Conspiracy Theories

Jesse Walker Speaks About the Paranoid Center


If you're in the Ann Arbor area Wednesday night, come see me speak about political paranoia:

John Todd believed that ATLAS SHRUGGED was a Rothschild-financed revolutionary codebook for communist witches. If the upcoming movie follows that interpretation, I'll watch it.

Wednesday, March 9 · 7:00pm—8:30pm
G168 Angell Hall, University of Michigan

• Is this really a time of unusually fierce fear and violent rhetoric?
• Is political paranoia just a fringe phenomenon, or is it also found in the middle of the road?
• What does a conspiracy theory have in common with a can of Four Loko?

From James Wenneker von Brunn, the neo-Nazi who opened fire at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, to Jared Lee Loughner, the "conscious dreaming" enthusiast who opened fire in Tucson in January, we've heard ample warnings about extremist paranoia since Barack Obama became president. We've heard much less about the paranoia of the political center. But when mainstream commentators treat a small group of unconnected crimes as a grand, malevolent movement, they unwittingly echo the very conspiracy theories they denounce. Both brands of connect-the-dots fantasy reflect the tellers' anxieties much more than any order actually emerging in the world.

Jesse Walker will give a more complete account of political paranoia in the United States. The fear of conspiracies is not merely a phenomenon of the fringe, he will argue. It is, and always has been, present in the American center, though the establishment rarely recognizes its own conspiracy theories as "conspiracy theories."

Right now the plan is for me to speak for 45-60 minutes, take questions for about half an hour, and then, as a grand finale, rip off my "human" mask and reveal I was a KOCH-FUNDED LIZARD MAN all along.

NEXT: Tennessee Cops Posed as a Defense Attorney To Get Suspect To Incriminate Himself

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  1. Those who deny the existence of robots may be robots themselves.

  2. I was a KOCH-FUNDED LIZARD MAN all along.

    I’d pay good money to see you unhinge your jaw and gulp down a terrified guinea pig whole.

    1. I’d pay good money to see you unhinge your jaw and gulp down a terrified guinea pig whole.

      I miss Jane Badler. She was so…wow!

  3. Do you know whether there will be video online?

    1. If there’s plans along those lines, I haven’t heard them.

  4. Everything I know about the way the world works I learned from watching Millennium and The Prisoner.

  5. Pshaw! Only The Pretender showed us the true state of the world!

  6. I know I posted this before but I still get a kick out of “New U.S. menace- Teenagers in black leather jackets” sixth one from the bottom. The main story “Flying rodents ripped my flesh.”…..-magazines

    1. I turned into a Martian, and I can’t even recall my name.

  7. Lizard?

    There’s a Kochtosaur, too?


      1. Exquisite

  8. Don’t forget about that dude who flew his plane into the IRS office. He was all over the place (ideologically speaking, that is; he appeared to be on target with his piloting).

  9. I hope you get around to defining “the political center”. If I were using the term, let’s see…it would have to refer to people who were at least somewhat “political” and whose beliefs on a broad range of issues they might be asked about do not mark them as within an identifiable tendency in their polity. That doesn’t mean they hold anything like avg. positions on a broad range of issues that may be said to be “political”, only that the sum of all their vectors doesn’t put them within a widely recognized and named cluster.

    40 years ago radical libertarians within the USA would probably have been said to have been within this “center” or “middle of the road”, although 50 years ago they would’ve been said to have been “conservative” or “rightist”, because the policy questions asked would’ve been different.

    In a narrower milieu, it would be interesting to have polling data over the years as to whether financial markets are manipulated. There’s been a lot at stake in having the broad public think that one or more financial markets are not manipulated; now, maybe not so much. It’d be interesting to similarly poll on whether certain sports competitions, or ostensible competitions, are rigged.

  10. Jesse, be careful in Michigan’s own People’s Republic of. A Squared has a special kind of left-wing stupid that can infect you very fast.

    It also has goofy street layouts, so if you’re driving, make sure you’re going the right way on the one ways.

    Wish I could see you there – alas, won’t be able to. Good luck, and have fun!

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