The more I hear from conspiracy theorists, the more they remind me of true religious believers. In the face of all logic and sense, they cling to their beliefs, and sneer at your blindness in the face of what, to them, is the clear and obvious truth.
There's a guy I know, I'll call him Tim, who seriously believes in conspiracy theories. The other day I spoke with Tim, and he derided me on my supposed belief in whatever the mainstream media machine feeds my poor little mind. You see, Tim is above such sheep-like behavior. Tim knows better. Tim doesn't listen to what the mainstream tells him. No, Tim only listens to what Alex Jones tells him.
I don't watch TV news. I read news articles online, and while I don't always believe everything I read, I use them as a framework to interact with the social world. I expect that people, even reporters, are generally reporting the facts as they perceive them. I don't blindly accept as factual truth everything that I read - not with the majority of my chosen reading material being fiction.
And yet, this true believer in the church of Infowars blithely proselytized his position on my unwilling ears, insisting that I was refusing to see the truth, refusing to pull my head out from the sand and see how the treasonous Bilderberg group was taking over the world. Didn't I know that vaccines are just poisons that are used to control the poor ignorant masses, that they calcify the pineal gland to prevent us from achieving our true psychic potential? Didn't I know that genetically modified foods are full of cancer causing chemicals that will destroy the population the Illuminati declare to be excess?
And how could I possibly explain how the same woman interviewed by the media in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing had already died at Sandy Hook?
I tell Tim that I haven't seen the proof that he claims to have seen, so I can't really judge.
He tells me that I need to stop believing everything the man tells me to believe.
I ask him where his proof is.
He tells me that the government itself has furnished proof of its own iniquitous actions. Proof that Alex Jones had forced them to reveal using the power of the freedom of information act. These government documents prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the government is covering up everything, from Boston to Aurora to 9/11, and, furthermore, has a hand in causing them all in order to take away our freedoms in exchange for the illusion of safety.
"So, you're proof comes from the very government that you claim is lying to us all?" I ask.
"Yeah, I guess," he says.
He doesn't seem to see my problem with this, and I really don't think I can explain it to him. I don't want to blindly follow anyone's word. Not the mainstream media, not the underground media, not Tim, not anyone. I'll learn what I can, and make my own decisions on what to believe about it, thank you very much. Maybe that makes me a skeptic. I'm not too sure about applying that label to myself, because I've known some real asshole skeptics.
But Tim doesn't want to think about how easy it is for anyone to Photoshop a document. He has faith that the government lies, and that Alex Jones tells only the truth. He is a believer, a true follower. He doesn't need religion.
He has Infowars.