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tv   Lectures in History Conspiracy Culture in American History  CSPAN  October 12, 2021 2:09pm-3:35pm EDT

2:09 pm follow american history tv on twitter, facebook, and youtube for schedule updates, to learn about what happened this day in history, watch videos and learn more about the people and events that have shaped the american story. find us at c-span history. next on american history tv, it's time for lectures in history. this week, indiana university bloomington professor stephen andrews teaches a class on conspiracy culture in american history. >> thank you guys so much. i have been -- this is my second year. i also did some other things with the museum. i would like to thank everybody at the 9/11 museum. they're fantastic, as you all know. so easy to work with. gilda is fantastic, the entire staff is wonderful. it hit me last year, and i thought that maybe this year it would be different that i hadn't -- i had already experienced the 9/11 museum and now it would become old hat,
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being in this space. and it's not. right? this space, as you know as well as anybody over the last five days, is hallowed ground. and it is a powerful place, and a hard place in a sense to do something as mundane as give a lecture. so i'm going to do my best to do that. and i say that because some of the things we're going to talk about are weird. some of them are funny. some of them are scary. some of them are gross. and i don't want any of that to seem disrespectful to the space that we're in. nothing we can do, you know, as lincoln said can unhallowed this ground that is hallowed. but i do want you to know that i'm cognizant, as i'm sure you are, as the space we're in but still have to do the task before us. my name is stephen andrews. i had a great pleasure of working with with ed and continue to work him. from a small southern town in florida. brandon, outside of tampa. i was raised a as fundamentalist evangelical southern baptist. i say that because we will talk at some points conspiracy
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culture interacts with american religion. and we have to talk about that. and when we do, i don't want it to ever seem that i'm being derisive or joking about religious things. i think there is crucially important both to me personally and professionally as a historian. but we need to talk about some of those issues. but i'm just laying that out that the place i'm coming from is not a place outside religion but within it. so any criticisms or comments i'm making are from a person who is part of a culture that you're also critiquing. when i was in graduate school, i was working on spiritualism. i'm not sure how familiar you are with spiritualism but spiritualism was the popular belief that it was possible to talk to the spirits of the dead in the 1850s and becomes a cultural phenomenon of people having seances and it goes through the 1860s of talking to the dead and the fox sisters in 1848 and the thing that fascinated me was i was well
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familiar with the academic work on religion and folk belief. things like keith thomas's religion and the decline of magic. right? which is as we become more modern in the enlightenment our beliefs in things like witches and monsters and fairies are diminishing. and yet in the 1850s in a time of steam ships and the telegraph, where we're laying trans-atlantic telegraph cables that link new york and london, people in america and and other parse of europe but particularly america. are fasz fascinated in the existence of talking to spirits. how do you have both things. how do you move toward maternity, establishing the erie canal and the steam ship and also looking back to beliefs that would not be out of place in salem. i want to keep also -- but keep that in the back of your head. when i say conspiracy theorist
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or i talk about american conspiracies what are some of the kind of conspiracies we're talking about? >> we did not land on the moon. the moon hoax. >> yes. >> i had a student told me the las vegas shooting with as ploy by the united states government to take away american -- >> right. this is second amendment kind of new world order stuff. >> sandy hook didn't happen. >> sandy hook didn't happen. others? >> jfk assassination. >> jfk assassination. >> holocaust. >> holocaust didn't happen. >> parkland shooting is set up. >> parkland shooting is set up. >> crisis actors. >> so we could go on and on and on. right? so here's the short list. kennedy assassination. birthers. obama wasn't born in the united states. truthers, 9/11 was an inside job. ufos that the united states government is hiding information about aliens and ufos. fema, new world order, jade hill, martial law. this is the we're going to put people in fema camps, the atf is
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going to take our guns. we can disarm the american population. this is crisis actors around every shooting. nafta and the amero. the amero was nafta was the north american free trade agreement. there was an argument that was nafta was leading into what was going to be a triunion of united states, mexico, and canada that would use a new dollar bill called the amero. in fact there were reports about red money. and so when we have redesigned our currency, you have recognized, we redesigned our currency, when people saw stacked, they thought this will be our new dollar. vaccines, gm foods, mercury, autism, weather modifications, chem trails, the fed, there moon landing was a hoax, u.n. conspiracies, agenda 21. agenda 21 was signed in rio de janeiro, the u.n. agenda for sustainable growth, environmental protection, and other things.
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supposedly, this is the plan of radical population reduction to get the population of the world down to 300 million. using chem trails, these things often tie together. crisis actors. builder burgers. a conference of world economic and political leaders that is close to the public. rothschilds, publication reduction. >> would you be able to share this powerpoint with us? >> absolutely, yes. so, so many. so i think there are, as we talked about it, if you wanted to we could have gone on for another 20 minutes coming up with deeper and deeper conspiracy, right? or different versions of same ones. so a wide range. some of them are spectacular and truly weird. david ike who i'm not sure if you are familiar with. a british broadcaster. sports broadcaster who came convinced that the royal family and other world leaders are all
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actually shape shifting aliens who are lizards. and that the royal families of europe that are all tied by blood, world war i, all of the combatants in europe are all kin. they are all cousins. so they are all a family in a sense. that they are all actually shape-shifting lizards. not believed by very many. but spectacular. some believe in evergreen. the kennedy assassination. there are kennedy assassination conspiracy believers of all stripes from all different places, and we'll talk about that a little bit. others are widespread keyed into cultural moment likes to birther controversy. the birther controversy was very big news in the late 20 teens. will probably not be huge news 15, 20 years from now. it will not procedure probably be the kennedy assassination. there are some that never take. some that obama sabotaged the deep water horizon in the gulf of mexico to have new policies
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against oil use, to push solar power. you know, but this one came up with sampled. everyone was like, no. and then it kind of went away again. so this happens in this kind of life cycle of conspiracy theories. so the reality, and one of the things we have to think about and the second part will be talking about what we do with our students and how we talk to our students about conspiracies and our fellow american citizens about conspiracies. one of the things that we have to acknowledge as part of this conversation is that conspiracy theories exist. if you say that a conspiracy is a group of people working in secret to advance somethingf beneficial to them, than conspiracies are everywhere. every corporation coming out with a new rollout of the bacon double cheese burger with rio sauce, the 11 herbs and spices in kfc, the secret formula of coke. what i mean is people meet in secret to do all kinds of things for their own interest. and right now, maybe less now than in the cold war, there are people in high-rise office buildings thinking how to
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protect you. the cia, fbi, justice department. also certainly when i was a child in the 1980s outside of mcdill air force base it was someone probably not much older than me in somewhere in russia sitting on an icbm targeted with my neighborhood, right? there are secret groups working against you and protecting you. we live in a web of secrecy, not all of it is a conspiracy. but we have to recognize that conspiracies do exist. right. so i think that when we talk about conspiracy culture, we talk about conspiracies, it seems like we're talking about something that's weird and strange and outside of the mainstream, outside of the way that most of us, because we all generally think of us as a group, educated, educators who teach people we are not part of this group. that group is out there and this is a fringe strange part of american culture. i disagree.
