Nick Cohen on our Golden age of Paranoid Politics*:

I assume that readers do not believe that the CIA, the Mafia, the military-industrial complex or some other manifestation of the System ordered the murder of JFK. Conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination, once everywhere, are now confined to the diminishing audience for Oliver Stone’s movies. I am not sure, however, that you can say, hand on heart, that you have not thought for a fleeting moment that maybe there just might be something in the following propositions:

* That Nato governments and their tame journalists invented the “atrocities” committed by Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia and her allies in order to justify a war to expand the empire of neo-liberalism into the southern Balkans

* That Prince Philip, along with the British and French intelligence services, arranged the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, because she was about to marry a Muslim

* That the 9/11 atrocities in New York and Washington were an “inside job” organised by a rogue faction within the US intelligence agencies or maybe the Bush administration itself to justify war in the Muslim world;

* That Israel warned Jews to stay away from the World Trade Centre on 9/11 but allowed the slaughter of gentiles to stoke up hatred of Muslims;

* That the Jews, once again, formed a “lobby” in the US that pushed America into a needless war against Saddam Hussein;

* And that the Bush and Blair administrations knew in advance that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction worthy of the name but lied and went to war under a false prospectus…

…Until recently, examining paranoid politics was not a respectable occupation for serious writers. Stephen Jay Gould once wrote that few of his scientific colleagues wanted to spend years looking for fraudulent science when they could be concentrating on making their own discoveries. The same unwillingness to waste precious time protected fraudulent history. The effort needed to go through the shifting assertions of, say, the 9/11 “truth” campaigners would question the researcher’s sanity as much as the sanity of his or her targets. Such studies of paranoia as there have been followed the format of Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends, where the role of the journalist is to confirm the audience’s sense of its own superiority by inspecting American survivalists or racial supremacists, much as Georgian gentlemen examined the lunatics of Bedlam.

The rise of radical Islam with its medieval manias about Jewish conspiracies and Crusader intrigues and the wild fears the disasters of the Bush administration provoked are driving out unwarranted superciliousness, and not before time….

…The current 1970s nostalgia — a gruesomely dishonest spectacle for those of us old enough to remember what we would rather forget — makes no mention of Chairman Mao presiding over the murders of millions of real and imagined enemies in the Cultural Revolution, with the assistance of his terrifying wife, Jiang Qing…

…Meanwhile, unemployment, inflation, strikes and a civil war in Northern Ireland pushed members of the British establishment into mental collapse…Bewildered by the failure of social democracy and presiding over a Downing Street court which was boiling with jealousies and plots, Harold Wilson called in two journalists and told them:

“I see myself as a big fat spider in the corner of the room. Sometimes I speak when I’m asleep. You should both listen. Occasionally when we meet, I might tell you to go to the Charing Cross Road and kick a blind man standing on the corner. That blind man may tell you something, lead you somewhere.”

He resigned shortly afterwards.

We’re suffering through our own 70’s revival, with Nirth Certifikit insanity on Fox news, a Jewish comedian enthusiastically promoting the worst Serb nationalist propaganda, anti-vaccination activists sickening children and intelligent people blathering about “intelligent design.” Some people need to have their Chakras rolfed.

Alex Jones, an Austin-based conspiracy theorist, was arrested in 2007 outside of Fox News for illegally using a bullhorn to spew Truther nonsense.

Now Fox invites ‘the great Alex Jones’ to expose the facts about global conspiracy to create a “New World Order.”

The big fat spiders in the corner of the room are going legit.

* Link thanks to Harry’s Place