Sunday, November 25, 2007

Archduke Ferdinand Was An Inside Job!

My longtime blogger buddy Rick Moran takes a look at the conspiracy theories and compares them to the historical assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the event that led to World War I. It's a fascinating story and I have to admit being unaware of the details.

The conspiracy had several assassins spread out along a motorcade route where Ferdinand and his wife would be taken to the town hall for a formal welcome. The first two assassins lost heart completely and failed to make an attempt. They were armed with bombs and pistols. Further along the route, another assassin made the first attempt on the Archduke’s life, tossing a bomb that bounced off Ferdinand’s car and landed behind it, exploding when a follow-up car passed over it. The bomb injured 20 people and shook up Ferdinand’s party considerably. The would be assassin swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped in the river – neither of which killed him. He was promptly arrested.

Also failing to act despite being armed with bombs and pistols were several other assassins standing nearby including young Gavrilo Princip. The 20 year old would get another chance shortly.

Rick then shows how a conspiracy theorist would reconstruct things to implicate far more groups than the actual plotters.

I do think he's a little unfair here:

While there is certainly enough paranoia on the right about 9/11 and “The New World Order,” black helicopter conspiracies, the driving force behind 9/11 truthers, Kennedy conspiracists, and Area 51 nutcases has been the far left of American politics.

I am not aware that the Area 51 stuff has any political correlation. Yes, the Kennedy conspiracy theorists do tend to be left of center. And the 9-11 crackpots are just crackpots; there's a significant libertarian aspect to the "Truthers" and yes, a significant Leftist element. But as we have documented here endlessly, many on the left end of the spectrum have done terrific work debunking the conspiracy theories. David Corn, George Monbiot, Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn have all dismissed the arguments of the nutbars. Daily Kos has a standard rule against Truther Diaries and while Democratic Underground allows them, they're in a separate section of the forum and cannot be voted to the "Best" page.

This is not to deny that a large percentage of Truthers hail from the portside. But again, that's a large percentage of a small percentage of people overall. In other words, let's say that 66% of all Truthers are left of center. But if only 4.6% of people are Truthers to begin with (defined fairly narrowly as MIHOP per the Zogby Poll), then only about 3% of Americans are both Truther and left of center.

Again, I have lots of problems with the Scripps poll that is the basis for the post in the first place; I think they've mingled in a lot of people who aren't Truthers to get the 62% figure. People who believe the media's take on the August 6, 2001 PDB, for example.