Most of us have said something incredibly foolish in our lives, but rarely does a flub from Joe Everyman cause as much of an uproar or confusion as it does from more prominent figures. Figures like…
Charles Manson, Cult Leader
“Believe me, if I started murdering people, there would be none of you left.”
Let’s start this by saying that we’re not in any way coming to the defense of Manson by including him on this list. You can debate whether or not his imprisonment is just until you’re blue in the face (and indeed, there’s seems to be quite a few people content with doing just that), but that doesn’t change the fact that the man is certifiably batshit insane. Seriously, just watch some of his interviews and it becomes pretty obvious that he’s in a world entirely his own.
But back to the above quote, which was taken from the famous NBC interview in 1987. Part of Manson’s defense has always been that he didn’t technically kill anyone in his Helter Skelter plot, which is technically true. However, what makes this quote just that extra kick of nonsensical is that in the exact same interview he claimed that he didn’t even have it in him to hurt people, let alone kill them. Pair that with the several remarks about how maybe he should have killed people (or how he would have killed people) and the idea of non-violent Manson loses all the credibility it didn’t have.
L. Ron Hubbard, Founder of Scientology
“Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”
While we can’t speak for Hubbard specifically (since, you know, he’s a corpse and all), Scientology has been having a hard time fighting the perception that they’re a cash-grabbing cult, and the above quote doesn’t help at all. A quick skip through some quotes by Hubbard reveals that not only did he make his eventually damning opinion known publically; he simply wouldn’t stop talking about it. Several of his colleagues offered different instances of him saying the same thing. You think he would have kept that little tidbit to himself, but no.
And if you think those are the only instances of Hubbard saying something incredibly suspicious, think again. “The only way you can control people is to lie to them,” and the catchy “Make money. Make more money. Make other people produce so as to make more money” should raise more than a couple red flags. Then again, Hubbard’s crazy train has yet to derail, so maybe he’s onto something.
Al Gore, Former Vice President
“During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”
Politicians walk a tricky tightrope every single time they open their mouths, regardless of what they are saying, because what they say is going to be remembered in some way and most likely be used against them. Such is the case with Al Gore. The above quote, uttered over ten years ago, has haunted him every day since. Any point he tries to make is readily dismissed because he’s crazy and he thinks he invented the Internet.
There is a larger context to the above quote (he was asked at a debate to list accomplishments that set him apart from other Democrats), and the point he went on to make was that he spearheaded several initiatives, including the advancement of the Internet. Without the rest of his response it still doesn’t imply he invented the Internet, which is why the line is often misquoted as “I Invented the Internet.”
George H. W. Bush, Former President
Stick with us, this one’s a bit long:
“Clearly, no longer can a dictator count on East-West confrontation to stymie concerted United Nations action against aggression. A new partnership of nations has begun. And we stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective — a new world order — can emerge: a new era, freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, east and west, north and south, can prosper and live in harmony.”
Most people read this and think of typical political pandering, but when the right person hears it it sets off every alarm in his well tin foiled head. If there’s ever been a quote that set more conspiracy theorists into a tizzy, we haven’t heard it.
This has a problem entirely different from the Gore Internet slip in that the full context provided doesn’t help disprove it at all. Indeed, folks who already buy into the New World Order/one world government/Illumunati/Dr. Wily and the Robot Masters conspiracy can pick nearly any sentence out of that paragraph and it would only “prove” them right. While trying to conjure up images of peace, Bush instead gave people enough reason to be afraid of mythical bogeymen and they still won’t stop talking about it (the quote is from a 1990 speech).
Thomas Jefferson, Also A Former President
“Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”
Not so much on his part as the religious Right of American politics. The ongoing argument of the role of religion in government loses steam when you realize that one of the founding fathers wasn’t too keen on the idea himself. And Jefferson was hardly the only one, though he was arguably the most critical of the bunch. Oddly enough, as often as the “the Founding Fathers wanted it this way!” card gets played during debates, the counter argument of “no, not really” doesn’t get used nearly as often.