Monday, May 7, 2012

Conspiracy Theories Still Ridiculous

Heard the latest conspiracy theory?  It’s a doozy.  It seems that China has been fluoridating water to make sure its residents are docile and dumb.  That’s why American politicians insist on using fluoride in this country.  Who knew that fluoride was such a weapon?

Actually, it isn’t.

According to a detailed account published on the internet, China started using fluoride in 1965 in one city.  It continued sporadically until ending completely in 1983, and only in the urban area of Guanzhou.  Somehow, most of China wasn’t affected.  Moreover, based on plain observation, the Chinese are neither docile nor dumb.  Recently, for example, the government there was threatening the U.S. over an activist who’d rather be anywhere else.  

Nevertheless, the fellow who told me about Chinese fluoride was darn sure he was correct.  I noted on Facebook where a friend wanted to start a Common Sense Society.  Maybe this guy should join it.  After all, what could possibly make him think our self-serving American politicians would work together to accomplish any goal, much less one that encompasses the entire country?

Actually, common sense seems to have deserted a lot of people ironically in a time period where every harebrained idea can be checked out.  Claims that humans lived in a central core running through the Earth couldn’t be discounted until we had technology to do so.  Neither could far-fetched tales about Atlantis, the Loch Ness Monster (right) and other nonsense.

It’s in our nature to swallow such bilge.  Apparently, it’s not in our nature to look up information readily available via the internet.

These days, the far right is leading the conspiracy charge.  Alexander Zaitchik from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which keeps tabs on hate groups around the country, noted in a 2010 article that:

Over the last two decades, a far-right conspiracy culture of self-proclaimed "Patriots" has emerged in which the United States government itself is viewed as a mortal threat to everything from constitutional democracy to the survival of the human race. This conspiracy revival -- which has been accompanied by the explosive growth of Patriot groups over the last year and a half -- kicked into overdrive with the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, who is seen by Patriots as a foreign-born Manchurian candidate sent by forces of the so-called "New World Order" to destroy American sovereignty and institute one-world socialist government.

One of their pet theories includes the erroneous fluoride claim as well as a presumed and absurd idea of aerial spraying of toxic chemicals in an effort to create New World Order.  By the way, that’s the same name used in the World Championship Wrestling in its 1990s battle for television supremacy with the World Wrestling Entertainment.  The WWE eventually won that fight. 

Another big claim is that the Federal Government will soon impose martial law.  That canard has been around almost as long as the belief that Jesus will return some day.  

FEMA regions
The crackpot martial law idea goes hand in hand with the concept that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will create concentration camps.  FEMA (left) couldn’t even competently help victims of Hurricane Katrina. I doubt the agency has the skill to run something as complex as an electronic pencil sharpener, much less an internment camp.

Of course, for that to work, people would lose their guns.  In theory, of course.  That’s not going to happen.  Right wing nuts – and anyone else with a perchance for pulling a trigger – will be able to blast away as long as this country exists.  The George Zimmermans of the world can continue to shoot unarmed teenagers without fear of losing their weapons.

Another major focus is the Federal Reserve System, one of the most far-sighted and successful banking programs in the world.  To the far right, however, it’s part of a conspiracy by Jewish bankers to take over the world.  Industrialist Henry Ford (left) was a big proponent of that nonsense, even as he profited from the economic stability fostered by the Federal Reserve System.  The fact that banks are owned by millions of all kinds of shareholders apparently isn’t part of the equation.  

The list is pretty much endless.  As preachers smitten with a messianic complex well know: someone will believe anything, no matter how absurd.  Just look at all the religious sects promulgating garbage with straight faces.

Ironically, fluoride in the water probably helps them maintain their false smiles.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

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