Alex Jones

“Bilderberg conspiracies have become a handicap for the Liberty Movement,” says conservative commentator Jack Hunter in a recent article. “Bilderberg conspiracy theorists have become a political handicap. The Birthers probably have a few interesting points to make, but this doesn’t change the fact that their argument is toxic. It doesn’t change the fact that their rhetoric damages conservatives’ reputations every time a Birther opens his mouth.”

Hunter is right, and we do appreciate that someone else is speaking out against conspiracy theorists, but we oppose conspiracy theories not merely because they are bad press for libertarianism, but because they are not supported by the facts. If the libertarian movement gained influence as a result of its proclivity for paranoid conspiracies, we would still oppose them. First and foremost, our commitment is to reality—popular or not—and to a conversation based on reason and evidence. Intellectual honesty is our core value, and scientific skepticism is the surest way to preserve that integrity.

The reality is that telling conspiracists to shut up because what they are saying is unpopular or “politically toxic” is nearly pointless and surely self-defeating. It will only fan the flames of their delusions of persecution. Alex Jones, the king of conspiracy theorists, recently went after former-Freedom Watch producer, and friend of the blog, Austin Peterson for advocating skeptical inquiry and critical thinking at this year’s Porcupine Freedom Festival, the annual libertarian gathering in New Hampshire.

“Yes, yes, this is damaging us,” Jones mocked. “Well, yeah you could just become, I guess, an auxiliary of the Republican Party, and that’s what’s happening right now.” To the conspiratorial mind, everything is a conspiracy. Austin could not be simply expressing what he actually believes. No, it must be a subversive plan by the GOP to brainwash them, because he believes–and dares to argue–that most conspiracy theories are false and unsupported.

Explaining to conspiracy theorists that their ideas are unpopular or politically harmful is worse than irrelevant—it’s what drives them. They know the Truth™, and everyone else, even libertarians who disagree, are sheep. If other people don’t see the Truth™, it’s because they’re too dumb recognize it or possibly “in on it.” They expect to be unpopular, and they’ve constructed a self-reinforcing narrative to explain why they’re toxic.

Instead of trying to silence or ignore the crazies in our midst, we ought to confront them and expose the lunatic fringe for what they really are: peddlers of fear, falsehood, and paranoia, just like the politicians they claim to oppose. We cannot sit passively next to the people in tinfoil hats screaming about chemtrails and FEMA camps and still expect to be listened to when we try to speak about our real concerns on foreign policy or personal liberty.

The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.
- Frédéric Bastiat

Nor can we reasonably expect people who actually think the government was behind 9/11 not to mention that fact all the time. We must make the libertarian movement inhospitable to the crackpots and conspiracy theorists if we hope to move the philosophy of liberty from the margins to the center of public discourse. It needs to be crystal clear to everyone that our ideas based on–and defended with–facts and evidence, not superstition and innuendo.

What discredits and defames libertarianism is not the belief that government is corrupt, exploitative, or conniving. Rather, what hurts liberty most is when its alleged proponents lie, libel, and twist the facts. The government does not operate like a vast conspiracy. It is a lot of everyday bureaucrats who, cumulatively, erode our freedoms and restrict our rights. But there are no puppet masters and no grand secret society–just a lot of little would-be tyrants with half-baked plans. The evil perpetrated by government results not from the plots of secret cabals, but mostly from the unintended consequences of bad ideas.

If we fail to recognize this fact, we fall into the trap of believing that if we can simply expose the Truth™ about how evil our leaders are, then everything  will change. Conspiracy theories may sound complicated, but the belief that a few powerful men control the world is remarkably simplistic: we can replace the ones who currently twist the reins of power for their own ends with more benevolent men who twist them to the benefit of all. But with no real demons to slay, conspiracy theorists are just chasing shadows, ignoring the real causes of the world’s problems and diverting efforts to solve them.

- Daniel Bier and David Bier, Senior Editors

(This post was edited slightly for clarification.)

