Millions of people around the world have convinced themselves that the perpetrators of 9/11 were not al-Qaeda terrorists but elements within the U.S. government seeking a pretext to launch wars abroad and enact draconian laws at home. These “9/11 Truthers” are not alone. They are part of a vast conspiracist subculture that is spreading like wildfire on the Internet, is deeply distrustful of mainstream media and is beginning to influence mainstream politics. For two years, Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay has been researching the underground world of conspiracy theorists by attending their conventions, infiltrating their Internet discussion boards and surfing their websites. While many individual conspiracy theories seem harmless, even amusing, the phenomenon is doing real damage to the unity and health of North American society.
Since the assassination of JFK, conspiracy thinking has proliferated, and the Internet has fostered the growth of numerous alternate mental worlds in which traditional media and academia have no authority. 9/11 was a death blow to this older consensual view of reality, and as a result, North Americans no longer inhabit one cognitive universe. What this means for the future of politics, and our society at large, is the ultimate subject of this book.