Behind the conspiracies

Our ideas are absurd but there’s truth behind the jokes

We’re having a bit of fun in this issue taking on some Calgary-centric conspiracy theories and blending the rants and raves that actually exist in the weird world of the Internet with our own imaginations. We’re blending fact and fiction in order to have a laugh and hopefully provide you with one or two. That said there are some serious issues we touch upon that shouldn’t be glossed over.

Oil travel by rail is just one of the examples and something that will have a profound effect on the development of the provincial and federal economy and could have an enormous effect on our natural world. Simply put there is no safe way to transport oil and gas. There is no foolproof method that doesn’t involve the potential for explosions and/or leaks. The recent embarrassing circus around Neil Young’s tour demonstrated just how far from reality some proponents of further oil and gas development are ignoring the signs that increased development is deleterious while forgetting that the whole point is that we should be investing in alternatives so that rock stars and whoever else don’t have to canoe across the Atlantic in order to satisfy some columnists’ rabid and ludicrous rage sessions.

We also take a look at the seizure of guns in High River after the floods with a wink and a chuckle but this issue raises some important questions about the rights of citizens and the state. Should we be okay with the RCMP and military breaking down doors in order to secure weapons? Is allowing the state to have a monopoly on violence a good thing? How do we find the balance between personal freedom and social well-being? All important questions that we totally don’t address here.

Even talking about weather weapons and their role in the June floods has an element of truth that’s worthy of discussion. No not the fact that “global elites” are using weather weapons but the fact that we continue to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere leading to extreme weather events that could include the flood (yes angry people I’m aware you can make an argument that one thing had nothing to do with the other — it’s a complicated situation that requires more than black-and-white thinking). Where one person sees a cabal deploying militarized weather most will see a changing climate its effects and the need to address the causes.

The fact that there is such strong opposition in our federal government to the widely accepted notion of climate change and the need to address our oil and gas fetish could even be a result of another one of our topics — the Calgary School and Barry Cooper. Sure we might be pushing the limits with talk of secret clubs and a global conservative plot but the man who pens columns for the Calgary Herald denouncing climate change was also once Stephen Harper’s teacher and close friends with his former advisor Tom Flanagan.

But perhaps most importantly and maybe we’re doing a disservice here there’s a fundamental question of mental illness and the great enabler called the Internet. Reading through conspiracy sites and delving into the troubling worldview of a large number of people is sad disheartening and worrisome. It’s true that not all who go in for conspiracy or who try to unearth hidden agendas in politics and business are mentally unstable but if you look in some dark corners you find a lot of people who clearly need help.

In a world where we are all connected and where anybody with the nuttiest of ideas can find a willing audience to support them things can quickly spiral out of control. In a province and a country that barely even pays lip service to helping those with mental health issues it can be a depressing example of how far things can go.

That said I am in the media so you probably shouldn’t trust a word I say. And if you want to assign blame for the issue head down to the Masonic temple and look for the signs. You’ll find the answers eventually.