Driving around town today, I noticed someone had put up posters advertising Infowars.com, the flagship site of Alex Jones, America’s Grand Poobah of Paranoia. One poster had a black-and-white rendering of the now infamous “Barack Obama as The Joker” picture (which really loses something in the transition from full-color, I must say), and another simply had the Info Wars web address beneath the slogan “9/11 TRUTH NOW!” Uh huh.
The 9/11 Truth Movement is simultaneously one of the saddest, and most irritating conspiracy theorist movements ever to come along. Has any bunch of would-be revolutionaries ever been more disorganized, chaotic, and had fewer facts on their side than they? Calling someone a 9/11 Truther isn’t even that descriptive any more, since there is no single, coherent Truther point of view. Some believe the U.S. government merely allowed the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and aboard United 93 to occur; others believe the government committed the acts itself. Some believe the Twin Towers and the building at World Trade Center 7 (the ruins of which threw up a dust cloud that swallowed Manhattan, and burned afterwards for six months) were demolished via a “controlled demolition”; others argue that remote-controlled planes or guided missiles were somehow at fault. The myriad alternate explanations for what happened to United 93 are a genre of crackpottery unto themselves.
But 9/11 conspiracies are just the beginning for Alex Jones, a man who claims dark international cabals are behind virtually everything that happens on the planet, every minute of every day. I look at organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations or the Bilderberg Group and think, “Asshole conventions.” Jones sees the same groups as our evil puppet masters. From 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, from the collapse of the economy to the supposedly imminent H1N1 flu pandemic, nothing happens naturally or accidentally or as the result of plain incompetence — everything is carefully orchestrated by the governments of the world, and their Satanic financiers, the bankers, to enslave the population and impose an inescapable global dictatorship on the human race.
And craziest of all, he’s a Ron Paul supporter.
Jones makes Rorschach look like a blander, more cautious version of Adam West’s Batman. When Alex Jones was through seeing Watchmen earlier this year he shook his head sadly and whispered, “So true . . .” How out-there is Alex Jones? I’ll tell you how out-there he is: Mark Levin listens to him and goes, “Somebody needs to tell this guy to chill out.”
After seeing the posters put up around town, I came home and called up the Info Wars website on Internet Explorer (that’s right — not Firefox! Fuck you!). There was a story linked under the headline “Glenn Beck’s a Libertarian Now,” where one of Jones’s writers rips into Beck for trying to sabotage their movement by associating himself with it. “Beck’s so-called 912 Project was designed to discredit the Tea Party demonstration in D.C. earlier this month,” the story says. It also claims Beck is a COINTELPRO (Counter-Intelligence Program). That’s one of those obscure acronyms conspiracy types love to throw around. PSYOP is another one, which also shows up in this same story. It makes ‘em feel like in-the-know badasses, as opposed to the rest of us poor, deceived sheep.
Anyway, the idea is that Glenn Beck is actively trying to make right-wingers look like a bunch of paranoid racist gun-nuts, to discredit the entire movement and give the evil forces controlling the government that much more of an advantage. While it gives me some pleasure to realize that not even fucking Alex Jones wants Glenn Beck on his side, I’m forced to ask myself what is the more plausible scenario. Is it more likely that Glenn Beck is, as the linked story claims, “an operative working for the Pentagon [who] probably takes his orders from the Army’s Psychological Operations Command” and whose “assignment is to destroy the libertarian, constitutional, and patriot movements” — or that Glenn Beck is a shameless, lifelong wannabe who is willing to say and do anything to attract an audience and get the attention he so desperately craves?
By the same token, is it more likely that the 9/11 attacks were the result of a carefully orchestrated, unimaginably complex secret government plan to create a pretense for war and an expansion of its authority — or that they were the acts of a small group of terrorists who caught us with our pants down? The second story is backed up by a few warehouses’ worth of evidence, the first by meaningless negative arguments and strained conjecture. If 9/11 was an “inside job,” if the Apollo Moon landings were faked, if John Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy instead of one guy with a rifle, then all of these operations are still going on. The cover-ups would be more daunting to pull off than the original feats themselves. There are endless good reasons to be confident that Alex Jones and the other conspiracists ranting and raving about the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve and the Masons and the Illuminati are full of shit. The evidence is there if you need it. But just apply Occam’s Razor and most of the claims fall to pieces immediately.
Sorry, Alex, but it’s just too hard to swallow. You’ve created a humongous burden of proof for yourself, and so far I’ve yet to see any compelling proof that any of your extraordinary claims are true. Especially that shit about Glenn Beck being a highly trained government operative. Even brainwashed, I don’t think Glenn’s smart enough to fold a shirt.