Friday, June 26, 2009

Conspiracy theories

Here is an interesting Fresh Air interview with Chip Berlet on Extremism, Conspiracy Theory and Murder. It talks about the strange world views of some white supremacist group on the right and the 9/11 conspiracy groups to the left. Of interest here, there is a brief discussion of looney ideas involving the freemasons, the illuminati, etc. Berlet's focus is only on the US. But some of these ideas (especially those with anti-Semitic strands) get a makeover in the Muslim world and are also quite popular there. By the way, our favorite basket-case, Harun Yahya, is also obsessed with freemasons etc. It fits nicely with his end-of-times craziness and the Mahdi obsession. If he was in the US, he would certainly have made it into Berlet's list.

In any case, here is the description of the Fresh Air show:
Chip Berlet has studied extremism, conspiracy theories and hate groups for more than 25 years. In a recent report for, he says that the murders of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller and Holocaust Museum guard Stephen T. Johns exemplify the potential for violence that often lurks within extremist groups.

Berlet argues that right-wing pundits share some of the moral responsibility for the actions of their followers. He summarizes the analysis in his report in a June 10 Huffington Post article about Johns' murder: "Apocalyptic aggression is fueled by right-wing pundits who demonize scapegoated groups and individuals in our society, implying that it is urgent to stop them from wrecking the nation."

Berlet is a senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a Boston-area-based think tank, and the co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. He is also the editor of Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash.


Anonymous said...

Martin Riexinger said...

Well the less ridiculous aspect is that HArun Yahya was engaged in Holocaust denial until that brought his German friends into the scrape.

Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz Baden-
Württemberg. 2004, Verfassungschutzbericht 2003, Landesministerium des Innern,
Stuttgart: http://www.innenministerium.badenwuerttemberg.
de/fm/122/Verfassungsschutzbericht_2003.pdf, pp. 76 – 78.

Salman Hameed said...

Oh yes, he indeed switched his position on Holocaust. Do you think it was because of this German issue or that it would have turned-off potential Muslim audience in Europe?

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