Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Anti-establishmentarian Malaise and Flat Earthism

For the Flat Earthers the UN neatly incorporates their two main obsessions: 1. The one-world-order conspiracy and 
2. a cryptic acknowledgement of what is only known to the Illuminati - that the earth is flat!

I thought I'd put on record this web item from Yahoo news.  I've reproduced it below because it's too precious to lose (Yahoo web items are eventually recycled, as far as I am aware).

The article is about what it states to be the increasing popularity in the Flat Earth conspiracy. However, I always bear in mind that some of these web news agencies have subtle ways of embroidering news to make it look more sensational; it need not be outright "fake news" but it can provide the distortions of disproportion, emphasis and de-emphasis. So I move with care.

Elaborated or not this article doesn't come out of a cultural vacuum; it is quite likely that it at least signals a trend in Western culture. Moreover, given my experience of conspiracy theorism it does look as if the writer of the article has picked up to a tee the kind of mentality needed to imbibe the paranoid fantasy world of modern fundamentalism. So, the article is pretty authentic sounding.

To me flat earth conspiracy theorism is up there with young earthism, geocentrism and David Ike's lizard conspiracy - all symptoms of the antiestablishmentarian malaise that's bound up with fundamentalism, general disaffection and individualistic "libertarianism"; the latter is particularly significant as it affects to have an aversion toward the role of conscious co-operation & coordinated behavior in human collectives, the social equivalent of a central nervous system; in their eyes locality equates to freedom, centrality to control freakery. Like the cloud-cuckoo-land Marxists of yesteryear, contemporary antiestablishmentarians dream of and aspire to a small-government idyll, but as the French revolution, the soviet system, fascism and China under Moa Tse Tung proved, idealistic revolutionary zeal, if its not corrupt from the outset, is so easily twisted and corrupted. Moreover, turning the status quo upside down is accompanied by a confusion which gives opportunity for dictators to step in and bring about an autocratic nightmare. With the coming of  Donald J Trump authoritarian extremists are tempted to think they are in with a chance. 

Turning to the Yahoo article we find that Yahoo news asked some questions of a British flat earther and reported his responses.  Below I try to summarize the essence of the fantasy world this guy lives in: 

ONE) He believes that good solid honest people don't need centralized science; they just use their immediate senses to look at the world and they are convinced that their common sense then enables them to see the manifest truth of flat earth (after all, its all "in front of our faces") and the manifest error, no make that "lies", of established science. 

TWO) The internet (a miracle of science!) is, ironically, spreading this anti-science non-sense!

THREE) Fundamentalist "science" of all types is at least in part a protest against generalized Copernicanism; it comes out of the feeling that each advance in science, starting with Copernicus, dehumanizes us, makes us feel belittled and insignificant and generally promotes a nihilistic malaise. Much more to these people's taste are world views which bring us back to the physical and literal centre of the cosmos. Fundamentalism does this in stages from young earthism through geocentrism to flat earthism. It's an inadvertent nostalgia for the Ptolemaic cosmos of the middle ages where man was at the centre of the temple of creation. But these flat earthers are actually going even further back than that - at least medieval people knew the world to be a sphere!

FOUR) A religious sense, perhaps of a Christian fundamentalist kind, has a significant role in promoting flat earthism. For flat earthers the only way they see of coping with what they percieve as the nihilist random world view of science is to reject the whole scientific edifice and turn to the God of the flat earth. They are convinced that somebody out there doesn't want us to believe. There's a conspiracy to make us atheists and nihilists, they think.

FIVE) Anyone trying to prove to these deluded flat earthers that they are wrong or opposing their ideas has the very opposite effect to that intended: they simply perceive such attacks as part of the conspiracy to deceive us of our true status in the cosmic set up.

SIX) NASA is just an organ of deception; part of conspiratorial scientific establishment out to defraud us of our right to know our literal cosmic centrality. Otherwise fundamentalists believe true "science" to be on their side, as promoted sometimes by a handful contrarian scholars.

SEVEN) Flat earthers come out with some breathtakingly naive science and logic. This is too numerous in the article below to mention and too laughable to refute. Here's a juicy morsel: ‘What about people in Australia? Why don’t they fall off?’ The reality is that there’s no such thing as gravity – instead there’s a force pushing you downwards. If the world was really spinning, why isn’t there a breeze? Surely this is a parody! Either that or starting with the Greeks this man is throwing centuries of hard won science to the winds!

Summing up
Antiestablishmentarinism has many paradoxes. It's affected libertarianism won't accept that big business is an emergent phenomenon which very naturally arises out of the logic of small business libertarianism. But the naive antiestablishmentrarian conspiracy theorist has a tendency to lump together big business and big government as of a piece with the same conspiracy to disabuse us of true knowledge and rightful freedoms.

