The Rise Of America's Lunatic Fringe

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by chindit

The Rise Of America's Lunatic Fringe

Anyone who spends any amount of time on the internet has seen them.

They are the moonbats, the wingnuts, the whackjobs, the Conspiratorialists.  They are America’s new Lunatic Fringe, and their numbers are growing.

While the rise of the internet fed a segment of society that has always existed, when the cyberworld became an increasingly important source both of entertainment and information, an entirely new demographic joined what was already amongst us.

Who are they and what do they believe?  The Lunatic Fringe is not uniform in either its background or beliefs.  Some clearly seem to be emotionally disturbed.  Some are racist and hateful.  Others are simply naïve and gullible, or uninformed.  Still more are frustrated by an economy and a government that are behaving out of whack with what most people expected from life and from leadership.  They want to believe America stands for something noble, but it is increasingly felt by them that it does not.  They are confused, frustrated, and disappointed.  They feel violated and betrayed.  They grow angrier by the day.  Some harbor a diffuse rage which could blow at any time. Others have figuratively thrown in the towel and have joined the ranks of what are called Preppers and Survivalists.

Collectively, though individually they differ, the beliefs of the Fringe conspiracies behind the JFK assassination, the lunar landing, and 911.  The collective also includes the Birthers, and believers in everything from FEMA Camps to chemtrails to that retro old favorite of Colonel Jack Ripper, fluoridation.  The Fringe holds beliefs that have the world controlled variously by the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, the Bilderbergers, Bohemian Grove, Skull and Bones, the Council on Foreign Relations, 33rd Degree Freemasons, the Vatican, the Queen of England, or just The Illuminati.  Every event and every incident in the world is affected by some Master Plan carried out by whomever the believer chooses from the aforementioned gallery of rogues.  For many, al Qaeda is really al CIAda, and the prime directive of that organization, along with all the other USG alphabet agencies, is to further the goals of the elite, usually through some “false flag” operation or “psy-op”, and funded through illicit drug sales.

Believers can “prove” each and every one of their claims via a series of cross-referenced and circular internet links, the source of many undoubtedly just someone’s fertile imagination, but very real to the believers.

To the uninitiated this all seems rather humorous, albeit slightly unsettling.  It would be both wrong and unwise, however, just to slough it off as the ramblings of the insane.  The reason such beliefs are gaining favor is because many Americans have lost faith and lost trust in the government and America’s elected leadership.  Given what has happened over the last decade, this is not only understandable, it is even, in an odd way, reasonable.  A continual drift to the fringe can be expected because of the many very real things that make the foolish things suddenly more believable.

Why have the people lost faith and trust?  There is a host of reasons, perhaps beginning with the war of choice in Iraq and the vociferous and passionate claims of WMD that turned out to be false.  That war cost lives, cost sympathy and diplomatic capital, and cost trillions even when America was told by former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz that the war “would pay for itself from oil sales” and that “Americans would be welcomed with garlands”.  Neither was anything close to accurate.  Instead the US has war dead, war wounded, a huge bill, fewer friends, and many more enemies.

What truly exacerbated the rush to the fringe were the Financial Crisis and the subsequent railroaded bailouts, which “democratic”
America opposed to the tune of 97%, and which were, and still are viewed as rewarding the very people who caused the collapse.  The oft-spoken official claims that “the taxpayer made a profit on the bailouts” just adds salt to the taxpayers’ wounds, as it conveniently fails to take into account the host of programs---from TALF to ZIRP to QEI, II, and III and Twist---that virtually handed the banks the money with which they could “pay back” the bailout cash.

America sees backroom deals and favors to insiders every step of the way, and rightfully so they see this, because that is exactly how the bailout was affected.  No one had to pay for his mistakes, and equally significant, no one has been prosecuted despite overwhelming evidence of fraud, malfeasance, and corruption.  Americans cannot help but subscribe to the cynical quip, “everyone is equal under the law, except for those who are above it”.  Fines don't count, especially when the money to pay them comes right back through another door.

America's prisons are filled with people who did little more than use a banned substance.  It's time some bankers and officials faced the possibility of similar accommodations, as their crimes are greater and victims substantially more.

The belief that all is not fair is further cemented when the Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer can be taped (PBS, “Frontline”) saying, "Well, I think I am pursuing justice. And I think the entire responsibility of the department is to pursue justice. But in any given case, I think I and prosecutors around the country, being responsible, should speak to regulators, should speak to experts, because if I bring a case against institution A, and as a result of bringing that case, there’s some huge economic effect — if it creates a ripple effect so that suddenly, counterparties and other financial institutions or other companies that had nothing to do with this are affected badly — it’s a factor we need to know and understand."