44 Responses to Why Libertarians Should Oppose Conspiracy Theories

  1. The comments on here are kind of scary – not the ideas they suggest, but the *seriousness* with which some people say the weirdest shit.

    I want to be politically active, and I think the LP has some important ideas that people need to hear, but…

    If I’m the only guy at the party without a tinfoil hat, maybe I’m at the wrong party.

  2. Sasha says:

    It’s worth pointing out that many ‘conspiracy theories’ don’t make positive claims themselves; they simply seek to disprove the official line and point out inconsistencies and flaws.

    In this way, they act in the very highest nature of Skepticism.

    The top government leaders and corporate honchos meet in secret every year, and the media doesn’t report on it? That is an inconsistency. That doesn’t follow with the narrative we are given. That ought to be pointed out.

    Or fluoride: there exist dozens of studies linking it to IQ deficits in children, among other nasty things. Is it ‘Anti-Skeptical’ to point out the lack of safety studies performed on this stuff classified by the EPA as hazardous waste that is forcibly put in our water?

    Look at 9/11, ignoring any talk of physics or demolition or contradictory evidence or any of that (although I don’t know why we should ignore contradictory evidence):

    You have a group of people who A) Have a history of lying to start wars B) Successfully carrying out dramatic psy-ops. This same group C) lied repeatedly and consistently D) Could not account for their actions on the day E) Destroyed evidence (such as the scrap metal) F) Did their best to stonewall and prevent any actual investigation. They also G) Had a profit motive H) Immediately acted to profit from the crime and I) Were never in any way investigated for the crime themselves.

    Given all of this, in any other case, if I was an NYPD detective, I can tell you whose ass I would be up with a flashlight.

    But the hypothesis that rogue elements within the govt. did it was never, never investigated in any official capacity at all.

    Why is it ‘Anti-Skeptical’ to point this out?

    All 9/11 theorists want is a new investigation that takes into account all available evidence and doesn’t rule out any conclusions at the start.

    Is that an outrageous thing to ask for?

    Sorry if pointing out glaring and popular lies is not politically expedient. Unfortunately, it is evidence to everybody exactly how far ‘politics’ has gotten us.

    • Sasha says:

      SL: “The government does not operate like a vast conspiracy. It is a lot of everyday bureaucrats who, cumulatively, erode our freedoms and restrict our rights. But there are no puppet masters and no grand secret society–just a lot of little would-be tyrants with half-baked plans.”

      You say the statement with certainty. How do you know?

      How do you empirically support this statement?

      Maybe there are, maybe there aren’t. I don’t know for sure. YOU don’t know for sure. ‘Skepticism’ means approaching the world with an open mind, without presupposing the answer.

      It is hard to prove one way or the other. Unfortunately, there is evidence that seems to support the ‘grand conspiracy’ hypothesis.

      My question to you: What EVIDENCE can you bring to the table to DISPROVE this hypothesis?

  3. Rt says:

    Is it a conspiracy to say that the League of Nations was conceived by Marxists and Communists and gave all their assets to the United Nations or that the UN Charter was written by Alger Hiss, a secret communist US Congressman, and Adrei Gromyko an open Communist from the USSR.

    Or that prior to signing into the UN our country wasn’t entangled in draconian foreign policy.

    Or that ALL the wars that have happened since WW2 originate in the UN Security Council.

    Or that Article 25 of the UN Charter, trumps the US Constitution. And allows the Pro-UN politicians a way to fund the whims of a socialist agenda, by using our government to pass CFR, UN draconian policies, which in turn make us a scapegoat for things most American voters don’t agree with.

    There is clearly a difference between a Conspiracy Theory and actual conspiracy. I mean it is all out there.

    These globalists spend their whole lives running around speaking of ways they are planning to achieve world governance or tackling global problems with global solutions.

    These two kooks must be propagandists posing as conservatives. Agents provocateurs, if you will.
    Sent to steer the Neo-con strays back into the herd.

