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You are a Conspiracy Theorist
Bush on Conspiracy Theories
Bill Clinton, disgusted
Bill O'Reilly on Loose Change: Don't Watch
People are catching a lot of flack these days for being “conspiracy theorists.” Whenever Bill O’Reilly uses the term, he almost unerringly attaches the phrase “nut job,” “loon,” or “America Hater”. Apart from proffering minor insults, other commentators have gone so far as to suggest some conspiracy theorists be “locked up,” “gotten rid of,” or as suggested by radio commenter Michael Reagon, “take them out and shoot them.” President Bush tells us not to tolerate conspiracy theorists. Bill Clinton bristles and growls at them “How dare you!”
When most people hear the term “conspiracy theory,” applied to an assertion made by some individual or group, the common response is usually to dismiss the assertion offhand. It is what is often called a loaded term. According to wikipedia, loaded language is “verbiage that attempts to influence the listener or reader by appealing to emotion rather than logic.” People associate the term conspiracy with paranoia, irrationalism, ignorance, prejudice, intolerance, and all sorts of other things nobody wants to be.
The use of loaded language is actually an excellent indicator of a person’s intolerance. Loaded language abounds when those using it do not want to engage in a rational, open-minded debate. Racial epithets are a common variation of loaded language. So are terms like “bible-thumper,” “baby-killer, and even “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” People react to the emotional content of these words, not their literal, conceptual content. Another example of a loaded term:
Lets take a look at an actual dictionary definition of “conspiracy:”
1. a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an
2. a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act (especially a political plot)
3. a group of conspirators banded together to achieve some harmful or illegal purpose
By this definition then, you are a conspiracy theorist if:
• You believe the Bush administration lied or exaggerated to motivate America into the War in Iraq.
• If you believe Democrats are lying about Bush lying about getting us into the War in Iraq.
• You believe that Christian Right is trying to force religion into schools and government.
• You believe the Secular Left is trying to force religion out of schools and government.
• You believe the gay rights movement is trying to force us all to be homosexuals.
• You believe the anti-gay rights movement is trying to force us all to hate homosexuals.
• You believe that there are secret groups of terrorist criminals who want to destroy America.
• You believe that there are secret groups of corporate criminals who want to enslave America.
• You believe your parents lied, and even attempted to cover up, the truth about Santa Clause.
And finally, you are a conspiracy theorist if:
You believe you have been lied to, at any time, by any group of individuals consisting of two or more people.
Now, by this definition, I’m a conspiracy theorist. So are Bill O’Reilly, Pat Robertson, and Noam Chomsky; and the chances are pretty good that you are too.
There, now you know the truth. How do you feel? Not too bad I hope. No worse than before? Good. Now, go out and have some fun with Conspiracy Theories! Sure, a lot of them probably aren't true, but thats ok. Its up to each one of us as individuals to decide what is and isn't true for ourselves. The key is to be open minded. Don't denounce a theory just because it is uncomfortable or paints a less than flattering image of the guy you voted for. Learn to accept uncomfortable truths and move past them. This is how we grow as individuals, and a as a society.