Among the Truthers: A Journey through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground

Among the Truthers: A Journey through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground

by Jonathan Kay
Among the Truthers: A Journey through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground

Among the Truthers: A Journey through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground

by Jonathan Kay



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From 9/11 conspiracy theorists and UFO obsessives tothe cult of Ayn Rand and Birthercrusaders, America is suffering from an explosion in post-rationalistideological movements. In Among the Truthers,journalist Jonathan Kay offers a thoughtful and sobering look at how socialnetworking and Web-based video sharing have engendered a flourishing of new conspiracism. Kay details the sociological profiles of tenbrands of modern conspiracists—the Failed Historian,the Mid-Life Crack-Up, the Damaged Survivor, the Campus Revolutionary, theStoner, the Clinical Case, the Puzzle Solver, the Christian Doomsayer, the CosmicVoyager, and the Egomaniac—in a compelling exploration of America’s departurefrom reason and what it means for the very future of rational discourse as thenation steps further into the 21st century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062079343
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/17/2011
Format: eBook
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,007,037
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

JONATHAN KAY is a managing editor, columnist and blogger at Canada’s National Post newspaper. His freelance articles have appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, Commentary magazine, Salon, Reader’s Digest and Newsweek. He is a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C. His first book, The Volunteer, co-authored with Michael Ross, became a top-ten bestseller in 2007.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xi

Introduction: Stumbling on the Truthers 1

Don't Call Them "Nutbars" 4

Some Caveats 19

Part 1 The Truth Movement and Its Ancestors

1 American Conspiracism: A Brief History 25

Programmed for Conspiracy 25

Populism and Paranoia: How Politics Shaped American Conspiracism 33

The Men in Black: How Technology Shaped American Conspiracism 51

The Emergence of "Flowchart Conspiracism" 57

2 Warrant for Genocide, Blueprint for Paranoia 65

A Dark Fairy Tale 67

Singularity 71

Boundless Evil 76

Incumbency 81

Greed 83

Cui Bono? 87

Hypercompetence 89

Covering Their Tracks 93

3 False Flags and Lava Lamps: The Birth of a Conspiracy Movement 99

Ken Jenkins: Videographer, Flower Child, Truther 99

Operation Northwoods and Its Legacy 106

Project for the New American Century: A Modern Northwoods 116

4 "Show Me the Birth Certificate": Conspiracism in the Age of Obama 121

Joseph Farah: Birther Extraordinaire 121

Drinking Tea in Nashville 124

Enter the False Prophet 135

Glenn Beck and the New Populism 138

Part II Meet the Truthers

5 Why They Believe: A Psychological Field Guide to Conspiracists 149

The Midlife Crisis Case 151

The Failed Historian 159

The Damaged Survivor 170

The Cosmic Voyager 179

The Clinical Conspiracist 183

The Crank 187

The Evangelical Doomsayer 196

The Firebrand 199

6 The Church of Conspiracism 205

Enter Satan 205

The Devil's Legacy 211

Lives of the Prophets 215

The Cultic Milieu 218

Part III Accessories to Trutherdom

7 Democratizing Paranoia: How the Web Revolutionized Conspiracism 227

The Legacy of Flight 800 227

Muckraking 2.0 230

Through the Internet's Looking Glass 238

The Revolution Will Be Televised 250

History Belongs to the YouTube Victors 258

8 Tin-Foil Mortarboards: Conspiracism's Ivy League Enablers 261

Jacques Derrida's Hall of Mirrors 261

Among the Antiracists 273

Lessons from the Yale Law Journal 279

9 The Protocols Revisited: The New Face of Anti-Semitic Conspiracism 285

Showdown in the Bowery 285

Conspiracism's Hateful Sidekick 289

A New Home on the Left 294

The 9/11 Effect 300

Jews Drift Right 305

10 Confronting Conspiracism 309

A Pound of Cure 309

An Ounce of Prevention 316

Index 329

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