It is ironic that both atheism and fundamentalism are in part down to a failure to spiritually cope with some of the gob-smacking output of modern science. The atheists throw their hands up in disbelief and face the precipice of nihilism.  The coping strategy of Christian fundamentalism is to return to the pre-science era and explain away science as an outcome of paganism and/or conspiracy. 

In the UK people can be just as daft and cranky as anywhere else, but it seems that the UK (apart from David Ike) does lack some of the big names in lunacy leadership, a leadership who deserve Nobel prizes in crackpot crazy such as William Tapley, Westborough baptist church, Kent Hovind, Steve Anderson, Ken Ham, Gerardus Bouw and Alex Jones, many of whom would welcome the Trump presidency. I know that this Yahoo flat earth article is in the Poe's law zone, but just remind me of any of the aforementioned names and I personally find it all too believable. 

Some of my posts apposite to this subject can be found in the links below

Why do conspiracy fans believe the Earth is flat? We spoke to one to find out
In recent years, the idea of a ‘flat Earth’ has intrigued YouTubers and conspiracy theorists alike.
Even certain celebrities have backed the idea that our planet is not spherical.
Last month, an American basketball star came out and admitted that he thought the Earth was flat – and other players said they agreed.
NBA star Kyrie Irving said in a podcast, ‘This is not even a conspiracy theory. The Earth is flat. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.’
Previously, rapper B.o.B (Bobby Ray Simmons Jr) Tweeted his support for the idea to his two million followers.
Yahoo News spoke to British flat Earth believer Roger, 46, a builder from London, to find out why people are attracted to the idea.
What attracted you to the idea that the Earth is flat?
I saw something about the flat Earth one day – and I resonated towards it. I remembered taking a picture on an aircraft, and looked back at that picture. There wasn’t a curvature. If you assume you’re looking at something, you will see it – that’s the reason people think the Earth is round.
Who told you about it?
People are believing in the flat Earth more and more. I first saw it when somebody that I knew, a DJ friend of mine, shared something about it online. I know him, and he’s quite a knowledgeable guy. I gravitated towards it.
Is the idea getting more popular?
To begin with, there was hardly anything about it – it was very minimal. Now there are thousands of websites and YouTube videos. I think YouTube deleted 60,000 videos. That to me just proves it even more.
Why would anyone try to lie that the Earth was a globe?
The reason people are trying to hide it is that they want us to believe that we all come from a speck of dust – that everything is pure chance, and that we are spinning around the universe, somehow miraculously developing and growing. It makes you feel insignificant. It takes away your desire to be a better person. If people understood that the world is flat, that the stars rotate around us, the sun rotates around us, people would start to believe that this has been built by design. People would gravitate towards God. The world would be a better place, wouldn’t it?
Who is behind the conspiracy?
There’s no globe, no rotation, no orbit, and there was no Big Bang. The idea of the round world is so that capitalist society can keep its domination of the world. You see little shops being pushed out by big shops. You pay money for things that shouldn’t cost money.
Are all flat Earth believers religious?
If you thought there was someone watching you from the top of the goldfish bowl, you would be a better person, wouldn’t you? That’s how I feel. But a lot of flat Earth believers come from a scientific viewpoint. One YouTube guy I watch is a scientist – he’s basically angry. Every time he tries to prove that the world is round, he just proves it’s flat.
What about space missions – don’t they prove that the Earth is round?
The space program is 100% fake – just like the moon landings are fake. It’s all tin foil and curtain poles. All NASA’s images are CGI, every one of them. President Obama said three years ago that in 10 to 20 years we would get out of Earth’s lower orbit. Well how did you get there in 1969? It’s really stupid. It’s like me saying, ‘I’ve been to Liverpool,’ then in ten years time going, ‘I want to go to Liverpool’. But people just don’t click.
What about satellites?
NASA is fake and a lie. If there are satellites, how come you never get reception when you are on top of a mountain? The internet all comes from cables under the sea.
What proves that the Earth is flat?
If you tell people the world is flat, they think you’re an idiot. But when you’re four years old and they tell you the world is round, you think they’re an idiot then – you ask, ‘What about people in Australia? Why don’t they fall off?’ The reality is that there’s no such thing as gravity – instead there’s a force pushing you downwards. If the world was really spinning, why isn’t there a breeze?  (Ed: have a good laugh at this point, it's carthartic)
What do your friends think about your beliefs?
When I tell my friends, they think I am crazy – but they thought I was crazy when I told them about the New World Order 20 years ago. Being part of society is a trick. It feels like slavery.

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