[Marxism] Cockburn on 9/11 conspiracy nuts

Austin, Andrew austina at uwgb.edu
Thu Sep 7 16:07:54 MDT 2006


"What is it about the structure of the individual psyche, that causes
them to gravitate to conspiracy theories in order to make sense of their
lives and the world?"

I find it quite interesting that some people should be more interested
in suggesting that anybody who doesn't believe the official 9-11 story
should have his head examined than demanding an objective examination
into the events of 9-11.

Kevin Barrett of UW-Madison is going to UW-Oshkosh in October to deliver
a talk on his theory that the government was involved in 9-11.  Instead
of countering his talk with one that supports the government account of
those events, the Oshkosh administration is organizing panels on "Why
people believe weird things." 

In other words, rather than countering explanation with explanation, the
Chancellor is presenting as rebuttal an organized ad hominem attack
masquerading as scientific inquiry.  One would think that if the
evidence made crystal clear and confirmed all the elements of the
government account that the most devastating rebuttal to Barrett's talk
would be a detailed defense of the official story.  But, nope.  

The question isn't, "Did the government lie about 9-11?"  Rather it's,
"What mental disorder makes people believe the government lied about
9-11?"  We shouldn't confront Barrett's talk with an actual rebuttal of
his argument.  That would dignify his argument.  Instead, we want to
make him out to be one of many crazies who hold "nonsensical" views and
believe "preposterous" things.  

I do find it disturbing to see university officials actively engaging in
organizing productions designed to distract the student body from the
real issue and call into the question the sanity of those who challenge
official accounts of history.  But, I'm not surprised.  When you cannot
censor somebody, because that looks undemocratic, you smear him.  When
you can't stop the freedom to speak, you stifle the freedom of think.
That's what UW Oshkosh is intending to do: turn Barrett into a clown so
that students won't take him and his arguments seriously.

I am surprised to see my comrades do it.  But that's okay.  Surprises
make life a little less boring.

Andrew




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