How 9/11 Gave Rise to a New Generation of Denialists
September 11, 2011
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The horrible events of 9/11 2001 were unique in many ways. In the past, hijacking had most often been a method of trying to acquire political concessions or for monetary extorting, but rarely before had planes been hijacked to be used as weapons in themselves. Despite the incident at Pearl Harbor, the 1993 attack on WTC and the Oklahoma City bombing, the United States had been relatively spared from international terrorism up until then. The attacks against WTC and the Pentagon also lead to never-before-seen security measures on airports, consuming vast sums of money and changing the very core of air travel. It lead to increases in military spending and wars overseas, the Patriot Act and many other major changes on the regional and global scene.
However, there were other consequences of the events that day, namely the rise of a new generation of young and tech-savvy conspiracy theorists and denialists with the world wide web at their fingertips. Typing “9/11” and “inside job” into the search engine Google returns over 7 million hits, although not all of them take the conspiracy perspective. Compare this with just around 55000 for “HIV does not cause AIDS” keeping in mind that HIV/AIDS denialists have been around since the early 80s.
Perhaps there were many factors contributing to this the popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories. The problematic foreign policies of the United States. The feeling of being empowered and looking up stuff for themselves online. Seeing patterns and intentions where none exist. The general environment of anti-authoritarianism and dislike for politicians. The feeling of a strong and upward-spiraling community, mutually reinforcing the belief system with websites, blogs, blog comments, YouTube videos etc. It also fitted snugly into other conspiracy theories that existed at the time, and still exist, such as the New World Order.
What do you think?