By Ralph Schwartz
As humans we struggle to put meaning on things that are complicated. Conspiracy theories are so alluring because they make the messiness of reality a lot neater, and they sometimes create clear enemies.
People who otherwise seem lucid and rational can fall into conspiracy-think. Since the NFL season is reaching its peak, I’m reminded of a conspiracy theory I ran into often immediately after Super Bowl XL. More Seahawks fans than I can count said in all seriousness that either the Pittsburgh Steelers paid off the refs to win that game, or the NFL as a whole made sure the Steelers won to give a fitting send-off to Detroit native and Steeler running back Jerome Bettis.
Turns out the real explanation is in fact the simpler one: The refs had a bad day. Hey, these things happen. I’m sure Packers fans could relate after their team’s Sept. 24 Monday night game in Seattle.
Anyhow, back to politics. Conspiracy theories fall across a spectrum of credibility. Did Ronald Reagan, Oliver North and others pull off arms sales to Iran to fund anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua? Did the younger Bush’s government know 9/11 was going to happen and do nothing, as a justification for going to war with the Middle East?
It’s a free country, so everyone gets to have and express their own opinions on these things.
What about Agenda 21, a 20-year-old U.N. document that some in the tea party, both locally and nationally, point to as the seed of the threat of a one world government?
It’s easy to find the circumstantial evidence. The sustainable development movement is in full swing. Some with the tea party say Agenda 21 is really a move to take away individual rights, specifically by moving people into cities under the label of “smart growth.”
In her Oct. 2 appearance at Western Washington University, anti-Agenda 21 activist Rosa Koire explained why the U.N. wants to put people within city boundaries and discourage growth in rural areas.
It’s so those in power can more easily control and surveil us.
Then comes “warrantless searches” and ultimately the potential of “identifying us as potential enemy combatants in our own nation.”
“If an enemy was trying to destroy us, it couldn’t do a better job,” Koire said.
“I know it sounds crazy, and in fact it is crazy,” she said. “I am not crazy. The plan is crazy.”
The question we’re left with is, is the U.N. using sustainable development to take over the world, or is it trying to avert an environmental disaster being caused primarily by global warming?
Ah, that’s what they’d like you to think. Global-warming talk, Koire said, is intended to instill fear and panic in citizens so they are unable to make rational decisions.
And the debate goes on. I’ll end it here.
I’m working on another story today, about Ferndale’s new water system, which water customers say is too mineral-laden and doesn’t taste good. The damage to appliances by the water hardness is the main concern.
Even that issue has its conspiracy theorists.
When a resident stopped Mayor Gary Jensen to ask, “Why did you do this (switch from PUD river water to well water) if you knew we had a problem?” the mayor responded, we had no idea the water would be so hard. Then the resident called the mayor a liar.
At the Dec. 3 City Council meeting, where the mayor recounted this story, he said his response would be, “Why would we switch when we were going to make people mad?”
“That’s a very good question, mayor. A very good question indeed,” the blogger said, with a wink and a nudge.