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i think conspiracies is how americans do politics. it is often the first move. when i heard yesterday, maybe you did too that stormy daniels got arrested i had conversations with no less than five people about it yesterday who are all of differing education levels from high school to postgraduate medical school who all said they set her up. who they is, why they set her up, but the first thought is, they set her up. right. there is a growing sense in the united states, and i'm going trace conspiracies from early on in our founding to the present day of about this is a way that americans do politics, think politically. and it is also part of our, and maybe other countries too, i don't know that it is just unique to america but america is what i've studied. and it is a powerful force here. the way we think about politics. whether it was bernie was rooked
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out via conspiracy of the clintons or trump saying this is a conspiracy to get me unelected or all these simple things. probably down to every local school board of a conspiracy to do one thing or another, put in a street light, change the hours of the bus schedule, whatever. so in my own classes i talk about the occult. and on one level the occult. it is exactly what we tend to think of as the occult. werewolves, demons, monsters, magic. that's the occult, and that's part of the american culture. salem witch trials and other places where this kind of what we tend to think of as scary supernatural believes come up. but i actually think there is a big part of the occult in the latin sense of occultis, of hidden. american fascination with hidden knowledge that shows up in our popular culture. that shows up in our advertisements, shows up in our tv shows. this idea that we are americans are haunted by that the world is
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not what we see and the real things that happen and really affect us, the important things are the things that are happening hidden, underground. hidden underground both metaphorically and quite literally. that they, them, are making the decisions. and they them are somewhere hidden under ground and we have to find a way to discover what that reality, what reality actually looks like. right? so occult thinking, thinking conspiratorially is how americans react with the world. it is part of our popular culture. for example, if you look at just advertisements, here are ten ancient diet secrets they don't want you to know. if you watch, certainly, i watched a lot of, because i didn't have a lot better things to do, i watched a lot of oprah and daytime television during the '80s and '90s, right. here are diet secrets, here are beauty secrets, here are things your cardiologist doesn't want
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you to know. here's the way to eat, and if you eat this way, you'll magically lose weight and your cardiologist doesn't want you to know that. the idea there is a secret knowledge of a way to do things and some powerful force wants to keep you from doing that. that is politics, and culture. popular culture. i looked through the tv listings. hard to find a night in tv i would argue that you might not be able to. to find a night in popular culture where one of the major shows on networks is not about exactly this. is not about secret groups of agents stopping underground groups. 24 agents of shield, right? angels and demons, x files comes back. x-files was massive in the '90s. all of these things. buffy. again, i was joking that i was watching downtown abbey with my wife and realized about four episodes in, something was missing. and i turned to her and i said where are the vampires?
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how is it we're going to go four episodes of a show and like no one has superpowers? there are no under -- the kaiser is not a werewolf? how is this possibly a show? so this is what we're obsessed by. and it is percolating through our culture in ways that americans are prepared to think that there is an occult underground world. an occult not necessarily werewolves and vampires but hidden, away from us, that other people control. this was up a year ago and i showed it and i always try to find things more popular. this was so good. i could not use it. this was on twitter. sometimes it is a horrible mistake to let 10 year olds name their own baseball team. then again, sometimes they crush it. and the kid has his baseball team, it's literally the illuminati, with the baseball back of the jersey being trust no one with the all-seeing illuminati eye. when i was 10, we would have
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never come up with illuminati. right? so what does it mean to have kids name themselves after, as we'll talk about, a 1770s enlightenment underground movement in bohemia, and to have trust no one as the tag line? partially this is from the x-files, this is a joke, not serious, or is it? what does this say about our culture? big events like wars, the current recession, and outcomes of elections are controlled by small groups of people who are working in secret against the rest of us. we'll talk about more on this in our second hour. only 30% disagree. kyrie irving believes the earth is flat. they lied to us. right? so part of this, i don't want to necessarily make fun of kyrie irving. but i wanted to read some of
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this from the sporting news. not known as necessarily being deep into conspiracy theories. the idea that the earth is truly flat and this is being hidden. so the earth is flat, irving said matter of factually. he joins as the notable denier of a sphere-shaped planet. any time you have a question about is the earth flat or round i think you need to do research on it. i think we all agree. when asked how he can believe the flat theory, he responded, because it's right in front of our faces. they lied to us. he also acknowledges he's been taught his entire life the planet is round but thinks logically it doesn't make sense. if you really think about it from a landscape the way we travel, move and the fact that can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets rotating in specific idates being perpendicular with what's on these planets and stuff like this? irving explained using air quotes when saying the word
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planets. maybe the cavaliers don't need to acquire carmelo anthony. maybe they need neil degrass tyson. and i am not here necessarily to talk, to make fun of kyrie irving who literally states newton's theory of planetary motion as a big scam. but this quote. because it is right in front of our faces, they lie to us. trust no one. okay. so stefon diggs from the wide receiver of the vikings said how mad would you be if i said i agree with kyrie. i don't care. someone responded you think the earth is flat? he said prove it's not right now. besides showing me a picture you got from somewhere and i'll be a believer. now, one, this is we want to not say we're talking with a wide receiver of the minnesota vikings about whether or not the earth is flat.
