So anything that challenges the Official Version is labeled a CT. And once a set of ideas wears the CT label, the standard responses to it are irrational non-arguments.
A theory is not disproven because some people you don't like believe it to be true.
A theory is not disproven because a person who supports it once supported another theory, now disproven.
A theory is not disproven because you can't imagine it happening. That may be nothing more than the limits of your own imagination.
There may not even be a fully formed theory. There may only be unanswered questions, questions that the Official Version ignores or ridicules, or responds to with implausibilities, at best. Those questions should signal us to look further, to dig deeper. Instead, the questions are labeled CT and dismissed.
One of the stupidest, albeit understandable, responses to allegations of election fraud, US foreknowledge of (and complicity in) the September 11th terrorist attacks, and just about anything else involving this US administration is "But they wouldn't do that!" Stupid, because history shows us that powerful people with great resources at their disposal will stop at nothing to achieve their aims, be they Alexander the Great, Ferdinand and Isabella, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot (or Dick Cheney). Understandable, because you have a conscience, and sometimes it's hard to believe what people will do when they don't.
If you think something couldn't happen because people "wouldn't do that," open a history book. Chances are people have already done it.
One fallacy about conspiracies holds that they can only be promulgated by a very small number of people, because "it's hard to keep a secret". Daniel Ellsberg knows a few things about conspiracies, and about secrets. If the name doesn't ring a bell, Ellsberg is the former US Defense Department, State Department and defense/security/weapons/strategy analyst who worked on a top secret study of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam (1945-68), which came to be known as "the Pentagon Papers". In 1969, Ellsberg photocopied the 7,000-page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Two years later, he gave it to the New York Times, Washington Post and 17 other newspapers.
The revelations - that, early on, the US government knew the war in Vietnam was unwinnable and would lead to many times more casualties than they were publicly admitting, and that that same government cared neither for public opinion nor the US servicepeople who would bear the cost of their decisions - helped end the war and bring down the Nixon White House. Ellsberg risked his career and his freedom (the 12 felony counts he was charged with carried a potential sentence of 115 years) to expose these secrets.
In his memoirs, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg writes:
It is a commonplace that "you can't keep secrets in Washington" or "in a democracy," that "no matter how sensitive the secret, you're likely to read it the next day in the New York Times." These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well.I'd like to juxtapose this with the thoughts of someone else who has, judging from this quote, thought a lot about the CT label. I'm not familiar with this person's website or his work, I just thought this essay was excellent.
Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn't in a fully totalitarian society. Bureaucratic rivalries, especially over budget shares, lead to leaks. Moreover, to a certain extent the ability to keep a secret for a given amount of time diminishes with the number of people who know it. As secret keepers like to say, "Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead."
But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public. This is true even when the information withheld is well known to an enemy and when it is clearly essential to the functioning of the congressional war power and to any democratic control of foreign policy. The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders."
It is currently standard practice in America to simply dismiss any piece of information that punches a hole in any widely accepted explanation of a disturbing event. In many cases, especially when a serious crime is in question, the "conspiracy theory" tag is immediately attached to any new discovery about the event. Information related to such important topics such as 9/11, election fraud, the new world order, secret societies, or globalization is too often ignored as part of a baseless conspiracy theory even before any of it is ever presented, discussed, or evaluated.I've watched the 9/11 Truth Movement struggle for mainstream media attention, and watched with my head shaking in dismay as alternative news sites have shut them out. As I said recently in comments, it's bad enough when the mainstream media ignores you. But when progressive websites like Democratic Underground and Daily KOS won't allow an open discussion, it's very depressing. I don't know all the facts, that's for sure, but I know we should always ask questions.
There seems to be no set criteria for dismissing information as a foolish conspiracy theory. The only prerequisite for information to be so categorized seems to be the desire to reject it. The reason for the rejection does not seem to matter. It appears that anything people do not want to believe is simply set aside as not believable. It almost seems that if you set some people on fire they would dismiss the flames as non-existent, simply because they did not want to believe what was happening. The pain and damage done by the fire, no matter how devastating, would not be evidence enough to convince these people that the fire was real. Their need to believe otherwise would win out. In the same vein, people dismiss information and apply the conspiracy theory tag to anything they chose to disbelieve at their own discretion, regardless of any hard evidence that accompanies the "theory."
It's time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all. It's also time dispense with the name calling and understand the dynamics of what is happening when new information is rejected. We have to deal with the resistance to any tampering with accepted "truths." And we have to find ways to convince people to seriously consider the new information, new discoveries if you will - that so many refuse, under any circumstances, to acknowledge.
