It should be apparent to everyone by now that the questions of whether Bush and friends created, enabled, or faked the tragedy of 9/11/2001 cannot be resolved.
Believe what you wish, but understand that the purpose of conspiracy theories is to keep people intellectually and emotionally distracted, wasting time and energy that they might use to actually do something. Newspapers should start printing box scores on conspiracy theories, just like they do baseball statistics, and with about the same effect on the game (or reality) itself. Fans of conspiracy theories are just that and only that: fans.
They are not players, nor are they theorists, they are second-hand fabulists, picking which of the hundreds of opinions to adopt and mouth as their own, and carefully choosing which little hill of sand to build their castles on. They are consumers, not producers, and they do not particpate in democracy.
They are politically irrelevent, morally bankrupt, and physically impotent to affect or confront power. The lesson they teach is that nothing really matters because the truth is not findable; and even if you found it there is nothing you could do about it because it's bigger than you are. Dictators, fascists, and unitary executivists all love fans of conspiracy theories. Conspiracy buffs make their jobs easier.
Do not listen to the conspiracy fanatics. Do not argue with them. Do not respond to them. Do something real instead: picket a recruiting station, speak to students about what war really is, march and vigil against injustice, write editorial letters, blog, raise funds and knock on doors for local candidates. Be active in, and be a meaningful part of, the world you live in. Nothing you can say about any conspiracy will ever change anything. So do something that can.
First published August 28, 2007 -