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but, look at the evidentiary argumentative moves, i don't believe it, they lied to us. show me a picture but not one you got from somewhere, because underneath that is a sense, they lie to us. the evidence itself by which we would argue about whether this is true or not is so tainted that it is not accessible, and a circular argument in which the evidence you want to introduce will be immediately discounted because the source you are going to produce it from are the only people who can take picture from space, who are them. we're in a box. intellectual box. okay? richard hofstetter wrote in 1964 for harpers. it is an article you can give to students. i have given to students. very easy to read and accessible. about the paranoid style. american politics has often been an arena for angry minds but i believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and not necessarily right wing. i call it the paranoid style. simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and
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conspiratorial fantasy that i have in mind. in this essay from 1964, in the wake of barry goldwater and the idea of the john birch society, he's writing about this, but he's osgoing back in history and writes about conspiracy in the 1850s, from a texas newspaper in the 1850s. it's a notorious fact that the monarchs of europe and the pope of rome are at this very moment plotting our destruction and threatening the extinction of our political, civil, and religious institutions. we have the best reasons for believing corruption that found its way to our executive chamber and our executive head is tainted with the infectious venom of catholicism. in the 1850s there is a worldwide conspiracy against the united states but it is from the pope and it is already infected the presidency. there are many things you could probably say about franklin pierce but i don't think he was a pawn of the pope. right? also communist. joe mccarthy in the 1950s, which
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is how can we account for our present situation unless we believe that men high in this government are concerting to deliver us to disaster? this must be a product of a great conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. not just a conspiracy. the biggest in the history of man. and that this is eisenhower who won world war ii is actually a secret pawn of the communists. if not eisenhower, then certainly people high up in the white house. truman administration. the paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms. traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. he is always manning the barricades of civilization. >> he constantly lives at the turning point. like religious millennialists, he expresses the anxiety of those living through the last days and he's sometimes disposed to set date for the apocalypse. he's writing about political thinkers as a religious
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historian in particular this language speaks out in the language of millennialism and apocalyptic visions. and hearing people in american politics, they talk about a war of civilization, everything will be over if we don't have a border wall or something else. everything will be gone or overridden, this kind of language this is the election, if this election doesn't happen it's all over because of some dark conspiracy. okay. the illuminati. we go back into our history. the illumined ones established in bavaria in 1776, founded by adam wieshopt. probably not a real name. a university professor advanced the goals to enlightenment. so the illuminati is a real thing. a real organization set up for enlightenment goal that in 1785, the leader of bavaria, issued a edict making all secret societies illegal. illuminati fled the country and
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government seized their letters and papered and published them, showing they were anti-religious. the enlightenment was often opposed to particularly the catholic church so this was a reason to expose them. but they show up again in the 1790s in america. and an america that's involved in both about to be involved in a quasiwar with france that's between france and england as they are fighting a revolution. france is fighting a revolution and england is about to fight a war against france and america is caught in the middle. if you know about the election of 1800 from hamilton, etc. right, jefferson was framed as the french revolutionary who will make the streets of america run with blood and adams framed as the monarchist who will return the united states to england. and the illuminati was seen as the secret force causing the french revolution. a small group of people in bavaria often accused of being the secret force behind the french revolution.
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freemasonry, this is a constant in american conspiracy theory. it comes up again and again. established in the 18th century but claims an ancient connection to the temple of solomon. an international society of brotherhood with secret signs and symbols of initiation. do you recognize any? the all seeing eye of freemasonry that finds its way both on to the american dollar and the jersey of a 10-year-old little league player. right. many of these symbols, the parquet floor, the all-seeing eye, the apron, this is a part of when you look at the language of symbols of american conspiracy theories, these symbols come up again and again. and freemasons are one of these group. they are pan-national. they are pan-cultural in which they stretch around the world. that have secret rituals and those rituals may be no more complicated than the lion's club
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in some estimation of part of a secret radical satanest agenda depending on how you want to term it. in a sense as the secret society. we don't know. this is a list of famous masonic teachers. it could go on and on. 27 signers of the constitution. most of the earliest presidents. washington, franklin, revere, payne, polk, mckinley, roosevelt, johnson, ford, others. easy to make the argument, if you are willing to connect particular data points that the united states government itself is a masonic plot. the reason the great seal looks like a masonic symbol is the masons are basically behind it all. in new york, 1826 tried to join the local mason lodge and was turned down so he said i'm going to publish a book revealing all your secrets. he was arrested. when he was released, he never
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returned home. a body was found in the river in upstate new york. people thought it was morgan, and there was a full-fledged masonic panic that the secret society of the masons was a murderous conspiracy that was attempting to take over the united states. that was not just a fear that percolated among americans in upstate new york. it became an organizing principle for an electing party. and the anti-masonic party bins elections in 1832 and 36 and elects anti-masons to political office and its agenda is against people in american government being parts of secret societies. because if you are part of a secret society you are not doing the people's work and your allegiance is to something else. this was the argument against kennedy in 1960. the argument that kennedy as a catholic would have to follow the rules of the pope rather than serve the american people. in a sense among people john berkshires and other people opposed to american catholicism
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generally, that you could not be both a catholic and an american president. because you either served one master or the other. right? same thing with the anti-masons in the 1830s. but if the modern and i'm not -- there are other conspiracies and other things to go through. i'm going to jump ahead now. if the way we engage with our students and our fellow americans citizens, the way we do it now changed. it's not this. remember, most of these so far are external things. the pope is influencing us from the outside. bankers are influencing us from the outside. masons are from outside the government creeping in. now, by the modern or age we're in now, many times it's the american government itself. so if the modern conspiracy theories have a birthday, it is in 1947, with the national security act of 1947. it establishes the national
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security council, it established the cia, it establishes the air force, the air force had prior been part of the army. it established the joint chiefs of staff, and it creates the cia, as i said. it's charged with, quote, other functions and duties related to intelligence. that is boring government speak for secret operations. right? covert ops. the budget of the intelligence committee was going to be a national secret. it will be a black budget because if we let the russians know how much we're paying for things in the security, they'll have an estimate of how much money we're spending and what we're spending it on, but this is really important because for the first time in american history, the federal government is saying, we're going to have a part of the government that is outside of democratic observation. we're going to have a part of the government that will do secret things that we won't tell you about. that will spend money we will not reveal, and we will do it to protect us because we have to have secrets to protect ourselves. and that secret state has evolved and grown and grown and involved things like the patriot
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act when it moves into a whole other level like 9/11. but it has a birthday, 1947. the idea of the secret part of the government that does covert operations in a world of the cold war, post world war ii we find ourselves in makes a lot of sense, right? there is a reason to have secrets. there is a reason you might need covert actions. so it's not that is somehow wicked on its face. but in a population that trusted the american government implicitly, this is going to be fine. if the people know they trust the government to make the right decisions with the power they give them and they will not abuse it, then having a secret government apparatus isn't a problem. but that is not the country we are, and it's certainly not the country we are as we move forward, right? this creates a fertile ground for conspiracies. there is literally a box where
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you can say, the federal government did this, and we know they have secrets and they do things. the defenses against that are, one, humans would never do that against each other. that is not a strong argument given what we know about what humans would do. it is a stronger argument in the 1940s and the 1950s to say the american government would not do that. when you get a conspiracy saying the american government would do one thing or another, you say, the american government would not do that. not a big deal in a society where people trust the government. but it is a big deal for a group of people who were politically awakened by this event. kennedy shot, not to shock you, kennedy was shot in dallas in november 22nd, 1963, right? after that, lee harvey oswald is arrested. the president is murdered in the middle of the cold war, lee harvey oswald is arrested, then jack ruby jumps out of a crowd in front of a row of cameras and
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police officers, a minor league gangster in dallas, jumps out and shoots the person who shot the president in front of national tv. in the context of the cold war, in the context of knowing that there is a national security state, in the context of moving or just about really to be moving cultural anxieties in the 1960s, so what do they do, they put earl warren, the chief justice of the supreme court, in charge of the kennedy assassination. this is a bid to say you need to trust us because if there's one person you can trust, it's the chief justice of the supreme court. the person who in the country is at the top of our judicial branch. he is going to be in charge of this commission and says he acted alone. one man. the warren commission was not believed when it was issued. in november of 1963, 29% believed that one man did it.
