“I haven’t done one for a while, and frankly I think it’s high time for an Idiot of the Week column! This week’s idiot has crossed my radar more than a few times over the course of the last several months, but he usually doesn’t stay around long enough to really make me want to take a swat at him. Tonight, however, whether because I am tired and crabby or whether he is just staying in my sights too long, I have decided to award the Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award to none other than … drumroll … Mr. Alex Jones! In case you do not know who Alex Jones is, he is a radio show host, documentary filmmaker, writer, and most of all, uber conspiracy theorist. Mr. Jones is primarily the one responsible for the rumours and faux news about Hillary Clinton and John Podesta running a kidnapping ring that led to the shooting at the Cosmic Ping Pong pizzeria last week. Nice job, Mr. Jones … almost got a bunch of people killed!”
That was how I started this post, but I have since changed my mind. Idiots of the Week are idiots with strange views of the world, usually about as bright as a burned-out light bulb, but funny in their own way. I have fun with my IOW posts, though to be sure there have been some jaw-dropping moments. The more I researched Mr. Jones, however, I came to realize that there is not one single funny thing about this man. We laugh at Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman, but we cannot laugh at this man, as I believe he is pure evil, possessed of no sense of values, humanity, or compunction. Further I believe that he is quite likely responsible, albeit indirectly, for murder.
Jones’ claim to fame is that he is a conspiracy theorist. Nothing new there … there seem to be a lot of those around these days. He claims that the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 were secretly perpetrated by the government to increase its tyrannical power, what has come to be known as a ‘false flag’ operation. Stupid, but also not new … Richard Belzer has said much the same, and I do not think of him as evil. Jones also claims that the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Boston Marathon bombing were orchestrated by the U.S. government. He further claims that the Apollo 11 moon landing never happened and that the footage shown was faked – again by the U.S. government. He claims there is no drought in California, and the Chinese invented the concept of global warming to undermine American manufacturing. I wonder … does he get his ideas from Trump, or is it the other way around? It would seem that every half-baked conspiracy theory that has been perpetuated in the past two decades is a part of this man’s belief-set.
Jones is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as an anti-government extremist. “Alex Jones is almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America … To many, Jones is a bad joke. But the sad reality is that he has millions of followers who listen to his radio show, watch his “documentaries” and read his websites, and some of them, like Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, resort to deadly violence.” Millions of followers. Think about that one for a minute. Millions of followers. And we wonder how Donald Trump won the election? Those millions of followers, neither well-educated nor strong enough to think for themselves, have been brainwashed by the likes of Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, Breitbart, and to a lesser extent Fox News. At the end of an interview with Jones in 2015, Trump told him, “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.” Our nation needs help!
Let’s take a look at some of Jones’ more outrageous statements/claims:
- “Humanity has got to get off-world. We need access to the life-extension technologies. Talk about discrimination, forget skin color. I want the advanced life-extension! I want to go to space! I want to see interdimensional travel! I want what God promised us and I won’t sit here and watch Satan steal it!” (Huh? I don’t even know what the ‘man’ is talking about! Think ‘lunatic fringe’)
- “Obama is hardcore Wahhabist; he is al-Qaeda.”
- “We’re going to return the republic. We’ll never be perfect but my God we’re not going to keep babies alive and harvest their organs. We’re not going to sell their parts for women’s cosmetics. We’re not gonna have Pepsi with baby flavoring in it.” (What the heck has this guy been smoking???)
- “A lot of liberal women, as you know, the new thing is having a jihadi…There’s nothing sexier than a jihadi because it’s so fun to have him step on your head and kick you in the gut. Now, if the man treats you good and loves Jesus, he’s bad. But if he kicks you in the teeth and stomps on you, it’s liberal, it’s trendy, you go smoke hookah with him, and it’s fun.” (Oh for Pete’s sake!!!)
Jones is notorious for epic rants about “New World Order” plots for world government, enforced eugenics, secret internment camps, militarized police and behind-the-scenes control by a global corporate cabal. In his estimation, the only way to avert this dystopian future is if true patriots resist before it is too late, and his tens of thousands of acolytes are taking heed, building bunkers, hoarding food and investing in precious metals – and, in some cases, resorting to violence.
Frequent readers know that I am an avid supporter of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. However, this man is dangerous. He is not the press, he is an entertainer, and a peddler of venom. If his ‘entertainment’ were seen by the masses for what it is, I would not be as concerned, but more and more, people are distrusting of the mainstream media and turning to this man for their “news”. There is nothing newsworthy about him or his propaganda. His radio show garners two million listeners, and his website, Infowars1 is heavily followed, the latest statistics reporting that he receives more than 75 million page views per month! His followers are largely white males over the age of 45 in the middle-income bracket ($100,000-$150,000). No surprise there.
U.S. Code § 2383 – Rebellion or insurrection: “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
By the above definition, what Mr. Jones does can be considered inciting sedition. However, sedition laws are touchy and it is unlikely he could or would ever be punished for the crime, even if brought to trial. However, there are laws against incitement to violence if the case can pass the test of three factors: to be subject to restriction, speech must have the intent and the likelihood of causing imminent violence. One of the most famous cases of its kind, Brandenburg v Ohio, was over a 1964 incident:
Clarence Brandenburg, a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leader in rural Ohio, contacted a reporter at a Cincinnati television station and invited him to cover a KKK rally that would take place in Hamilton County in the summer of 1964. Portions of the rally were filmed, showing several men in robes and hoods, some carrying firearms, first burning a cross and then making speeches. One of the speeches made reference to the possibility of “revengeance” against “niggers”, “Jews”, and those who supported them. One of the speeches also claimed that “our President, our Congress, our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race”, and announced plans for a march on Washington to take place on the Fourth of July. Brandenburg was charged with advocating violence under Ohio’s criminal syndicalism statute for his participation in the rally and for the speech he made. Convicted in the Court of Common Pleas of Hamilton County, Brandenburg was fined $1,000 and sentenced to one to ten years in prison. On appeal, the Ohio First District Court of Appeal affirmed Brandenburg’s conviction, rejecting his claim that the statute violated his First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment right to freedom of speech. The Supreme Court of Ohio dismissed his appeal without opinion.
Though I am no legal scholar, common sense dictates that Mr. Jones’ radio show and website are venues through which he incites his followers to perform acts of violence. Just two examples are the aforementioned incident last week at Cosmic Ping Pong, and the death threats against Lenny Pozner, the father of a Sandy Hook victim. Again, I do not lightly call for restrictions on the 1st Amendment, and it disturbs me to do so now, but this brand of yellow journalism is particularly dangerous in the atmosphere of racism and hatred we are seeing today. It is only a matter of time before his propaganda takes root and through the hand of somebody who heeds his call, takes innocent lives. It is likely that it has already happened, when you consider cases such as Dylann Roof and others who have committed acts of extreme violence based on their belief in faux news.
My question is whether Mr. Jones actually believes the garbage he spews, or if it is all done for entertainment value? I cannot be sure, as I do not know and do not wish to know the man, but everything I have read about him in research for this post indicates that he truly believes in what he says, and began formulating his ‘theories’ at a very young age. If that is the case, he is indeed far from sane and needs to be given help. On the other hand, RationalWiki states that he, “specializes in making up conspiracy theories to entertain his audience.” If he is doing this for entertainment value, he needs to be punished by law and removed from his public venue. Does that violate freedom of speech? I don’t think so. Your thoughts?
1 While I have shared a link to Jones’ Infowars website, let the reader beware. It is a dark place and though I was hoping to obtain some first-hand information for this article, I simply could not stomach what I found there.