HOW CONSPIRACY THEORIES WORK

“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family as internationalists and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure; one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it”

David Rockefeller; “Memoirs”
(2003)

Recently, I was walking home from work listening to a podcast where the interviewee was discussing the history of various factions of “breakaway civilizations”- groups of individuals with access to advanced alternative forms of technology that have created independent societies outside of the ones the vast majority of humans live in. I found the interview itself pretty interesting, until the researcher stepped out of the realm of obscure history and science (obviously his specialty), and began talking about political theory; specifically how “fascism” was being created in the West in the current year, using the misquotation of Mussolini defining fascism as the “merging of corporation and state”, equating “corporation” to mean the various international business interests we see having power over governments in today’s society, and the oligarchs that ultimately profit from them. But in reality, what Mussolini was referring to was “corporatism”, a concept dating back to the Middle Ages, where a society is based on guilds representing the various trades and professions, having joint control over the state. It was modern international capitalism that was and is this oligarchy of business interests in control of the state.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing is far too common, where well-meaning folks in the “conspiracy community” and the “patriot movement” go off on rants and tangents about subjects they don’t fully understand. It always makes me cringe a little, as I think about how this sort of misrepresentation and over-simplification of complex and often obscure (at least in our age) ideas and events that these folks attempt to shine light on, actually ends up hurting the cause, giving fodder for mockery and ridicule.

Of course, sometimes this can be brought on intentional disinformation and intentional discrediting of the ideas, but most of the time, it isn’t. It can play out like a game of “telephone”, with the story getting distorted and sensationalized, with the re-teller filling in the gaps where details are missing or not fully understood.

This over-simplification and misrepresentation that so often happens in the conspiracy community ultimately serves as fodder for establishment-rhetoric that routinely seeks to single out of people with alternative viewpoints as mentally deficient or unstable– rhetoric that has been ramping up due to the elections and the tendency of many “conspiracy theorists” to back candidates the corporate oligarchy doesn’t like.

This over-simplification of complex ideas and themes by “conspiracy theorists” also leads to things like the inverted “conspiracy theory” diagram you see above, which illustrates the leftist neoliberal establishment representation of various “conspiracy theories”, seeking to illustrate how the further up the author’s arbitrary levels of “unreality” these concepts are, the more “dangerous” they become (particularly to the establishment), and that the holder of such views is mentally ill and should “get help”. The diagram itself was made by “viral Tik Tok star” (that’s a thing now), Abbie Richards, a Jewish-American environmental and climate science/studies major, comedian, and crusader against the racism and sexism of golf courses..

As a lover and part-time producer of satire myself, I can appreciate a good poking-fun of pretty much anything- including conspiracy theories. However, the problem comes when the punchline doesn’t end at the joke; one whose intention is the ostracizing and pathologizing a certain segment of the population as people who should be viewed as having the potential to be “radicalized” and treated as legitimate potential threats to people’s health and safety and to society as a whole.

In a tweet of her inverted conspiracy pyramid, Ms. Richards said that “shaming people who believe illogical things just pushes them further into their radicalization networks. Disinformation is everywhere. We need to teach people how to spot it early.

However, Ms. Richards’ rather backhanded and condescending attempt at “compassion” aside, the problem I see here is not that a lot of these “conspiracy theories” are necessarily “illogical”; it is that they are quite often outside of the investigators frame of reference and overall worldview beliefs about what is and isn’t possible. These beliefs are typically far less based in empirical, rational and critical thought and observation than the person may willfully admit; and tend to be more shaped by various forms of conditioning enacted upon us by family, peers, professions, media outlets and various societal institutions.

Anything can seem “illogical” when you don’t really understand it (or don’t really want to).

The problem with “conspiracy theories” is that they often are complex in nature and scope. The data used to argue for their existence often comes from a wide variety of sources and disciplines; from declassified government documents; to big foundation and think-tank white papers; to a vast array of dry, obscure, lesser-known or forgotten about books, articles, interviews and video clips and lectures; to news and media sources from all over the world and all across the intelligence and class spectrum; to insider corporate documents; to lesser-known scientific studies; to whistle-blowers and former-establishment experts from a vast array of institutions, fields, and disciplines- all things the average person often has little interest, passion or time to research at any length.

Most people who dismiss and ridicule conspiracy theories have never looked at length at any of the sources that the theory derives from.

Moreover, the complexity of these subjects tend to require years of study (academic and/or independent) in various realms of knowledge in order to grasp them in their complexity. Personally, the knowledge and experience database I draw from to draw many of my conclusions around these things, even though I have only been technically studying “conspiracies” for about 13 years, I have accumulated over the course of a lifetime from rigorous and constant personal and academic training, learning and study, and from professional and personal experience.

