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03/29/2007 Archived Entry: "IT'S NOT A CONSPIRACY!"

IT'S NOT A CONSPIRACY! Debra here. In my time in the freedom movement (a time that is rapidly coming to an end), I've alienated quite a few people, including close friends, over my refusal to believe in conspiracy theories.

I used to look at the evidence (which was usually mind-numbingly HUGE piles of semi-coherent data), consider it open-mindedly, and try to make up my mind one way or another. With the right spin, the evidence can be fairly convincing ... although the evidence proving the opposite can be fairly convincing as well. More often than not, though, Occam's Razor applied.

What pushed me over the edge was my stint on the board of the Free State Project.

Before the big state vote in 2003, we were accused -- constantly -- of being pro-Wyoming. In fact, we were accused of planning to throw the vote in Wyoming's favor. "No other state has a chance!"

After the votes were counted, New Hampshire came out the winner. Immediately the allegations flew: we had deliberately thrown the vote in New Hampshire's favor. "No other state had a chance!"

I was baffled, even shocked. The board had a mixture of pro-west, pro-east, and even one pro-Alaska (yours truly). There was no conspiracy. There was no vote-rigging. But the accusations came fast and hard, and still come up to this day.

That was the first time I was denounced as being part of a conspiracy, but it wasn't the last. Not by a long shot.

What started me on this particular rant this particular morning was an email I received in regard to my recent post on the lack of user-friendliness of Linux. After excoriating me for not knowing the "simple" way to do it (which I'm still not sure I understand), the writer ended with, "Unless Microsoft is PAYING you to spread FUD?"

I'm not sure what FUD is, but I'm pretty sure it's not complimentary. I'm also very sure that Bill G. hasn't written me a check. The question is, why would anyone even think that?

The obvious explanation for my post is that I'm an idiot when it comes to Linux. Hell, I freely admitted that. Can anyone honestly think that Microsoft would care what one lone very-erratic blogger says about Linux or Microsoft? I could see them bribing some big-name tech guru to say nice things, but I'm freakin' nobody! One could just as easily -- and just as ridiculously -- accuse anti-MS folks of having Apple or Sun or Novell paying them to write screeds against MS.

My point is, in the few short years since becoming an activist and writing online, I've been falsely accused multiple times of misrepresenting myself, deliberately misleading others, even being a fed, merely because I disagreed with the accuser on something. Ironically, often denial itself was used as "proof" of the conspiracy.

If every disagreement -- whether it be over the "best" state or the "best" O/S -- ends in a shrill accusation of someone being a plant, it's no wonder that the freedom movement (and indeed any marginal activist movement) is completely and utterly doomed.

Which is why, as I said at the beginning of this post, I'm fairly sure I no longer want to be a part of it.

Posted by Debra @ 10:55 AM CST

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