11 Feb 2010

Am I a "Truther"?

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The Glenn Beck ambush of Debra Medina raises an obvious question: Am I a “truther”? Since I have been and will continue to be really busy with “real work,” let me throw Free Advice readers some red meat with this post.

First, I absolutely love conspiracy theories, especially when they rely on incontrovertible evidence and when their results are outrageous. For example, you can read about how NASA “obviously” faked the Moon landing, which relies on a lot of things you have seen your whole life. (Not least of which, don’t most of you deep down think the government is too incompetent to send guys to the moon and bring them back–alive?) But then there are websites that go through and debunk all of the Moon-landing-a-hoax points, and it looks pretty good.

Second, I have indeed dabbled in the 9/11 conspiracy stuff. (As Stewie says when someone points out that his breath smells like kitty litter: “I was curious!”) If you’ve never checked it out yourself, let me report that there are plenty of presentations you can see in which the people aren’t obvious nutjobs, playing short of a full deck, out to lunch, etc. etc. (Try this if you want a good start. I haven’t watched that particular video, but the BYU professor is one of the leading “truthers.”)

Third, a few weeks (maybe months, I can’t remember) into my hobbyish investigations, I just gave up. The problem is that I’d hit a point where apparently reputable building engineers would look at the 9/11 footage and say, “See that right there? Only a controlled demolition would look like that.” But then other apparently reputable building engineers would look at the same thing and say, “That could definitely be the result of burning jet fuel.”

On the margin, there was no point in me pushing the analysis deeper. I am already a philosophical anarchist. I am a pacifist and do not believe in violence to achieve ends, so I try to educate people that our present form of government is illegitimate and that there is a better way to organize social relations. But I’m never going to take up arms or do anything else violent, because that would violate my whole philosophy.

My point is, it doesn’t really affect my behavior vis-a-vis the U.S. government whether it planted charges in the World Trade Center buildings, or whether it had advance knowledge of 19 hijackers and let it happen, or whether the official story is basically correct, and the government covered up the evidence to hide its incompetence. In any of those scenarios, my opposition to the activities of the U.S. government would remain the same. I would still write the same articles, give the same lectures, etc.

Here’s why: Even if I had ironclad proof that “9/11 was an inside job,” I wouldn’t go around trumpeting the fact. People who heard me wouldn’t trust me–an economist–with such a claim. And rightly or wrongly, there is a huge negative reaction, even among many other critics of the government, to the “Truthers.” So I would be inviting a lot of negative backlash for no purpose.

What I will do is personally refrain from mocking people who think the U.S. government had something to do with 9/11. If you look into the documentaries etc., I think you too can understand why people who hate the government in the first place, could be convinced. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence, like firemen reporting hearing loud explosions from the base of the buildings etc. well after the initial impact of the planes.

One Response to “Am I a "Truther"?”

  1. Beefcake the Mighty says:

    Cody, nano-thermite has been identified at these sites, not thermite. You understand there are only a handful of organizations that have access to nano-thermite, yes?