But when people encounter information of a complex nature; data that necessitates more study in a particular field of knowledge than that person has at the moment; then what people will often do is they will bring the information down to their level of understanding. Moreover, people can tend to become emotional when talking about these complex subjects, which tends to lead to a drop in communication skills and cause emotional, rather than logical communication. This can be due to the fact that the person themselves is emotionally troubled by the information itself in some way, or due to feeling the need to be “on the defensive” due to the perceived potential of being mocked or attacked.

In turn, the average person has been largely socially conditioned to have an emotional response of either mocking or attacking these ideas and the people who espouse them. This is a common way of reacting for the average person, when approached with information that counters what they believe to be possible according to their worldview- particularly when some arbitrary “trusted source” of theirs has told them that these ideas are “conspiracy theories”, and means that the people espousing them are either unstable, immoral, and/or dangerous.

For many, the implications of what it would mean to their understanding of the world and their place in it, if many of these conspiracy theories were indeed true, is too much for their psyche to handle. And for many, admitting they have been defrauded in some way is something they can’t emotionally cope with, as the implications could point to much of their college education being nonsense, or that they have put their children in harm’s way through the medical system. When this happens, cognitive dissonance will take place, and these people will ultimately have an unpleasant emotional reaction to the information that counters what they want/believe to be true, and they will often become hostile to the bearer of the information.

This combination of a lack of understanding complex subjects and of emotional reasoning and communication, leads to complex scenarios and events being reduced to caricatures. Complex interlocking sets of groups, institutions, organizations, philosophies and worldviews, become monolithic cabals of super-villains with near-godlike powers. Then the process is repeated, and these caricatures are made into even more cartoonish and ridiculous versions of themselves.

The reality is, most people have never heard a “conspiracy” and/or far-right perspective presented in an intelligent, coherent, logical, scholarly fashion before. All they know are the caricatures presented by a leftist neoliberal media and academic establishment that is inherently hostile to these views (and with good reason, as they completely counter establishment self-interest).

A conspiracy is defined as “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful”.

A conspiracy theory is defined as “an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy without warrant, generally one involving an illegal or harmful act carried out by government or other powerful actors. Conspiracy theories often produce hypotheses that contradict the prevailing understanding of history or simple facts. The term is a derogatory one.”

Note that the term is referred to as “derogatory”, which means a “critical or disrespectful attitude”.

A “conspiracy theorist” is defined as “a person who holds a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups

According to Florida State University professor Lance deHaven-Smith’s 2013 book “Conspiracy Theory in America”, the phrase conspiracy theory was deployed in the 1960s by the CIA to discredit people who questioned the official story around the JFK assassination, which was most famously questioned in the Oliver Stone film, “JFK”.  Now, this action in and of itself was technically illegal, as the CIA was not supposed to be operating domestically, although this was revealed to most certainly be the case with the Church Committee Hearings.  Of course, now, with the repeal of the propaganda ban back in 2013, government-created news is officially legal, putting the U.S., led by the CIA, on par with the most esteemed journalism that was found in authoritarian paradises like the Soviet Union and East Germany.

Over the years, many things have been labelled “conspiracy theories” that were later revealed to be actual fact, such as La Cosa Nostra, the information in the Pentagon Papers, CIA drug running (Iran Contra), the Federal Reserve being run by private banking interests or the fact that the Bilderberg Meeting was an actual thing.  And while there are certainly wild ones out there literally based in outer space, the reality of people in high places meeting in secret and doing illegal and immoral things is a fact of history and a fact of life.

Does this mean there is one monolithic group out there running everything? No. The world is made up of groups of people who vie for their own interests, whatever they may be. Some are certainly more powerful and exert more control and influence than others, but that is the basis of it. And when said interests converge with that of other groups, these groups will often work together. The “goodness” or “badness” often lies in the fact that the interests of these groups are very different from what yours or mine may be- and sometimes that difference in interest means our own ability to thrive or even survive.

For example, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal was negotiated in secret by corporate boards and came out piece by piece that it was designed to strictly serve the interests of multinational corporations and override any laws that would stop it.  Now this can and should to be understood to be detrimental to large groups of people and the lands they inhabit.  However, if you are on the other side, this deal may be helping you provide what you see is a better life for yourself and people you care about- even if that’s a relatively small number of people.  And knowing that people may attempt to derail the deal that is beneficial for you and your group, obviously operating in secret is the best way to go.

These things aren’t “conspiracy theory”- they are the machinations of history and human nature, as well as business.  This is how the world of men works, and will continue to until something beyond what we have ever seen or known happens.

When people lack the understanding of how things like social conditioning, compartmentalization of information (both institutional and psychological), and the innate drive towards self-interest within modern society can create avenues for such true conspiracies to flourish, they instead misrepresent them as monolithic entities where “everyone” has to be “in on it“, in order for it to be possible, which, of course, is absolute nonsense.