No matter how one parses that quote it still says the same thing: some are above the law.

The American people are well aware they have been lied to by the leadership.  They know that a lobbyist has an infinitely greater chance of getting his way than an entire nation of voters.  They know who pays the bills---the taxpayer---as well as who pays the politicians---the lobbyists.  They see the Federal Debt ballooning to Greek-like proportions, and the best Congress can do, other than take vacation or kick the can, is to tell Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to “get to work, Mr. Chairman”, which means print more money, monetize the deficit, and further dilute the value of the dollar.

Even some people within the government are undoubtedly growing frustrated.  Imagine someone in DEA, FBI, CIA, or the military, who sees the slap on the wrist fine handed to a certain non-US bank for a decade or more of drug money laundering and laundering money for Iran, some of which might well have found its way to Hezbollah or to parties aiding the Iraqi insurgency.  There are people in Waziristan who face the wrath of a drone-fired Hellfire missile with less evidence to back up the attack.  This bank, incidentally, received a $3.5 billion payment-in-full upon the US taxpayer bailout of insurer AIG.

When trust is gone, everything becomes an affront, a conspiracy, a power grab by the elite.  The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which gives the President incredibly broad powers, seems to obviate both habeas corpus and the entire Bill of Rights.  When the trust is gone, people are less willing to believe that such a bill would never be used recklessly, or vindictively to put down vocal opponents of whatever Administration happens to be in power at the time.  When trust is gone, the people question new efforts to alter the Second Amendment, even if many are personally outraged at the rash of gun violence that has come to epitomize the United States, so they rush to guns rather than run from them.  When the trust is gone, the message of the Lunatic Fringe is afforded greater reception.  When the trust is gone the Fringe grows into the mainstream.  When trust is gone in some aspects of governance, all governance is questioned.

The government can no longer afford to ignore the Lunatic Fringe, because it is becoming less loon and more understandably and righteously indignant every day.  The government did not create the Fringe, but through callous disregard, incompetence, blatant self-interest, cronyism, selective enforcement, and pandering to its financial support base, the government has fertilized the fringe until it has grown to redwood-like size.  The nation's leadership is viewed not with respect, but with distrust.  It is not the solution, but the problem.  It has morphed from friend to enemy, at least for a not insignificant portion of the citizenry.   The fringe is not going to go away, but instead it will grow.  Its wounds will fester.  It will continue to hammer away at an already fragile society.  It may well lead to significant social unrest, even violence, and that violence is likely to be directed at those seen as responsible for the fiscal, financial and moral decay, which means the elite and the government that is seen as catering to it.  New records in the Dow will not alter the focus, nor ameliorate the bubbling rage, even if the financial media or the Federal Reserve thinks it will.  This growing demographic of citizens must have its concerns addressed before it is too late.

Woe to those who ignore it, because they will become the targets, rightfully or not.

To paraphrase a certain career New York Senator, “Mr. Government, get to work!”  Or better yet, get out of the way.

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UP Forester's picture

Just don't do it on a hot summer day (damn batch-flies).

Poor Grogman's picture

Damn chicken

I bet he realised too damn late that he should never have let em have that semi-auto assault rifle...

ZeroAvatar's picture

DAMN, gould's fisker!  That's some good shit right there! More comments, sir!  Bravo!  Bravo!

Tall Tom's picture

Take One Ounce of Gold. Hammer it out. It is the most mallable metal in the World. Make a Gold Foil Hat. Shape it into a Faraday Cage. It is a much better Electromagnetic Reflector, the most efficient type. Get rid of your Television Set. I am in my Gold Foil Hat...Thank you.

UGrev's picture

Yeah, because NO ONE is trying to confiscate our guns...   ç this one is the video you really want to pass ç here is the document that was posted by the Assemblyman himself. 

Al Huxley's picture

I'm trying to keep an open mind, but this article just comes across as way too fucking patronizing - 'See, trusted government servants, the proles are feeling mistreated, and now they're questioning everything'.  Like a MSM apology for the bad behaviour of those who won't step in line, shut the fuck up, and do as their told, or better, just watch Dancing with the Stars or whatever the fucking Kardashians are up to now.


