And if he had only mentioned one, I wouldn’t be writing about this now. But it really struck me that at some point in his life, he traded in belief of the “official line” for belief in the “conspiracy line.” And what’s the point of that?
At one point, I probed him about 9/11. I know a bit about it. I read the report oh so many years ago. And I’ve known enough conspiracy theorists to know about Building 7 and its importance. So I asked a question that had long bothered me, “What is the official reason for the collapse of Building 7?” He really didn’t know. He speculated that it was something to do with debris from the tower collapses. It turns out that it is exactly that, although it greatly understates just how big the destruction was throughout the complex. An article in Structure Magazine argues that a single critical column (pdf) in the building was badly damaged and it caused the whole building to collapse. But what do engineers at Structure Magazine know? They are clearly part of the conspiracy!
But I was struck by the fact that this guy was not all over my question. It came as a surprise, as though the only information he had ever heard about it came from other conspiracy theorists. And that goes right along with belief in all the other theories. At this point, I assume he listens to Alex Jones. Which means he doesn’t much think anymore. Except each night when he watches Jeopardy!
I learned that about him too.
This is a whole lot of fun: