Wednesday 16 October 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'What we're seeing is the battle between the cranks and crackpots'

'Most conspiracy theories are just daft'. Photo: PA
'Most conspiracy theories are just daft'. Photo: PA
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

One of the great guilty pleasures of life is delving into conspiracy theories.

I don't believe any of them but they're a fascinating insight into the frailties of the human mind and the need to believe that there is some grand plan.

Even if that grand plan is evil, it's more comforting than accepting that life is just a bunch of stuff that happens.

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Most conspiracy theories are just daft, such as believing the moon landings were faked, for example.

Some of the other ones are pretty disgusting - the idea that 'the Jews' were behind 9/11 springs to mind.

The crazed idea that Christchurch was a hoax seemed to spread as quickly as news of the attack itself.

Naturally most rational people were pretty horrified.

But should we really ban such ideas outright?

Twitter has been busy getting its knickers in a twist as it goes after the people who peddle this nonsense.

But is it not better to drag such ideas into the daylight and batter them with logic rather than trying to suppress them?

What we are now seeing is a battle between the cranks and the crackpots.

The cranks think they are players in some great battle between good and evil and they exult in shutting down meetings.

The crackpots also think they're in some great battle between good and evil.

And every time they have a meeting cancelled, their delusions of persecution become stronger.

Both sides need each other, because it gives their empty lives some sort of meaning.

A plague on both their houses...

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