Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theories Harm Libertarian Movement
Within days of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the blogosphere and alternative media outlets smelled a rat and immediately cried conspiracy. Even the PolicyMic comment sections have seen many arguing that Sandy Hook was a hoax that would be used to serve a political agenda. Since many of these accusations come from professed libertarians, I wanted to address these claims as well as conspiracy theories in general to try to make sense of it all.
Due to many discrepancies and inconsistencies of the reports that came out soon after, it is entirely reasonable to be skeptical of what the media was telling us. First they said Adam Lanza's mother was killed at the school, but then it turns out she was killed at her house. It was initially and mistakenly reported that police arrested Adam Lanza's brother, despite the fact that he was in a different city at the time. They reported that he used a rifle, but his rifle was in the trunk of his car. If Adam Lanza was the lone gunman, then why were there multiple reports of police arresting a man in the woods outside the school?
Because of these inaccuracies, the alternative media jumped all over it and quickly began trying to fill in the holes. The theory that gained the most traction was a supposed tie between the fathers of both Lanza and Aurora, Colorado gunman James Holmes. Both of their fathers were set to testify in the U.S. Senate on the recent LIBOR scandal. There were even accusations that Holmes' father, who works for a risk-analysis company in Minnesota, had helped devise the algorithm that allowed the manipulation of interest rates behind the LIBOR scandal.
But as enticing as a grand conspiracy such as this would be, there is just no evidence to suggest a connection between the two shooters, their fathers, or the LIBOR scandal. Ben Swann, one of the best journalists out there, dissected the LIBOR conspiracy claims and offers very little hope for those still clinging to this conspiracy. The evidence simply suggests that this is a case of wishful thinking on the part of those looking for a grand conspiracy under every bed.
But what about the discrepancies in the media coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting? Surely this suggests some foul play. While I am always willing to follow the evidence and facts wherever they lead, jumping to conspiratorial conclusions at this point in time is an incredible rush to judgement. Rather than attribute these media inaccuracies to a conspiracy, Occam's razor offers us a sounder explanation. The press reports were wrong because in this day and age of 24-hour news cycles and infinite competition, the mainstream media took whatever story seemed to make the most sense and ran with it. This is how the press is in America; rather than do honest journalism, it is easier to copy and paste whatever the Associated Press is reporting, slap a different headline on it, and call it news. This is why multiple, supposedly credible giant news outlets could all be so wrong at the same time.
I am not suggesting that there wasn't a conspiracy, only that the evidence would suggest that the simpler answer — media incompetence — makes much more sense than the levels of complexity and deception it would take to stage a shooting, fake the deaths, the LIBOR "cover-up," or any of the other implausible theories that are proposed. I would be more than willing to admit that I am wrong, of course, but only if the evidence points to a conspiracy.
Plus, the FBI and the CIA do have a history of infiltrating dissident movements in order to control the opposition, discredit the truth, and leak intentional disinformation for those of us understandably skeptical of the official narrative. Just because the U.S. government did not fake the moon landing doesn't negate its crimes or make one any less opposed to state injustice.
Besides the sloppy journalism and rush to judgement of the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, the biggest problem for me is that it not only harms the credibility of the liberty movement — since many proponents call themselves libertarians — but also distracts from actual, genuine conspiracies. The crazier, outrageous conspiracies based on wishful thinking and bias confirmation understandably turn many people off and accept the official government narrative. Both of these are false dichotomies, leaving those of us in the middle either dubbed conspiracy nuts by the unquestioning and sell-outs by the conspiracy mongers.
Take 9/11 for example. Thanks to the conspiracy-mongers, most people tend to accept the "official story" that 19 Muslim hijackers conspired to attack the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. They shout and stomp their feet about missiles hitting the Pentagon, thermite in the buildings, and countless other distractions. Because they are the loudest voices, anyone questioning the government narrative is a crazy "truther."
This distracts from incredibly legitimate 9/11 questions (and ones that are much more important) like how Osama bin Laden managed to somehow get NORAD to stand down, the Anthrax attacks, the Israeli connection, and the neocon cabal that had been wanting to invade the Middle East since the early 1990s and got their Pearl Harbor.
The Sandy Hook-style conspiracy-mongers often claim that they are impartial truth-seekers, more often than not they are very dangerous distractions that have ruined the term "conspiracy theory." The JFK assassination, the Manhattan Project, the Mafia, Iran-Contra, and the creation of the Federal Reserve are/were all documented and real conspiracies that don't need sensationalism to explain them.
The state's use of the threat or the application of lethal force to serve desired ends is the real conspiracy against our liberty, civilization, private property, and economic prosperity. It's not sexy, but is simply an observable reality. Regulation, subsidies, tariffs, the income tax, military intervention, central banking; these are all acts committed by multiple parties conspiring against private citizens for their mutual benefit. The infamous Georgetown professor Carroll Quigley openly discussed this political conspiracy, arguing that we should simply recognize it, sit there and take it.
The best we in the liberty movement can do is offer up logic, reason, evidence to any conspiracy claim even if its confirms our bias. Maybe it really all is a New World Order and Illumaniti plot, but I'm skeptical. After all, the American Empire already is the New World Order. More often than not, political events can be explained by the late James Buchanan's public choice theory and Hanlon's razor: politicians seek the use and retainment of power and will conspire with others to expand and preserve it.