Monday, September 5, 2011

Among The Truthers

... is an important new book by Jonathan Kay of The National Post.  Subtitled "A journey into the growing conspiracist underground of 9/11 truthers, birthers, armageddonites, vaccine hysterics, Hollywood know-nothings and internet addicts", it seemingly leapt off the shelf into my hands.  Conspiracists drive me crazy - as regular readers of this space well know - just as the demise of common sense drives me crazy.  The two, I believe, are integrally related, and from my close observation of matters south of the 49th parallel, are largely responsible for the dumbing-down of the U.S. populace at least, and, at most, the potential demise of "the greatest nation on the face of the earth" (in thine own eyes, my American friends).   Kay now presents in one well-researched and thoughtfully-written volume not only a lucid history of conspiracism but also (having admitted that arguing with conspiracists is tantamount to self-flagellation) a workable outline of how to prevent impressionable post-secondary students from being sucked into The Vortex that is conspiracism.  A quote: "The Truther phenomenon - like the broader intellectual trend it epitomizes - is simply to important to ignore.  Conspiracy theories may be nonsense, but the disturbing habits of mind underlying them - a nihilistic distrust in government, total alienation from conventional politics, a need to reduce the world's complexity to good-versus-evil fables, the melding of secular politics with End-Is-Nigh religiosity, and a rejection of the basic tools of logic and rational discourse - have become threats all across our intellectual landscape ... You can't defeat the Enlightenment's enemies unless you understand them.  And that is the project I ask my readers to embark on as they read this book.  Those of us who continue to adhere to the rationalist tradition must commit to its defense."  Good stuff.  Give it a read.  Avoid The Vortex.

The Good News:  It's published in Canada by HarperCollins!
The Truth:  It was printed and bound in the United States!
The Conspiracy:  It was changed at some point by aliens to make conspiracists look and sound intelligent!  (The Vortex made me do this.)