    Either that or they are too complacent to see things for what they are.

    If Libertarians believe in freedom and personal liberty, why does their party support free trade agreements, usually spurred on by UN directives this support of these treaties feeds the liberty sucking machine that is growing out of control everyday.

    • Mark Gailey says:

      I think the general understanding is that if the word theory is associated with the word conspiracy, then the word conspiracy ceases to exist, along with all history and possible evidence it was ever a word.
      And if this wisdom is somehow thwarted and the word conspiracy is actually successfully uttered, then all the associated facts (and their histories) cease to exist.

  4. Charles says:

    Its always great to see conspiracy news!

  5. tinyfunkmaster says:

    I find it a good rule of thumb to be suspicious of articles (and authors) that are full of rhetoric and short on substance…

  6. tinyfunkmaster says:

    Ironically, the Biers appear to be guilty of the same charge they level at “conspiracy theorists.” They state: “First and foremost, our commitment is to reality—popular or not—and to a conversation based on reason and evidence. Intellectual honesty is our core value, and scientific skepticism is the surest way to preserve that integrity.” Not once did they mention the work of historian Howard Zinn, chemist Steven Jones or the hundreds of architects and engineers that have come forward about 9/11, the work done by Lance deHaven-Smith, Laurie Manwell, Alexander Kouzmin and other academics in the American Behavioral Scientist on State Crimes Against Democracy, sociologists C. Wright Mills and William G. Domhoff that explicate power elite theory. Paradoxically, they are guilty of the very same power dynamic they purport to be working against in government: delegitimate opposition by pigeon-holing them into clean, neat schemas like “conspiracy theorists” which operates as a defense mechanism for their paradigm. This is seen most clearly here: “We must make the libertarian movement inhospitable to the crackpots and conspiracy theorists if we hope to move the philosophy of liberty from the margins to the center of public discourse.” This movement to the “center of discourse” can only mean they are willing to compromise with the established powers-that-be. There can be no compromise on fundamental principles such as freedom which these ideological impostors don’t even pretend to give lip service to. Interestingly, these same talking points are mentioned by the most vociferous defenders of the government’s official fabrication on 9/11: conspiracy theorists aren’t rooted in reality, they are a poisonous influence and must be rooted out… I would caution anyone who reads these two guys to do your own research. Rhetoric is empty.

    • I completely agree. Could not have said it better myself.
      So glad to see these mental midgets and their machinations exposed and eviscerated.

      The authors of this article are not staunch defenders of liberty but treasanous snakes and soothsayers.

      The true Liberty movement would be wise to continue exposing the false dichotomy that insists there is no room in politics for 9/11 truth.

      “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  7. anon says:

    well too bad for you people are actually waking up questioning everything this is a very weak article no substance what so ever yeah these ideas they probably weaken the movement now because everyone is still under the normalcy bias and refuse to believe and seek the truth a good amount of evidence is out there you just need to look and quit dismissing these people like they are crazy when they are some of the most open-minded and intelligent people

  8. chris says:

    Im glad most comment know this is psychological warfare. You should always question everything. Especially with how open ended evidence from 911 is…

  9. Jerry Barr says:

    It doesn’t make the Bilderberg group any less real. Are YOU a Bilderberger?? The Bildergerg group is real and they violate the Logan Act, among other things, which is unconstitutional. How DARE you to tell us to avoid tyrants with a criminal, globalist agenda! Like many other things, it’s no longer a conspiracy since it’s been proven true. It’s an issue we need to confront head on, and wake more people up to. They are the shadow government that JFK was warning us about two weeks before he was assassinated. Who cares about bad press, or not “fitting in” in accordance with the status-quo? Who cares about being trendy with the rest of the sheep and mainstream media? WE, Libertarians are different. We need to expose the truth no matter how much we get laughed at an bullied, because we have values, and an obligation to speak and spread the truth of the un-lawful tyranny being conspired upon us. There are plenty of facts to support the “conspiracy theories”, just not the lying and oppressive mainstream media and the brainwashed trendy society, which is obviously where you’re looking. Stop being a whore. If you don’t like what I’ve said and think I’m “toxic”, then do something about it and send someone over to kill me. Please! I want to show you what happens, and what I can do! PLEASE!!!! Get out of the libertarian/constitutionalist/patriot landscape. You’re a perverted, globalist/establishment preaching, traitor whore.