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52% thought others involved, and some had no opinion. as we move into the 1960s, that as the lack of faith in the united states government increases, as the sense that the government does bad things goes up, as the fear of the united states government increases, that number goes up and up and up. in march of 1981, it's at 81%. did not believer. what they're saying is we had an investigation, the government investigated, the chief justice of the supreme court came out and said this is what happened, and at some point in 2001, more than three-quarters of the american people go, you're lying. trust no one. they lied to us. then there are revelations of government conspiracies that started in the 1970s. in the pentagon papers in 1971, leaked documents about what the united states was doing in vietnam. watergate in 1972 said the president himself is about to be indicted for breaking into the offices of the dnc at the watergate hotel.
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operation mongoose, there's investigations, the church committee, the committee on assassinations. what they come out with are these things that the united states government was doing. operation mongoose, we'll talk a little bit about, was to harass castro. working with gangsters like sam giancana. the counterintelligence program monitoring people like martin luther king that was inserting government agents into leftist organizations like sncc or the sds. there were times in jokes that at a time there would be some civil rights or leftist meetings in which half the group was informing on the other half, because half of them were working for the nypd and the other half were working for the fbi, right? following, taking pictures of king. the house select committee on assassinations comes out in 1976 and raises doubts itself about the warren commission.
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we found out the cia aided the overthrow of iran and guatemala. tuskegee syphilis experiences where african-american in alabama go to a clinic for their syphilis and are not treated so government doctors can monitor how syphilis progresses through the lifetime because penicillin has been curing syphilis too early. without telling them or their partners. iran contra in the 1980s, public stargate the revelation thot through the 1970s and 1980s out of ft. meade, maryland, the dia, cia, it moves around, is operating a program to train psychic spies to spy and use their powers against russia. john ross writes about them in "the men who stare at goats." project paper clip, clinton releases it all in 1998. this is bringing nazi scientists into the united states to work
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here. we fought against the nazis. this isn't a revelation. as early as 1947, 1946 we knew some of this, right? that the people who designed the v-2 that hit london are very soon in huntsville, alabama, working on the apollo program. but this is project paper clip releases all of the -- not just the things about the kind of big figures everyone knew about but all of the rest of the nazi and many of them part of the nazi party that snuck out and into the united states. so, that argument of well, the united states government wouldn't do this is beginning to fall apart too. so, project northwoods was a proposed secret plan proposed by secret chiefs to a series of false attacks in the u.s. blamed on cuba to justify military action. it's made public in 1997. so, in 1997 when kennedy comes in, the joint chiefs say, we want to invade cuba. we need to have a false flag operation.
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so the conseries theorists talking about this are not inventing it out of whole cloth. it's not like they come up with an idea no one has ever thought of in the government, right? mongoose was a series of plans to harass cuban leader and assassinate fidel castro. operation dirty trick was a plan that if john glenn's space capsule blew up, they were going to blame it on cuba. we have these plans. many shelved, but not used. but someone is drafting them. mxz mk ultra, the rockefeller committee first reveals that the cia is working on mind control, attempting to use lsd to influence people to question them and make them more compliant or turn them into double agents. the church committee hands over documents, more are handed over in 1978. they randomly drugged civilians. there was an operation called midnight climax in which prostitutes -- the johns coming to visit prostitutes in california and new york would be given lsd and then monitored without their knowledge to see
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what would happen to them. so, you could live fire test lsd on subjects to see if this would be the chemical that would be used to give, for example, a spy in moldova and see what would happen. can we modernize it? can we weaponize it. this is all coming out in the '70s and '80s and '90s, that all seems so sci-fi that desperately undercuts something we would love to be able to say. we would love to say, we wouldn't do that. but it gets harder to say that, particularly to minority communities when they come up -- when people in minority communities have a theory or argument, we'll talk about some of them, to say, we certainly -- we wouldn't do that. that's not something that's -- that the united states government would do. throughout this period of revelation, one of the things that's so frustrating are the people involved are not punished. mk ultra doctors, cia agents who dosed people with lsd, none go
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to jail. people in iran contra are found guilty but pardoned and often find themselves back into the united states government. there's revelation without repercussions. there's a sense that some people are above the law, that, yes, the government allowed the small fish to take the fall but what was really going on was never revealed. that area, that dark area of, we know there are secrets, we know bad things are done, allows people to come up with conspiracies that expound those into new levels. oftentimes new levels of complication and horror. skull and bones, this was established in 1832 at yale university. it meets in a windowless room on yale university campus called the tomb. it picks people who are going to be successful, about 15 men and now women every year. have you guys heard of skull and bones? so there are -- this is, again, there are societies with secrets. but are they secret societies and how do they tie into the other things we talked about?
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this is the skull and bones class of '47. this is the headline from "new york times," yale, a great nursery of spooks. one thing you may not know about yale is yale was directly connected through its membership into the oss and later the cia. many of the great leaders of the cia, many of the people that you know, number of people who are assumed to be the people on the three tramps on the grassy knoll were yalies. mcgeorge, bundy, all yalies, all -- some of them were skull and bone, some weren't, who later went into the oss and later the cia. the cia, 1943, 42 members of that class go on to the oss. there is a statue in front of cia headquarters, nathan hale. nathan hale was the first spy killed by the british in the american revolution. i regret i have one life to give for my country. that statue that is in front of
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cia headquarters is a model of another statue on yale university campus because nathan hale is yale university class of '73, 1773. you move forward and say -- we get to 2004. you have two bonesmen. one, george w. bush, whose father was a bonesman, also the head of the cia, also the head of a major oil company, whose father's father, his grandfather, prescott bush, was also a bonesman, running against another bonesman in 2004. now the arguments are, there's a secret society at yale that's plugged into the american intelligence agency that's done -- like the guys who are sitting and writing northwoods, maybe not, but the sense is they all just came from yale and played squash together and then said, why don't we have a false flag operation? i don't know that that's true but you see the pieces are there, right? a secret society of wealthy individuals all together planning this. and this is the stuff that conspiracy theorists move.
