The Jew-Hating Roots of the Conspiracy Culture

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Jonathan Kay’s compulsively-readable new book Among The Truthers is as definitive a book on the American conspiracy culture as we are ever going to get.

Kay, a managing editor for Canada’s National Post, jumped right into the oddball world of the so-called Truthers who doubt Osama bin Laden’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and instead suspect an “inside job.” Kay spent years in this world, going to Truther conferences, interviewing prominent Truthers in depth, and pouring over their literature.

In Part I, Kay describes the history and rise of American conspiracism, noting the powerful effects of the ambiguity of the JFK assassination, the real conspiracy of Watergate, and the shattering of a consensus media reality with greater technological development. He then positions the wide variety of Truther narratives in this context, noting the multitude of different stories. For some Truthers, Osama bin Laden really was responsible for 9/11, except that he did so under the orders of his American government handlers. For others, the hijacked planes were controlled by remote control and all the passengers and hijackers were secretly unloaded before they crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The motive for the attacks is generally the same – a cabal of “neo-cons” wanted to make money, colonize the Middle East, defend Israel, and transform the United States into a police state. (Though, for prominent British Truther David Icke, 9/11 was engineered by his unique boogeymen, the most creative and entertaining in all of conspiracy culture: blood-drinking, child-molesting, shape-shifting lizard humanoids from the fifth dimension.)

More interesting – and important – than the specific stories are the people themselves and the psychological conditions that drive them. Kay does not ridicule his subjects but analyzes them with affection and precision. In Part II, he creates a Truther taxonomy, identifying the following types: Midlife Crisis Case, Failed Historian, Damaged Survivor, Cosmic Voyager, Clinical Conspiracist, Crank, Evangelical Doomsayer, and Firebrand. Those who familiarize themselves with Kay’s profiles will be more than equipped to recognize which type of conspiracist they are dealing with when they bump into one on Facebook or the comments section of a blog.

Kay does an especially good job of carefully threading the needle on the subjects of Glenn Beck and the Tea Party. The claim that Beck is an Alex Jones-style conspiracy kook has been one of the Left’s favorite rhetorical weapons to use against the popular talk radio host. Kay acknowledges that Beck has sometimes explored conspiracist themes but he does not position him amongst the Truther mainstream. Similarly, he does not cast the Tea Party as a conspiracist movement, instead defending it while noting that conspiracists have found a place at the margins – as they have with most political and religious movements:

It would be entirely wrong to call Tea Partiers a straightforward conspiracist movement – and I don’t want to stand accused of doing so here. Many of their political gripes about big government are shared by tens of millions of mainstream Americans: In a September 2010 survey, 71 percent of Republican respondents said they have a “positive opinion” of the Tea Party movement.

But as with all populist uprisings, it has attracted a fringe of angry extremists who will swallow just about any accusation launched against the nation’s elite.

The book’s most important contribution is the way Kay effectively traces the origins of all of America’s conspiracy narratives to a single document: the notorious, fraudulent Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

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  • lizardman

    And I suppose it was the same conspiracists that burned the Reichstag, and write commentaries which totally ignore the inescapable in your face facts relating to many of the issues surrounding controversial events of today.Tell me did he or you read any of professor Antony Sutton's work which took him 10 years or so to research?Or is he another lizard from outer space liking,David Icke, ex BBC ("I think I am God") cheque collector ,in between filling the next 10 years of potential National Inquirer "truth".

    • Charles Frith

      David Icke is a serious and well liked researcher. The annunaki/nephilim narrative is not speculative. He has a positive message for minds that are not shut off from anything but the spoon fed narrative.

  • UCSPanther

    I've had some run-ins with some truthers online. They are some of the most belligerent, disrespectful, delusional and dim-witted people I have ever encountered other than antisemites of all stripes. They are not interested in debate. All they do is holler, threaten, insult, make absurd claims and then either play the victim or make claims that you are in "The Man's" back pocket when you fight back or otherwise disagree with them.

    I have observed another interesting phenomenon: Since the shunting of 9/11 trutherism to the fringes, many 9/11 "Truthers" have drifted into other fringe ideologies, such as antisemitism and "Sovereign citizen" aka anarchist movements.

    • Charles Frith

      Apart from your opinion have you got any data to support your spoon fed reality?

