It can be challenging to see the forest for the trees when you’re a political analyst or a policy wonk. Especially when the left and right are constantly at each other’s throats. They have a point — many conspiracy theories are just that: Conspiracy theories. However, there is another side to this coin: right-wing conspiracy theorists. These people may not believe that 9/11 was an inside job, but they do believe in certain conspiracies related to immigration, gun control, and climate change. When they make up their own “theory of the thirteenth [sic]” or “right-wing global warming” blogs or run websites dedicated to exposing “left-wing global warming” bunkum, it’s because they believe what they’re saying. There is more than one way to take an idea mainstream, and these people need to understand that.
The 9-11 Conspiracy Theory
The 9-11 conspiracy theory, which holds that al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., is one example of how the right-wing uses the media to push their views. This theory is based on several events and a small amount of evidence, but it’s been around for a long time, and it has a wide following. It can also be traced back to a 1970 issue of Air & Space magazine, which featured a cover story about “Hijackings.” That issue is still available online; it’s a Google search away.
The World Stole Nip-Its to Make us Eat Chocolate
The world didn’t give up its nips and tucks to make French fries or pizza. There are many examples of cultures around the globe, including the Aztecs, who smothered their citizens with potatoes and corn, who ate “nips” (that is, potatoes), who smothered their children with corn, and who ate “tortillas” made with corn. Corn is one of the “four foods that make up the staple of the American diet.” So, yes, the world is full of creative and resourceful people. But the 9-11 conspiracy theory goes too far. It posits that the world is populated with dangerously misinformed people who eat lots of nips and tucks to justify their beliefs. The nips and tucks are not from “natural” or “local” sources. They are designs and chemicals from abroad.
The FBI and CIA are People
This one is one of the more extreme theories, but it’s worth considering. The CIA is a worldwide spy agency very much like the MI6 or the SIS. The FBI isn’t, but it has a long and storied history of infiltrated groups and agents working inside international revolutionary movements. Is that a few FBI agents and a few CIA agents sitting around a campfire in the woods somewhere? If not, it’s no different from the CIA infiltrating a political party to steal elections or the FBI running an anti-organization campaign against a labor union. When you put it that way, it’s not so far-fetched.
Many Health Care Reform Bills Are a Scheme to Take Your Money
Remember the AHCA, the “American Health Care Act of 2016?” It passed the House on Nov. 15 with a vote of 217 to 221. It would have repealed the Affordable Care Act and replaced it with a system that would have let insurers charge higher rates for people with pre-existing conditions and given states more power to set their own rules. There was a lot of talk about the bill’s impact on the poor and elderly, but the real target was the vulnerable: the people who rely on government-provided care the most. It’s a tricky one because there are a few different bills that make up the AHCA. The House passed the first AHCA, which is the one the Trump administration is pushing, in May 2016.
Climate Change isn’t Real or It’s BeingManipulated
Is there any truth to the widely debunked “climate change is a hoax” theory? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real or that humans are not responsible for causing it. The “climate change is a hoax” theories would have you believe that the forces of creation are not strong enough to sustain life on Earth and that humans don’t have a role to play in the climate cycle. The vast majority of climate scientists reject these concepts as “unscientific,” as do most Earth scientists. And yet, the right-wing uses the term “climate change” to push its views. It’s almost as if they’re afraid to say “global warming” in case it comes back to bite them in the ass.
“Global Warming” is a Hoax or…
The global warming “hoax” isn’t a theory but a fact. It’s been around for about 25 years, and it’s still going strong. Even lower-hanging fruit like switching from propane to natural gas could have a large climate change impact. This is one of those topics that’s almost always discussed in political circles, but no one knows the full scale of the damage that could be done. It’s reasonable to assume that, if carbon emissions were to stop, global temperatures would stop rising, at least for the next few centuries. But do the math, and you get a scary number: If we stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, the temperature would go back to “business as usual,” or “sustainable” levels, in less than 100 years.
There are many ways to take an idea mainstream, and conspiracy theories are one of them. That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything that goes on in a conspiracy theory, but it does mean that you need to put down the pitchfork and get on with your lives. Before you know it, the next “conspiracy theory” will be about “global warming” or “health care.” The important thing is to understand where these theories come from, and why they’re wrong.