Marquette Warrior: Leftist Conspiracy Theorists & Wisconsin Libertarians: Strange Bedfellows

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Leftist Conspiracy Theorists & Wisconsin Libertarians: Strange Bedfellows

Tomorrow morning, on “Buzz Country - B94-5”/WTMB-FM, former Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Ed Thompson will deliver a partial endorsement of the conspiracy theories of UW-Madison lecturer Kevin Barrett and former University of Minnesota professor James Fetzer.

Thompson’s statement will air at 8:30 a.m.

This according to an e-mail from Libertarian Party activist Rolf Lindgren.

While much of Thompson’s statement will address concerns of academic freedom (issues where we would expect libertarians to side with Barrett), Thompson will go further and ask rhetorically “why have so many reputable scientists shown through extensive research that the towers didn’t collapse because airplanes flew into them.”

The statement is slated to be repeated at 2:50pm on “Oldies 1460”/WBOG-AM.

The Thompson statement follows Lindgren’s own partial endorsement of conspiracy theories in an opinion piece on

Lindgren argued as follows:
* 9-11 as an “Inside Job” Theory:

Dr. Kevin Barrett argues that the tragic 9-11 terror attacks were not orchestrated by Osama Bin Laden from Afghanistan, but rather by neocons in the Bush administration. The motive was to serve as an excuse to attack Iraq, double the military budget, and roll back our civil liberties. This theory has caused intense public debate.

Benefit: More skepticism of government secrecy.

Benefit: Millions of apolitical Americans are now getting interested in politics.

Benefit: More critical thinking about government.

Benefit: More people going to the Internet for information they aren’t getting from the mainstream media.
We talked to Lindgren earlier tonight, and it’s clear he does believe in a 9/11 U.S. government conspiracy.

But note that his arguments are all cast in utilitarian terms. He is saying that, from a supposed libertarian position, it’s very good that people believe in such a conspiracy because it will make them more skeptical of government.

In fact, Lindgren’s logic is almost certainly wrong. When people conclude that “they” are in control, and there is nothing to be done about it, there is less reason to participate in the political process. Complete cynics are not good libertarians.

If people learn that the “real scoop” is to be gotten from oddball Internet sites, doesn’t that make them as vulnerable to crackpot left-wing sites as to crackpot right-wing sites? And when they go to a reputable libertarian site like reasononline, aren’t they going to be disappointed by the lack of wild conspiracy theories?

Finally, if government is so terribly competent, and able to pull off such a huge project with such sterling efficiency, isn’t it the case that if we just replace the current crop of rascals with “good people” government can solve all our problems?

What the Libertarians are doing recalls that old cliche about how the ideological spectrum is really like a horseshoe, with the extreme left and the extreme right being closer to each other than to the middle.

And indeed, the Green Party candidate for governor has also endorsed 9/11 U.S. government conspiracy theories.

All of this can be dismissed as coming from fringe players on the Wisconsin political scene. But so long as they engage in such antics, they have chosen to remain fringe players.


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