no avatar

Some conspiracy theories do have legs

• Aug 9, 2015 at 12:00 AM

I love conspiracy theories, and apparently a lot of you do, too. The most comments I have ever received on a column came in January when I debunked claims that fluoride in drinking water is bad for your health.

Most of the readers told me fluoride has rotted my feeble brain. This made me think I might be wrong about other conspiracy theories.

Perhaps there is some truth to the very popular “chemtrail” conspiracy, which would have us believe those long contrails left behind high-flying jets are a result of chemicals being released by evil agents of our government. (For what purpose? Well, that’s anybody’s guess.)

And to think I always thought the contrails were just frozen air vapor from airplane engines. Silly me.

Good conspiracy theories cut across partisan and ideological divides. Common Core, for example, removes key pubic education decisions from local hands. Both liberals and conservatives embrace that one.

Or that Common Core is a plot by President Obama to indoctrinate schoolchildren into Islam. That’s what some FOXaholic Republicans believe. Meanwhile, many libertarians think Common Core is a way for the government to track their children throughout their entire lives.

What a dystopian nightmare.

The best conspiracy theories, however, are those that are close to home. Such was the case last week when Tennessee Valley Authority officials felt the need to deny rumors that the reason it is expected to take between five and seven years to repair Boone Dam is so the Tennessee Department of Transportation could take advantage of the low (actually no) water levels in parts of the lake to build bridges for the so-called “Airport Parkway South.”

Never mind the project was shelved years ago, and no funding has been designated in the state budget for such work, the TVA and TDOT are nonetheless conspiring to revive it.

Right. And the reason is to entice actor Brad Pitt to buy a house on the lake.

Another close-to-home conspiracy theory involves this state’s “Voter ID” law. This law was passed in response to what Republican conspiracy theorists claim to be be rampant voter fraud. No evidence of such a problem, however, has been produced in Tennessee or any of the other Republican-controlled states that have passed a Voter ID law.

Democrats argue the real purpose of this American Legislative Exchange Council-written law is to keep the poor and minorities away from the polls.

That’s exactly what the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said last week when it struck down a similar Voter ID law in Texas. Perhaps those judges were under the influence of chemtrails, or maybe fluoride in their drinking water when they handed down their decision.


Robert Houk is Opinion page editor for the Johnson City Press. He can be reached at [email protected] Like him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ JCPressRobertHouk. Follow him at Twitter.com/houkRobert.

Johnson City Press Videos