I'm headed down to City Hall in Philadelphia later today for a firsthand look at the Occupy Philadelphia movement. So I decided to check out the local website, and was greeted with this headline.
"Twelve families rule the world," eh? Google that phrase and you'll see that it's closely tied into conspiracy-minded nonsense that's a close cousin to anti-Semitic tropes that generally surface whenever protests against "bankers" get started. (Depending on how you search the phrase, the Wikipedia entry for the Rothschild family sometimes comes up fourth in the results. 'Nuff said.) And as much as I might be sympathetic to some of the movement's grievances, I'm not really interested in signing on for anti-Semitism or conspiracist nonsense. (To be fair, the Occupy Philly page also includes an essay from Chris Hedges, who warns against designating "Jews, Muslims" as enemies.)
Understand: Conspiracy theories—whether the "12 families" bit, or birtherism, or 9/11 trutherism—are almost always have no relation to the truth whatsoever. They're built on grievance and speculation, but not fact. Again: I'm not interested in signing onto a political movement with roots in angry fantasy.
Nor are most Americans, I suspect. Conspiracy-minded nonsense—in addition to being nonsense—is also a political loser. Birtherism doesn't help the Republican Party with independent voters, and crap about the Illuminati won't help the Occupy Wall Street movement build a critical mass of support either.
Conspiracism. Bad on the reality. Bad on the politics. I hope that when I go to City Hall today, I find something more grounded and less crazy than what the website offers. You can offer a critique of the status quo—and should, as far as I'm concerned—without resorting to fever dreams.
Update: The headline has been changed.