Theories and Queries: A Middle Ground in the Schism of the Liberty Movement
By Meghan Kellison and Rebekah Johansen
Pick a side: either you’re a crazy person who believes 9/11 was an inside job done by fluoride-drinking reptilians, or you’re a globalist puppet bent on enforcing statism and splintering the liberty movement for personal gain. At least, those are the straw man-based categories that the liberty movement can be divided into. However, is there a middle ground, somewhere in between the two extremes where there can be peaceful coexistence in the movement? Is it possible to be a “skeptical conspiracy theorist”? Reason, after all, must be used to assess any argument. But emotionally charged division can create confusion or even discredit libertarian principles in the eyes of others when egos are causing infighting. The liberty movement often seems to be a bit of a sausage fest, and that becomes glaringly obvious as some major male activists have taken center stage in bickering over the direction and image of the revolution. This article seeks to find common ground.
Liberty is based on the idea of individualism, but this divide is collectivizing the movement into two categories that are really no better than the false left-right paradigm we escaped from when we ditched the Republican and Democratic parties. Now, it is my belief that hyperbole is being used by both sides to describe the other to make them appear more extreme than they really are. Our enemies, per se, are not the people we agree with on over 85%-95% of the issues, they are the ones who seek to destroy our liberties. This is not a movement of leaders vying for status; it is made up of individuals who have realized we don’t need leaders to tell us what to think and how to feel. The battle lines are not drawn, and no one has control over who gets kicked out of the movement because of an image they want to portray. I am a skeptic whose skepticism has led to the discovery of some very real conspiracies, but labeling individuals as “skeptics” or “conspiracy theorists” detract from the real issues and create false stereotypes that close hearts and minds.
My good friend Rebekah Johansen and I have been discussing this topic, and seek to clarify the beliefs of the supposed two sides and hopefully prove that there is less difference than some would have you believe. We have a slightly different perspective perhaps aided by our lack of need to dominate things with a big show of appendage-measuring…to quote Papa Bear…bloviating.
I’ll give you some background on where I am coming from. Pretty much my whole life I have questioned the official story of how things are, but retained a fairly mainstream view for most of my life up until about six years ago. Then, things started to change. As an avid democrat, I already disagreed with the Bush Administration on virtually everything, and began doing research at the behest of a few Ron Paul supporters I knew. I was an English major at the time, so reading for me was and still is one of my very favorite things. So, I started voraciously reading sources outside the mainstream news, and after months and countless hours of fact checking and comparing sources, I came to the conclusion that not only is truth truly stranger than fiction, but just about everything I was taught in public indoctrination school was wrong. It was not only wrong, many things were outright lies. History, science, and medicine were the biggest subjects where there was widespread efforts to cover up the truth.
I came across a guy named Alex Jones, and learned about banking elites who supposedly controlled much of the world through debt. For a short while, I digested most of his documentaries, and found myself eventually thinking against all rationality that the world was going to end in 2008. He taught me a valuable lesson, though, that you cannot let fear rule your decision making. Now, I am not advocating that we sit down and take the erosion of our liberties lightly at all, but we must be peaceful to be effective.
Probably the biggest cover up I came across that had the most impact on me was the discovery that out government was complicit in the attacks on 9/11. There was a massive failure at all levels, and really too many coincidences that day for me to think it was anything other than a terrorist attack that the government knew about beforehand and failed to prevent that was then covered up by the 9/11 Commission Report. Whether or not it was highly planned is debatable for me, and honestly I am somewhere in the middle there. I do believe government is inefficient and unable to exert the control some individuals within it want to due to the nature of the beast, but I also contend there seems to be a very highly active criminal element that really does want to hurt people to serve its own interests. The expansion and scope of the military industrial complex is well known, and while it is indeed real and powerful I also believe this contributes to certain other unfounded conspiracy theories. There are straw man arguments used to harm the credibility of anyone who questions the official story, and this includes ridiculous theories (i.e. holographic planes) that cause division and ridicule.
