9/11 conspiracy theories support growing

Contributor Rick Moran notes at his site Rightwing Nuthouse that a new poll conducted by Zogby shows an alarming willingness to entertain conspiracy theories about 9/11.

In the telephone survey of 1200 individuals, just 47% agreed that 'the 9/11 attacks were thoroughly investigated and that any speculation about US government involvement is nonsense.' Almost as many, 45%, indicated they were more likely to agree 'that so many unanswered questions about 9/11 remain that Congress or an International Tribunal should re—investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success.'

There are many reasons to question the poll, but even so any significant levels of support for the notion that 9/11 was an inside job highlights an alaring trend toward fantasyland thinking. Zogby has not exactly had a sterling record in political polling in recent years, the client for the poll is an organization promoting conspiracy theories about 9/11, and the questions seem vague enough to sweep a lot of people into the doubters' column. I would like more investigation, too. Especially on the point of Able Danger.

These conspiracy theories were first put forward immediately after the 9/11 attack in the Arab press, which claimed no Jews were killed because all were warned to stay away. Arab culture itself seems to be prone to cnspiracy theorizing in a major way.

Usually, conspiracy theories appeal to those who feel powerless and unable to addres their own problems in a meaningful way. Their sense of victimization leads to the notion that others have unfairly conspired to frustrate their own efforts. If conspiracies are at fault, there is then no reason to examine the validity of one's own thinking or the conduct of one's own life.

Rick properly credits the role of Bush Derangement Syndrome, and many elements of poopular culture (Oliver Stone, notably). He strangely omits the lavishly entertaining TV show 24 (I confess that I am a fan, too) about which Rick has become a leading commentator and authority. The entire season just—ended has been about a massive conspiracy involving the President of the United States in a terrorist plot against America.

Even if "only" a quarter of the American public seriously suspects that our government plotted to bring about the 9/11 attack, we are in a bad way, staring into an abyss, in fact. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition, or that it was missile that was fired into the Pentagon (two favorite insanities favored by the conspiracy theorists). Nor is there any logic to either proposition.

The world saw what happened when a great and powerful nation, Germany, was taken over by those who blamed their woes on conspiracies. Consider the levels of support reported by Zogby among Democrats (even as I doubt the validity of the specific numbers) and then think about the approaching presidential election of 2008.

It is time for the grown—ups to stand—up to these nutty notions and stop dismissing them as meaningless chatter. Unfortunately, the rot in the academy has produced a generation of nominally educated people who believe that truth is a relative concept and that emotions stand co—equal with rational thought as an analytical tool.

Thomas Lifson  5 24 06

Update: Morton Kondracke serves up his own concerns over the spread of BDS (hat tip: Rick Moran):

Osama bin Laden and other would—be Hitlers, he said, consider the United States "an effete, degenerate, pampered enemy incapable of real resistance." It's part of the pattern that we fight among ourselves as much as against our enemies. This is more than serious. It's dire.

Contributor Rick Moran notes at his site Rightwing Nuthouse that a new poll conducted by Zogby shows an alarming willingness to entertain conspiracy theories about 9/11.

In the telephone survey of 1200 individuals, just 47% agreed that 'the 9/11 attacks were thoroughly investigated and that any speculation about US government involvement is nonsense.' Almost as many, 45%, indicated they were more likely to agree 'that so many unanswered questions about 9/11 remain that Congress or an International Tribunal should re—investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success.'

There are many reasons to question the poll, but even so any significant levels of support for the notion that 9/11 was an inside job highlights an alaring trend toward fantasyland thinking. Zogby has not exactly had a sterling record in political polling in recent years, the client for the poll is an organization promoting conspiracy theories about 9/11, and the questions seem vague enough to sweep a lot of people into the doubters' column. I would like more investigation, too. Especially on the point of Able Danger.

These conspiracy theories were first put forward immediately after the 9/11 attack in the Arab press, which claimed no Jews were killed because all were warned to stay away. Arab culture itself seems to be prone to cnspiracy theorizing in a major way.

Usually, conspiracy theories appeal to those who feel powerless and unable to addres their own problems in a meaningful way. Their sense of victimization leads to the notion that others have unfairly conspired to frustrate their own efforts. If conspiracies are at fault, there is then no reason to examine the validity of one's own thinking or the conduct of one's own life.

Rick properly credits the role of Bush Derangement Syndrome, and many elements of poopular culture (Oliver Stone, notably). He strangely omits the lavishly entertaining TV show 24 (I confess that I am a fan, too) about which Rick has become a leading commentator and authority. The entire season just—ended has been about a massive conspiracy involving the President of the United States in a terrorist plot against America.

Even if "only" a quarter of the American public seriously suspects that our government plotted to bring about the 9/11 attack, we are in a bad way, staring into an abyss, in fact. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition, or that it was missile that was fired into the Pentagon (two favorite insanities favored by the conspiracy theorists). Nor is there any logic to either proposition.

The world saw what happened when a great and powerful nation, Germany, was taken over by those who blamed their woes on conspiracies. Consider the levels of support reported by Zogby among Democrats (even as I doubt the validity of the specific numbers) and then think about the approaching presidential election of 2008.

It is time for the grown—ups to stand—up to these nutty notions and stop dismissing them as meaningless chatter. Unfortunately, the rot in the academy has produced a generation of nominally educated people who believe that truth is a relative concept and that emotions stand co—equal with rational thought as an analytical tool.

Thomas Lifson  5 24 06

Update: Morton Kondracke serves up his own concerns over the spread of BDS (hat tip: Rick Moran):

Osama bin Laden and other would—be Hitlers, he said, consider the United States "an effete, degenerate, pampered enemy incapable of real resistance." It's part of the pattern that we fight among ourselves as much as against our enemies. This is more than serious. It's dire.