Another anniversary of September 11 has just passed. Americans have lost a lot of liberty since that time, while the U.S. government has gained power.
There is an ongoing debate about what happened on that day, now over 11 years ago. Some people think it was an inside job. Others think that the conspiracy theorists are nuts. There are a few in the middle and probably a few who have never heard these theories.
There would not be much debate on this in a past era. The internet has changed everything. It is because of the internet that we can see some of the footage of 9/11, plus hear competing theories on what may have happened.
The one thing that has always baffled me is the collapse of the buildings. These buildings collapsed at near free fall speed. It didn't seem right that this would happen. You might expect a partial collapse, but it is bizarre for skyscrapers to fall into their own footprint without planned explosives being involved.
Of course, it wasn't just the twin towers that fell that day. Later in the day, World Trade Center building 7 collapsed, which wasn't hit directly by an airplane. You can view one video here. If you go to YouTube and search for "WTC 7", you will find many different videos, including a few trying to counter the conspiracy theorists.
WTC 7 was 47 stories high. That is a huge building. While it was less than half the size of the twin towers, it would have been one of the tallest buildings in many major U.S. cities. For that thing to fall in less than 10 seconds is incredible.
If you believe that WTC7 came down because of explosives, then this leads to a whole series of questions and answers. If that is the case, there wouldn't have been time to plant the explosives between the time the planes hit and the time it collapsed. This means that some people knew what was going to occur that day, at least a day or more in advance. It means that some people knew an attack was coming and didn't try to do anything to stop it or warn people. Again, it leads to a lot of questions.
I find conspiracy theories fascinating. I'm sure that some are true and some are not. But as a libertarian, I'm not sure how much good and how much bad they do.
It amazes me that some people believe that 9/11 was an inside job that was orchestrated by the U.S. government, and yet some of these people are not libertarians. Some of them believe we should have socialized healthcare. I have to ask them: So you think that the U.S. government secretly murders innocent people and covers it up and uses it as an excuse to terrorize more people, and yet you trust the same people to provide you with good medical care?
The same goes for the JFK assassination. Many people believe that it was a conspiracy. Yet, if that is the case, then there was a coup that day. There was an overthrow. It means that the establishment guys at the top did not like where JFK was taking the country. Could it have been his comment that he wanted to tear apart the CIA? In any case, why would you believe in such a conspiracy and yet still be in favor of handing over power to these people?
In some ways, talking about potential conspiracies doesn't do any good and can sometimes move the liberty agenda backwards. You might persuade someone that 9/11 was an inside job, yet it won't make him a libertarian. Plus, there will be many people that will just be turned off at the suggestion that their government could do such a thing. This will just make them firmer in their beliefs that government is there to help.
On the other hand, I think talking about potential conspiracies with some people might help the cause of liberty. If you get someone who is open-minded and interested in the subject and you convince him that 9/11 was an inside job, it would probably at least make him more distrustful of his government. While it may not make him an instant libertarian, it might move him one step closer and encourage him to do more research.
In conclusion, I think libertarians really need to be careful in picking their audiences when discussing conspiracy theories. It would be interesting if a smoking gun appeared that implicated the U.S. government in the 9/11 attacks. Would that be enough for Americans to withdraw their consent or would they just blame a few bad apples and continue to clamor for more government help?