Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Jerry Clark on Conspiracists

I have a great deal of respect for Jerry Clark and all the work he's done over the years with respect to the serious study of the UFO phenomenon (which doesn't mean that I always agree with him, of course). He is one of the most knowledgeable ufologists around today.

When it comes to conspiracy theorism, a topic I have addressed here over the past few months, he is also one of the most sensible. Here, more than anywhere else, we tend to find ourselves on the same page.

The following statement, which Clark wrote in 2002, is as relevant and applicable today as it was then:

"Conspiracy theories are to real-life politics, history, and current events what pornography is to real-life sexuality - in other words, and extremely distant approximation. Both conspiracy theory and pornography, not incidentally, have the effect of discouraging their consumers from becoming responsible, rational adults and finctioning in a real, somplicated world. It's easier, of course, to rant about sinister forces rendering all of us into helpless pawns, and laying all human problems on the machinations of behind-the-scenes, all-powerful plotters, than to participate in civic society, inform oneself, weigh difficult, complex issues and choices, make one's voice heard, and vote as an educated citizen. Besides being just plain crazy, conspiracy theory is an intellectually lazy way out of actually having to think."

[see http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2002/may/m13-016.shtml]

It should come as no surprise to anyone in ufology that Jerry wrote this in response to the following "statement", by everyone's favourite conspiracy theory wacko, good old King Lemming, or that His Majesty chose to respond in... well, his usual, inimitably incoherent manner:


Jerry followed up with this:

"You are the true conspiracy theorist, Mr. Lehmberg. All conspiracy theorists, without exception, imagine themselves tobe privy to hidden truths denied ordinary people, and they believe that those who scoff at conspiracy theory suffer an "incomprehensible naivete," as opposed to the gimlet- eyed sophistication that surrounds the paranoid in such a warm, cuddly glow. In fact, the conspiracy theorist seeks comfort in ignorance, simplicity, and an imagined order (even if a sinister one), fearing a real world of extraordinary complexity, randomness, and unpredictability, and painted in colors that are often only shades of gray."

[see: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2002/may/m15-020.shtml]

That pretty much sums it up re: His Majesty, I think.

This is, as always with the King, pretty amusing stuff. He and Clark have had a number of other "disagreements" at Updates, as His Majesty has with just about every other reasonable person over the years (like Josh Goldstein, another eminently sensible UFO guy - see: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2002/may/m14-009.shtml).

Sometimes I think he does it on purpose, simply because he has nothing better to do.

So, as His Majesty focuses in on me these days (the "Evil" flavour du jour, it seems), I guess I'm in some pretty good historical company.

Anyway, take Clark's statement to heart folks.

It hits the nail square on the head. As Exopolitics gains adherents, and the likes of King Lemming continue to muck up the works, it is also as timely now as it was when he first made it.

Paul Kimball

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