However, why is it hard for some “skeptics” to believe that 9/11 could have been a false flag to further desires of the Empire? It has only happened all throughout history, so I doubt our government would be any different. There is nothing new under the sun, and those who have power over others will seek to retain and extend that power by any means and to the detriment of anybody. As for those with the access to the strongest military and weaponry in the world, you can bet that they will abuse that power over and over again. This nation’s government has been warring openly and covertly since the beginning of this country, and there is no rule of law that applies to the most powerful criminal elements in the government. Also, you cannot judge a powerful person’s actions within the parameters of your own moral compass because the rules don’t apply to them (defined as bankers, politicians, lawyers, judges, cops); therefore, they are more likely to break them. I will not go so far to say I know it was an inside job and exactly who did what, but if the premise holds true that government is evil perhaps we should take a closer look when they tout an official story of any kind.
I don’t allow facts about the world we live in to keep me in a state of paranoia, though. No amount of hollering about collective groups that supposedly control the world will convince me of a greater conspiracy that can be pegged to one source. I don’t think the Jews, Muslims, Christians, Communists, Atheists, Illuminati or any other group that gets the finger pointed at them is wholly responsible for the evil conspiracies that do happen in the world. Those humans at the top levels of power structures seeking control are wicked, but they’re also stupid and incompetent. They don’t have super human intelligence, just greater access to resources that provide them with more control. Because of gangs within government, it is very difficult to affect change whether through participation or voting.
The system is not designed to work for the average person, and perhaps this is one of the areas where Rebekah and I differ. We met while campaigning for Ron Paul in 2008, and she remained active at the local level throughout this last campaign while I chose to withdraw. I still watched the videos and reposted and encouraged everyone I knew to read Paul’s books and listen to his speeches and I debated about free market principles and voluntary exchange, but I had a growing sense of discouragement after seeing how we were treated in our own community years ago. Due to this and other developments I have seen over the past year in politics, I can no longer morally justify voting for anyone at this point unless it is Rebekah Johansen for State Committeewoman (wink wink).
Thanks for the endorsement :) Okay, now some background on me. I’m 21 years old and was homeschooled – really unschooled – my entire life until dual-enrollment at junior college. Like Meghan, I grew up questioning the norm. And although most of my life was outside the mainstream (my siblings and I were raised vegans and never vaccinated, and we were breastfed and home-birthed, for instance), my politics were solidly mainstream for most of my life. At 10, I first became aware of politics and vaguely supported George W. Bush because my parents did at the time… I later learned, because of his stated ideals of a smaller government and humble foreign policy. But I wasn’t very knowledgeable beyond the basics.
At 11, I sat with my family and watched the towers fall. The 9-11 attacks were the first world event I can remember, and what I remember is fear. My political socialization wasn’t just in the context of 9-11, it was 9-11. I still have some angry, nationalistic essays I wrote at the time saved on my old computer. Like Meghan, I learned to deal with confusing emotions through the outlet of writing – and soon, activism.
In 2004, I campaigned for George W. Bush with my siblings, with our patient mother driving us to the headquarters and to events. Fully involved in the “war on terror” mindset, I knew all the neo-conservative Republican positions and truly believed them for awhile, though I remember my skepticism for the Patriot Act and Iraq War, both of which made me deeply uncomfortable.
I was finishing junior college and about to enter the university level when I first started seeing Youtube videos featuring an awkward little man named Ron Paul. Apathetic and discouraged at the time because of Bush’s failed record of delivering smaller government, I began to tell people “I like Ron Paul except for foreign policy and the drug war.” The more I listened to Ron, though, the more I came to understand the principles of liberty in general.
In that process, conspiracy theories basically were just part of the territory. I’ll never forget the first few awkward meetups when almost everyone was talking about the New World Order or whatnot and I just went with it. After all, I was learning so much new information, why wouldn’t I believe these theories as part of my larger paradigm shift? Alex Jones, Mark Dice, Luke Rudowski, Adam Kokesh, Jesse Ventura… they became my icons, and I immersed myself in the conspiracy crowd, albeit with private misgivings. There were plenty of bad moments: don’t get me wrong. Much like in 2004, when I put aside my uncomfortable nagging feelings over some things, I learned to put aside doubts I felt when realizing how uncomfortable everyone’s reaction tended to be. I ignored how little effect I had over four years or the fact that I often found myself unable to convey a theory that seemed so clear in my head to any reasonable extent to others.
