Pizza from Scratch, 142

24 April, 2008

The conspiracy theory trap

© Bill Lemmond (Actually, you're welcome to download and share these web-resolution images, and you probably won't be happy with printing them.)

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Conspiracy cat appeared in the bottom margin of the previous strip, saying "It's the mice, man! They're behind it all!" I thought of three rodent related literary references, included here with citations upside down (if anyone wants to figure them out on their own).

The "buddy system" to which I refer is one in which we keep each other from losing touch with reality. Is that harsh? Take for example the people who really believe that the US faked all its manned moon landings. The Soviet Union would have loved to expose that. And they had spies, and good ones, just about everywhere. They had spies in our military. NASA would have been easier.

And then there are all the news media, and all their investigative reporters. There would have been big, big bucks in breaking that story. There's good evidence that some people in the Nixon administration explored assassinating investigative columnist Jack Anderson, but they never acted. This isn't Russia.

Reporters would only need one disgruntled scientist or engineer, who would be paid enough for his information to set himself and his family on a remote island paradise in the South Pacific (where CIA operatives would be obvious), surrounded by security systems, with a live satellite hookup to the same news media. Knowing they would be on live TV would drive away any assassins.

The basic trouble with conspiracy theories is that their followers can almost always claim - successfully, if not correctly - that you can't prove they're wrong. It really is much harder to prove that something DIDN'T happen, that something ISN'T going on.

Whether religion, politics, science or business, the fringes are best explored in the company of friends who are NOT fascinated with the same thing.