Flat Earth YouTube Conspiracist Nexus

The strongest propulsion for conspiracist thought is, perhaps, the ready access to publication of ideas (sans vetting) that is provided by the internet. Just as the internet helps spread conspiracy theories, so too does the internet embolden the conjecture and strengthen the ideological resolve of the conspiracist.

The Flat Earth conspiracy movement can be mapped out alongside the history of YouTube. The ability to easily create and post videos gives the conspiracist the opportunity to claim anything they like, post it online, and believe that they are, in fact, experts by virtue of their publish.

Here are some examples of Flat Earthers on Youtube:

Flat Earth conspiracists are plugged in, media savvy to some extent, but just as convinced of a number of paradoxical conspiracist beliefs that lends to them the belief that they are ‘awake’ and all others are ‘sheep.’ More than anything else, if you are a ‘promoter’ of an ideology (or conspiracy theory) rather than a mere ‘adherent’ then they are likely to maintain greater zeal.

So, if considering the path an idea used to take (pre-internet) to become a relatively potent anomalistic belief (i.e. ghosts, auras, etc.), one can look back at communities and tribes spreading lore, myth, legends, and stories over millennia. With the written word, such messages can be transmitted over time, Radio meant that ideas could be transmitted over vast expanses of space. Video, even images of the fantastic or impossible moving in time and space, render ideas believable on a visceral level. What the internet, in general, adds to the history of human media is the potential for exponential spread of ideas, as well as incalculable increases in levels of adoption of ideas, and the identification with an idea or an ideology. The internet not only offers access to a vast array of ideas, but social media specifically helps link idea with identity: rendering any identified idea all the more potent and any objection to said idea to become more readily interpreted as a personal affront.

YouTube is social media, is visual, and is produced by individuals who thus identify as producers of their content. They are not anonymous (except for those who are) and most people post video blogs (vlogs) with the assumption that they will have an audience. Regardless of how fleeting and ill founded an idea may be, once a vlogger posts a video blog about it on YouTube, it is a part of them. Any questions suggesting logical fallacies or factual errors are tantamount to an attack on their identity. They are the producer.

The viewer of such a video may post a link on Facebook. They are consuming, but also inviting friends to consume as well (this metaphor seems odd in this context but it seems to be necessary to acknowledge the consumer model). Though the producer of the video does not see comments left by friends or family but the consumer does, and that consumer sees people that care about them share their opinions on the subject as more relevant than would any video blogger with no personal relationship with said individual’s family or friends. The result, usually, is that YouTube vloggers remain steadfast and those who post to Facebook (or other social media) either fail to adopt or do so in secret. One exception would be posting via instant messenger to a like-minded friend. Regular reinforcement of an uncommon belief may not be necessary for adoption or extended adherence, but constant ridicule and/or criticism from significant others will likely end with either the dissolution of the belief or (unfortunately) the dissolution of the relationship.

If you consider conspiracist ideation in a way similar to cult indoctrination it becomes clear that YouTube is one of the most effective means of indoctrination for those who are active vloggers. For many reasons, some of which I have not gone into here, vloggers can conjecture themselves into ever-increasing states of ideological (and conspiracist) fervor.

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6 thoughts on “Flat Earth YouTube Conspiracist Nexus

  1. wow… So, basically any time the official narrative, of anything, is questioned via the use of any form of social media, it is obviously an example of “cult indoctrination”…? 😉

    I find myself marveling at the irony that this post itself is, of course, being written and spread by way of the social media of blogging. How do I know YOU aren’t guilty of “cult indoctrination” right here? Yikes. I’m so confused. I guess I should just go back to switching on the television and believing every single thing I hear and see…. (!)

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  2. I wouldn’t call this ‘cult indoctrination’ but, rather, an echo chamber of mutual agreement where like-minded people can agree with one another to make the pursuit of facts irrelevant. It is one thing to join a cult, but another to say you believe something and then identify with that belief. A cult often has a leader, a dogma, and a set of beliefs policed by other members of the group. Anyone can convince themselves of anything, post it online, and can just as easily delete it … or so it would seem. When someone takes on a belief, they also take on the identity of a person who believes. Logic and reason don’t just negate an unfounded belief, mockery just strengthens their resolve, every attack forces them to double down. Internet ‘trolls’ do more to force believers of the fantastic or paranormal to double down on their beliefs, ensuring their resolve with evermore frustration and denial of their own doubts. In this case, cults are similar only in instances of public scrutiny. If a religious organization is criticized, it is a common inclination of a member of that religious group to defend the group, or feel personally attacked at any accusation or criticism. So it is here.

