Fashion in conspiracy theories come and go. Whilst some ideas stick around for the long term, others seem destined to rise and fall. In the 1990s, there was a craze to talk about unmarked black helicopters flying around in US airspace as a sign of… something. People weren’t clear about exactly what this was supposed to portend, but nonetheless the black helicopters fwp-fwp-fwpped their way into the public consciousness; having a fictional character go off on a rant about them was an accepted shorthand for establishing them as a conspiracy theorist, usually of a right-leaning persuasion.
Jim Keith, who never knew a conspiracy theory he didn’t like, was partly responsible for this, since he was one of the few who tried to pad out the trope into (slim) books on the subject. And I happen to have acquired some cheap second-hand copies. Let’s take a look.
Black Helicopters Over America: Strikeforce for the New World Order
This is a nostalgic sort of snapshot of the fallacies that American conspiracy theorists (mostly, but not exclusively, on the right) were pushing in the early-to-mid 1990s. Inspired, perhaps, by fuzzy recollections of the Soviet occupying forces in the 1987 TV miniseries Amerika using unmarked black helicopters to enforce their will on small town America, people in the “patriot movement” – a weird umbrella for hardline libertarians, Aryan Nation-type white nationalists, survivalists, and full-on esoteric oddballs like Bill Cooper – got terribly excited about the idea that such helicopters might be real and might, alongside masses of foreign troops smuggled onto American soil. be used to keep the US in line when the United Nations decided to establish a one-world government (the so-called New World Order).