Friday, August 10, 2018

Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!

Please free us from the drivel of
Alex Jones filthy mouth!
In a concerted move by Facebook, YouTube, iTunes and Pinterest. crackpot conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been banished from the domains of these service providers. Predictably this is portrayed on Jones website as vindication of his theories, theories which assign him the role of hero in an apocalyptic struggle against covert anti-Christian and Satanic forces. (See here for the reaction on Jones website)

I feel ambivalent about the ban: Jones has had it coming for a long while; he's a vile disseminator of delusion and must rank as one of the most vicious and merciless slanderers of innocent people: For example, the parents of the child-victims of the Sandy Hook massacre had to endue insult as well as injury when Jones accused them of lying about an event he claimed never took place. Such a nasty paranoid fantasist well deserves to be shut-up. And yet as with all such fantasists no matter what one does or says it is assimilated into an increasingly ramifying delusional narrative; so you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. The best policy may be just to ignore him. Trouble is, like a badly behaved child some restrictions have to be placed on their anti-social activities, at least for the benefit of those around them who have to endue their obnoxious behavior.

I some ways I see Jones and his retinue of fundamentalist followers as a kind of anti-Christ, an anti-Christ whose job it is to make a mockery of the Christian faith. Therefore anything that restrains this debauched group can be applauded, but in my case I only applaud half-heartedly: For it is clear that this censuring move is only dealing with the symptoms and not the underlying diseases of disaffection, disillusion and alienation coupled to the breath-taking gullibility and misunderstanding among his following about the way the world actually works (See here).

As an illustration of how the world really works let's take this group of people:

Donald Trump, Alex Jones, Kent Hovind, Steve Anderson, Eric Hovind, William Tapley, Ken Ham, Glen Beck, John Mackay. 

These right-wingers have a lot in common and are linked into a close nexus of associations. Viz: Trump and Jones have engaged in mutual support. Ken Ham is a Trump supporter. Kent Hovind is a "sovereign citizen" and conspiracy theorist. William Tapley believes himself to be an authoritative Biblical prophet and supports Trump. Eric Hovind and Ken Ham are mutually supporting young earth fundamentalists. Glen Beck is a Christian conspiracy theorist. Steve Anderson is an uncompromising angry fundamentalist who supports Kent Hovind's young earthism. Fanatical fundamentalist John Mackay is Ken Ham's friend and ex-business partner.  But in spite of these links there is no coherent background conspiracy behind this clutch of like-minded partisans; they come together because they share interests and a common mental malady which imagines "liberal-left" depravity lurking in the shades. They see themselves as clean & clear minded heroes sent to bring revelation as they fight the good fight against the evil enemy of contemporary mores. And yet there is diversity and disparate division here as well: Anderson and Eric Hovind are at loggerheads. Ham and Tapley would fall out over who has the greater authority. John MacKay's extreme fundamentalist antics were even a stretch for Ken Ham.  Ken Ham (I hope) wouldn't go along with many of Jones theories, although I have never known Ham to disown him, as he has disowned Kent Hovind. Jones and Tapley, although perhaps the most crackpot of the group, nevertheless in some ways capture the flavour of the group by caricaturing it.

Pence is symbolic of Trump's
fundamentalist following.
Presiding over all these bizarre personalities is the figure of Donald Trump, a man who has succeeded in mobilizing them and their followings for his own purposes through their shared discontent with  the conspiratorial "establishment swamp" which Trump claims he is going to drain. They all reflect a malaise of dissent from established culture and this holds them together, although an all too human tendency toward epistemic arrogance causes sharp divisions between them. This is the way of world, a kind of pathological unity in chaos. You don't need conspiracy theorism to explain it; they all contribute in their own inimitable ways to poisoning the atmosphere of discourse, causing mass defection from science and reason.

A sample of Alex Jones' "infoWars":

A sample of William Tapley: He supports Trump & Pence

ADDENDUM 12/08/18

See this BBC article for the harm Jones and his following are doing to people's lives

Brennan Gilmore witnessed and filmed the vehicle attack by a white supremacist on a crowd protesting against the fascist rally in Charlottesville. The article makes it clear that the people who attacked Gilmore (and the protesting crowd for that matter) intend to do harm. These are kind who, if they get into power, will come knocking on your door ready to take you away. Let's make no bones about it: They are fascists. And they support Trump and Pence.

 Here are some quotes form the article:

The conspiracy theorists falsely alleged that Gilmore was an agent of the so-called "deep state", who had planned the crash as a way of discrediting President Trump and his supporters. They claimed, again falsely, that he was in the pay of liberal financier George Soros.

The first sign that something was wrong was when Gilmore's sister called him on Sunday 13 August, to let him know that their parents had been 'doxxed' - their address was posted on far-right message boards, and threats were made against them.

[Gilmore] is taking action against 11 people or companies for "defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress", saying articles and videos were posted online "with reckless disregard of the truth".
Among those he is suing are Jim Hoft, the founder of the far-right website Gateway Pundit, and Alex Jones, who set up Infowars. Jones' lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
This is not the only case of defamation Jones is facing. Infowars has published stories falsely claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut in 2012 - when gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults - was staged.
The relatives of nine victims are now taking action against Jones, saying they have been harassed by people who believe his conspiracy theory.
The Infowars host has sought to get the lawsuit dismissed. This week, a number of tech giants, including YouTube and Facebook, deleted his content, citing hate speech

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