    • Jerry Barr says:

      Not to mention that they are in charge of the worlds banking system, the new world order agenda, and the masterminds behind the unconstitutional wars and America’s slow collapse. So screw you!

  10. It’s interesting to note that you have not discussed any of the scientific and forensic evidence which demands a new 911 investigation in your blatant hit piece.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r6xZyKlla0&feature=player_embedded

    You do realize that there are countless high ranking military, firefighters, architects, engineers, chemists, physicists, structural engineers ad infinitum who have gone to exhaustive effort to demonstrate why Building 7 should never fall through itself at free fall velocites (as admitted by NIST) and who are actually patriotically questioning “authority” as would be the intention of the true libertarian mindset as espoused by the founding fathers.

    You sir are no libertarian. You are a charlatan and if you have any respect for science, logic or truth would cease immediately from your mud slinging of the noble cause of determining what actually happened on 9/11 and why.

    Do your homework and yes I’m always open to debate you point by point on any of the inconvenient facts you have avoided regarding these matters.

    Ae911truth.org
    RememberBuilding7.org
    http://firefightersfor911truth.org/
    http://www.militaryofficersfor911truth.org/

    Just a few of dozens of organizations fighting for liberty and justice.

  11. Wol says:

    Hello editors, I think you both only need to look towards “operation northwood” and this SHOULD distinguish yourself from the lies of the government and pre-planned terror attacks to justify THEIR means, not anyone else’s..

    Operation northwood exemplifies everything that is wrong with the government, the world AND the ignorance of the people (including the major editor’s in this article)… you can put any fancy quote you want to solidify your point, points are matter of opinions.. this can be argued all day, though reality IS reality. Nothing, no words, can change that.

  12. PS says:

    True enough to some extent. However if anyone still believes the lone gunman theory of the JFK assassination, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell him. Ditto that the ATF did not deliberately murder all those kids in Waco. The government has such a long and unbroken record of lying about everything (remember the, ‘temporary’ income tax to pay off the natl debt in 1913?) that if you honor truth, you must expose the government butchers for what they are.

  13. Gadaffi says:

    This article was obviously written to mislead the public about the future of the world. If we continue to allow these disinformation agents to flood the Internet with these ridiculous claims of conspiracy theories being false, the conspiracy movement will become irrelevant and the illuminati NWO and the bildibergs will be able to claim world domination as we become their slaves. Maybe they’ll give this guy a slave master title for writing their disinformation article

  14. BZ says:

    This “David Bier” guy is obviously a Masonic CFR Illuminati operative helping hide the Skull, Bonues, and Bilderbergers quest for world domination. Shame on that guy.

  15. Mark Gailey says:

    It is true, that many of these *truths* have been toxic to the American public, and a political liability. That in no way lessens their validity.
    Look who Jack Hunter, who I usually respect greatly, is protecting here. His candidate and boss, Ron Paul, who has had to tip toe around the facts that are unpalatable to the voting public. I’d offer a suggestion that our system has broken to the point where facts and truth are untenable in an election cycle.
    Much could be said about that dynamic,… without vilifying those unwilling to be subject to Orwellian trends~!

  16. Kevin Tuma says:

    I actually enjoy some conspiracy theories–but only the kind you can discuss over beer and pretzels. I have recognized the danger of the sort of dystopian political conspiracies espoused by Alex Jones for a long time.

    This article is right on. It doesn’t touch on all the reasons dystopian conspiracy theorists are harmful to the self-proclaimed ‘liberty movement’–nor does Jack Hunter’s recent article–but it lays out the basics.

