False Flags and Civil Liberties: Keeping the Right Perspective

Ever since 9/11, the internet has been full of conspiracy theories claiming that this or that terrorist attack was really a “false flag” event. This actually goes back to before 2001 (for example, the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995), but 9/11 is when this way of thinking started to become widespread.

To this day, a small but significant minority of the population believes that 9/11 was an inside job -or at least that the president and other high ranking officials had prior knowledge of the attack. This article is not going to even attempt to prove or disprove any conspiracy theories. What I want to focus on is why I believe it can be a trap to get too caught up in this type of thinking.

For those not familiar with the term, a false flag event is something set up by the authorities as an excuse to crack down on dissidents. Probably the best known uncontroversial false flag event in recent history is Hitler ordering the burning of the Reichstag, or parliament building and blaming the action on communists. This event was instrumental in Hitler and the Nazis seizing power in Germany.

When conspiracy theorists talk about 9/11 or other events being false flag attacks, they attribute a variety of motives to the conspirators. Usually, however, these alleged deceptions have a lot to do with cracking down on civil liberties. It is well known, for example, that following 9/11 there was an overall sense that security trumped civil liberties. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see this.

And this is really my point. Those of us who are truly concerned about preserving our civil liberties must be careful not to lose sight of the actual issues related to personal freedoms. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to question the official versions of events or to research possible conspiracies. However, what really matters is the consequences of these events, whether they are what they appear or false flag attacks.

Conspiracy theories are usually hard to prove (or disprove, for that matter). This tends to turn them into endless debates concerning details, claims and counterclaims. Meanwhile, legislation is passed that gradually takes away our rights. This includes airport security, gun control, internet censorship, NSA spying and many others.

This is not meant to be an anti-conspiracy theory rant. It is, rather, a reminder to not get so distracted by theories that you ignore the practical realities that are unfolding on a day-to-day basis. When our freedoms are being threatened, it becomes necessary to focus on the individual issues at hand. This often means looking at various legislation as well as instances of government overreaching its power.

We shouldn’t need to rely on conspiracy theories to justify holding onto our sovereign individual rights. No matter what or who is behind a certain crime or terrorist attack, this is never a justification for taking away the rights of citizens.

It’s fine to be skeptical of mainstream explanations of events. However, you don’t want to get cornered into the position of saying, “Since Event X was a false flag attack, they have no right to use it as a justification to take away my rights.” What we should all be saying is, “No one should be allowed to take away my rights, period!”

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