But over the next few years, I threw myself into alternate theories, third parties, and generally causing as much trouble as I could. I decided never to vote for Republicans – or not often – and became very involved in third party activism and stopped going to most events I considered “establishment.” But I soon became frustrated with the leaders of the conspiracy movement, beginning to question their credibility as well as the results they produced – and my experience with a third party in 2008 was enough to convince me that trying to recreate power structures will do nothing to stop the problems inherent therein.
For the following years, I was involved off and on with local things. I stopped really caring about things, but the cognitive dissonance was not sustainable. And then 2012 arrived, and I found a reason to be active again. I got back fully invested in local, state, and national politics and found that making friends and headway was actually pretty easy.
It was not until the early part of 2012 that I really sat down to think about the influence of so-called truther movements on the Ron Paul movement. I cannot justify to myself that there is any positive influence to this strand of liberty politics. Some time alone, some reflection, and some interactions with at least a few awesome people who really “get it” helped me sort out my priorities and realize that you can be a perfectly valid liberty supporter without believing everything is part of Agenda 21 or the New World Order.
As Meghan mentioned earlier about collectivizing – it is important that neither side do so. I don’t trust my government. I also don’t think there’s some grand conspiracy to every event. If there is, I’m speculating, and what good will I do in trying to spread my speculation? I don’t believe central organization is possible in economics because of limited information – so why would I believe the opposite when it comes to world leaders? And I firmly believe that at very few levels of power is it truly “us against them”; remember, we were all ignorant to liberty principles at some point. I find a good deal of skepticism and reliance on empirical evidence goes a long way, regardless of what your beliefs are.
At this point, my goals are simple: to take advantage of existing structure to further liberty principles as effectively as I can. I owe it to my values to be effective, even if I have to be mindful of my words and actions. I see the reasoning behind the Rand endorsement and don’t think Jack Hunter is an inside job. If you come to REC meetings talking about 9-11, I’ll probably ask you to leave... but I’ll ask nicely. My goal is exposing people to liberty, not to Bilderberg. I’m involved with the Republican Party because it is the most effective vehicle toward accomplishing liberty, and I have no intentions of throwing up my hands or spoiling things without good reason. This is my path, but others may well be different.
I realized after being politically active in the traditional sense that I had no faith in politicians or any part of politics in regard to fixing the problems facing this country, and my favorite way of reaching people was in the realm of writing. Poetry, essays, essay long debates, blogging, personal connections with people, helping support projects like the silver dime cards---these were my preferred ways of spreading the ideas of liberty. I am not fully convinced that this country can be saved from itself because I don’t know if the people en masse want it to be. I have to focus on the numbers when it comes to the economy, and the numbers don’t lie when they imply we are heading for some severe economic problems. My focus is now on informing people of what’s to come and providing them with solutions for after the collapse, and I really hate the way that that sounds like conspiratorial thinking, but I am not encouraging bartering with silver and the participation in a silver economy for nothing. The truth is, there are many parts of this body of liberty, and each one is important in helping the uninformed come to the reality. Some people choose to run for office to raise awareness, some choose to write, some people create their own radio programs or TV programs, some start news/information based sites, some provide precious metals for future use, some create Moneyliths to encourage the silver economy, some rub shoulders and whisper in the ears of the big wigs at major networks, some provide survivalist gear for tough times, some move to another state to try to gain a majority to affect change, and the list goes on and on. Denigrating what some parts of the body do because it is not your approach is nothing short of egotistical and collectivist, and only amounts to a pissing contest.
I’m okay if someone disagrees with me. We’re all called to do different things. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish, and work toward that goal. It is time for a moment of reckoning in the liberty movement, because for too long, we’ve been trying to do many different things, and it’s been ineffective. If you believe politics is pointless, don’t get involved in politics. If you don’t believe in conspiracy theories, don’t get involved in the truther crowd. While I do believe certain conspiracy leaders are counterproductive and damaging, they can do their thing – just don’t interfere when I’m doing my thing. A split might be necessary, but it can be a peaceful split. We have common ground on many things, but a little respect for others’ territory is fine. The important thing is that we rely not on fear but on logic, reason, and, at risk of platitudes, what got us here: love.