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Those who believed that the attacks of 9/11 were an inside job perpetrated by the administration of George W. Bush took upon themselves, collectively, the name, 'truthers.' The idea, naturally, is that any alternative to their explanation was not 'the truth.' Now, there's an element of social danger to attempting to so co-opt terminology in this way, inherent in the inability to entertain alternatives -- especially where the 'truth' asserted is conspiratorial, and could likely never be known to be true if it were in fact true. To assert that this position is nonetheless true, and to take this conviction so far as to question the honesty, the sensibilities, even the patriotism of those who disagree, opens the believer up to wide range of mockery.

A consequence of the 'truther' mode was the evolution of the term itself, and components of it, into words of derision. People who believed in other conspiratorial notions were sometimes labeled as 'truthers' as to that notion (bigfoot truthers, alien abduction truthers, Pearl Harbor truthers, Elvis lives truthers), and the appending of '-ers' to nouns has come to signify groups who are equally unshakably devoted to unsubstantiatable conspiratorial claims -- for example, the 'Tenthers' who believe that the US government functions in violation of the Tenth Amendment, and, naturally, the 'birthers,' who are convinced that US President Barack Obama was born in Kenya (presumably to a Kenyan woman as opposed to an American citizen), and that all evidence suggesting his birth in the US (birth certificate, contemporaneous birth announcements in Hawaii newspapers) has been faked as part of a plot to install a secret Muslim/communist/atheist/pawn-of-the-Wall Street-bankers in the oval office. The latest installment in the '-ers' gang is the 'Benghaziers,' who believe based on stuff they have read on the Internet that an equally nefarious conspiracy underlies the deaths of US diplomatic personnel in Benghazi in September of 2012 -- one apparently involving secret laser weapons and such. It would not be especially surprising to observe that many of those who began as truthers have since filled the ranks of the Tenthers, birthers, and now Benghaziers.

For the record, I am none of these '-ers' -- I highly doubt the Bush people had the competence to pull off the 9/11 attacks, though I have no doubt that information about the incompetence of that administration's response remains hidden to this day, and possibly for all time. As for the Tenth Amendment, while it's clear to me that our government has stepped far beyond its constitutional bounds, this overstepping has essentially been ratified by the courts charged with interpreting the Constitution, and the people in whom rights are supposed to be delegated. And as to Obama's birthplace, well I really don't care where he was born, and as a practical matter we know that he doesn't remember his own birth. But it stretches reason to question the combination of proofs presented without any sort of counterproof demonstrating birth elsewhere. And to focus on foolishness like that detracts from legitimate criticisms of the pervasiveness of government itself, for there will surely be a President after Obama who exercises the same level of favorability towards government of this scope, without presenting any possibility of questioning his or her natural-born citizenship. I've never met a good conspiracy theory which I didn't like, but my views on them yield to the light of reason and reality.



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