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Nowokowski 1
The belief that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’ is one of the most prevalent conspiracy theories
to exist in American society and the greater world. Upwards to one-third of the American
population believe that the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 were either
perpetuated, or encouraged by the government of the United States. This paper does not seek to
dispel popular conspiracy theories. Rather, the aim is to try and understand the rationale, and
popularity behind believing in the 9/11 conspiracy theory. This essay seeks to fully comprehend
the impact that the 9/11 conspiracy has had on America and the larger world. Conspiracies often
appeal to large audiences, because they have been made widely available on the internet, they do
not require a large amount of knowledge (historical or scientific) to understand, and they
ultimately support a xenophobic, myopic world view. It will be argued that conspiracy theories
like 9/11 encourage it’s believers to immerse themselves in a search for confirmation bias, as
they seek to understand a world they deeply mistrust. Further, conspiracy theorists are engaged
in what Richard Hofstadter deemed the ‘paranoid style’ of American politics, in which the
interpretation of American history is emotionally personal. It will be noted that some 9/11
‘theorists’ like Carol A. Valentine and Alex Jones are able to use the popular conspiracy to
promote their own beliefs and further their celebrity status. Ultimately, conspiracy theorists are
unable to place the seemingly random event of September 11 within the American historical
narrative. By not placing the events in proper historical context, conspiracy theorists are able to
advantageously promote their own beliefs about the larger surrounding world. The 9/11
conspiracy movement is couched in languages of xenophobia, confirmation bias, and historical