    At the root, I feel, is that Jones attempts to separate human freedom into a game of Good Guys vs. Bad Guys–the ultimate mistake that ends most revolutions in dictatorships, instead of laying a philosophical foundation. In Jones’ world and the world of many dystopian Ron Paul folk, this is the French Revolution, and Jones is jockeying to be its Robespierre. We saw how the French Revolution ended.

    Libertarianism isn’t a childhood game of ‘cowboys and indians’. Nor is it the Star Wars universe, where all we have to do is defeat the Emperor and blow up the Death Star again. Libertarianism is not fantasy, and it’s not about people–it is about ideas.

    • Xavier Spade says:

      Alex Jones is not spreading “fantasy” either.
      The facts, and the hypotheses and predictions he further draws from them are just that.
      Educated guesses of the future based on what is happening now and has happened in the past.
      A lot of Alex’s “dystopian” views are simply cause and effect logic flow charts based on reality.
      He AND William Cooper BOTH accurately predicted 9/11 (as a false-flag event) with uncanny accuracy months before it happened.
      If what Alex Jones says is fantasy, why has he not been sued for libel/slander by anyone?

  17. terrymac says:

    I resist conspiracy theories not because they are provably false, but because they cannot be proven correct without massive effort, and because even if known to be correct, it would still require massive effort to actually unseat the conspirators, and furthermore, they’d merely be replaced with new conspirators.

    Consider this thought experiment: imagine (O happy day!) that a suitcase nuke is smuggled into the next Bilderberger Conference, and blows all The Powers That Be assembled there to smithereens. The next day, are we better off? No; the lieutenants and sublieutenants reorganize, take up the reins of power, and begin an even more ruthless anti-terror campaign.

    To make a real difference, we need to mock the leaders, mock their conventional explanations, mock the discredited theories of Keynes and other apologists for government power. We need to rediscover that we don’t need the government to feed us, to educate us, to defend us, or to fix what ails the economy.

  18. Mark Gailey says:

    This is ignorance gone to seed.
    Where is the skepticism of the Government’s storyline. One must always be cautious, reserved about theories. What about conspiracy facts~?
    You throw up a straw man, assuming that all 9/11 Truthers agree that the Government unilaterally executed the event. Yet there is reasonable evidence that at least some agents within various governmental units were in the loop.
    It is sad that you must attack folks who are skeptical of obvious government lies and impossibilities.

  19. Tom says:

    The thing I hate about conspiracy theories is that they detract from the reality of actual government failure/guilt.

    9/11 is the perfect example. The “inside job” people, using the premise that the government actually carried out the attacks itself, have destroyed the perfectly realistic fact that the government absolutely failed us on 9/11 in the least, and in the worst case their may have been elements of the government that were complicit in “turning a blind eye” to allow something to happen to drum up a war. Those are serious allegations that are really worth investigating, but instead anyone who questions that the US was “totally caught off guard” and our pure and innocent government was doing everything they could to “protect us” is labeled as a crazy conspiracy theorist like the truthers.

  20. Simon Girty says:

    The problem I have with conspiracies is that they begin with the premise that government can effectively achieve a goal. This creates two problems. First, there is no evidence that government is that good at doing things. There is ample evidence that everyting the govenment touches turns to crap.
    Second, if it really were possible for great sinister things to be accomplished through government action, then it is equally possible for great good things to be accomplished, and that justifies powerful government, as long as it is controlled by good people. That is inherently unlibertarian.

  21. Cary Nunnally says:

    But of course we all know that the people we are trying to convince to vote for individual liberty can only be persuaded by brief soundbytes. Think Pepsi commercials of the not too distant past: I think their slogan was “un-huh”. Or maybe it was Hope and Change. Who remembers that long ago. Anyway, I do know, finally, after many campaigns, that it’s a science and statistics thing…a game of numbers. How sad for us that we are now a democracy and not a republic…that we could not keep.

