The latest shootings have created excitement and fear-mongering in some parts of the internet; each contribution representing a real person’s
expression of concern. Conspiracy theorists have panicked and had their worst fears confirmed...as usual.
Ironically and tragically, the blame for these deaths can, in part, be laid at the feet of the Conspiracy Theorist.
The Paranoid Style in American Politics
Hofstadter 1965 - The
Paranoid Style in American Politics
[…]whereas the spokesman of the paranoid style finds it directed against a nation, a culture, a way of life whose fate affects not himself alone:
but millions of others.
As far back as the 1960s, Richard Hofstadter
was writing about the ‘Paranoid Style in
American Politics.’ He pointed out how a simple cause and effect can be perceived in the ‘paranoid style’ as a part of a great and threatening
scheme against the percipient’s fabric of life. As such, President Johnson’s reaction to the killings of the Kennedys and Luther-King involved the
to make acquisition of guns more accountable. The Bill was passed after
years of debate in Congress and the Senate as the Gun Control Act 1968. Hofstadter describes how three Arizonian men took the ‘paranoid’ view and
saw it as:
"a further attempt by a subversive power to make us part of one world socialistic government" and that it threatened to "create chaos" that
would help "our enemies" to seize power."
It isn’t for me to say one way or another about the merits of the GCA however it’s one thing to debate pros and cons and something else to come to
the above conclusion. Still, it demonstrates a minority phenomenon that opts for extreme scenarios. Another example was Senator McCarthy who was as
much a victim of the paranoid CT mind-set as he was one of its finest proponents. He was so enslaved by his beliefs that he felt justified in using
to disgrace those whom he *knew* to be Commies and pinkos.
The Communists were a threat, but his paranoia magnified it to the point that he believed they’d infiltrated all levels of US society. He
overreacted in the same way the GCA guys did. The more public and Congressional opinion went against him, the more he knew he was right. It was the
opposition that *proved* to him he was on the right track. It’s something Michael Barkun
described as ‘The belief must be true because
it is stigmatized.’
Hofstadter included an illuminating newspaper snippet from 1855:
Pope/Church/Catholic could be replaced by Illuminati, Socialists, Democrats, bankers, Zionists etc. That none of this ever materialises somehow
reinforces amongst the strongest believers how real it is. Texas indeed!
Anyway, you probably understand my general point even if you don’t agree with it. That point is that conspiracists and the paranoid mind-set
dramatically overreact to genuine events and problems
and overlay them with a narrative that doesn’t actually exist. This fantastic fiction
becomes reality in the way it defines and influences the believer’s behaviour and those around them. Bill Cooper was off the chart for paranoia and
others have fallen too. Of course, some are far worse than others and it’s likely that the Wisconsin killer was high on the scale of extremist CT
delusions and hung out with people who fed on these fantasies. Whatever the case, the history of conspiracy theories directly ‘conspired’ to cause
Suicide Terrorism and Conspiracy Ideas
A recent release of documents (26-28)
has shown the FBI was concerned by the activities of
white supremacists in 2004-07. They raised concerns about the terrorist capabilities of these people and groups and conclude they don’t have the
organisational strength to be effective. They point out a lack of cohesion in politics, ideology, groups or organisations. Fortunately, hatred of
others isn’t a unifying force without political will, leadership and direction. Another problem for the white supremacist is that even the
‘garden-variety’ racist sees them as being extremists and doesn’t want to be associated with them.
So the FBI assessment focused on the independent terrorist; society’s nightmare, the ‘lone gunman.’
These are the people nobody can
protect us from although hindsight usually bears witness to the warnings. Psychologically, they might have different political views, but often fit
certain templates in terms of being societal misfits and drifters. Whilst they go to their deaths believing they are ‘martyrs,’ the reality is
quite different and everybody else is horrified.
As much as we know, Wade Michael Page appears to fit the profile of a lone offender following the white supremacist (WS) agenda. The difference
between Sikhs and Moslems is splitting hairs when he was simply focused on colour and culture. As a white supremacist, he may well have been
frustrated by the overwhelming forces of the ‘Zionist Occupied Government’ and lack of action by his peers. He may have wanted to be a catalyst to
spark off an uprising…
According to the FBI assessment, the white supremacist ideology is certainly fractured yet, despite this, it holds a few tenets that have become
shared orthodoxies. These include the celebration of martyrdom and its attendant promise that death in battle guarantees a place in Valhalla or
Heaven. As such, Page died happily – a warrior-martyr in his own mind.
'Ghost Skins' and Back to Front
Another interesting aspect in the reports is that these groups are learning the tricks of the trade from politicians and Intelligence agencies.
Namely, saying what people want to hear and being something you really are not. Hate groups are emulating our politicians and replacing facts with
fiction. In opposition to this imaginary conspiracy, some are going *undercover* to thwart it!
Tilting at windmills
yet deadly serious...
An extension of this is an infiltration agenda
the supremacists refer to as ‘ghost skins.’
It’s a scheme to look and act like Joe
Average and gain positions in Law Enforcement and Intelligence. This way, like any good agent, they can protect their organisations by gaining access
to information. Also, they can take advantage of the chance to provide misinformation to the agencies they work for. A larger incentive would be
access to names and addresses of witnesses, politicians and field agents as targets for violence and blackmail.