Many years ago, the comic Bloom County had a Sunday strip where Binkley decided it was his mission to go around the neighborhood and tell his friends uncomfortable truths:
"It was on a Sunday morning much like this one that Binkley awoke with the truth. It had presented itself in a short dream involving talking coffee pots and a shimmering image of Bob Barker’s Head on Bette Midler’s body. Its credibility thus firmly established, our hero, freshly burdened with an awesome clarity of vision, realized what he must do . . .
Binkley: I must enlighten the masses!
Binkley: The truth, Steve, is that "Knight Rider" is actually a children’s program.
Steve: Can’t be! Can’t *@#!* be!!
Binkley: The truth, Lola, is that for the most part "The Monkees" never played their own instruments.
Binkley: The truth, Opus, is that you look more like a puffin than a penguin.
Binkley: The truth, Dad, is that the likelihood of the American Military ever handing "Star Wars" technology over to the Communists is about that of Reagan handing Nancy over to Bruce Springsteen’s roadies.
Mr. Binkley: My God . . .
His mission complete, the cosmic whistle-blower retires to the autumn clover . . . burdened with the knowledge that while he has made the world a smidgen smarter, he has by no means made it happier. This, he muses, he must think hard upon.
Opus: The truth, Binkley, is that you look like a carrot."
Many people feel like you don't do anything useful by making people confront the possible foolishness of their most deeply-held beliefs. I normally subscribe to this school of thought, except where conspiracy theorists are concerned. These deluded people have withdrawn from any hope of useful participation in our democracy by their lack of understanding of how the world really works. I'm concerned for them, and want to help bring them back to becoming functioning members of society. While I recognize that my readership probably doesn't include a lot of conspiracy theorists, I figure that if I can help just one regain his or her grip on reality, I'll have done my job. That being said, here goes:
The Truth, French documentarian Jean-Michel Carré and his foolish supporters, is that the U.S. subs in the area had nothing to do with the sinking of RNS Kursk. In your amateurish film, you claimed that USS Memphis had sunk Kursk with a torpedo after she collided with USS Toledo. When submarines go out on deployment, they get a certain number of torpedos. When they come back, these torpedos get unloaded, by lots of people. Any one of these people would know if a torpedo was missing; and no, you can't just load one in the middle of the ocean, or in a Norwegian port, without lots of yard workers noticing. Speaking of yard workers, if Toledo was really badly damaged, they would have had to go somewhere for repairs, and people would know about it. Word about this sort of thing would get around the Sub Force. It didn't. And here's another tidbit for those who don't believe me to chew on: This happened when Bill Clinton was President, and Al Gore was Vice President. Don't you think that someone in the military, who moonbats all know support Republicans, would have figured out that publicizing the untruth of American denials of involvement might have hurt Gore in the 2000 election? So why didn't they do it?
The Truth, BYU Professor Steven Jones, is that explosives did not bring down the three buildings at the WTC complex on 9/11. Just think of how many people would have had to be involved to pull this off. It's more than a 2 person job to wire three huge buildings with explosives, and not be noticed. It's a truism that the chances of a secret getting out goes up with the square of the people who know said secret; that's probably pretty accurate. I have some experience in seeing what goes into keeping secrets, and here's what I've figured out: If something happens that needs to get out to the public, someone will have second thoughts, or a change of heart, and get the story out. So why don't all secrets get released? Usually, it's because no one really gives a crap, so the risk of prison time just isn't worth it. Several years ago, one of the topics of conversation that would come up late at night on any submarine was the rumor that USS Tautog had collided with, and sunk, a Soviet submarine in the late 60s or early 70s. While it seems like people would care about that, when the story finally made it out into the news, nobody really cared. (It helped, of course, that the Soviet boat, Black Lila, didn't actually sink.) The point is, lots of people knew about it, and any one of them could have gone to the press (like someone eventually did).
The Truth, Paul Hellyer and various other Roswell fanatics, is that there is no secret program to cover up evidence of recent visits by extraterrestrials. No matter how efficient any secret organization trying to hide things like these might be, eventually they need to replace their personnel. Where would they get the replacements? Do they raise them in camps and indoctrinate them from birth? No, they'd probably go to the organization that has the most people who know how to (kinda) keep secrets -- the military. People going to such an organization would be missed by their friends. Eventually, enough people would figure out that something was wrong, and rumors would start. I come from an organization that would be expected to provide people for such an enterprise, and we don't. And this is something big enough that people would go to the press, or get the word out to their buddies. It hasn't happened.
As I've said before, Hanlon's Razor and Occam's Razor generally apply: Most bad things that happen in the world are because of stupidity rather than conspiracy, and the simplest explanation is usually the best. I ask my readers to try to pass this brief message on to the conspiracy theorists in your social circle; you'll be glad you did. (Actually, you won't, because it'll just get them going off on a rant if they're a true believer. It's kinda fun, though, to hear them carry on.)
Post-script: I had thought that maybe I was the first blogger to use this particular literary device, but a quick Google search shows that at least one person did it before me. I don't feel too bad, though, since that person is the incomparable Steven den Beste. While I wasn't original in the strictest sense, I will claim that I at least came up with the format independently.