Phi Beta Cons

Why Conspiracy Theories?

Scott McLemee, writing in Inside Higher Ed, discusses the seeds (and inevitability) of 9/11 conspiracy theories.  This portion seems particularly applicable to the university “scholars” who are out front at Wisconsin and elsewhere:
“And finally, it gives people overwhelmed by history something to do — nothing very useful, perhaps, but then you can’t have everything. It demands “the laborious accumulation of what can be taken as convincing evidence for the most fantastic conclusions,” writes Hofstadter, “the careful preparation for the big leap from the undeniable to the unbelievable.”
For the university leftist, trained and conditioned to see America as the root of evil in the world and isolated from the larger national community in their campus enclaves, 9/11 represented a catastrophic blow.  And not merely because of the obvious human toll, but because it stood as a horrific and public rebuke to their ideas regarding the virtue of the oppressed and led to a (in their view) terrible turn in domestic politics.  It is a short mental trip from hating reality to denying its existence.
  

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