Stoking the fires of conspiracy

Americans once loved nothing more than a good fight. But times have changed and our scrappiness has surrendered to a love of conspiracy.

Examples are myriad. Reagan cut a deal with Iran's revolutionary government to detain American hostages until after the 1980 election. Neill Armstrong walked on a movie set and the Illuminati stores space aliens in cryogenic chambers at Area 51. Michael Jackson, Elvis Pressley, Timothy McVeigh and Adolf Hitler are alive and members of the bowling league in Dubuque, Iowa. There are "truthers" and "birthers" and neo-green earth-firsters, with the Kennedy assassination trumping them all. There's little that spurs America's imagination like a good conspiracy. So why not stoke the fire?

Isn't it odd for a state-of-the-art oil platform to explode at this particular time? Less than a month after President Obama pandered to the country and alienated his base with promises of offshore oil exploration there's an oil disaster of epic proportions. Just what the doctor ordered.

In fact, Phil Radford of Greenpeace forecasted "devastating oil spills" that would "threaten our coastal communities" if expanded offshore drilling became reality. Right on cue a rig explodes and the resulting slick threatens to transform every inch of coastline from Galveston to Virginia Beach into an oil-soaked wasteland.

Odd, too, how this disaster occurred when skepticism over climate change increased, global warming research began to unravel and Phil Jones, whose research drove the global warming argument, admitted that the globe hasn't warmed in 15 years. What better way to "re-green" public opinion than with ecological catastrophe?

The platform's owner said the explosion was due to a blowout, a condition where oil and gas is forced up through the well. But oil rigs are designed to limit blowout potential and prevent spills. Furthermore, hurricanes have set oil platforms adrift with nary a drop of oil spilled into the Gulf. So why this leak? Coincidence? Bad luck? Ha!

I say radical neo-greens rigged the oil platform explosion to turn the public against offshore oil exploration. Yes, the earth-firsters caused some collateral environmental damage. But that's a common military strategy. Make small, initial sacrifices to obtain greater victories later. The icing on the cake is the tanker explosion at a San Antonio refinery. Strike another neo-green blow against the hated "Big Oil".

What about the coal mine explosion? Coal is an abundant energy source. But not the cleanest stuff on Earth. Clean coal technology, while progressing, is prohibitively expensive. However, the mere possibility of clean coal disturbs the neo-greens. Therefore coal must remain evil in the public's sight.

Right on time there's an explosion inside a coal mine that has a history of safety violations. Miners were trapped and killed, and America grieved with the miner's families. National attention focused on coal mining's inherent risks. And the media, fairly or not, treated the mine owner like the second coming of Ebenezer Scrooge. What better way to sour public opinion toward coal?

Conspiracy theories, by nature, are seldom to be taken seriously. That's the case here. There is no evidence to suggest that the explosions at the Upper Big Branch mine, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, or the San Antonio refinery were the work of neo-green saboteurs. But if conspiracy is far-fetched, opportunism is the rule. These horrific accidents will not go to waste.

Oil and coal are equally hated among leftists. Oil contaminates oceans and soils beaches while coal poisons air and levels mountains. Oil destroys everything that coal doesn't, and vice-versa. Environmentalists may not have instigated the disasters, but they'll surely use them for political gain.

We are living the perfect storm. "Big Oil" and "Big Coal" are demonized for environmental recklessness. Neo-greens will profit from all three disasters, using them to condemn the energy industry and promote their favored projects. And that, my friends, is no conspiracy.

Anthony W. Hager has authored more than 200 published articles for various newspapers, periodicals and websites. He can be reached through his website,