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when they were asked about it in the 2004 election, both of them refused to comment. george bush saying something to the effect of, it is a secret society and i don't talk about secret societies. so, it's a society with secrets. but is it a secret society? another one is the bohemian grove. has anyone heard of the bohemian grove? the bohemian grove is a large collection of trees in northern california, redwood forest. it is the site of a gathering every year of political, cultural, scientific leaders who come to the forest, closed to the press and live in the trees for two weeks. now, this is -- can anyone identify anyone in this picture? this is 1967 of the bohemian grove. nixon on one side, reagan on the other. the guy in the middle is harvey hancock. he was the campaign manager for eisenhower and also a big executive at pan am.
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this guy, to the left of nixon, is glenn sayborg, who discovered 11 elements, was a professor at cal berkeley, was also in the manhattan project at uc, and 1 elements and also in the manhattan project of uc and winner of the nobel prize of 1951. and so these are the kinds of people who were there. now, is it a problem in america that people have a secret society at yale that, and with yale's connection to the intelligence community, is it a problem that they gather in places that are defined as secret, the bohemian grove? is it a problem there without the press meeting and chatting, and it is a problem they put on robes on one of the first days and have a ceremony in the front of a giant statue of an owl, and
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have a ceremony called the cremation of care. so i mean, it is weird, right. so, when someone who is inclined to conspiracy theories sees what the american government has actually done, and sees connections they can draw, and then sees, but, wait, they are all wearing robes in front of a giant owl burning a human effigy, it is harder and harder, and that stuff that is at which stuff is a secret society, a society with secrets have a secret society, and at what level do you care or are you attempting to put something in a place where it isn't. john ronson wrote a book then of the experiences that he and alex jones snuck into the bohemian grove to get these pictures and is this a big deal? because it is a raw material of conspiracies and the raw material of conspiracies is
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going to be different to make a conspiracy, and we have to recognize that there is stuff, the raw materials are out there for people to make conspiracies, and it does not make it real or work, but we have to have a well of stuff that people are drawing from that are coming into the conversation, and all of this stuff on youtube, and when they want to make these things, and the raw materials and if wasn't to talk about these with the students and fellow americans, we want to recognize what is inbounds and what is not. and so an international scope of a state within the state, and the masons and the catholic church and the international banks and maybe even some of the organizations depending upon how you want to describe bohemian grove, and goes beyond the borders and if there is a secret society in which the highest ranking member is a barber from muncie, and i don't believe that anybody cares, but when you have reagan and nixon in a picture,
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suddenly, you have my attention, and then a spirit of culture that has no effect, and rituals and often sexual abuse, and this a disturbing part of is that you take the people with robes in front of the cremation of care ceremony and you add in a little "eyes wide evolve into comet ping-pong which is a place that had a pedophilia place underneath it in d.c., right? so if the goal of the secret society is to get together and have a party, no one much cares. so, little bit about ufos and i'm going to -- and i know that because this is a place that one of the things that we need to recognize is that the conspiracies don't simply involve politic, and they are not simply about political power or connections made at yale or the international espionage or
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those kinds of things or oil or just money or those kinds of things, but there is a car val -- carnivalesque places where they move to the unreal, the unbelievable, the religious and the miraculous, right? so ufos have been with us for a long time and this is book of ezekiel, and his seeing of the wheels within wheels and the chapter one that many people who believe in ufos say that we have been visited in a long way, and if you read it in a jaundiced eye or unjaundiced eye, it sounds like a rocket, and flames and spinning wheels and moves from side to side and it hovers and it roars and so modern american ufo culture comes from kenneth arnold, a civilian pilot who says he saw objects moving over mt. rainier and he said
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they were crescent shaped and skipped over like saucers and not saucer, but crescent shaped, but notice again how we will talk about how the conspiracy thinking is that there is no coincidence, and this is 1947, the founding of the -- and now, is that a connection? i don't think so, but in the ice of the conspiracy theorists, dates and times will be important and echo. so in 1947, a public information officer richard haut had recovered pieces of a flying disk from roswell, new mexico. familiar with roswell? it was an air base that nobody had heard of from this incident and now it is due mainly because of the x-files and other thing, it is part of the popular culture, and they issued a story that they found a flying desk and then they issued a retraction and said it is a weather balloon, but it was off and running. the air force investigates ufos
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in 1950 to 1972 for those who watched the leonard nimoy show, and that for you who know the air force investigated cases and most were explained but 705 or 6% were unexplained so what this is going to read in the minds tof conspiracy theorists is that one, ufos are real enough that uniformed officers of the air force are going place-to-place to investigate them, and two, that they are issuing a report in which they're finding something unexplained and it is not much of a step to say that this is clearly a front for men in black going from place to place to covering up ufos. and the next step of alien abdun shuns is barney hail.
