What’s up with the conspiracy propaganda in the Xpress?

I recently opened the Mountain Xpress and was saddened to see an insert espousing conspiracy theories regarding the existence of the Illuminati and satanic cults. I am in full support of free speech and the freedom to advertise. I am a capitalist at heart and believe thoroughly in these ideas. I would be happy to take anyone's money who wants a spot in the paper.

That being said, some of the ideas put forth by the insert included [claims that] these secret organizations contain 1 percent of the nation's population, practice ritual sacrifice and abuse, run the banks of the world, are comprised of murderers, pedophiles and racial supremacists and were behind the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

There are numerous flaws and gaping holes in logic as to why the advertiser believes in the existence of these things. Some children are sadly abused and abducted, and other people are murdered, but international cult groups are not behind it.

Let me say, lack of evidence is not proof of existence. In fact, it usually means just the opposite.
I'm sure most people are aware these conspiracy theories are hokum. I am worried about the readers who don't think so critically. I'll get to the point of my letter.

Dear advertiser of conspiracy theories in the Mountain Xpress: I'm challenging you to come forth and prove the Illuminati's existence. I'm asking you to debate me, a regular guy, who works a 40-hour-a-week job and volunteers in his spare time. I'm not an investigator or professional debunker. Just a rational human saddened to see these antiquated myths continuing into the 21st century.

I will meet you in a well-lit, public arena where we can debate your "evidence" and we shall let the public decide. Please remember that anecdotes, code names and conspiracy theories are not evidence. I eagerly await your reply.

— Jim MacKenzie
Asheville
Editor's note: The insert referenced in this letter was not produced or sanctioned by Mountain Xpress. The two-page brochure was placed in some copies of the June 27 issue without permission and removed by our distribution team.

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