You know, it might be hard to believe that sociopaths with power and no conscience will stoop to extreme levels to extend that power, with total disregard for things like truth, justice, morality, etc. but the evidence is the fucking evidence.  Just because some of these things seem way too evil to be conceived of doesn't mean you just ignore the evidence.  Fuck, the more I think about it the more I really hated this fucking article.  It's actually WORSE than the routine 'ignore the fucking crazies' because there's that underlying thread of condescension that seems to suggest that TPTB need to be more CONSIDERATE, if they want to regain peoples' trust, rather than that they need to STOP BREAKING THE FUCKING LAW, STEALING AND KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE.

akak's picture

After scrolling through all the responses to this "article" by Chindit (sorry, Chindit, but it WAS an egregious hit piece, and if you have any honesty in you you would have to admit as much), I liked yours the best, Al.

Chindit, I am utterly confused by where you were trying to go with your diatribe against just about every "non-mainstream" thinker (which, in reality, pretty much means every thinker --- and yes, some crazies too --- as being in the "mainstream" today just about automatically precludes any real thinking).  If your goal was to attack the minority of anti-semites, bigots, and just plain nutjobs who frequent this forum, then you may have had some justification.  But whether you realize it or not, you implicitly attacked anyone and EVERYONE who does not hold a "mainstream", pro-status-quo, pro-contemporary-authority viewpoint.  It is THAT for which I have to condemn your piece here.

You make me sad, Chindit, because you generally if not almost always came across as quite reasonable in your comments here on ZH.  But this piece was utterly unworthy of that record, and frankly, of serious consideration.  If I have misread your intent here, then judging from all the comments here it appears to have been an almost universal mistake, and an explanation (if not also an apology) on your part would be in order.

Al Huxley's picture

Thanks Akak, I share your confusion (or diappointment, maybe) - I've  generally thought highly of Chindit's comments here as well.

Likstane's picture

Neither one of you missed the intent.  It was perfectly obvious. 

Bob's picture

Chindit13 hasn't been around much for awhile and as his participation tapered off I recall noting increasing frustration about what he regarded as a growing groupthink of histrionic paranoia. 

This could be fairly considered a "hit piece," I think, to the extent that it begins by devaluing the specifically named "conspiracy nuts" without apology and it cannot be surprising that it brought the overwhelmingly negative response it did on that basis alone (and I say this just from reading the article and comments up to this point in the thread.)

At the same time, though, he did then qualify his observations with a more nuanced and respectful analysis of the very real basis for what he lays out as a more generalized social phenomenon.  This made sense to me and will give me something to think about that is worthwhile, I believe. 

Most of us recognize, I am sure, that among the various and inherent downsides of cyber-life is the "echo chamber" effect.  It is evident just about everywhere on the internet.

To that point, it seems to me that we have something to appreciate in someone pissing in our punchbowl, in addition to the offensive act of betrayal we are so much more easily inclined to see (justified as that might be.) 

Just my 2 cents. 


tip e. canoe's picture

maybe he's still around bob, just wearing a mask (upon a mask)?

agree with your analysis.   we all need to be very wary of those who speak what we want to hear (or write what we want to see), especially when they appeal to our emotional centers more than our rational ones.   this is especially important now that "moonbattery" has gone mainstream and bigger bubbles are appearing in the pot.  

beware of those waving fringed flags screaming & shouting about the false ones.

our dear compadre has simply employed this tactic in reverse to expose a deeper sociological phenomenon currently in process.   whether it was done for our benefit or whether we were "tricked" into providing the footnotes for a thesis meant for another audience makes nary a difference in the larger scheme of things.

well played, sir chindit, extremely well played.   looking forward to your installment in the bat cave.

Fedaykinx's picture

attention, lunatic fringe!  i know you're out there!  you're in hiding, and holding your meetings, but i can hear you coming and know what you're after!

uh huh.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

We might as well have a cool theme song. Tinfoil hat tested and approved.

joego1's picture

Cool I'm going to try to talk my band into this one.

Rusty Diggins's picture

sheesh, fuck this guy.

Rusty Diggins's picture

 And I have two dry fingers for the stinker of those down votes.

booboo's picture

So the author believes that his government can be this fucking inept for so long on so many issues? They can read my lips from 3 mile up in the sky and cannot stop an illiterate mexican from walking across the border? They can tell me how much money I deposited in the bank today but they cannot figure out how John Corzine vaporized billions? They can finger your daughter at an airport in full view of the public but they say they have no logistical way to put an armed guard at a school entrance? They can build large cities in the desert complete with Taco Bells in a month but they cannot...ahhh fuck it.

