Greg recently posted a link to an excellent article that details the genesis of Alex Jones’ warped conception of the world which came to a hilt last night on Piers Morgan’s talk show. Now, I don’t think a whole lot about Morgan and have tried to avoid him other than the times my wife watched America’s Got Talent when I was in the room, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that it was Jones who came off as completely insane.
Last month I proposed to Greg that I wanted to write an article about the comedian Bill Hicks who was famous for his irreverent but insightful style of stand-up during the late eighties and early nineties. Unsurprisingly reading the article about Jones reminded me of my prior intention and helped me coalesce some of my perspectives on the subject of conspiracies.
I say unsurprisingly not because Jones and Hicks are alike, but because there is a regrettable theory floating around, based on a slight physical resemblance and on account of them both being Texans, among some of Hicks’ former fans that he and Jones may be one and the same. It’s just, back in 1994; Bill faked his death, a la Andy Kaufman, and decided to drop all pretense of wit, brilliance, and humanity and became the raving, gun-obsessed, demagogue that is Alex Jones. That and the article points out that Jones’ unhappy fixation with the NWO and other conspiracy theories can be traced back to being exposed to the Waco siege which occurred in February-April 1993. The article rightly points out that another right-wing, anti-NWO, conspiracy theorist felt that Koresh and the Branch Davidians were martyrs; namely, Timothy McVeigh. Despite that this puts him in some bad company it should be noted that Bill Hicks was also horrified by what happened in Waco, Texas.
Like Jones, Hicks believed that the government was to blame for the events at Waco. Hicks understood that Koresh wasn’t the pure martyr that some of his apologists paint him out to be (it makes one wonder if they really believe that he was Christ). In interviews before the Waco massacre he mocks Koresh’s dubious sexual practices and the futility of his armed showdown with the ATF. Like Jones, Hicks did believe that there was a conspiracy; that the message of Waco was that the government will demolish your life if you try to live outside of society. Listening to his later routines he is very bitter over the whole affair and declares the U.S. government, all governments in fact, to be liars and murderers. I agree. Yet, I do not agree with Alex Jones.
Is this because I have some bias against right wingers? Probably, or at least in part. I don’t particularly care about gun ownership, and let me remind any reader who is more enthusiastic about that subject that this is a paranormal website; I’m here to talk about “conspiracy theories” not second amendment rights. It may be because Jones has no sense of humor; his distrust of government and societal institutions is nothing more than raging paranoia and a love affair with his own voice. You see, Hicks has a famous routine where he closed one of his sets talking about “the eyes of Love” and “the eyes of Fear.” The world is an ugly place at times, there’s no way around that. Yet we can look at it all through the eyes of Love and realize that we are all one and try to come closer together or we can look at it through the eyes of fear and drown ourselves in television and consumerism, buy more guns and put bigger locks on our doors.
Jones and his ilk are certainly looking through the eyes of fear. Sure I’ve heard him rage against “consumerism” but anyone with a lick of sense can see that the NRA, which is run by large gun companies, has a consumerist agenda as well. Unlike Hicks, Jones makes conspiracy theories seem like they are centered on a shadowy but coherent movement that runs everything. Usually these movements, whether they are the Elders of Zion, the Illuminati, the Freemasons, the Reptilians, or the NWO, want to subjugate us in a way eerily similar to Orwell’s 1984. How are we to give any credence to conspiracy theories if this is how they operate? I mean, for how long people have been predicting these endgames not one has come to fruition. If there is some shadow government in order or an eye at the top of the pyramid they are magnificently incompetent. Viewed this way the Reptoids are more like Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther than brilliant, fourth dimensional masterminds.
The simple answer to this conundrum is that most people don’t believe in some all-powerful malignant body. That’s not to say that I don’t believe in sinister forces in the world. The CIA are very real and there’s little hidden about their heinous crimes. I believe in a few conspiracies; like anyone who uses marijuana regularly I not only think but know that there has to be a conspiracy behind it being outlawed in the United States. Incompetence alone could not explain why cannabis, a mostly harmless substance that is undoubtedly less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol, is still classed by the government and accepted by many doctors to be more dangerous than most painkillers and psychoactive pills. It’s just, unlike someone like Jones, I believe the conspiracy probably boils down to “stubbornness to admit we’re wrong about things” more than “wanting to push suicide pills because the New World Order really believes Malthus.” And I think it’s probably a wise choice to avoid believing what the Powers That Be say 100%. Or what any group that wants power says. People who desire power are generally willingly to lie to get and/or keep power; history would concur with this assessment.
So how do those of us with a critical eye towards society and government avoid becoming like Jones and his followers? The way that Bill Hicks seemed to avoid it was humor. The great conspiracy author Robert Anton Wilson also utilized humor to both sell his points and prevent himself from going mad. Both men believed in some generally “kooky” stuff. Both men loved psychedelics. And both men were exemplary human beings who praised love above all else and didn’t come off as the loathsome, sweaty ball of lard that somehow makes an idiot pundit like Piers-fucking-Morgan look good.
Alan Moore, in his tribute to Robert Anton Wilson speaks about his collaboration with Bob Shea, the famous Illuminatus! Trilogy: “while elsewhere in the yesterday-today-tomorrow world, it’s the mid-seventies. The Unified Field Theorem of American Anxiety become a textbook guide to hilarious occult anarchy, a trilogy that pulled it all together and changed paranoia from an illness into an illuminating game, before Dan Brown and David Icke hit town to change it back again.
You see, Wilson and Hicks give us a way to believe the unbelievable and rage against the failings of this world that isn’t the bitchy lowest common denominator trash offered by The Da Vinci Code and survivalists. They both believed in other worlds, or other facets of this world; Bob Wilson chronicles some of his magical, psychedelic, and weird experiences (and those of many, many other people) scrupulously over the course of all his fiction and nonfiction writings. Hicks spoke candidly about his belief that he was taken aboard a flying saucer during the Harmonious Convergence back in ’87 and how it improved his perspective on life.
If there’s one thing we can learn from Waco it’s this: that no matter how many guns, how nice of a compound, how many concubines, or how “Jesus-y” you are, if the government wants to it can wipe you out. Because they have tanks.
You want to know how to defeat the government’s (or the Reptilian’s, if you prefer) agenda? Get inside your own head before they do! If they are already there kick them out, think for yourself, and be happy. Explore inner space and find something greater than the consumerist society there. Love somebody more than money or security. Don’t spend your life trembling over the mad fears of someone like Alex Jones. Help your neighbor. Smoke a joint or drink a beer. Give a policeman the finger if you’re really angry. Kiss a stranger after they’ve consented. Don’t waste your days consumed with hatred though. The best way to prevent a bad deed is to do a good one.