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    1. I wouldn’t disagree with much of your overall points here, but even so, does it stand to reason that then all/every conspiratorial circle online is guilty of what you are describing?

      Because honestly, the “echo chamber argument” works both ways, does it not, applying equally to the mainstream narrative, as well as the “alternative media”..?

      It would be a difficult thing indeed to try and defend the notion that the “government-sanctioned” versions of things such as the “War on Terror”, or “interest of the State” etc. aren’t without their firmly-held dogmas and emotionally-driven beliefs….

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      1. The only thing that is consistently found in all these discussion groups is the general consensus that the ‘powers that be’ and the ‘media’ are both in cahoots and nefarious. They are not to be trusted, this much can be said, but the idea that they make all of the idiotic (or in the case of covert ops such as the Tuskegee Experiment, despicable) decisions due to a secret underground agenda is giving both institutions too much credit. In my opinion, and that is all I am saying, is the Government is run by people and is, as such, often mismanaged. I used to think 9/11 was an inside job so that Bush could go to war with Iraq, et cetera, but the way I see it now is that there are definitely issues with the 9/11 report and opportunistic reasons for the Iraq war but that Bush & Cheney may have just been guilty of opportunism and a big money grab after the fact.
        The Media, too, is too busy as a business to not jump on every leak in government and every news story as they come out. Often, they report real news badly, and bad news loudly, but not to lie to you (per se). Their goal is advertising dollars and not blind obedience. The illusion of choice that 3 major media entities have been accused of creating is not a biproduct of an Illuminati agenda but, rather, more blind opportunism with nothing more than Stock prices and dollars in their sites. This isn’t to say that journalists aren’t trying to get out real news, some are! This is also not to say that some news agencies just don’t really do news, some really don’t! But my original opinions (concisely, all media is the ‘circus’ meant to keep the willfully ignorant moderately entertained by soundbites to distract them from the lack of social, economic and literal ‘bread’) is, yet again, giving ignorant people too much credit.

        If we need to discuss the Illuminati and why they can’t exist as our overlords, we can. Until then, peace.

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      2. Yes, I have heard all these sorts of arguments, plenty of times. I’d say the majority of folks actually would agree on some level with your sentiments: “but the way I see it now is that there are definitely issues with the 9/11 report and opportunistic reasons for the Iraq war but that Bush & Cheney may have just been guilty of opportunism and a big money grab after the fact.”

        And indeed, this is why I would hold 9/11 to be a very pivotal question indeed. Was the Bush/Cheney agenda of unjustified Middle East wars really just an “opportunistic move” based on profit motives, etc.?

        It’s one thing to hold such a view when you’ve never bothered to look into any of the details of that day (as I had never done, prior to going down “the rabbit hole”…) But seriously… Once you stop and learn about Building 7? See it collapse into it’s own footprint in under seven seconds?? That’s ONLY done with internally planted explosives. PERIOD. End of story! Try and argue otherwise and you are absolutely retreating into your own “echo chamber of self-reinforcing dogma”, where the basic laws of physics are being ignored and turned on their head, in order to try and rationalize a story that is utterly irrational…

        Not to mention, the plethora of other “fishiness” about that whole day. Building 7 being reported by the BBC to have collapsed, half an hour before it actually did. The plane which supposedly crashed in Shanksville, PA, but yet there was no wreckage, and the official explanation is that the plane hit the ground so hard/fast that the ground actually “liquified” and swallowed it whole.(!!) The fact that the Twin Towers completely vaporized into piles of dust and rubble. (and no, the “pile-driver” explanation is total garbage) The fact the Pentagon crash site was a tiny ten foot hole, without a scratch or broken window where the wings should’ve hit. (the fact that the plane just coincidentally hit and destroyed the offices where the missing trillions were being investigated?) The fact that military was performing an “exercise”, for the exact same scenario, on the very same day, causing confusion and miscommunication. I could go on, and on, and on…

        How is ANY of that possibly attributable to “after-the-fact opportunism”?

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  3. I completely understand how you see the story of 9/11. I saw it very much the same way. I actually don’t think it’s my place to try and convince you of my view of the world. All I can tell is that, for me, the process was different from the one you portray above. I did not simply ‘look into’ the ‘official story’ but rather, I assumed that the official story was fake from the beginning and when opinion documentaries such as Loose Change came out, I believed their arguments as they supported my view.

