Regular readers will know that we consider the prevalence of conspiracy theories, both in the West and among its enemies, to be a major and grossly under-recognised cause of the current world crisis.
We have also remarked that the real alliances, the real loyalties and the real conflicts in world affairs are not between states, nations or religions, but between subcultures defined not only by their values, but also by how they think the world works. This has always been true, but it is especially true of the current war.
Much has been written about the deficiencies of the term 'War on Terrorism'. Terrorism is a method not an enemy. And yet the alternative names that have been proposed – such as the War Against Islamism – are equally inaccurate. The Maoist terrorists of Nepal are not Islamists. Nor are the rulers of North Korea.
Putting all these ideas together, we have come to the conclusion that the only accurate term for the current war is The War Against Conspiracy Theories. It is a war between conspiracy-theory-based subcultures and those based on truth and reason. It is a war between those who judge 'narratives' according whom they validate, and those who seek explanations that correspond to reality. Every perpetrator of violence against the West (or against Americans, or Jews, or even Christians) today is possessed by an utterly false causal explanation of how the West works and what the West is. Every other person, however well-meaning, who gives credence to such an explanation is in some measure an ally of those murderers.
In a recent opinion poll, nearly half of New Yorkers said that people in the United States Government “knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act”. Everyone reading this must know people whose political thinking is similarly tainted by, if not utterly based on, conspiracy theories at least as insane as that. Go out and persuade them. Persuade them not only that their particular conspiracy theory doesn't make sense but that the underlying world view isn't true. That it is no more than a nasty little fantasy that is hurting and crippling them even as it offers them the specious simplicity and comfort of blaming others. That the world is better than that and that if they choose to, they can be part of its improving further. Persuade them because in the long run, if you fail to persuade them, they will kill you.