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and it is part of the ufos shows that are going to involve these. betty and barney hill saw a ufo on september 19th, 1961 in new hampshire and they see a craft and figures and realize that the drive that is normally four hours and it took them seven, and this is the missing time that is part of the ufo culture, and then after the encounter, she has physical symptoms and then after visiting psychologists they were taken on a ship, and if i were to have you write down on the test, you know what they were. so they were probed here and there, and this is what it looks like, and we have seen it in popular culture that what was so fringy in the 1960s is literally all of us could have a conversation of what a ufo abduction feels like or sounds like and have a representation of it. so the graves are the popular
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figure and they publish a best selg book in 1966 called "the interrupted journey." so why are we talking about ufos? because they come back into conspiracy theories about the government in interesting ways from all kindsf group, right? so, that, you know, by the '70s, people are talking about roswell as the smoking gun, and the ufo movement proved that air force is covering up alien contact. there are release documents from a group called majestic 12 that is alleing an agreement at pick your air force base, wright patterson or andrews in which there were alliances formed between the ufos and the united states government, right. bill cooper is a writer who is a really leading conspiracy voice who is now dead, but he was a leading voice about this deep
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conspiracy in the government, that there is a conspiracy that the government had made a deal in agreement with aliens in exchange for technology to allow aliens to kidnap and torture american people. and that the abduction movement, and the ufos and the cia and all of this is a cover-up of the giant ufo arrangement. right? so, is it combines the illuminati and the building burgers and the new world order and other groups into the super conspiracy, and this is not unusual, and underneath a lot of the conspiracies in class are bigger conspiracies that the students are not going to discuss, because they are arguing about the evidence of one particular one little bit, and it is important to recognize that these things can grow and spawn and involve this kind of the carnivalesque stuff. in 1990 the air force said that we will release the documents
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about this, and it is high altitude to discover whether moscow was doing nuclear test, but it crashed. does this help? the issuing more things in turks fo community was, look at how close we are get, and they are trying to recover the cover-up, and we are about to find it, about to blow it up and here that the government says more documents and we say, they are so fake, and i can't believe they are so scared, because we have them on the run. so the effort to engage with the conspiracy at this point only leads to make the conspiracy stronger other than we are totally justified. and other arguments that the ufo conspiracy is a conspiracy of the air force and they are ut pg -- putting out stories of the ufos so when they see the test
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aircraft they don't say, oh, it is the test 34 stealth fighter, but it is a ufo, and so this is a cover-up so they are not paying attention to what is going on in areas like area 51. area 51 is an area on a government map that no one knew about prior to the conspiracy theorists saying that it is groom lake that they got from the aliens to abduct people, and take their bodily organs. have you heard of the area 51? so there is a thing that you know of on the government map literally listed area 51, because the name is top secret, because we have a national security state that takes large areas and says this is area 51 and we can't tell you what we are doing here or spending here, but it is to keep you safe, trust us, and i understand that you have to test aircrafts and i don't have a problem with that, the but as it is playing into the conspiracy theory, it is the
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raw stuff to allow this stuff to go on. and the other is that the ufos are a cover-up, because what they are really doing, is that they are taking people and probing them, and torturing them and doing experiments on them or cattle mutilation is coming in here now. but the cover-up is rather than it being black helicopters of the united states government kidnapping people, drugging them and torturing them to do medical experiments on them, instead, it is a ufos. so whoever is out there on the cattle ranch gets mad at ufos and not the united states government, so it is a conspiracy of a conspiracy hiding a bigger conspiracy. and these are the wheels, the mazes that we go down, right? so again, these might seem silly, but they are showing you how the conspiracy theories expand and darken as they move forward from the government
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covering up technology or something they have seen in the sky to the wholesale torture of americans. right. so oftentimes, these things will move in a religious way, that the plot of the ufos are not aliens from andromina but that they are luciferious ways. and so religion will not be uncommon. so journalist michael kelly argued for what he called fusion paranoia, a union of the radical left and right who are seen as distinct group, but the union of them in one shared thing of all is the boundless cannibalistic evil of the government, and that as you go to left and the right, the villains are the same, and it is quite often the u.s. government. so there had been leftist movements like the weathermen.
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there were leftist movements that led the red army faction in europe, and also patriot movements and the militias and the order of the aryan nations, and these groups could get together on agree on nothing of the political outcomes they want, but they both agree that target they have chosen is the united states government, and whether it is opposing the rights of americans and whether you want to look in philadelphia in the battle of downtown philadelphia or right wing movements in idaho, they are identifying the exact same enemy, the national security state and all of the conspiracies of the federal government. right. in 1991, george h.w. bush bonesman, yalesman, former head of the cia, comes forward to give a speech about the new world order. many people who heard that said, well, that makes sense.
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the soviet union has just fallen, and we have had a 50-plus cold war era in which we split the world in between communists and capitalists and one of them is gone, and so it is time to recreate a new world order which is seeming utterly unremarkable, but for other people listening with the bonesman, and former director of the cia declaring a new world order is a message to the skull and bones secret brotherhood, and for the people in ruby bridge which is randy weaver in ruby bridge where the fbi agents were attempting to use him as a source against the aryan nations which he did not want to, they were going to charge him with gun charges and turned into a
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arms standoff, and then in waco, the standoff around the branch davidians and combining the government, and the religious believes, the branch davidians who had an end of the world message like the coming apocalypse, including the one i was brought up into is the southern baptist, and then the acting role of the government this they would see them play in the book of revelation that turns into a 51-day standoff and ends in mass death and invasion and incursion by the fbi and atf saying it is going on long enough and turns into a fireball that kills a lot of people. so all of these in the context of the national security text, and of the ufos and the american government is holding them, and the left and the right seeing the government as the problem, and the revelation of the 1970s and the 1980s and the now
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declaration of the new world order, and the standoff in ruby ridge, and are they coming for our guns, and the standoff of the people in the branch davidians of a compound of which you have allegations of sex and other things that ends up in a government fireball to suppress the american people. so there may be a lot of different versions of what the conspiracy are which of this millage of lego pieces that i have laid out for you, and how to put them together, but they all come to some similar conclusions to the fault of the united states government -- trust no one. they lie to us. it ends in oklahoma city. well, it does not end, but it is a -- timothy mcveigh is at waco, and footage of him steling the anti-governmental stickers on
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the back of his car watching way way -- waco, and after ruby bridge, and this is the next act that he sees pushing back against a federal government out of control, and long detail and the oftentimes anti-semitic aryan nation's conspiracy theory of what happened to the u.s. government, and pick your pieces of the lego box of the masons, jewish bankers and put them together, but this event is coming out of that conpiercy theories. all right. and coming out of the actions of the united states government that has allowed the conspiracy theories to, and in a way not the fault them, but understanding and maintaining a secret state, and the national security state of the national organizations state is allowing a lot of the claims to be made and also the actions of the things that were done in mk ultra and northwoods and the
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other things coming out makes it harder and harder to make the case which is that we would never do that, right. this is gorbadal a long time leftist critic of american empires he said, and he wrote about the shredding of the bill of rights and he declared vicki and sam weaver shot at rby bridge as victims of cold blood slaughter, and he said that most of the terrorists can be found within our own government, local and federal. and i don't know if he would say that 9/11, but he was as far political as timothy mcveigh. he is friends with the kendis -- kennedys and others.
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and so he becomes pen pals with timothy mcveigh in prison and how much they have in common. so this is 9/11 being an inside job. so now that i have laid out the pieces of the legos for the students or fellow americans searching on youtube or watch a show or hear a talk, these are the things they are coming tot and come to the conclusion of that it was an inside job. this is four years after the revolution that they discussed a false revolution in northwoods, but the fact that bush knew echos the claims that fdr was behind the pearl harbor attack, and he so wanted to be involved in war with europe that he allowed pearl harbor to happen or took a stronger hand in a harder to prove conspiracy. so many of these claims about 9/11 and we know that we will get into this in more detail, but planted explosives and no
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plane to hit the pentagon and moving to levels of luciferluci and there were no planes around them, depending how far you want to stretch the bounds of reality, but it is important in terms of the debate. the debate of 9/11, and so part of it is evidence. and depending who you are talking about, they might be having a evidentiary debate of what would it take or what takes steel to melt, and for anyone else, these conversations are for a deeper anxiety of they lied to us, and are the u.s. no one. the conversation of 9/11 is the tip of the iceberg of all of the other stuff behind it of how we think about democracy. how we think about how the american government works and our relationship to it.