  • Paddyjdonovan

    Truthers, when confronted with those inconvenient facts, turn to insults and threats and are such dismissed by normal, intelligent people as the malcontents they are. Because it took a guy 10 years to do research does not mean that his conclusions are based on anything other than self-selected fantasies and self-fulfilling facts to go with it. Even a child can read left wing garbage for 10 years and come to the same conclusions if he goes in with a prediliction to tilt all the facts one way. There is a seemingly perverted generation of basement-dwelling, can't-function-in-society-gamers, who are angered by their impotence and feel as if they have to tear down the " system ". Everyone is tired of you people and wishes you would go away ( or get laid )

    • Charles Frith

      Have you got any evidence for your assertions?

  • Alexander Gofen

    It is appropriate indeed to rebut obviously ignorant unscientific theorists like "No Moon landing" or the "9/11 internal job" crowds. (I myself compiled such a brief rebuttal to polemize a university professor long ago The not very hidden agenda of the "9/11 truthers" is not only to smear Israel, but also to whitewash Islam and legitimize its proliferation (very visible in Ron Paul and his supporters).

    Yet I disagree with such a sweeping overgeneralized mixture of all "conspiracies" and conspiracy theorists together as though they all were equal. It sounds like an attempt to ridicule everybody who doubts any official version of anything…

    For example, things related to JFK assassination are perhaps still hidden. (Yet L. H. Oswald and his Soviet wife were in fact under KGB control). And during Clinton the circumstances of the plane crash over Long Island, or of the Oklahoma bombing were also hidden to cover up any Islamic involvement (the in-depth journalistic investigation was published).

    On the other hand the activity having the goal to remake the USA and the West into the one-socialist-world does take place both covertly and overtly, as described in numerous sources. One of the Bildeberg club members (Rockefeller, I guess) said it openly that he is just proud to follow such a "wonderful goal as the one world government"…

    For example D. Horowitz's book "From shadow party to shadow government" proves beyond any doubts that enormous work of the Lefts/Progressives to undermine the very foundation of the Unite States has been taking place for many decades: The work financed in matter of billions. (KGB could never even dream to have it so good). And yet here is no – literally not one! – project on the conservative side attempting at least to confront the Left/Progressive's sabotage (if not to stop it). America is yawning while being destroyed by enemy within.

    So it is pointless to discredit any use of word "conspiracy" as if it were just a product of dark minds.

    • Charles Frith

      We agree on lots but the left right divide is just theatre to distract people. It works very well.

    • nina

      Actually one of the Rockefellers ordered a mural for their center, I think, from the Communist Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Diego painted the mural in which there was a portrait of Lenin and other communists. Later the mural was removed, or painted over.

    • Alexander Gofen

      Thank you! Besides Rockefellers… From their early days Soviets salivated over a great friend of USSR billionaire Hammer – up to the late Tad Kennedy treasonably negotiating with Sovetskys against Reagan… Betrayal of self and of us by the ruling class has a long inexplicable history:

    • charlesfrith

      Intelligent people don't write "I myself" they just write one of the words.

  • IReadDaily

    google: Talmudic fascism

    • Tim Bus

      The door did hit you on the way out!

  • Ghostwriter

    "google:Talmudic fascism." Another bit of anti-semitic twaddle.

  • Charles Frith

    If only the lapdog press had remained vigilant instead of selling out to corporate interests the conspiracy researchers wouldn't have to take the guard dog position working with very little information and under constant attack.

    • Ghostwriter

      There's a little thing out there called proof,something to prove what you're saying. The problem is the 9/11 Truthers and others like them don't have proof of anything that they're talking about. They just want to attack the Jews and other people they don't like when there is nothing to back up what they are saying. Sorry,Charlie but there is a reason that the conspiracy theorists are often under attack. They make outlandish claims,then can't back it up with any evidence to support it.

      • Charles Frith

        Clock is ticking. Don't say you weren't warned. The tighter you hold on to the reality you were spoon fed the harder the dissolution will be.

  • UCSPanther

    Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

  • charlie

    yea im against global governments like the UN sending the united states to war against libya, or that they want a global climate tax, totally disregarding the constitution.

    lol yea im the crazy one.

  • Stu

    You've been rumbled, time to call anyone who questions you a mental case
    That's how it works