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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

23 July 2006

The exaggerating conspirator

An op-ed in today’s New York Times explores the meaning and limits of academic freedom; the piece was prompted by a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who “acknowledged on a radio talk show that he has shared with students his strong conviction that the destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job perpetrated by the American government.”

A thought comes to mind is how the exposure to conspiracy theories can be rejuvenating. I always remember that my first traces of pro-Americanism emerged after excessive exposure to anti-Americanism. Reading conspiracy theories made me crave for evidence and argument and a desire to move beyond speculation and innuendo and subject political analysis to rigorous argument and analysis.

Whenever I engage in an argument about American policy, I always turn to the same starting point—is it possible that all the conspiracy theories on America are true? It is through excessive exposure to the ridiculous aspects of anti-Americanism that one can begin to acquire a more nuanced—and maybe favorable—view of the United States.

References:
Stanley Fish, “Conspiracy Theories 101,” New York Times, 23 July 06 (link)

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