Another post on “conspiracy” is out there, and can be found here. I stand by it. This post will differ slightly…
I have noticed a tendency among those who think differently than I to ascribe the word “conspiracy” or “conspiracy-like” to many of the things I believe. Generally, I will laugh and let the impression that I am THAT guy at the party roll off my back, but I think there is a point to be made here that I often don’t have the gravity to make in person (who wants to get into intellectual discussion these days when we can talk about how good the Seahawks are going to be this year?, etc.).
In pop culture and casual conversation, the word conspiracy is generally not used to its definitional meaning, as a plot among two or more persons for some end or other. Instead, it is used as a buzzword for any belief that is slightly deviating from the dominant cultural narratives or themes – generally those put out by the government or mainstream media. It roughly means any skepticism that a person proffers toward the motivations of public figures or media sources, especially when the motivation is deemed to be malevolent or sourced by the “for the greater good” types. Someone who believes that it is correct to question is abnormal, and the heuristic of “conspiracy” offers a simple explanation to alternative approaches to culture and history. Even I occasionally use the term in irony and to express bewilderment of opposing views.
There are three things to ponder about this.
- 1. Calling an intellectual belief that expresses any doubt as to the intent, motivation, or ends of a public figure a “conspiracy” is an intellectual destitute’s way of saying “I only buy the dominant cultural belief system, and anything questioning what I am told will be disregarded as untrue, no matter how plausible or reasonable.” It requires no thought, seeks no further discussion, and is akin to yelling the word “racist” when someone disagrees with your view of race, society, or culture. It serves to censor thought and speech, nothing more. It is an easy out, it is lazy, and it flies in the face of obvious indications in present times that the media and government are not to be relied on for a full accurate representation of the facts. It is the easiest way, in my opinion, for someone to reveal their willingness to comply with domination. One who always believes what they are told to believe is not necessarily stupid, but will definitely be sucked into some perversions of morality and history. But it is comfortable. Nietzsche speaks to this: “To trace something unknown back to something known is alleviating, soothing, gratifying and gives moreover a feeling of power. Danger, disquiet, anxiety attend the unknown—the first instinct is to eliminate these distressing states. First principle: any explanation is better than none.” People like to be comforted by “knowing,” that is, trusting, the supposedly impenetrable logic of following the narrative of authority.(As a brief side note, I have noticed that the same is true of any scientific body. Once a theory has been “established” as correct, any deviation from that theory is discarded or ridiculed, until the biases inherent in the discipline ruin honest inquiry and discovery in any direction but the carved-out norm. I think this bias is hindering scientific progress – and I use those words in the most banal and least specific manner possible – heavily. Entrepreneurial spirit within the sciences is all but dead, thanks to the immediate dismissal of straying routes. That is why capital “S” “Science says…” is such a joke. Science doesn’t say anything. Science must give varying alternative approaches, decide on the best one, and allow for the possibility of error. There is no definitive (positive) scientific truth known outside of pure mathematics and the most basic physics. I always have to shake my head at the quotation of Bertrand Russell (“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts,”) by the scientific positivists, so certain of what “science says” and objective reality must be, but decrying those concerned with other forms of knowing. There is no monopoly of truth, in science, politics, theology, economics, et cetera. That does not mean that there is no objective truth. It merely means we must estimate it, and brace ourselves for error – especially errors due to bias and mistake. But I digress…)
- 2. Pertaining to what I believe in particular, one must note that a conspiracy involves some element of intent. This means that me believing that the government or media are completely inept precludes the idea of conspiracy as far as motivation is concerned. Most of the present occasions leading to major historical events that we see unfolding are not due to some plot or intended mischief, but are accidents due to the incapable, lazy, or downright stupid among the narrative-crafters. We are all human, and what one witness observes is much different than what another sees, hears, feels – and this is not even to mention all of the problems with memory storage and recall, as well as tendencies to exaggerate, elaborate, lie, or make errors in the retelling of the story, often because language is itself a finite and boxed-in medium and emotion can distort the rational analysis of a situation. Much less must I discuss the absence of any objective knowledge of subjective intent – when a guy goes and murders people, the media is guessing as much as you and I as to why, putting all of the knowns (or seemingly-knowns) together, and weaving a story we can relate to. Details will be erroneous, missing, or purposefully omitted as superfluous. Once repeated enough, the details become an official story, and what is written in the history books becomes “truth.” This does not require evil intent, or any real intent, except a general one to make the event cognizable and the pill fit down the throat of those trying to create sense of this world. That is not conspiracy, and for the most part, it is where my beliefs lie. Most of the evils I see in the world are a result of error, not malevolence. I am a fool, and I assume most everyone else is as well. This means that Mr. Bernanke’s belief that the best way to protect us economically by printing money is not an intent to ruin the economy, steal from future generations, or ruin the value of the dollar. Those are side-effects and are true, but the intent is to levitate the economy to prosperity. But the belief is erroneous, and intent is not always the barometer of moral action. Foolishness drives narrative more often than conspiracy. The world is full of incompetents. One need not cry “conspiracy” to recognize that bias and error drive people to paper over rationality in favor of the certainty of the “official story.”
- 3. Putting aside the conspiratorial (read the true definition of the word) nature of everything that goes on behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., there are hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of actual “conspiracy” that are undisputed and true in history and today. Here are a few you can look up:
- PRISM & the NSA Scandal
- The NDAA & extraordinary rendition programs
- The Federal Reserve System
- The disbanding of hundreds of Federal services in an attempt to garner public opposition to budget cuts, while many pork barrel spending projects were left to waste money by the billions.
- The Iraq Invasion (WMDs)
- The Manhattan Project
- Hosam Maher Husein Smadi & Mohamed Osman Mohamud (In fact, of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks since 9/11 on American soil, 14 were developed in sting operations.)
- The purchase of billions of rounds of hollow-point ammunition (banned for government use by the Geneva Convention) by the Department of Homeland Security
- House Resolution 645
- House Select Committee on Assassinations
- Operation Paperclip
- Operation Northwoods
- M. K. Ultra
- Army FM 3-39.40
- Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
- Operation Mockingbird
- Operation Fast & Furious
- The Watergate Scandal
- The Business Plot
- Operation Gladio
- Executive Orders 13608, 13717, 13618, 10990, 10997, 11000, 11002,11003, 11004, 11005 (among others)
- Army Regulation 210-35
- REX 84
- The LIBOR Scandal
- Hell, even taxes can be considered, for the most part to be conspiracy.
So there is good reason to think that some of the other things that are integral parts of government or media narratives are erroneous or misleading. The point is not that everything is a lie and we would all be better off to never believe anything unless you can verify it with your own two eyes. The point is to be reasonable, and ask if the stated facts match what seems to be the reality of the matter.
So there you have it. 1. Don’t just dismiss people as conspiracy theorists because they differ from the usual two choices of red/blue, true/false, left/right. 2. Conspiracy requires intent, while the people in government and media are generally just stupid. 3. Conspiracies do exist.
And re: 3… Since we have established a track record of lies, you now know not to trust to heavily in your master’s words. You can expect more conspiracy to come, as government and power structure itself is a conspiracy for self-preservation and self-justification. As the power structure loses credibility by the day, you can be sure that the Powers That Be will attempt to keep power by any means necessary, plotting false flag attacks, economic disruptions, and other covert operations in attempts to ensure compliance…