  22. chris says:

    one other point id like to make is that conspiracy theories tend to make anyone who mentions real conspiracies sound nuts.
    like say, if you were to mention how the federal reserve was a conspiracy between rich bankers and politicians to control the banking system through regulatory capture, well you are talking in the same way as most people see these crazies who go full out about how it was an Illuminati/jew banker plot 100 years ago to engineer the current 2008 depression and every singe action before and after. you know, stuff like that.

  23. There’s a book just been published on promoting rational, skeptical thought and practice in government, media and public life. It’s called The Geek Manifesto, by Mark Hendersonn. I think you may find it interesting David.

  24. Jim says:

    “Most of the evil perpetrated by government results from the unintended consequences of bad ideas, not the evil plots of secret cabals.”

    Most? That means that you agree that there are some people that act together in order to further their aims.

    Why do you want people to stop talking about them?

    • David Bier says:

      Most of the evil perpetuated by gov’t results from unintended consequences, but certainly some of it is intentional. There are even some secret plots, like Bush’s torture regime, but they rarely remain secret for long.

      I updated the sentence per your recommendation.

      • Jim says:

        They don’t remain secret because people investigating them ignore being called “conspiracy theorists” and other names. By your reasoning, if we stopped speaking of “conspiracy theories”, we’d never hear about the actual crimes being committed in secret.

        • David Bier says:

          Not true, we should not rely on exaggeration and paranoia–we should rely on facts and evidence, which was what the investigations into the Bush torture regime were based, not just unfounded assertions.

          • Jim says:

            Exaggeration and paranoia are part of the American political experience. If I have to wade through some BS to get to the truth, so be it. That’s better than telling people to remain quiet for fear of being labelled “conspiracy theorist”, which is the American version of “counter revolutionary” or “enemy of the State”.

          • Woden says:

            Exaggeration and paranoia are loaded terms used to silence people. How many times have we been told by politicians to not listen to exaggeration and paranoia, only for it to turn out to be true? I don’t even need to cite examples.

            You have constructed an extremely weak argument which simultaneously mocks conspiracy theorists, while also conceding they are often right. What you have then done is draw a completely arbitrary line between truth and paranoia.

    • Mark Gailey says:

      …not to mention that 2 major news outlets reported the building down, prior to the fall, and with backdrop views of the building intact, sticking out of their heads by contrast.
      You have to wonder if skepticism is a religion or a science…~?
      I’ve stopped wondering whether the government is full of both corruption and incompetence.

  25. Art Carden says:

    XKCD offers a nice approach to this: http://xkcd.com/966/.

  26. K. Darien Freeheart says:

    I agree that the conspiracy theory mindset is damaging, but for different (or perhaps, more specific) reasons.

    As a “stateless libertarian” – an advocate of individual freedom that believes that government, even of a minimal nature, is inherently contrary to individual liberties – I find that MOST (but not all) conspiracy theorists are “minarchists”. People who advocate liberty, but also advocate a small state. To me, people who cling to the axiom of “government is evil, but a necessary one” end up almost needing conspiracy theories to rationalize their flawed view.

    Rather than looking at government and saying “This monopoly always produces bad results, perhaps we should try something other than monopoly”, they turn to “why this monopoly would have been corrupted.” Cue Illuminati Lizard Jews who plot at Bohemian Grove with the Masons – obviously a global conspiracy is the ONLY way that ALL governments have turned against people and sucked them of their freedoms!

    Conspiracy theories are an irrational crutch used by so-called liberty lovers to cling to something that is INHERENTLY antithetical to liberty. Until they’re able to walk without that crutch, “practical gains” will be marginal at best with regard to increasing options and freedoms.

    • Ken Larsen says:

      I think preaching the actual facts about what we believe, and intend to do, is much more effective than preaching against what we think “they” believe or have done.

      We don’t have to agree on the past to work together for the future.

      Dr. Ken Larsen
      Libertarian for Governor of Utah

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