on the Internet
I'm a mainstream kind of guy. I tend to believe
that there are a lot of sincere, hardworking people
in government and corporations. I tend to believe
that journalists try to be objective and accurate.
And I doubt that there's a secret cabal of any sort
running the world.
And I'm starting to believe I'm in the minority.
Many of my highly intelligent friends and
colleagues have their pet conspiracy theories. And
the source of much of their information is . . .
One friend recently pointed me to Tax
Statement. On this site you can read a
"shocking, eye-opening report how The Bureau of
Internal Revenue, and the alleged Internal Revenue
Service were not created by Congress. In this
report you will learn how these are not
organizations or agencies of the Department of the
Treasury or of the federal government." The site
goes on to show that "the current tax system is
It's a compelling and professionally designed
site. But is it true? It's not easy to answer, and
the Internet constantly confronts us with these
sorts of things.
Another site I was encouraged to look at is
America. Here you can learn about a book that
details the U.S. government's involvement in drug
trafficking and how the CIA actually set up the
Colombian drug cartels.
According to the site, "Several dozen present
and former government agents and operatives, and
former drug traffickers, provide the author, Rodney
Stich--also a former federal investigator--with
thousands of hours of secret insider information,
thousands of documents, and other data during the
past 14 years, revealing the government's arrogant
and sham war-on-drugs."
Or check out the Real
History Archives: "This site is designed to
provide researchers links and leads to finding
solid information about our real history, as
opposed to the convenient--if somewhat
fake--history the 'mainstream' corporate press
feeds us." Here you'll find research collections
related to matters such as the assassination of
President Kennedy, TWA Flight 800, Waco, and more.
It also includes research collections on several
acknowledged conspiracies, such as Iran-Contra.
These various versions of reality can be a bit
disorienting, which may be why some governments try
to control access to the Internet.
It's hard to know what to think about this, but
it's clear that the Internet confronts you with
perspectives that you may not have had to deal with
in the past.
Maybe we can figure out a way to think about
sites dealing with whomever or whatever it is that
is conspiring to conceal the "real truth" from
First of all, it might be useful to position
these sites on a spectrum. On the left we'll put
sites like Beyond
Roswell. These types of conspiracies are
typically impossible to disprove and are based on
special knowledge from secret, inside sources.
Roswell proponents, who believe that an alien
spaceship crashed in New Mexico in 1947, say that
the relevant documents were destroyed. Well if they
don't exist, how can a dupe like me figure out
On the other end of the spectrum might be
well-informed sites that simply jar one's paradigm
or frame of reference. Consider, for example,
Radio and the Guardian.
Such sources of information typically look at
current events from quite a different perspective.
The conspiracy that clouds our perception of the
truth could be said to be the bias of the American
media. These sites can possibly be useful, forcing
one to examine one's biases while at the same time
offering an opportunity to examine the biases of
If you come across a site that challenges your
view of reality, it might help to locate it on this
spectrum. For example, if you took the time to
examine the above sites (which I haven't done),
maybe you would place Tax Statement somewhere to
the left, Drugging America toward the center, and
Real History Archives right of center.
Also, it seems to me that if the conspiracy
alleges that all power resides in some worldwide
cabal pulling strings behind the scenes, whether
government or corporate, it's suspect. And it's and
old story, from Hitler's tales of conspiracies to
Nero's blaming the burning of Rome on
And frankly, if a conspiracy theorist is utterly
exasperated or angry that everyone doesn't
immediately accept as true a particular point of
view, I tend to doubt it. And if a theorist sees
conspiracies everywhere, then I tend to see
paranoia rather than conspiracy.
Anyway, you be the judge--the Internet gives you
© 2002 by Jim Karpen, Ph.D.