Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories Hurt America

In 1997, I read a fiction story written by a right-wing survivalist about a right-wing community that got established in the woods after “The End Of The World As We Know It.” There was a section there about two young guys from Boulder traveling through the community, and not only did they cry on the spot – and not only did they carry Mao's red book – but they also ate human babies.

I've spent three months in Boulder in 1998 and 1999. I am an outgoing person who meets lots of people; and only one person I met there was a Communist. Certainly no baby-eaters. My question becomes, where do these people get their nonsense? Do they just make it up?

How does it become possible to get the right-wingers to see the people on the Left for who they are and not for some outrageous fantasy? These same right-wingers compare Obama to Hitler or claim that he is a Communist. If he had been the first, the right-wingers would all be in concentration camps; if he had been the second, he would have nationalized the banks and the car industry. Instead he bailed them out; and American capitalism owes a lot to Obama.

In the English media in 1990s, there were stories about “ritual Satanic abuse” of children by New Age families. Now I've known any number of New Agers; and the first thing that they were definitely not is Satanists. They do not believe that there is such a thing as Satan. As for child abuse, the New Age parents were much less likely to be actually violent or abusive than Christian parents. What we see here is real abusers planting false trails, making people see as abusers the people who aren't abusers while distracting them from real abusers - themselves.

We see the same thing with people making outrageous accusations against the Jews. Most Jews are responsible, hard-working people who contribute significantly to countries in which they reside. If some Jews have power, basically, they have earned it. But we see claims that Jews are in control and that Jews are evil. If that had been the case, then people saying such things would be facing a firing squad. That they are instead free to spread their lies shows that either the Jews are not in control or that the Jews are so good that they would even let live the people who want to kill them – or both at once.

Then there's the claim that global warming is a hoax invented by socialists and UN to destroy democracy. This one must have taken some creativity. Global warming was known to both American and Soviet scientists as early as 1950s. It became common knowledge in 1980s, when it should have been solved. Instead the right-wingers denied it, and now we are facing a much greater crisis than it should have ever been allowed to become.

The New World Order conspiracy theories – we find them on both the Left and the Right. The term “New World Order” was first used at a high level in American political discourse by then- President George Bush Sr., who in the aftermath of the Cold War wanted to create a “New World Order based on the rule of the law and not on the law of the jungle.” It has nothing to do with UN, it has nothing to do with socialism, and it also has nothing to do with the elites. The world order based around the Cold War ended with the Cold War; and American statesmen, in whose favor it ended, wanted to inaugurate an international order built around American values. There is no conspiracy here; and a true American patriot should be in favor of such a thing.

Probably the most pernicious direction in which these conspiracy theories go is when they become appropriated by real enemies such as ISIS. These people would use anything, whether it comes from the West or whether it is home-grown. The right-wing conspiracy theorists have blood on their hands. Their lies are being used by Islamic fundamentalists and neo-Nazis against America. And for the people claiming to be American patriots, this is an unacceptable sin.


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