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this is all for the first part and we will move to the second part after the break, but we can have some questions if you'd like. do you want to do -- they need you to have a mic. >> oh. [ laughter ] >> don't panic. don't panic. >> okay. so, this is weird. do you see a difference between the conspiracy theories that from what i can tell seem to be very much like white men distrusting other white men, and the well founded distrust that many communities of color have for a government that has, you know, consistently oppressed and killed them over and over again. is there a huge -- >> i think that you are absolutely right, a i would advice you to stay tuned for the next hour? >> oh, you do. >> and we will talk about it, and the claims that, we will talk about how the conspiracies break down racially, and the types, but absolutely, given the
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long history of what american government and americans in power and white society, and slavery -- >> so, is there a white american male phenomena? >> it is a great question, but what i would like to say is that i would like to address that question in the next hour. >> oh, okay. >> but if i had not thought of that question, it would be a truly devastatingly great question. yes. >> to what extent is this totally an american phenomenon, and can you speak to whether this exists internationally at all? >> i can try to. i think that there are -- i don't think it is an american phenomena. and if you are looking at other governments and particularly the soviet union and government were rife with conspiracies, and in i place that you a government that is not responsive or secret parts of the government in which the function of the political governments and political economy is not clear, you have
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conspiracies. i think that even in a little league, and in a fantasy football league, you have a conspiracy that they are saying, i can't believe they want to switch to ppr, and it is a conspiracy. so it is naturally within us. and one of the things that make it, and again, i am talking about evidence, so i am kind of, so, recognizing that all of it could be revised by better scholarship. one of the things that makes us particularly rife post 1947 is the massive power of the united states. we talked about a great conspiracy matters with important people and a lot of money. america has a lot of money, and huge power, and the ability to power project in ways that if you were say sweden or lithuanian or belize. if belize has a lot of horrible ideas, i am not sure they have a lot of effect, but america has a
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worldwide empire, and not the call it a empire, but we are in 100 countries and military bases around the world, and unlimited capital, and economic system flows right through the city of new york, and the most powerful and expensive military in the world, and we have satellites and we went to the moon, and if there is a country with the possible exception of the soviet union that has the power to do bad things if it is inclineded to do bad thing, it is the united states. so the fact that america has confessed to doing some bad thing, and it has the means and the opportunity, right, again, and if belize says we have a plot form worldwide domination, i am not sure where that goes other than there are some people in belize really messed up, but if they had a worldwide projection possibility, then the conspiraies can be getting -- and there are whether the weather mountain or cheyenne, and there are large underground
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complexes that are dug that are bomb-proof, and an entire structure that was designed to accept that we are going to be in a nuclear war, and laws to be drawn to allow certain parts of the. go to be completely nondemocratic, and there are some who say, well, we have the plan, and just announce a national emergency and dissolve this or that, and plans in the middle of the cold war, and so america is in a position because of to power, and its extent, and its reach that those conspiracies can be truly scary about the places that it might be. and so i do think that if having been a teenager, any time you get three people together, and two of them are plotting against the third one, and maybe it is unfair, so conspiracy is not that rare. >> and so in recent years it feels like there's more and more of a conversation of people reading news only of what supports what they think, and
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news is only supporting what their mindset is, and i am not a believer of conspiracy theories at all, and sure, if you are trying to prove that there is a conspiracy, and you can says, well, this one part is not solved and other people would say, yeah, but a it is nothing, and so some people are looking at it, and gravitate to it, but what extent for people not taking responsibility for actions happening like, we won't say that this is what is happening and we don't want to admit to what might be the problem, and we will just go with the conspiracy, because it is easier than thinking of what might be the problem and addressing it. >> that is exactly right, and we will talk about it in the second half, and what is the attractive part of conspiracy theories, and what is the -- right. a conspiracy theory is not simply, and it is very sedom for the best answer forgiven
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subject, and so what is politically attractive about conspiracies and so, the world is so complicated and we want answers for it, and there are times for which there is a complex nature, that it seems easier and more attractive, because they explain more thing, and we will talk about it more, but i think that the division of news in which you can consume only that news which seems to most agree with what you believe leads to a lack of contrary opinions and examples. so, yeah, that is absolutely true. yeah, please. >> yes, you been talking about conspiracy theories that people have about government. >> yeah. >> but in this administration, it is like they are the ones promoting some conspiracy theories like the birther movement, and trump also mentioned ted cruz, his dad being a part of the jfk
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assassination, and michael flynn and hillary clinton and so many other, and that is extremely scary that some of the followers, because trump has a lot of supporters might believe those conspiracy theory, because they are coming from him. >> and looking at comet ping-pong and the guy shows up with a rifle, and if you want to talk about tate imagery and the way that symbolism is used there. so i think about, and so, there is no way around, and one of the things that achieved political takeoff for donald trump was the opposition to obama, and pushing birtherism, and he has attached to that early on, and not the only reason that he won, but part of it, and part of this is not all, but part that we see
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the ways that people think about things apart of the whole, and to trump's credit, he said, there are a lot of people who think like me, or think like this, and i can mobilize them, and make them become active political participants where others will say, they won't respond to that or they will think i'm a nut. so trump didn't have that opinion, right. hustle over. >> i have a quick question, and a longer one. building off of rick's question, if you are going to talk about the role of women in conspiracy movements? >> there is some scholarship of the belief among women, but much less on the conspiracy perpetuation of women, and not perhaps surprising, but it is
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very masculinist, and anti-feminist, and in fact, depending which conspiracy, you are looking at, the feminist movement of the 1960s is seen as one of the things that they are acting against and the aryan nation, and some of the other right wing movements are very much about traditional female value, so there is not a space for them to be the engineers of it. and there is not a lot of work on it, and there is a lot of work in the radical movements or women in extreme movements, but much less of women as leaders in the movements. >> why? why do you think they are not involved in the conspiracy, because i agree that i almost never think of women, and i always think of men being, oh, this is all a conspiracy and it is just not. >> well, it is not entirely true, because depending upon what community, you are looking at in some groups to, the degree that religion is a important
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factor, randy weaver's wife had visions of an apocalypse and going to the mountain and she was really the leader of the family all of the way around and the religious, and when they moved to idaho because they felt that apocalypse was coming, and so where religion comes into this, there is often a very powerful woman figure on that, and there is very much a masculinist warrior culture, depending on the group that we are talking about putting the women in background. >> and -- [ inaudible ] -- >> and phyllis sheffley is, but there is certain, i can say that the literature, they play a perhaps very much smaller role that deserves a lot more