These “conspiracies” can be explained in much the same language as the “systemic racism” conspiracy theories touted in mainstream academia and media, where a whole host of interlocking political, social, and psychological “systems” work together almost mechanically to maintain the “conspiracy” of racist oppression within Western society.

Moreover, we also have the problem of value judgements as a way of obfuscating subjects. In an interview, British author and philosopher Jules Evans speaks of “positive” and “negative” conspiracies, contrasting the alleged dark, satanic organized pedophilia conspiracy of QAnon, with that of a New Age-y “ecstatic globalism“, citing people like H.G. Wells, who wrote “The Shape of Things to Come” and “The New World Order” as representatives of this sort of “positive globalism”.

https://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-countless-people-will-hate-the-new-world-order-and-will-die-protesting-against-it-we-h-g-wells-57-78-56.jpg

However, the work of people like H.G. Wells and the philosophies of New Age spiritualism is very much on the radar of “conspiracy theorists”- they just don’t view it as a good thing; pointing to the results of attempts at utopian societies in places like the Soviet Union, as well as the continued erosion of rights and freedoms, and the erosion of organic traditional societies and ways of life in general, in this march towards “ecstatic globalism“.

We are largely talking about people with fundamental philosophical differences to the stated goals and aims of modern and postmodern Western society and its governing elites. Traditionally-minded and sovereignty-oriented people of all stripes are not going to go along with the attempted complete overthrow of Traditional society and culture that the “ecstatic globalism” of Davos financial elites call for with their “Great Reset“, and are thus going to be viewed and treated as “unenlightened enemies of progress“.

This (for the most part) isn’t a case of people with mental illness being a potential danger to themselves and others; it’s a war of opposing moral philosophies; one of man working with Nature and the Divine; and one with man trying to be manipulate and be above Nature and the Divine.

The result of all this, again, is things like this upside down “conspiracy theory” pyramid- a pyramid that ultimately suggests that the amount of scenarios that are impossible in this universe, greatly outnumbers that which possible. However, this is the arrogant absurdity of the modern world: a place where one who chooses to spend their time being a comedian on the internet and “fighting racism and sexism” in something as inconsequential as golf, can be held up as some sort of arbiter or oracle of what is truly is and isn’t possible in this universe.

Many of the cliched slogans used on the diagram (New World Order, chemtrails, anti-vaxxers, 9/11, Cultural Marxism, White genocide, 5G, Deep State, Holocaust “denial”, etc.), are in fact very complex subjects with a great deal of credible, verifiable and even mainstream evidence to support them. If one takes an honest effort to look into them objectively at great length, and does not simply repeat the caricatures of these topics that are given to them by mainstream media sources, they will find that these subjects have far more substance to back up their claims than simply a rumor started on the internet.

They also all have the potential to be quite threatening to the power structure and its claim to legitimacy and authority if any of them were exposed to the wider population in mainstream outlets.

But the financiers of the various disinformation campaigns in both mainstream and “alternative” media have a vested interest in these subjects being looked upon by the general public with ridicule, scorn, and fear. The fear is both of people that believe in them, and fear that if one believes in or starts to investigate them, they too will face the various social and economic repercussions that often happen to people who openly investigate these subjects and state their findings openly.

Is there disinformation and unfounded nonsense being spread out there on places like Facebook and 8chan? Of course. However, to simply dismiss out of hand a concept simply because it falls out of line with your current worldview or research into the subject through sources that seek to discredit any of these sorts of ideas is erroneous. Moreover, the use of “mental illness”, as way to marginalize political dissidents, saying they’re simply “crazy” was a policy used in the Soviet Union that led to the forced drugging and institutionalization of many people whose only crime was thinking differently. This is a scenario that could very well be repeated in the West, and in many places, already is.

Police detectives are “conspiracy theorists”, finding connections and patterns where others can’t. However, when the purpose of doing so goes against the aims and ends of the power structure, it is no longer seen as indispensable brilliance, but rather a dangerous insanity. But the reality of human history is groups of individuals meeting in secret to come up with ways to greater promote their self-interests- it’s happened in all times and in all places, and continues to happen today.

Most people simply believe something isn’t possible because they don’t understand the subject matter or lack the understanding, insight or imagination to see how something could be possible, is arrogance and ignorance. I also find it ironic that the diagram points to its very bottom portion as being the part that is “grounded in reality” when its shape is that of an upside down pyramid..

And what a sad and dull universe it would be if no one believed anything was possible outside of what they were told…

SUGGESTED READING:

MASS CULTURE

LET’S JUST CALL IT “CONSPIRACY THEORY”

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