Home World Pascal Wagner-Egger: “September 11 is the first set of conspiracy theories 2.0”

Pascal Wagner-Egger: “September 11 is the first set of conspiracy theories 2.0”

Pascal Wagner-Egger: “September 11 is the first set of conspiracy theories 2.0”

Pascal Wagner-Egger, teacher-researcher in social psychology at the University of Friborg, has been working on conspiracy theories for years. He returns for CNEWS on the major role of the attacks of September 11 in the history of these beliefs.

An analysis to be found in his book entitled “Psychology of beliefs in conspiracy theories – The noise of the conspiracy” (ed. Presses Universitaires de Grenoble), recently released.

Do the 9/11 attacks have a special place in the history of conspiracy?

It is the first set of conspiracy theories 2.0, which had immense success on the Internet, and which opened on the 21ste century, and one of its problems, Internet disinformation and the resulting post-truth (the impression that all opinions are equal, that what is written on the Internet is true, etc.). The conspiratorial documentary “Loose Change” garnered millions of views on YouTube, which had just been launched. Some associations have even formed in favor of the conspiracy theory.

With 9/11, I saw how attractive the erratic data I was talking about at the start. It is the seemingly bizarre data of the official version, which most often has an explanation (therefore is not “weird”), and which even without an explanation is not direct evidence of conspiracy (at best, reasons for investigate).

We see three or four of them (the way the towers collapsed, finding the passports, etc.), and we quickly think “this is really weird”. We tend to believe too quickly that there may be something fishy, ​​a conspiracy, when these data have an explanation.

Why still today, personalities – like Spike Lee lately – continue to bring this subject back on the table?

Some people like to express their uniqueness, to stand out. Others tend to believe a lot of conspiracies because they are motivated to think that the “System” is unfair.

The funny thing about 9/11 is that there are two great arguments against conspiracy theory that conspirators never bring up. If we take conspiracy theory seriously, we must find the motive for such an immoral and criminal act by democratically elected politicians against their own population, which would result in the death penalty or life imprisonment in states. -United. This concerns George W. Bush, but also several hundred or even thousands of people at the head of state. It is therefore extremely serious. And why this plot? To invade Afghanistan, which is of no interest and which cost the US administration billions of dollars, and many soldiers’ lives? This is completely stupid, especially since the US had to invent false evidence to invade Iraq barely two years later (it would have been much easier to directly accuse Saddam Hussein). It’s the same with the pandemic. Why would we have stopped the economy and ruined large companies, just for the sake of pharmas and GAFAM? When you seriously ask yourself the “why” question, half of the plots become highly improbable.

The other argument against the 9/11 plot is the idea that the more a plot involves a large number of people, the longer it takes for the plot to become public (through leaks, regret , whistleblowers, etc.) is decreasing. A mathematician calculated the time it took for real plots to become public (like Watergate), and one can draw from his model that a plot like 9/11 involving thousands of people would have already leaked since a year ago. moment… Members of the CIA leaked information about torture in secret American prisons like Guantanamo, so it’s hard to see how the 9/11 plot could have remained secret for so long…

Pascal Wagner-Egger: Psychology of Conspiracy Theory Beliefs – The Noise of the Conspiracy (Ed. Presses Universitaires de Grenoble – April 2021) – between 14.99 and 18 euros.

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