It is absolutely accurate to say that conspiracies exist all around us every day of our lives and and in all walks of life. Conspiracies are a very common part of life. Children conspire to play jokes on their friends, football teams conspire (in the huddle) to outmaneuver their opponents; the rich conspire with one another to get richer and governments conspire about virtually everything.
. . .
When new facts are brought out about controversial issues, something strange happens. Minds close and battle stations are taken. A confusion arises between unfounded theories and actual facts, discoveries, clues or evidence that may or may not support existing beliefs about those issues. We have to make a serious effort to distinguish between the expression of an unfounded theory and the disclosure of verifiable information and facts.
Today there is an ongoing battle between those in possession of newly discovered information and those who do not want to even consider the validity of that information. Real evidence and factual information are being lumped with baseless theories.
This is not always the fault of the person to whom the information is presented. In many cases, the presenters offer unpopular conclusions too quickly that alienate their audience. This is often the case when new information about the events of 9/11 are revealed. When people are involved in discussions about the attacks, they are prone to dismiss verifiable evidence because they are offended or distressed by greater ramifications that arise. This is both unproductive and dangerous. Information has to be examined and evaluated, regardless of its wider implication. That is the responsibility of the recipient. But there has to be a way to clearly present valid, tangible, verifiable and often undisputed information so that it is more readily accepted. That responsibility belongs to the presenter, who must deal with facts rather than conclusions.
Another thing to keep in mind is the possibility that a simple discovery can disprove a great deal of what is previously accepted as truth. At the same time, however, it may not completely prove the validity of an alternative theory. It only proves that an existing belief is wrong. [Emphasis mine.] This is the case regarding the mountains of evidence uncovered by the independent 9/11 researchers. What they have discovered easily disproves the official version of the events and the Kean Commission findings. What it does not prove conclusively is what actually took place.
There is also another factor to deal with when dealing with the truths, half truths, and lies that surround events not clearly resolved in the minds of the public. Holding on to half truths is often easier than accepting that one has been fed a truckload of lies in the first place. [Again, emphasis mine.] Suffice it to say there is a large segment of the American population that continues to dismiss every one of the verifiable findings of the independent 9/11 research community. They absolutely refuse to accept even the most convincing proof because they dare not admit to themselves that they have been lied to by officials in whom the placed their trust. Betrayal by those who lead the country they love is simply too painful to accept. Denial is too often the best defense of the deceived.
. . .
When researchers, history buffs, truth seekers, conspiracy nuts or whatever you want to call us, present newly discovered, yet verifiable information to the public, we are directly attacked as promoters of a conspiracy theory and lambasted with the usual assortment of insults. This is totally unacceptable. We can no longer allow the conspiracy theory tag to be indiscriminately used whenever anyone has new discoveries to reveal. There has to be a concerted effort to clarify the goals of those with information to impart. Presenting new evidence can not be perceived as an attempt to establish a forgone conclusion. At the same time, new information must be dealt with in isolation of any other ramifications or another resistance relating to its possible reality.
9/11 remains the perfect example with which to illustrate my concerns. A massive amount of valid evidence exists to show that elements of the official story (itself a conspiracy theory because it is not verifiable), are false. It is not possible, however, to use the newly discovered evidence as the basis for a conclusion about what actually happened and who was responsible. At least not yet. . . .
In conclusion, let me summarize two "conspiracy theory" problems that must be dealt with:
Those who opt to disclose new discoveries must clearly separate the theoretical elements of their presentation from the information they disclose.
Those to whom information is presented must deal with their personal unwillingness to hear new facts. They must become more receptive to new evidence and avoid dismissing verifiable evidence simply because the ramifications are distressing or difficult to conceive.
We have to discourage the misuse of language that wrongly labels and categorizes people with information to share. Hostile or incorrect terminology only serves to interfere with our mutual and communal education. It is vital that we examine evidence and discoveries for what they are. We must be careful not to expand evidence beyond its empirical reality. Facts must not be confused with folklore, but must be presented within the limits of their validity. By doing this, we may convince the skeptics among us to listen with less resistance and to end the practice of dismissing evidence solely because it disproves their initial beliefs. If we deal effectively with these obstacles, we all may become better informed about the things we need to know. And perhaps one day we will come to know the reality that continues to evade us to this day. [Read this essay, by Jesse, the editor of TVNNewsLies website.]
Again, I'd like to limit comments and discussion to the idea of conspiracy theories - the label itself, the use and misuse of it, our response to it - as opposed to hashing out facts and arguments about any number of theories out there. Thanks in advance.