After years of denial, it’s time we faced the facts: 9/11 was a conspiracy orchestrated by the United States government.

For 11 long years, the public has ignored the truth. The fall of the Twin Towers in New York City and the resulting 2,606 casualties were tactical red herrings used to rally public support for the invasion of Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda, demonized by the Western media for its involvement in the attacks, has secretly served as an outsourced subdivision of the United States military for the past 30 years. Operating under the guise of an independent terrorist organization, the group was able to claim responsibility for the attacks while simultaneously setting the stage for a war of profit. The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan had nothing to do with the preservation of democracy or the disarmament of WMDs — it was a calculated exchange of blood for oil.

Documents linking the U.S. Department of Defense to al-Qaeda operations in over 24 foreign nations around the globe are kept under lock and key in the Pentagon’s Presidential Archives. Leaked by an insider in 2004, these documents have been subjected to the most extensive gag order in our nation’s history. Any media personnel reporting or seeking to report on these documents faces a conviction of high treason and a sentence to life in prison.

Of course, that’s all complete and utter bullshit. The claims I’ve just made are 100 percent factually unverifiable, without any basis in reality whatsoever. They’re nothing more than an ugly conglomerate of regurgitated conspiracy theories and facts that I’ve pulled (and forgive my crudeness here) directly out of my ass. If there actually is a “Presidential Archive” in the Pentagon, its existence is purely coincidental.

But none of that really matters thanks to the big, bold, seven-letter word printed across the top of this page. I can spend four paragraphs filling your ears with blatant and incendiary lies because it is my right as an American to voice my opinion.

I don’t believe everyone deserves that right.

Freedom of speech as we understand it today is a perversion of the idea at its core. The First Amendment grants you the right to offer a dissenting point of view — it does not entitle you to invent or otherwise disregard the facts.

We love to debate abortion because it is emotionally charged, morally vague and entirely unquantifiable. But no matter how much we’d like to believe it, issues are not always open to this kind of interpretation (in a sense, they aren’t really “issues” at all). 9/11 was the work of al-Qaeda, blacks are just as intelligent as whites, evolution is real and the Holocaust definitely happened. There is no subjectivity — no room for debate.

Still we have our conspiracy theorists, Holocaust deniers and garden-variety racists who seem either unwilling or unable to delineate fact from fiction. These people abuse our exceptionally liberal interpretation of the First Amendment by voicing a steady stream of misinformation. And while their careless disregard for empirical proof may damage their credibility, it does not impinge their ability to blabber nonsense in the first place.

Take global warming: a prominent issue at the forefront of environmental science, proven beyond any reasonable doubt by years of painstakingly accumulated research. Unlike evolution, it is an issue of consequence. Our ability to understand and cope with global warming will determine our success or failure as a species — whether we will learn to coexist with our natural environment or perish in an uninhabitable wasteland. To say that it is nonexistent is not only untrue — it’s criminally reckless and should not be tolerated in any progressive society.

We’ve taken some steps in the right direction. It’s considered criminally irresponsible to shout “fire” in a crowded theater if there isn’t actually a blaze. Why, then, should it be any less negligent to see a fire burning but say nothing at all? Or even to suggest that there isn’t one?

There’s an old saying often attributed to Voltaire that politicians love to quote: “I may disagree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” I’ve always appreciated the sentiment in that quote; that no matter how wide the rift in our ideology, no matter how bitterly we may disagree, we are unified by a set of underlying and fundamental human rights.

But every time I hear someone call global warming a “hoax,” or 9/11 a “conspiracy,” or blacks “intellectually inferior,” I have to stop and ask myself:

Would I die for your right to say that?

Mark Strong enjoys pushing big mouths off of their soap boxes in his spare time.


Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.