Posted by: CS | February 22, 2013

James Fetzer, Conspiracy Theories, and the Defence of the State Against the People

A conspiracy theory can be about anything, but as used by the media, the term “conspiracy theory” — sometimes preceded by the word “outrageous” — refers almost exclusively  to a theory postulating a state crime intended to defeat the will of the people.

Whether true or false, conspiracy theories, if widely believed, may seriously undermine the state, which means that they must be combated vigorously.

If a theory is false but widely disseminated, the most effective means to kill it is an impartial and open judicial inquiry or trial.

Conversely, if a conspiracy theory is true in some or all critical elements, then an open, impartial judicial investigation must be avoided, as in the cases of  9/11, the July 7 London Tube bombings, and the Kennedy assassination (the Kennedy assassination was the subject of a report by a commission of inquiry headed by a judge, but it was not an impartial inquiry. Among the Commission members was Allen Dulles, fired by President Kennedy as head of the CIA, the organization widely suspected of Kennedy’s murder).

If a theory is true, there are many ways to discredit and intimidate its adherents, these being chiefly effected through media coverage and commentary. These include:

Cloaking in secrecy police action relating to the event, thereby providing opportunity for the destruction of evidence and the covering of tracks.

Lumping all conspiracy theorists together, then highlighting the wackiest theories, thereby implying that conspiracy theorists are mentally ill.

Launching plausible false theories that when debunked humiliate their adherents, thus discouraging future investment in conspiracy theories.

Creating false evidence to support false  theories for future debunking.

Launching false theories based on defective logic that is easily debunked

Associating conspiracy theorists with foreign enemies or with adherents of repugnant ideas.

Destroying or concealing real evidence concerning the crime. 

Threatening legal action against public speculation about the crime.

Most, if not all, of these techniques appear to have been deployed in the case of the Sandy Hook Massacre.

The police investigation, if any, is being conducted in secret.

Key witnesses, the parents of slain children, have been placed under police guard, which insures that they remain silent.

Key evidence has been, if not destroyed, carefully guarded from public view, e.g., the school’s CCTV video that should have recorded the alleged entry of Adam Lanza into the school.

The public has been threatened with State and Federal prosecution for public speculation about the event.

Wild theories, based on seemingly faked photographic or other evidence, have been widely disseminated.

Which brings me to Professor James Fetzer.

Jim Fetzer is a distingushed professor emeritus of philosophy with an impressive publication record of works on the scientific method and related topics that, should I come across them, I would certainly look into with interest. In addition, Fetzer has made an intensive study of the Kennedy assassination, has written extensively about 9/11 and is currently engaged in the public discussion of the Sandy Hook Massacre.

Judging by his style of argument, Fetzer is a go-for-the-jugular kind of guy, an excellent trait under some circumstances, no doubt,  but perhaps less than excellent in a philosopher. In the field of conspiracy theory, the Fetzer, running amok approach seems highly counterproductive.

In December, within a week of the Sandy Hook Massacre, Fetzer published under the auspices of the press agency of America’s currently most hated enemy, namely, Iran’s PressTV, an article entitled Mossad death squads slaughtered American children at Sandy Hook, which aids the work of discrediting Sandy Hook conspiracy theories in four ways.

First, by associating conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook with an enemy of the United States.

Second by associating conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook with virulent anti-Semitism.

Third by associating conspiracy theories with defamation of the US Government.

Fourth, by associating conspiracy theorists with evidence-free speculation.

Taking the last point first, Fetzer’s article adduces not a scrap of real evidence to support the theory he advances. His thesis is based solely on this:

When DHS is gearing up to conduct a massive civil war against the American people, what better excuse could there be for banning assault weapons than the massacre of 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School?

And who better to slaughter American children than Israelis, who deliberately murder Palestinian children?

Meaning, (a) if it would further the objectives of the state to kill 20 innocent children, then in a heart beat, that’s what the administration of Barak Obama would do; and (b) such a vile act would naturally be outsource to the Jews.

The premise that I have labelled (a) may have a certain plausibility, but it cannot be taken as proof of that which has to be proved. As for premise (b), that also is advanced without any evidential basis and thus serves only to characterize this conspiracy theory as highly anti-Semitic.

Emphasizing that the theory is largely based on a highly negative assessment of the Jewish state of Israel is the following quote, which throws in another wild anti-Semitic theory about the Breivic massacre in Norway:

Mike Harris of Veterans Today has exposed the pattern relating what happened there to earlier assaults: “This is exactly what Israel did in Norway; the political party that voted sanctions against Israel was retaliated against by a ‘lone gunman’ who killed 77 children. This is what Israel always does, they go after the children.”

The article then continues with:

The most likely scenario, given what we know now, is that Adam Lanza and his mother killed the day before. Adam’s body picked up by local police. He was attired in a SWAT outfit, including body armor, and stored in the school.

Ha! So now, without providing any evidence whatever, Fetzer introduces the Connecticut State Police as auxillary murderers providing those vicious Jewish child killers a dead patsy, a harmless vegan nerd, upon whom criminal responsibility will be laid.

To some, despite to total absence of evidence, Fetzer’s theories will seem eminently plausible, which is why they are so harmful to the public interest.

Many people, some too busy to think things through, some simple-minded and easily gulled, some deeply prejudiced about Israel, or deeply opposed to the Obama administration will believe and disseminate such theories and thus expose all who wish to discuss Sandy Hook or other politically pivotal events to blanket condemnation as dupes of the lying Iranian propaganda apparatus, anti-Semites, disloyal Americans, mentally challenged individuals incapable of understanding that one cannot bandy about charges of monstrous criminality unsupported by evidence without destroying one’s own credibility.

Which leaves one with a question. What kind of man is Jim Fetzer?

One suspects that to those who know him, he is a charming, highly intelligent and learned individual, able to bring a wide knowledge of ideas and events to bear on a multitude of questions in an engaging and informative way. Why then does he appear to be engaged in exercises in crude propaganda that seem to go entirely against the ethic of a professional philosopher?

The answer, perhaps, lies in Fetzer’s past. Not only is he a distinguished professor emeritus in philosophy, he is also a former Marine Corps. Officer, a man committed we may therefore assume to the defense of his country, and probably to the defense of his country right or wrong.

That would explain a lot.

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