You’re not a Conspiracy Theorist are you?
Anyone who comments on current events and attempts to understand forces and trends affecting economic and political affairs may face such a question. The unspoken assumption underlying the inquiry is that if one’s answer is in the affirmative then one will no longer deserve respect and attention. “Conspiracies” are understood to be fantasies and no serious person would suggest that the fantastical is real.
Yet if we read the news we are continually learning of conspiracies attempting to mold events and influence opinion. People conspire, it’s what they do. Adam Smith wrote in his “Wealth of Nations” that we should expect that whenever businessmen meet that they would produce one or another conspiracy against the public weal and for their own.
There are statutes in every State proscribing certain conspiracies as being unlawful. Would our Legislatures outlaw fantasies?
History recounts a succession of conspiracies: Julius Caesar was murdered by a conspiracy, the Stuarts were dethroned by a conspiracy, the Bourbons overthrown by a conspiracy, Bostonians dumped English tea in the harbor as a result of a conspiracy, the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace after conspiring to do so . . . and so forth. Conspiracies make history.
Certainly some alleged conspiracies are figments of the imagination. We believe that David Icke’s assertion that the Queen of England is a reptilian-shapeshifter is silly (and maybe psychotic). We dismiss the perennial accusation of an international Jewish conspiracy to be foolish at best and evil at its worst. We think that Freemasonry is socially beneficient and not a devil-worshipping cult. And we are very skeptical that the United Nations is about to land black helicopters on our roofs to enforce a New World Order.
Recounting the absurd tends to distract from the real, and perhaps that is the real function of the foolish conspiracy theory, not to elucidate or even entertain but to confuse and misdirect. Having read UFO accounts from the age of 11, I am convinced that there was a UFO conspiracy although it was not a coverup of extraterrestrial encounters of any kind but a fanciful diversion promulgated by the Government as a guise for the development of advanced aircraft.
We should not fear the Conspiracy Theory but subject such constructs to a critical evaluation of the supporting evidence. Dismiss silliness but be not afraid to accept a Theory that actually explains events and the motivations of those who instigate events.
We, based on the evidence, believe that President John F Kennedy was killed as a consequence of a conspiracy and that fact was covered up by yet a greater conspiracy.
An assortment of news reports, personal recollections of policy-makers, statements from overseas sources and the logical inference linking such information to actions indicates that George W Bush, Dick Cheney and others conspired to commit the United States to a war against Iraq in the absence of a lawful casus belli.
We believe that the Koch brothers in collusion with the like-minded super-rich have engaged in a nationwide conspiracy to takeover State governments in order to deregulate local economies, privatize public assets and bust unions.
We think that an informal network of global business interests has conspired to influence governments and set trade policy having the effect of enriching themselves and impoverishing the rest of us.
Evidence of a conspiracy is not evidence of paranoia. Willful avoidance of facts is a greater mental defect than the recognition of a pattern ordering events.