“The popularity of conspiracy theories is explained by people’s desire to believe that there is – some group of folks who know what they’re doing.” -Damon Knight
I sat on this post for awhile before I decided to go ahead and write it. I got into a “discussion” with some friends on Facebook. The debate started over a post about racism in the response to the Haitian earthquake. I am posting it for you in it’s (almost*) entirety. Red and Blue are friends of mine, Green is me, and Pink is some guy who is friends with Red and Blue. I should preface this by saying I knew better than to get engaged in this debate. And yet I couldn’t help myself. (Sorry, it’s super long.)
*The conversation actually continues between Blue and Pink about antisemitism, but this is the relevant portion. There are a thousand problems with this. First, there is the absurdity of conspiracy theories (which I will get to in a minute.) Secondly, the idea of a “safe space” which I will also get to later. Thirdly, the question about whether or not the oppressors can ever help the oppressed.
If the oppressor can never help the oppressed, I want my 100 million dollars back from the Haitian aid fund. Or the billions of dollars the US sends to other countries. Or, for that matter, any dollar that goes to help any non-white male of European descent. There is certainly plenty of room for debate on the subject of foreign aid. But to make the assessment that it’s oxymoronic for the oppressor to help the oppressed is pretty just plain old moronic.
Going back to the safe space concept, it is totally unrealistic (which Blue acknowledges.) I love my quote from the play Race: “There is nothing, a white person can say to a black person about race, which is not both incorrect and offensive.” Me saying it was me throwing in the towel. The quote is entirely accurate. Here’s part of the reason it’s totally accurate:
I need to read more? How is that creating a safe space? I asked a legitimate question. If you’re going to imply that a government/government organization caused the 2004 tsunami, I think you should be able to clearly articulate your reasons. Instead, I got told to read more.
Finally, to get my to first point from earlier, we have conspiracy theories. In the previous Facebook discussion, Blue has implied that the 2004 tsunami was caused by some one or some thing. In this one, he implies that maybe the Haiti earthquake was.
Frankly, Maddox’s post is brilliant and should be read by all. It destroys the idea of a 9-11 conspiracy and ridicules people who buy into that idea. The logic he uses can be applied in these cases as well.
I could devote an entire post (or several) to disproving the aforementioned conspiracy theories (maybe I will) but instead I’ll leave you with this:
“Conspiracies occur, it must be admitted. But the striking fact which, in spite of their occurrence, disproved the conspiracy theory is that few of these conspiracies are ultimately successful. Conspirators rarely consummate their conspiracy.” -Karl Popper (The Open Society and its Enemies.)