I would rather be governed by 445 mildly Autistic children then the current group of common criminals.


Non Passaran's picture

Well, did you read the entire fucking article?

> America sees backroom deals and favors to insiders every step of the way, and rightfully so they see this,

You don't need a big plan for world domination in order to steal and neither do the politicians.

Tall Tom's picture

You really think that the theft of Billions is about MONEY? Really how much loot can you spend in a lifetime? That is what the theives are banking on. You small thinking.


IT IS ABOUT POWER. Why desire that power if it were NOT to DOMINATE? It makes no sense otherwise. There is no purpose for it otherwise.


It is not about the money. Money is easy. It is just a Dream Away. Double entendre intended.

Jim in MN's picture

So in order to build a bridge between chindit and many of the pissed, let's redirect our ire to where it belongs for a moment.


Corruption delegitimizes authority.


There.  That's it in a nutshell.  It doesn't really matter how people choose to express their rejection of deligitimated authority...well, OK, it does matter, but not as much as the initial corruption matters.

When do you hear the word corruption in the MSM today?  Never?  Maybe in China, or perhaps local politics in Chicago or Philly where they still bust aldermen wearing wires in Italian restaurants and such.

Chindit is pointing to a symptom, really the colorful expression of many interwoven interpretations of the phoney and fundamentally evil system that has developed in the global elite kleptocracy.

Sure, even in a legitimate, beautiful or at least tolerable political system there would still be those who play the moonbat role.  And, handled well that might make for interesting reading.

But we are far, far beyond that.  Indeed, that is what chindit is saying.

So, fringe away folks.  Have a fringy 2013.  Just, you know, try to adjust your filter so that if leadership comes from an unexpected quarter, and breaks YOUR taboos, you might be able to get on the new bus when it rolls.

Cuz that rabbit hole, it just gets deeper.   Even the good stuff, if there is any, gets weirder too.  So, go pro.  Don't panic.  Stay frosty.  And be ready for anything.  Maybe it'll be just the person you thought you should hate who pulls your ass out of the mudhole. 

Just sayin'.  Come to ZH to think, not to jerk your knees (in any direction).

Cdad's picture

Corruption delegitimizes authority.

Well said.  And it is pretty tough to top the level of corruption in both our banking system, and via the military industrial complex.  That is world class corruption.

It's downright funny how many ZH brethren seem to have misinterpreted Chindit here.  

agrotera's picture

Chindit is always right on the mark! 


Raymond K Hessel's picture

I got the sense that many people ripping on chindit read his essay wrong.  

The way it scanned to me was that the government is acting in such a manner that proves the fringe element to be correct.

akak's picture

If most of those commenting here apparently read his essay wrong (including myself), then it would be logical to conclude that it was not very clearly written in the first place, yes?

Braverdave's picture

I like the bridge that Jim built too.

Even if some might say he didn't build it.

But I don't think 'many of the pissed' misinterpreted what he wrote so much as resented the way he wrote it.

Cdad's picture

I meant to infer that they "misinterpreted Chindit"...not his words.

I agree that "they resented the way he wrote it."  However, this is just so damn pansy as to be laughable, as well.  Since when did it become the norm to expect someone writing an article to be sensitive to our individual feelings on certain matters?  It is pretty much a hallmark of this ridiculous culture we now live in.  Everyone roams around the world of ideas constantly needing to be affirmed BY EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING.  The average American has gotten just disgustingly self involved in this way.

So some ZH brothers' feelings got hurt by what Chindit wrote?  Well...piss off already! 

Good grief! [and by that I mean grow the hell up, stop feeling everything...and think instead]

Braverdave's picture

Understanding and understood.

I agree sensitivity isn't required or desired. I do like to be polite to others and certainly that extends to chindit as well. I expect that he will appreciate the criticisms, good and bad, offered up here to his thoughts. I know I always do.

Yeah, piss of all you hurt feeling pussies ;)


tip e. canoe's picture

mighty fine bridge you built there jim.  

mind if i stand on it wit' ya while i hunt for rabbit holes?

Fedaykinx's picture

hi i am also of the inclination to stay out of those really deep rabbit holes.

tip e. canoe's picture

au contrare, my friend, i'm looking for a good spot from which to jump.   

if i get stuck in the mud, would you lend me a hand?

