The death rattle of the 9/11 “Truth” movement is now heard by all except its most devout adherents. It’s sad they feel they have no other outlet for expressing fears about Bush/Cheney and American hegemony, than by repeating repeating repeating thoroughly debunked conspiracy claims. But “daylight is the best antiseptic” and the 9/11 “truth” fad is a victim of its own internet success. Practically everyone on the planet has heard conspiracist rants on U-tube, in blogs, forums, books, and videos, and found such claims to lack veracity. Thus hot air is rapidly seeping out of the “truth” balloon. One reason is because of the oxymoron that there are so many claims on the truth. No planes “theories,” artificial voice recordings from air phones, laser beams, flight 93 passengers killed in Cleveland - you name it, and it’s a “theory.”
But an ever increasing number of former truthers are cautiously starting to make their voices heard as well. I’d like to welcome casual truthers back to reality, and suggest meaningful ways they might get beyond the “truth” obsession, to work on more productive issues. Obviously the hard core conspiracists exist on blind faith, and will never leave their comfort zone. But for casual “truth” supporters who are beginning to turn away from the dark side - here are some simple ideas:
1) Deprogram yourself. Or at least be inquisitive beyond the echo chamber. If you want to know what happened to building 7 (for example) gather information broadly, not just from the 9/11 “truth” sources. Also ask about WTC buildings 3,4,5, and 6 - they didn’t get hit by planes either, but were destroyed as well. Just do your own internet research - but again, beyond the echo chamber. There’s also a great History Channel video: 9/11 Conspiracies, Fact or Fiction to be found on The History Channel Store. Hey, if i can watch Loose Change, you can watch 9/11 Conspiracies, Fact or Fiction. And if you really want to be brave check out actual debunking sites, such as the Journal of Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Theories. Better still. read Alexander Cockburn, Matthew Rothschild, Matt Taibbi, and the articles on PublicEye.org - especially Chip Berlet’s review of Griffin’s New Pearl Harbor, and Griffin’s intellectually weak response.
2) Register people to vote. I’ve done it as an elected Justice of the Peace, but in Vermont any notary public can as well. See what it takes in your area. Empower those who feel disenfranchised (including yourself) and get involved in the political system. Jumping up and down with a Ron Paul sign isn’t a meaningful act, but driving people to the polls is.
3) Go a step further -wave petitions instead of banners. Calling for a new investigation in blogs will never get you anywhere - try to take the question to the polls. Here in Burlington, Vermont a group did put a ballot item before voters last spring asking the Vermont congressional delegation to call for a new investigation - and I publicly supported the measure, because I feel we need to get past 9/11 Truth and move on to reality based issues. That initiative was a productive exercise even though it received only about 35% of the vote. Vox populi vox dei. So take what you learn from your “truth” campaign and put it toward local issues next.
Pay attention to what your local school board is doing - that’s going to have a more direct impact on your kids than whether of not Wirt Walker III is George Bush’s cousin. (By the way - he’s not. The Bush family genealogy is easily found online - fact checking is a wonderful thing).
4) Think about what the hateful responses to non-conspiracist articles (such as this one will surely elicit) indicate about the critical thinking skills of the hard core fringe. Ask that about the motives of the the stars of conspiracism as well. All are raking in high speaking fees now, all are selling stacks of books and videos. Are they intellectually honest, or dishonest? Noam Chomsy has pointed out how the “who benefitted” rational is a fallacy, because so many have used 9/11 for their own purposes that on the macro level, the question illustrates nothing.
Also look at Morgan Reynolds’ ties to Lyndon LaRouche, Alex Jones’ to white supremacists, Jim Fetzer’s pre 9/11 JFK conspiracism, Steven Jones’ messianic Mormonism, David Griffin’s ties to holocaust deniers such as Eric Hufschmidt. What do they tell you about 9/11 “truth?”
So those are just a few ideas for removing the scales from your eyes. I once thought I didn’t like haiku, so I started reading Basho, Issa, Buson, and I wrote 1000 verses, and finally I decided my dislike was from ignorance. Casual truthers who ask themselves tough questions about the meaning of truth, refresh themselves on the rigors of the scientific method, and learn the basic attributes of logical fallacies may have a similar epiphany.
Arguing over the minutiae of conspiracist group think is about as productive as counting angels on the head of a pin, so forgive me if I choose not to debate you on Hani Hanjour’s piloting skills, or squibs, or the buzz word “free fall.” Just write me off as left gatekeeper, and a stooge in the pay of the CIA. That’’s fine. I’m not asking you to convince me of anything. I’m asking you to question how truthful you’ve been to yourself.