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attention. you have a second one? >> so, i was thinking the about, and when you were talking about how the people, like the power of the united states, like ingenders the conspiracy theories, and i was thinking about north korea how the entire nation is brainwashed to believe that they are the most powerful and everybody is this screwed up place, but you don't have conspiracy theories there. so. >> well, it is hard to know, but it is a great question. there is also, and i think that what we have there is a cult of personality, but you have to idea that kim shot, or played a round of golf and hall 18 hole in one, and he was born and there was a double eclipse and five rainbows and that kind of to myth-building that i don't know that i would quite do, and not quite a conspiracy, but it is interesting to think about in those closed communities that are dominated by a cult of
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personality of what you have. >> so is brainwashing is a solution to no conspiracy theories? >> oh. you have a question? >> you have shown that they are around for many years, but they have changed or morphed and grown since the advent of the internet for people to communicate instantaneously around the world? >> it is interesting question that there are the techno prophets who say that once we talk to each other, we will move to a new level of intelligent discourse and then there's the internet, which is not that. so the internet has been key to this. again, if we are looking at comet ping-pong which starts on a readit board on november 4th, and within a week, it is on tv
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and fox news talking about this event, and this thing in which there is an allegation that there is a pedophilia ring underneath this pizza place in d.c. frequented by powerful politicians and particularly democrats and linked to john podesta's emails linked in which they talk about pizza, because my sense is that if you have a bunch of political volunteers, and you buy them a lot of pizza, but people are going through the internet saying that he says pizza so much, that he is saying that pizza is code for pedophillic sex. and so it may be that they were plague a joke, but now it is into the internet which spreads so rapidly, that everyone who has an interest or inclination
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of that can be part of the community, and it is going to spread to the point that again, less than a month later on november 3rd my guess is outside of a six-block area around the pizza place, nobody has ever heard of this place, but it turns into the idea that all of the businesses are linked and there is a pedophillic underground for elite to have sex with children, and it gets to guy in south carolina who has never heard of comet, and he gets an ar-15 and goes to shoot people to the floor. and that is going to not just popularizing a conspiracy
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theory, and by developing and then putting in a picture of obama at a ping-pong comic, and it is like in the white house with a red carpet, and ping-pong table there, and so maybe someone thought it was a joke, and then passed it on into the readit page, and now it is a new kind of conspiracy disease vector in the mind of the body politic. so we will talk about it more, but the internet has certainly allowed communities that communicated much more slowly to communicate much more rapidly and evolve much faster in ways that are shocking, and i unfortunately spend much more time engaging in the internet that i don't want to definitely meet in real life, and it is shocking how fast these things can metastasize.
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yeah. >> one more question before the break. >> okay. so, you know, going to what you just said and also, you know, something that struck me as you were talking about the history of the illuminati and the break up of the illuminati, and how there becomes this evidence kind of how they gather evidence and create argument toward the argument that they want to make, which made me think of the idea that, you know, in a conspiracy situation, there is no trusted source then, because, like you said that the source is contaminateded by people who want you to see or what they want you to see which led know the modern era of the you have your truth and your facts and i have mine, and so does this come down the idea that beliefs don't need proof, because you have what you believe and i have what i believe. >> right. so we are in and going back to
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stephan diggs who is an unusual person to put in let's have an evidentiary argument of how we think of knowledge, and turn to stephan diggs, the wide receiver of the vikings, but the idea is that, go ahead and prove it to right now, but don't give me a picture of where you got somewhere, because they lie, so we are in a weird evidentiary space where technology has made it even pre-photo shop, and the idea is that the evidence you are giving me is fake, because i have decided that nasa is an affront of faking the moon landing and the pictures cannot going to be working as evidence, because i have already decided that since they are part of the conspiracy, none of that evidence can be trusted and so there is no evidence. so we are at a point now, and i was an english major as well undergrad and talking about post-modernism, and moving past the truth, and the idea is that this is great, because we were overthrowing the master
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narratives of the kind of the inherent ideas of gender or power or capitalism, and these kinds of things and free of the master narratives and be in the post where the powerful could not control the narratives, and well, we are here, and this is what it looks like, and in the area where you say, how do we engage and talk about the issues when we won't share a world view of what counts as evidence. and when we are in an area, and again, this is where it moves toward religion, right? you would never say to someone and i grew up and i say, that ti believe that lord jesus died for my sin, and give me that evidence. there are some claims that are safe in the culture away from the evidentiary claims, and we would not have that argument or maybe we will, and it is uncomfortable, but that sense of belief has moved in many cases as beyond the traditionally religious questions and i would argue from this, the many
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arguments of the conspiracies are religious question, and they function like religious questions and not like political questions, and that can put us in a gray area as we tried to debate them. does that make sense? yes. we will talk about it more. >> thank you. >> thank you. the u.s. capitol historical society's steve livinggood, chief guide and public historian recently talked about the ghost stories and legends associated with the seat of congress. >> the second most famous ghost in the capitol is the demon cat. this is a shot showing the footprints are, and this is the main corridor between the rotunda and the crypt under the rotunda and the senate wing. and in the concrete there, you can see cat footprints of the demon cat, and the issue with the cats is that several guards were attacked by a particularly
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hostile cat. and it became famous for accosting guards that were walking alone through the capitol building, and we know that there were cats in the capital, and this is the photograph of some of them, and this is from the cafeteria in the dirksen building that you can find the photograph on display and neither is the demon cat, because he is all black. but there were cats in the capitol, and we know that the guards in that era were all patronage appoints, and if the guard was on the shift that was late at night when nobody was around, it was often some senator's never dewell brother-in-law who would think they were in a flat position rather than vertical, and so one was laying down and instead of
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standing up, and one of the cats comes up to investigate what is going on and the guy thinks that he is five feet in the air, and the cat is that big. so he lashed out at the cat, and he was frightened by this, because the cat kept changing sizes and the cat retaliated by scratching him, and so the man had proof that he had been attacked by the demon cat there in middle of tonight. so when his relief showed up the next morning they knew what the issue was, and the supervisor said, oh, well, joe, we will take care of the cat and you go home to rest up a couple of days. the supervisor knew he could not fire the senator's brother-in-law, and they had to put up with it, but they said they had taken care of the demon cat. well, history is being made, because other guards discovered if they were attacked by the demon cat, they had a couple of days off, too, and this is how history is written.
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so the demon cat is the one, and some people tell me that there is no real evidence of the demon cat, but i can show you some concrete evidence, because here is where he carved his initials into the concrete. this is the corridor that goes from the old senate into the terrace, and there is where the demon cat carved his initials into the concrete there. >> you can watch the full program online at c-span's american history tv continues now, and you can find full scheduled for the weekend on your program guide or at and now, listening to edward ball talking about his life as a klansman which looks at why a new african-american history museum is being built in charleston,


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