By Michael Barkun
What do alien ship believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in universal? in response to Michael Barkun during this interesting but irritating booklet, rather a lot. it really is popular that a few americans are passionate about conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma urban bombing, and the 2001 terrorist assaults have all generated problematic tales of hidden plots. what's a long way much less recognized is the level to which conspiracist worldviews have lately turn into associated in unusual and unpredictable methods with different "fringe" notions reminiscent of a trust in UFOs, Nostradamus, and the Illuminati. Unraveling the intense genealogies and variations of those more and more common rules, Barkun indicates how this internet of city legends has unfold between subcultures on the web and during mass media, how a brand new kind of conspiracy considering has lately arisen, and the way this phenomenon pertains to higher adjustments in American tradition. This ebook, written by means of a number one professional at the topic, is the main accomplished and authoritative exam of latest American conspiracism so far.
Barkun discusses a number of material--involving inner-earth caves, govt black helicopters, alien abductions, mystery New global Order cabals, and masses more--that few detect exists in our tradition. taking a look heavily on the manifestions of those principles in a variety of literature and resource fabric from spiritual and political literature, to New Age and alien craft guides, to pop culture phenomena reminiscent of The X-Files, and to web content, radio courses, and extra, Barkun unearths that the US is within the throes of an unmatched interval of millennarian task. His e-book underscores the significance of knowing why this phenomenon is now spreading into extra mainstream segments of yankee tradition.
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Extra info for A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
The result is that the same sources are repeated over and over, which produces a kind of pseudoconfirmation. If a source is cited many times, it must be true. Because the claims made by conspiracy theorists are usually nonfalsifiable, the multiplication of sources may leave the impres- G&S Typesetters PDF proof 02-C2713 6/13/03 12:46 PM Page 29 M I L L E N N I A L I S M A N D S T I G M AT I Z E D K N O W L E D G E 29 sion of validation without actually putting any propositions to the test of evidence.
In an environment in which authority has come into question, the very unclassifiability of these belief systems makes them attractive. Are they Christian or Buddhist, Western or non-Western, scientific or antiscientific, religious or secular? The very questions and categories seem out of place when the belief systems themselves ignore such boundaries. In the act of ignoring boundaries, improvisational millenarians implicitly challenge orthodox conceptions of belief and knowledge. By picking and choosing among a variety of beliefs, improvisationalists convey the message that no single belief system, whether religious or secular, is authoritative.
His most influential occult reader proved to be Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891), the cofounder (with Henry Steel Olcott) of the Theosophical Society. ” 23 Believers in vril and The Coming Race kept alive not only the idea of a pool of free energy, but also the idea of an underground world with its own species and civilizations, a concept that has ramified in ways Bulwer-Lytton could scarcely have imagined. As we shall see in chapter 7, one result has been a vast contemporary literature purporting to describe subterranean caverns, tunnels, and races and speculating that flying saucers come not from outer space but from this underground world, whence they allegedly reach us through hidden openings in the earth’s surface.