    My opinion was pretty much a passive one. I did not spend long hours at night trying to convince the world or anything like that, but I did occasionally extol my opinion that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’ and that the facts seemed fishy.

    As ‘fishy’ as a disappearing plane or two is (so yeah, I don’t really ‘get’ the official story), that doesn’t exactly say that I can claim that the official story is false. I began to ask myself what would happen if I were to attempt to prove that, say, building 7 could not fall on its own without a controlled demolition. I looked at the layout of the complex, I considered the debris fall of the two larger towers, and determined that the debris could have blown out the bottom of the backside of the building and allow for a collapse that would appear to be controlled from the angle safe for filming.

    As much as I really did not want to hear it (because my ego was at stake, to some extent), the subject of jet fuel melting steel girders, too, became mute when two engineers (one student and one professor) explained how the central steal structure of the two towers could be weakened and, thus, the weight of the buildings themselves could have fell the two towers.

    Do I think that information is being withheld? Yes, I saw no Shanksville fuselage, no wings or plane debris outside of the Pentagon. Does that mean that the story is fabricated, rather than redacted and concealed for reasons of potential security risk, all I can say is I don’t know. What I can tell you is that when I attempted to find alternative story-lines to compete with my own view of the situation, I was able to find very simple narratives based on simple physics and science-based evidence.

    The very reason I write this blog is because I was so certain that there was a secret cabal fronted by Bush et. al. that had killed thousands (in 9/11) in an effort to legitimize a war that killed thousands more Americans, over a million Iraqis and Afghanis, and still more within the Allied Forces. I was sure that these vile folks did all this to make money, to settle a score, or to ensure America’s global military strength through permanent military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. My narrative proved false when Bush failed to pull the same martial law maneuver that Jade Helm Theorists suspected Obama of plotting (this was a 2007 theory du jour), so how was I to parse reality shifting from my pessimism? I write because our narratives, no matter how true they seem, can be not only wrong, but dangerous for our psychological well-being.

    The world is complex. Risk is Real. Are there conspiracies? Yes, most likely, people in power form secret alliances and play the public for the fool. The problem with 9/11 theories are the vast number of needed conspirators: every victim who booked a plane ticket, every member of the immediate family, military personnel of at least one military base (let’s say, Wright-Patterson AFB, because Hangar 11, right?), cellphone providers (because of the cellphone use on planes), WTC staff and security (because, if there are planted explosives they would have to be planted in strategic locations within the building’s structure over months) and, hence, a demolition crew, the NYPD would have to be complicit because such planning would require outside placement of cranes and they would likely be subject to police scrutiny just as anything would be in the WTC complex: the most sought after target for religious extremists from the early 1990s until the day the towers fell. While we compile the tally of who must have been either complicit before the 9/11 attacks or after, as investigations continued and thousands of personal stories were vetted by the 9/11 commission and the media, the commissioners, the media and the people who are asked questions must be at least partially ‘in on the conspiracy’ and, hence, perhaps tens of thousands of Americans had to be in on this thing, right? Now, rather than living in a world where George W Bush and Dick Cheney are the baddies, you live surrounded by people who ‘know’ but won’t ‘tell’ and they are all looking at you, wondering when you will submit to the ‘lie.’ If that is how you see the world, you are likely in a significant psychological state of risk. I feel certain that that many people cannot keep a secret, nor could they be vetted to keep a secret. I feel that something on the number 10% could keep the secret and the following 90% would, in fact, spill the beans.

    What is left? A thorough introspection of belief, ideology and the path that those ideas took to coalesce into a massive movement of 9/11 conspiracy theory. I can only say that I am one of many who have had to be honest with myself and admit that I was living in an ideological echo chamber and that any interfering information or opinions were ignored or treated as ‘sheep’ in the shadow of my ‘superior perception’ on the subject. I distrusted Bush starting in the 2000 Presidential election and 9/11 was simply a continuation for me in an internal mental campaign to blame-bush-for-everything. The scary thing for me was always to acknowledge that which I believe now, that Bush et. al. were short-sighted extremist and opportunists who had a public relations coop land in their laps and they took it and profited from it. The alternative was all too easy to believe: that they were evil incarnate. When it comes right down to it, many conspiracy theories (if we are to lump them all together) assume that the conspirators are actually more than human, whether pure evil or controlled by Satan, and that humans are either good or evil rather than flesh-and-blood fallible short-sighted and occasionally, opportunistic fools that will regularly convince themselves that what they are doing is right. You needn’t agree with me, but before you attempt to disprove me you must first pay yourself the honor of attempting to disprove yourself.

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