Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Friday, April 14, 2006

You've gotta have faith

As part of the big flashy overhaul of my site, I added on a little traffic counter application. I was so excited about the big orange star I forgot about it.

So, it turns out most of my readers live in the UK, are in their mid-twenties and live in Willesden. But there's surprisingly many people from the east coast of the united states. And surprisingly many started their visit here:

I'm guessing the title of that post might have attracted some attention. Whilst *clearly* an ironic statement on how a certain type of conspiracy theorist- no matter how outlandish the theory- must feel a sense of completeness and professional satisfaction once they've neatly sown their favourite scapegoat into a beautiful and twisted tapestry.

But whilst my counters can tell me the country, the IP address and even operating system of every visitor, what they sadly can't tell me are the motivations of these people. Maybe it was a hate-crazed isolated conspiracy theorist looking for a soulmate. Or maybe a world-weary researcher, whose unfortunate and eternal task it is to investigate and document the scarily-frequent anti-semetic conspiracies that roll down the internet like the proverbial boulder. But one can see why these theories exist- for those troubled by difficult questions, obsessive jew-hating provides an easy, catch-all answer for any situation.

"Why is there so much poverty in the world?"
"That'll be the jews"

"What's going on with the conservative party?"

"Why haven't you done the washing-up?"
"Jews again I'm afraid."

Yes, some people can't resist a bit of scapegoating, even today. But as humans, we seek out easy, unproveable answers to the things we're not capable or motivated enough to understand. Can I prove we're not all in a gigantic computer program? Nope. Can I prove that the jews aren't controlling the media (I hear that one a lot)? Well, you can't prove a negative. Except that most jewish people I know would never allow something as dire as Little Britain to go out on BBC2- they would have left it on Channel Five. Can I argue with a flat-earther? Nope. God-botherer? Well, I try...

For some people it's hatred, for other people it's love. In all cases it's about blind faith providing easy and unchallegeable answers. For a certain type of Christian, for example, God is always the answer.
"Why is there so much poverty in the world?"
"It is God's will."

"What's going on with the conservative party?"
"God wills it so."

"Why haven't you done the washing-up?"
"Yeah, God's will again mate."

So whether it's a new job, love, religious faith or just conspiracy wackiness, always beware of the easy answer. But "It's a lot more complicated than that" never started any cults.

Happy Easter everyone.


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