Conspiracies, Terrorists, and Nutjobs
Any good conspiracy should be plausible, but the same is not true of a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theories can be as off-the-wall as the Truthers or Birthers, meaning the motives and execution of the “conspiracy” doesn’t have to be plausible. However, any real conspiracy should have plausible motives, method, execution, and objectives. As a thinking person I have to weigh conspiracy theories on these factors and if they don’t add up I must examine the timing and the motives of those promoting such conspiracy theories as well as the group accused of hatching the conspiracy.
Real vs. Imagined Conspiracies
The Truthers clearly have an implausible story and are highly motivated by hatred and distrust of the Right and/or government. Their theory forces us to accept that dozens if not hundreds of government officials conspired against their own people and maintained solidarity and silence in a perfect cover up. The conspiracy motive is weak, the execution implausible, and the objective unnecessary and implausible.
Then we have the Birthers. Motivated by their fear of and defeat by Barack Obama. The theory was a last-ditch effort to thwart the election. Birthers are mostly desperate people. The theory makes implausible assumptions. (Plus, I don’t understand mama Obama’s motive in placing birth announcements in the Hawaiian papers unless she were psychic, furthermore, it seems unnecessary since Obama can’t be the only good-looking, well-spoken, African-American in left-wing politics. He certainly wasn’t the most experienced.) Another clue that the Birther conspiracy is suspect is the timing; the theory emerged following the election.
Now some real conspiracies. In the 1980s the U.S. government was sharply divided over support for anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua. The Reagan White House desperately wanted to support the rebels and defeat communism in this hemisphere, while Democrats, controlling both houses of Congress, supported the communist government. Democrats prohibited any substantive aid to the rebels. A conspiracy was hatched and executed by administration officials to sell military arms to Iran in order to raise black ops resources in support of Nicaraguan freedom-fighters. As nobel as the goal was, silence was not maintained and the conspiracy was brought to light.
Finally Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda executed a conspiracy on September 11, 2001. The motive clear, the method obvious, the execution well-planned, and the objective, to damage critical economic infrastructure, damage a symbol of governmental power, and frighten Americans, were realistic and achievable.
It is worth noting that real conspiracies come as a shock and surprise. Nothing in the events prior to 911 would have made the attack more relevant. In other words, Bush wasn’t in need of a distraction or diversion. If you point to a motive to invade Iraq, I’ll be tempted to slap you. Saddam was providing plenty of incentive for Bush and 911 was not a primary motive in the 2003 invasion.
Today we are being told of a conspiracy that simply smells fishy. Enter the Hutaree militia. Allegedly the group was conspiring to kill a local law enforcement official, then attack the funeral procession with explosives in an attempt to kill more law enforcement personnel, somehow we are supposed to believe that this would spark a more generalized conflict and result in a civil war.
My knee-jerk reaction to reading this was to wincingly say, what a bunch of morons. Then I began thinking, isn’t the timing interesting, conservative Representative Eric Cantor was just threatened and attacked by a left-wing nutjob and the left reacted by laughing and minimizing the threat. I read hundreds (and that’s NO EXAGGERATION) of liberal comments calling Cantor vicious names for complaining about being shot at and called him a liar regarding the threats. His threats were very real, yet I’ve read no liberal editorials retracting the outlandish and insensitive attacks. Liberals seem to think bashing Christians and Jews is fair-game.
The Hutaree Militia
Let me be fair, the Hutaree militia are most likely a collection of nutjobs. They may even be dangerous nuts, albeit a very small collection of nuts. But let’s examine this group of nuts. First the inconsistencies.
The group claims to be Christian yet they advocate killing. Now I am well-educated in several religions and none better than the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Jesus is a favorite of mine. He never called for political revolution, he never advocated violence, and he never resisted the abuse he received from government officials – even when it was unjust. Hutaree members talked a lot about Anti-Christ and state, “Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment.” I’d love to know where they got that impression, Jesus rebuked Peter when he used his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane. In Revelation, there is no mention of Christians violently resisting the Anti-Christ* but there IS mention of Christian martyrs killed by the Anti-Christ. Christians are called by Christ to peacefully spread the message of redemption not violent resistance. They had to invent a word to mean “Christian warrior” because there is no such term. Therefore, Hutaree is a Christian-based cult.
Next let’s look at the “right-wing” label. My understanding is that “right-wing” means very conservative, opposed to big government, favoring a freedom-based interpretation of the Constitution, strong belief in freedom of religion, and a law and order view of society. Conservatives support law enforcement officials, they do not plot to kill them. Furthermore I visited the group’s website and read everything posted there. The writing is twisted and poor. I saw nothing political anywhere. It is largely paranoid religious ramblings. Thus I conclude these people are NOT right-wing. (A related website that had Hutaree recordings, militiaradio.com, has a rambling blog entry that specifically condemns Libertarians and Conservatives.)
Labels aside what of the conspiracy? Is it plausible? Of course not. If this group executed such a ridiculous conspiracy conservatives would vehemently condemn them – not rush to support their cause. No widespread conflict could or would result.
This conspiracy theory sets off my alarms and suspicions. Either everyone in Hutaree is an idiot or the conspiracy was crafted for them. Either option is possible, hey I saw the mugs shots too and I work for a large corporation; I understand groupthink. I’m NOT saying this conspiracy is necessarily phony only that it is suspicious.
Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste
Nevertheless the Hutaree are a very useful and opportune target. The fact that last year Rahm Emanuel flatly admitted that the Administration was using the financial crisis to push a socialist agenda. That causes me to be very leery to accept anything the administration says on face value. Especially when the story is as half-baked as this one.
It’s interesting how activists on the Left are using this to call for restrictions on speech and press. In my essay, What’s Truth Got To Do With It, I pointed out how CBS newsman, Bob Schieffer, was quick to suggest restrictions upon these freedoms in the name of protecting people from nutjobs. All this in the wake of the health care rebellion.
So I ask, was the militia a real threat to national security? Certainly not. Were they a threat to the life of police officers? Perhaps. I support preemptive arrests of plotting terrorists however I wonder if Obama’s FBI would move quite so aggressively against an environmental or domestic Islamic terror organization. It’s difficult to believe so.
Consider the fact that attacks from Islamic and left-wing groups outnumber “right-wing” attacks yet Obama’s DHS chief, Janet Napolitano, identified right-wing terrorism as a bigger threat than radical Islam. Last April I wrote, “The very act of labeling Conservatives “dangerous” incites fear, negative feelings, and could push some on the fringe over the edge. I wonder if this is not exactly what they are attempting. … Nothing would be more welcome than another Timothy McVey style act of terrorism, since it would change the subject of terrorism.”
If President Obama wants to neutralize radicalism from the right and he needs to stop treating Americans like the enemy. A President who believes the ends justify the means and defiantly declares, “bring it on” after thwarting the will of 56% of Americans, hardly inspires trust. Furthermore, such a leader inspires fear, hatred, distrust, and violence.
Hostile comments, angry partisan posturing, and open defiance of the American people, invite further violence. After all, if the ends justify the means for you Mr. President, Mr. Reid, Ms. Pelosi, then certainly the same twisted logic can be employed by a fringe group like say, the Hutaree militia.