I've never been drawn to conspiracy theories, but I kinda like this latest one — the one claiming that the recent massacre of school children in Newtown, Conn., never happened.
The whole thing was a hoax, you see, using "crisis actors" following an elaborate script, staged by the government, with big-time support from a compliant news media, the objective being to rally public approval for new Orwellian gun-control legislation.
Because everybody knows ol' Obama wants to turn America into a totalitarian state, with himself as the lord high totalitarian. It's what all politicians who get too big for their britches want. But becoming Big Brother first requires you to confiscate all the guns. Not just the guns of criminals and crazy people — your guns, my guns, Wayne's guns, everybody's guns. Probably BB guns. Paint guns, beanbag guns. Starter pistols.
Round them up, melt them down, cite biblical authority and beat them into plowshares. Who can argue with Isaiah?
So it's up to you to nip these totalitarian ambitions in the bud. Superglue your piece to your triggie fingie lest your lunatic boy get the drop on you, colander your puss, and then clank off with the family arsenal to the grade-school to bag-limit him a mess of toddler. Hug your guns close, safeties off; take them with you to church, to the Cozy Nook, to the Mad Butcher, wave them in the air when you crash a homo or Democrat or heifer rally, and when you call b.s. on the totalitarian wannabees' theatrical flim-flams.
These aren't my ideas, but I'm intrigued by some of them, by their sheer preposterousness; I feel their pain, though recognizing that it's easy to go overboard with them, falling off into nuttery, and you don't want to go there.
I thought these Sandy Hook truthers leapt over into nuttery when they pulled the United Nations, the Agenda 21ers, the Jews, the Freemasons, and probably Damien Echols into this plot to disarm the trailered yeomanry. I don't know why they can't conceive a nefarious scheme that doesn't have a Jew skulking in it, but they can't. It's a conspiracy theory rule any more: If it's nefarious, it has to have at least one Jew.
The problem with this particular conspiracy theory is the same one that bedevils most of them. That would be the insufficiency of evidence that there even is a conspiracy. Maybe ol' BHO doesn't even want your guns. Maybe he really couldn't care less if your dearest hankering is to go out and machine-gun Bambi. Maybe all he wants is just a slightly better chance of heading off the next gunsmoke atrocity. The conspiracy theory gives these possibilities no credit. It assumes the worst and refuses to budge. A hunch is all the evidence it feels obliged to provide.
An analogy comes to mind: There was no evidence, or anyhow none ever surfaced, that Bill Clinton murdered Vince Foster or any of those 47 or 74 other people known by the cognoscenti to be on his personal hit-list. Bro. Jerry Falwell feigned an effort to dig up some such evidence, or manufacture some, or get God to tell him where some was hid, but he came up evidentially empty-handed, and was obviously relieved. Evidenced unburdened, he went ahead with "The Clinton Chronicles" Peckinpah-bloody, inference-heavy, and fact-free.
Neither did he have any evidence that Tinky Winky was gay, or that God visited 9-11 on the USA to get back at us for our toleration of knobgobblers, ballbusters, and vacuumers-out of microscopic fruit of the womb. By then he had come to understand that sleaze doesn't really need no stinkin' evidence. You can leapfrog over empty evidence lockers, or harrumph around them. You can pretend to have the real goods stashed safely in your tailgunner valise yonder. You can substitute smug for evidence if you feel like it. Or you can just make shit up as you go along, like yellowcake.
The Founding Fathers, when they lacked evidence to back up a bold claim, or didn't want to bother gathering any, simply declared their truths to be self-evident, and even that seems to have worked out OK.
Evidence shortfall can hurt the timider conspiracy theory, though. It smothered those concerning the Bavarian Illuminati and the Trilateral Commission, and it squelched but never really extinguished the one that married drinking-water fluoridation to the International Communist Conspiracy.
There was a time when practically everybody knew that the Apollo "moon landings" were a hoax, but the evidence was so scant that only the Flat Earth Society and Fox News were willing to call NASA's hand on it.
And even the Flat Earthers bailed on the claimed authenticity of that alien autopsy, leaving Fox alone to flog the delusion that these were real Army surgeons slicing up a genuine ET pulled from an honest-to-God crashed UFO at Roswell, and to fearlessly rerun it as a documentary even after the prankster who'd hoked it up spilled his guts. Same network that now bugles the War on Christmas as a conspiracy foisted on traditionalists by Kwanzaans, Hanukkahns (those Jews again), and the Lost.
To this day, though, nobody has mulled the question, suddenly relevant, of whether the autopsied alien packed. Doubtless a conspiracy of silence, the most nefarious kind.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.