We Are Change’s Peshawar false flag and the libertarian conspiracy fetish


Although I don’t have to answer for what another libertarian person or group says, there will always be an association among anyone who calls themselves libertarian. It’s annoying and frustrating, but that’s the way things are. It’s no different than any individual that gets lumped in with the group they associate with (like sports fans of a given city).

What makes this even more frustrating is when the people who are supposed to be fighting alongside of you end up hurting your credibility by producing bad content.

I saw a We Are Change article posted by the Free Thought Project’s Facebook page today that gave apparent evidence that both the Sandy Hook and Peshawar school shootings were false flag attacks. A photo of Noah Pozner, a six year old killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting, was seen being held by a Peshawar mourner.

Author Jeffrey Phillips suggests that this means both shootings were staged.

Phillips does leave some room for the possibility that the use of the Pozner picture could be a mistake by the mourners, but then goes on to provide reasons why the Pakistani government would be motivated to fake such an attack.

A quick check on Snopes reveals a different story:

On the day of the Peshawar incident a Pakistani woman created a collage of photographs of young people killed in school shootings and posted it to Facebook with the caption “They Went to School and Never Came Back.” Because the Peshawar shooting occurred very close to the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, she included a picture of a child from the latter event, namely Noah Pozner, along with pictures of Peshawar victims.

That collage was then printed out and cut up into the individual photographs displayed by mourners at a vigil for the Peshawar victims (as evidenced by the thick black borders underneath some of the victims’ pictures, such as Noah’s, showing where the original collage had been captioned).

So which explanation makes more sense? Is it possible that two different governments staged two different elaborate school shootings and then one accidentally used the picture of an American boy in their Pakistani false flag attack? Yes, it’s possible, but as my high school biology teacher used to say, you have to be able to distinguish between possible and probable.

There’s a tool that you can use in situations like this—Occam’s razor. Occam’s razor is the idea that, given whatever information you have, the simplest explanation is very likely to be correct explanation. As you get more information, you might adjust your explanation. This may seem simple, but that’s because it is. It’s intuitive, but when you let your own biases cloud your judgment, you could end up with ridiculous conclusions.

Conspiracies and false flag attacks do happen, but there seems to be a fetish among some libertarians over it. Any time there’s any sort of violence, there are people who love to triumphantly announce, “False flag!” Believe it or not, there are people out there other than the government who do evil things. Or maybe I’m wrong and reading the title of an article gives you enough information to develop an intricate conspiracy theory.

Don’t take this as me shutting down questioning official stories and never digging beyond the surface. If something doesn’t add up, go after it! But be honest about it. Don’t allow your biases to steer your investigation. To conclude that every school shooting is the output of a government conspiracy is no better than those who claim the government is solely responsible for anything good in the world. First of all, you are not going to win anyone over when you’re arguing a point that the vast majority of people will correctly think you’re wrong about. Secondly, it can make you look like a heartless jerk.

It’s difficult trying to spread the word of libertarianism to people who believe that the government is not only necessary but also ethical. If someone is resistant to accepting that they could be wrong about something, they will latch on to any sort of inconsistency in your argument they can find, even if the mistake isn’t actually yours. So if they can find something that makes you lose credibility, they’re going to use it.

Let’s not give them ammo.

Groups like We Are Change and the Free Thought Project have to do a better job of producing and promoting content that contains truth and reasonable arguments. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen questionable material from them; they need to be more careful about filtering out the junk. I’ll give Jeffrey Phillips the benefit of the doubt and say he needs to do better research next time. If something seems so ridiculous that it can’t possibly be true, it probably isn’t. They ought to retract the article.