Fedaykinx's picture

certes, so long as there's room on the bridge. 

tip e. canoe's picture

mucho gracias, will be happy to do the same when you're ready

mayhem_korner's picture



well said, Jim.  I've been a little surprised by the unabated knee-jerk from many of the commenters.

jballz's picture


The lunatic fringe is the people who aren't screaming and hollering that the new world order has enslaved the world through the corrupt monetary system that gives elites unlimited power and forces the masses into so many cattle yards of submission, fight bogus wars with contrived enemies, and obey the laws the privileged few can ignore. Democracy is dead, authoritarian central planning controls all, those who step out of line are imprisoned, killed, or politically and financially ruined depending on their level of offense to the anointed ones and their position in the heirarchy.

This is rreality 2013. If you believe otherwise you're beyond the lunatic fringe, you are just fucking stupid. You have Google, there is no more excuse for failure to comprehend. You either get it, or you're fucking stupid.


Stay away from my tinfoil hat.


deKevelioc's picture

This is a masterpiece.  Don't change one damn word of it!

which way western man's picture

I would expect something like this in Newsweek or yahoo!, not ZH

IamtheREALmario's picture

Lol ... or Forbes, which has turned into a paid-for propagandist rag.

mayhem_korner's picture



Conspiracists don't see the obvious contradiction between the required, grandiose scheming & high-order calculating and the daily demonstration that TPTB are bumbling idiots who are only good at rationalizing the irrational to the sheep.

I would nominate GW as kingpin conspiracist around these parts. 

Non Passaran's picture

GW: yes!!!

Does anyone know how there can be so many mutually exclusive theories regarding the secret organization that rules the world?
I order to improve on the current theories the believers should start working on discrediting the theories they do not believe, in addition to trumpeting the soundness of their own. I think that would help.

Fedaykinx's picture

Lest we forget Heinlein's admonition: ""You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity" - Logic of Empire

Urban Redneck's picture

The world to me was a secret, which I desired to discover; to her it was a vacancy, which she sought to people with imaginations of her own.

or for the more pop-culture oriented-

It's alive!

Should be required reading for anyone who wishes to seriously explore the rabbit hole, in addition to a good grasp on evolution.

Unfortunately the beast is alive, and it has evolved.  The number of people of who confuse or incorrectly identify the name of the beast is truly mind boggling.



chindit13's picture

Bingo! If malicious intent walked hand in hand with a high degree of competence, there would be no hope.  Lucky for us, there is hope if we concentrate on what is real and push the malicious to their failure point.  We are getting close.

PhilofOz's picture


Another smart arse desperately trying to throw those that are finally waking up off of the scent. 



mayhem_korner's picture



That's not the point of the article.  The post is saying that in absence of truth and trust, surrogate explanations gain life, and they are further fostered when the government does more to feed the mistrust.  It is neither encouraging nor discouraging conspiracists - it is a commentary about how a mistrusted regime can be replaced by any logical set of beliefs if it perpetuates the lying long enough.  If the author had to take some shots at some well-developed theories to get people's attention, so be it.

Braverdave's picture

Yeah, I can see it that way, and I am all for commentary that makes you think, and to share what you think, and I do it all the time, here there and everywhere.

I do wonder if our brother chin was maybe drunk or stoned or both when he wrote this ;)

But if it was meant to be a rant then it was okay. The first bit especially, then it got a bit messy in the middle and and ended kind of lame. It needed a bit more bang at the end.

Agitprop isn't always so easy ;)


chindit13's picture

I think you are chasing your own tail, and that scent is, well, you must know.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Way this tinfoil hat wearing nutjob sees it, at least on the Federal level our Justice system went from being a prosecutor of law to persecution of dissent and our regulatory agencies went from supposed to protect the integrity of the system to being used to strangehold the system and regulate undesirable rights to the point of unobtainabilty. Well color me crazy then for drawing my conclusions strictly on what all my senses tell me. 

For entertainment these days I go out to the bar with a baseball cap lined with tinfoil. People should try it sometime, you'd be surprised how much of a conversation starter it is.

Dr. Engali's picture

It's unfortunate that the author chose to dismiss people who think there is some sort of " grand plan" as lunatics in the first part of the post, because I absolutely agree that people have lost faith and are looking beyond government for truth. I see this as a good thing because the lies are being exposed, and the more people lose faith in government the less they will look to them to solve problems.

mayhem_korner's picture



Good doctor - the author is doing anything but dismissing people who think there is a grand plan.  He's doing the opposite.  (Now he takes a shot at some theories as being questionable, but that's not the purpose of the article).