Conspiracy Round-up – July 2016 Edition

One of the interesting ideas that came out of the #brexit referendum in the UK is that whilst no one thinks the 52% of participants who voted 'Leave' are racist, the racists in the UK now think that 52% of participants support them. As such, the fact Donald Trump and his team might be retweeting and following white supremacists doesn't mean Trump necessarily believes in a 'white genocide', but the kind of people who do believe that think Trump and co. are fellow travellers.

Talking of Trump (and this is less conspiratorial, and more cock-up), this article on how certain members of the Establishment are trying to tell us to give up on democracy is interesting. Well, it's unfair to say the pieces and persons being critiqued in this piece are saying 'Let's give up on democracy!' Rather, they are arguing that the political class just isn't appreciated anymore (thus the popularity of Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, and so forth), and this is a bad thing… For reasons.

The articles and persons being critiqued are part of a larger movement which has been criticising the rise of populist figures, and arguing that maybe broadening voting bases has been bad for political systems. See Andrew Sullivan's recent piece in New York Magazine, Democracies end when they are too democratic., and Roslyn Fuller's response, Democracy — Too Much of a Good Thing? in the LA Review of Books.

Someone described this (and I wish I had bookmarked it at the time) as a case of experts who previously warned us that without democracy, we would be overrun with demagogues now telling us that demagogues are a natural consequence of democracy. Personally, as someone with a certain amount of expertise in a specialist subject, I really don't think epistemic experts like myself should run sovereign nations. However, if some secret society wants me to help pull the strings, please do get in contact.

How good is the evidence that frank Marshall Davis is the real father of Barack Obama? Well, if this article by Cliff Kincaid is the best argument for a conspiracy to hide who Obama writes to on Father's Day, I'd say the evidence isn't very good at all.

Talking about US presidents, apparently FDR researched sending excess refugees post World War II to Mars and Venus. I've not found much supporting evidence for this claim outside of a book by Henry Fields, and a review of that book in 'The Eugenics Review' in 1983; can anyone shed light on this?

Moving on. A curious story; what did the 9/11 photographer see? I say 'curious' because I'm not entirely sure why the New Zealand Herald decided to publish this. On the face of it, someone killed their partner, and then fled the country, arguing that they were being persecuted by the US government for what they say beneath the Twin Towers post 9/11. I can see this being somewhat newsworthy in the US, but why was it published here? It's not as if Kurt Sonnenfeld's story as to what he saw is a new and startling revelation even in the Truther community. Colour me surprised!

Steven Segal thinks mass shootings in the US are engineered. He runs the standard canard that the Nazi Party took away peoples' guns (which is not strictly true, and as this Wikipedia article points out, imagines a situation in the Weimar Republic that never really existed). I can't help but wonder why Segal decided to dress like a solider for the clip; you'd almost expect his face to be pixellated, and his voice vocoded, the way he's dressed.

Relatedly, DeadSpin asks the vital question: "Why are so many MMA Fighters Truthers and conspiracy theorists?' I don't know if I agree with the author's conclusions, but it does remind me that I should do some more research into Joe Rogan. He was on my favourite sitcom of all time, after all.


About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.