My last blog entry was about conspiracists. Elsewhere on the net I've been much harsher in my opinions of them. Imagine my shock this afternoon upon discovering that I was heading down the path to becoming one myself!
Politically, I am opposed to the income tax and the Federal Reserve. So upon watching Aaron Russo's "America: Freedom to Fascism" last week, I was hooked! My politics and the film were in sync. I was determined to spread this news to as many people as possible, so I made a bulk order of 100 DVDs to pass out to friends, family, meetups, etc. Today the order arrived. I was so excited!
I wasn't completely stupid, however. I knew the film was sensationalist and engaged in quite a bit of hyperbole. I could see that Mr. Russo had played fast and loose with some facts. I also didn't like the over-the-top clip with Lou Dobbs at the end. But I believed that in the whole it was telling the truth: The IRS and the income tax were unlawful, and the Federal Reserve banks were running the country.
But I'm a natural skeptic. I was smelling something fishy. I was thinking up excuses to tell people, to get them to watch the film. I imagined telling folks, "Yeah, it's sensationalist, but once you get past that it's a good film." I was trying to explain to others why it wasn't a conspiracy film like "Loose Change". Most disturbing of all, the 9/11 Truthers were glomming onto the movie. The smell became strong enough that I had to do a tiny bit of fact checking.
I knew there had to be more rebuttals to this film than just the IRS FAQ. I found them. I should have looked at Wikipedia first, because it has some good information. I don't always trust Wikipedia, but it's a good place to start from, and it helped me find some good rebuttals of the film. More importantly, I discovered the law that Aaron Russo said didn't exist!
The message in the film is still a good message, but it is a message that does not need to be bolstered with lies. The income tax may not be illegal, but I still want to abolish it. The Federal Reserve may not be a conspiracy, but it still has too much control over the economy. And of course, our government is far too large for our good.
I now understand a bit better the mind of the conspiracist. It's a trap one falls into. If I had been a bit more credulous, I might be one myself. That's a sobering thought.