Friday, 12 February 2010

Ridicule of Conspiracy Theories Focuses On Diffusing Criticism of the Powerful

The label "conspiracy theory" is commonly used to try to discredit criticism of the powerful in government or business.

For example, just this week - after Tony Blair was confronted by the Iraq Inquiry with evidence that he had used lies to sell the Iraq war - Blair dismissed the entire Iraq Inquiry as simply being part of Britain's "obsession with conspiracy theories". (Not only did Blair know that Saddam possessed no WMDs, but the French this week accused Blair of using of ‘Soviet-style' propaganda in run-up to the Iraq war).

Of course, the American government has been busted in the last couple of years in numerous conspiracies. For example, William K. Black - professor of economics and law, and the senior regulator during the S & L crisis - says that that the government's entire strategy now - as during the S&L crisis - is to cover up how bad things are ("the entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts").Similarly , 7 out of the 8 giant, money center banks went bankrupt in the 1980's during the "Latin American Crisis", and the government's response was to cover up their insolvency.

And the government spied on American citizens (even before 9/11 ... confirmed here and here), while saying "we don't spy". The government tortured prisoners in Iraq, but said "we don't torture".

In other words, high-level government officials have conspired to cover up the truth.
Indeed, conspiracies are so common that judges are trained to look at conspiracy allegations as just another legal claim to be disproven or proven by the evidence.

But - while people might admit that corporate executives and low-level government officials might have engaged in conspiracies - they may be strongly opposed to considering that the wealthiest or most powerful might possibly have done so.

Indeed, those who most loudly attempt to ridicule and discredit conspiracy theories tend to focus on defending against criticism involving the powerful.

This may be partly due to psychology: it is scary for people to admit that those who are supposed to be their "leaders" protecting them may in fact be human beings with complicated motives who may not always have their best interests in mind.

Our immediate surroundings are based on trusting situations. Most people have a hard time associating bad acts, especially murderous acts, with trusted representatives of the community.

The more "unbelievable" the crime committed by trusted people (often wearing suits), the more unlikely people will believe that the said perpetrators are responsible- no matter how good the evidence.

However, regardless of how unlikely the crime, a conspiracy is only invalid when there is no good evidence to support it. In the case of the 911 attacks, there is scientific proof that shows this event involved inside help.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, February 12th, 2010.]


Faith-R-Michaels said...

Great job Spooky. It is clear that this kind of "brainwashing of the public has been a strategy of governments for a very long time. It has worked up till now..the prevailing government paid propaganda PR.firms(more commonly known as ad agencies)
Have in the modern day been invaluable to political campaigns and placing a "good face " on some of the worst behavior of the humans in government. But the people allow it. They allow it whenever they go to the voting booths and half heartily vote for the lesser of two evils because that is their only perceived choices, while clearly ignoring the other choices on the ballot available to them. They allow it when they do not use their libraries to find out about real history. They allow it when the allow fear of social ostracizing to rule their behavior because they do not have the inner fortitude to stand in certainty of what they know or learn. They allow it everytime they accept the mess that comes out from the Leaders as expert testimony with out question. Last but not least they allow it when they want someone to tell them what is Truth.. instead of researching it for themselves and determining what is truth for themselves due to self-doubt..It is a wonderful thing to know that much of that is changing because of Blogs like this and articles like this...To bad the people who claim to be Christian did not understand Jesus when he said "What? Know ye not that ye are Gods" and do not realize they have the inner ability to change whatever is required. They simply do not believe in their own power for establishing a better form of government and a better society under the current form of our culture and that is just plain sad.

SpookyPunkos said...

We have a little bit more educating to do !

It's definitely not a lost cause. I have faith in people.

With the mainstream media and education systems in place today, the job is hard. Thankfully, so many people are internet savvy.

I admit it'll be hard to get the basic political system to change- where at least one of the choices presented to the voter is not a bad one !

I think the ultimate goal would be to create a very transparent and accountable system: the US Constitution properly implemented with rules against secret dealings of any kind, severe controls on lobbysts, no millionaires only club at the Federal level etc etc

If we can imagine a fair system that protects the interests of the people then it can be done.