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If your birth certificate says that you were born in Honolulu, and your parents lived in Honolulu at the time, it is unlikely that your mother put her pregnant self on a plane, flew to Kenya to deliver you, and then persuaded the Hawaiian authorities to record your place of birth as Honolulu.

If you get into a vehicle with a drunk driver, don't fasten your seat belt, and die in a crash, it is unlikely that your ex-father-in-law had anything to do with it.

If your friends found you dead in your bathroom in the 1970s, it is unlikely that you faked your death and are alive and well in 2009.

If you were a top athlete and your career ended years ago, and now it looks as though you committed a crime and you're acting like you're guilty as sin, it is unlikely that white people set you up because they are jealous of your past success, even though they haven't heard from you in years.

Sometimes things are exactly what they seem. Americans are American, accidents are accidental, suspects are suspect, and the dead are dead.

So why are conspiracy theories so attractive? Because sometimes reality is so unattractive that it's simply unreal. So if the "wrong" person wins an election by a large enough margin that there won't be a recount, something has to be wrong. An unheroic and preventable death has to be something else. If the government, which is supposed to be ineffective, accomplishes something remarkable, it must be a scam.
A terrorist attack "does not happen here," so there must be more to it.

If one thinks about it, one of the most difficult aspects of growing up is coming to terms with reality. At some point one has to accept that there is no Easter Bunny and St. Nicholas is a dead bishop from Turkey instead of a jolly old elf from the North Pole. Not even the tooth fairy is real. Reality bites.

In reality, the home team doesn't always win; in fact, some years they don't even make the playoffs. Wishing really hard (or voting for Pedro) doesn't make every dream come true. There won't always be ice cream for dessert.

In reality, if loved ones die, they stay dead. They don't come back as a recast or reappear in the shower. In reality, there are not only heroes and villains. People one admires sometimes turn out flawed. People one dislikes sometimes turn out to be right.

The problem with wingnuts is that they like the perks of being an adult but refuse the responsibility. As far as maturity goes, they stay forever preteens, even when they are eligible for Medicare. That's why they are drawn to conspiracy theories -- the ultimate alternate reality.

The reason President Obama is so popular overseas is not (only) his smile, his oratory skills, and his cute dog. Countries older than ours are painfully aware that it takes an adult to run a government. Reality has come to bite them time and again. An immature fratboy or prom queen with the finger on the nuke button is frightening.

So when things get frustrating, consider that while reality is difficult, at least for now the adults are in charge.

Originally posted to MaikeH on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 03:42 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

    by MaikeH on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 03:42:23 PM PDT

  •  "Reality is merely an illusion, (0+ / 0-)

    albeit a persistent one."

  •  For some people, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what would they have to live for, if there were no conspiracy theories?  

    Neurotics build castles in the sky; Psychotics live in them; Psychiatrists collect the rent....Mary...."In Plain Sight."

    by RO45 on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 04:13:44 PM PDT

  •  I hate that term... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    houyhnhnm, sfbob, Norbrook

    ..."adults are in charge"

    I specificly remember that term being applied to Bush's early first term, that he didn't have much foreign policy or domestic policy experience, but it was okay becuase he was "Surrounded by adults".  Only the adults turned out to be crooks and conmen.

    You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

    by DawnG on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 04:19:04 PM PDT

  •  Even laughter is more than these folks deserve (0+ / 0-)

    So why bother giving them additional attention?

  •  So your the one I'm looking for? (0+ / 0-)

    What happened to building 7?
    Who stole the 11 lbs of platonium that gave Israel the bomb?
    What did Sidney Gottlieb plead the fifth too in the 1975 Frank Church Senate Hearings?
      Why can't I get a smallpox vacination. The last one I got was only good for 20 years.
      How come we haven't built a plane in 30 years and if we decide to build one where would you suggest? China maybe. I don't use their can openers w/o safty goggles.
     NAFTA, The Mark Rich Pardon, lobbying is covered by freespeech (isn't lobbying a financial transaction and open to taxation?)  On and on and on.
     It was Huey Long that literally pulled FDR to his left. FDR didn't go to his left until Huey Long made FDR go to his left. And FDR attacked Huey for it.

  •  What's a conspircy theory? (0+ / 0-)

    Refusing to believe the Single-Bullet Theory makes me a nutcase?  But unless one accepts the Single-Bullet Theory, one cannot hold the opinion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

    Introduction for younger kossacks, refresher for older folks:

    The Single-Bullet Theory was introduced by young Warren Commission staff attorney Arlen Specter to explain how the bullets fired by Lee Harvey Oswald could have done all the damage that was inflicted on President Kennedy and Governor Connolly, knowing how many bullets were fired and where they ended up.  To believe, as the Warren Commission reported, that Oswald acted alone, one MUST accept the following as totally factual, accurate, realistic, and routine:

    According to the single-bullet theory, a one-inch-long copper-jacketed lead-core 6.5-millimeter rifle bullet fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository passed through President Kennedy’s neck and Governor Connally’s chest and wrist and embedded itself in the Governor’s thigh. If so, this bullet traversed 15 layers of clothing, 7 layers of skin, and approximately 15 inches of tissue, struck a necktie knot, removed 4 inches of rib, and shattered a radius bone. The bullet that is supposed to have done all this damage was found on a stretcher in the corridor at the Parkland Memorial Hospital, in Dallas, after the assassination...Its copper jacket was completely intact.

    "99% of the battles and skirmishes that we fought in Afghanistan were won by our side." ~ Marshall Akhromeyev

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 05:00:05 PM PDT

  •  You're no fun. (0+ / 0-)

    Go back to the reality you came from, and patch my pretty bubble.

    John Galt is the new Walter Mitty.

    by Bob Love on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 06:11:26 PM PDT

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