Occasionally, I must remind myself of an important truth: While I deplore Alex Jones' dissemination of potentially dangerous misinformation and half-baked conspiracy theories, Jones and his colleagues in the alternative media are only a reflection of our society. Jones doesn't often create ideas from whole cloth; he picks up things here and there, taps into the zeitgeist, and engages some of our primal fears.
His vaccine hysteria comes from entrepreneurs on the fringes of alternative medicine who long ago rejected actual (science-based) medicine in favour of anecdotal evidence and conjecture. Legitimate concerns about pharmaceutical interests and medical malfeasance or incompetence have driven some people to reject science-based medicine outright, rather than try to address their concerns. Add to this the sad state of science education in the U.S. and Canada, the propagation of quackery by PBS and other formerly reliable media outlets, and the multibillion-a-year pseudopharmaceutical and alternative health industries.
Jones' models of world history, politics, and the New World Order agenda come mostly from John Birch literature, to which he was exposed by a family friend at an impressionable age. The JB Society and similar orgs are fed from deep wells of reactionary anti-Communism and extreme nationalism. Add to this the sad state of history education in the U.S. and Canada.
Jones' fantasies of Luciferian sacrifice and occult symbolism were handed down to him by Texe Marrs and other preachers who have welded loosely interpreted Biblical prophesies to New World Order conspiracy theories. Televangelists only a shade less paranoid than Marrs, like Jack Van Impe, thrive thanks to generous donations from viewers and their affiliations with wildly popular enterprises like the Left Behind series of books and movies.
Jones' populist invective is directly descended from that of Father Coughlin and other pioneers of far-right-wing broadcasting. Today, such broadcasters enjoy unprecedented popularity - they issue topselling books, make TV appearances, and are treated as legitimate sources of news and commentary.
And so, even though it bears his name, this blog is not all about Alex Jones. It's about all of us. When we see the irrational, the reactionary, the delusional in Alex Jones - we see it in ourselves.
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