Friday, July 27, 2007

I Smell the Wood Burning

Jonnie Hargis, the UCLA library assistant who posts to the Führerbunker as "Hannover," took some time out from his schedule on July 26 to "think," as he put it, offering this steaming pile of pony loaf, begging the question of what goes on in Hargis's head when he doesn't have "thoughts."

It brought to mind this list of 10 traits of conspiracy theorists by Donna Ferentes, which was I think originally drafted to describe 9/11 "troofers."

Read more!

Consider the mind of a Holocaust denier, though, with regard to these traits:
  1. Arrogance: So I think anyone familiar with his "work" will agree that Hargis is arrogant. So is Fritz Berg. So is Robert Faurisson. And David Irving. I've met very few humble Holocaust deniers. Granted, I'm not a humble person myself. But is the average normative Holocaust historian quite so arrogant? I know a couple of prominent historians personally. Are some arrogant? Sure. Is it an overwhelming trait of Holocaust historians? No.

    Note how Ferentes typifies this arrogance. No Holocaust historian I know or have read has ever defined him- or herself as a "truth-seeker." There have to be at least half a dozen variations on that name as handles at the Führerbunker.

  2. Relentlessness. I think this is typified best by how often something like the "Auschwitz four-million gambit" is used by deniers, no matter how often it's pointed out how easily disproved it is.

  3. Inability to answer questions. Read here and see how Hargis refuses to answer a simple yes-or-no question.

  4. Fondness for certain stock phrases. Do yourself a search on "Holocaust industry" at the Fuhrerbunker sometime.

  5. Inability to employ or understand Occam's Razor. A sad example is found here. What our little friend seems not to understand is that there is no leap in logic when you have Adolf Eichmann testifying that code words were, in fact, used.

  6. Inability to tell good evidence from bad. Writes Ferentes, "Conspiracy theorists have no place for peer-review, for scientific knowledge, for the respectability of sources." Find me a tenured U.S. historian who denies the Holocaust.

  7. Inability to withdraw. See a key example here.

  8. Leaping to conclusions. Again, from Ferentes: "Small inconsistencies in the account of an event, small unanswered questions, small problems in timing of differences in procedure from previous events of the same kind are all more than adequate to declare the 'official' account clearly and definitively discredited." The consistencies in eyewitness testimony far outnumber inconsistencies and the inconsistencies are much smaller in magnitude than the similarities.

  9. Using previous conspiracies as evidence to support their claims. Take, e.g., Don Heddesheimer's claim that it was claimed that six million Jews were killed in World War I. But no such claim was ever made. Oh, well.

  10. It's always a conspiracy.
I'll give the final point entirely to Ferentes:
A person who always says the same thing, and says it over and over again is, of course, commonly considered to be, if not a monomaniac, then at very least, a bore.
Yes, indeed.

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