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FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:58 pm    Post subject: Thoughts on Conspiracy Reply with quote

I frequently ponder conspiracy theories - how they get started and why, how they propagate, why people cling to them with such fervor. Probably one of the best brief essays I've ever seen on the subject comes from Bill Whittle:

Bill Whittle wrote:
...Recently, Rosie O'Donnell said on national television that she believes 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government. Well, that's why we went through the steps above. If you believe that the government lied about the moon landing, you can believe they lied about killing JFK. If they lied about JFK, then they can lie about chemtrails. And if they are willing to poison the entire population with aerial spraying, what are a few thousand people in four airliners and a couple of buildings?

I will make the point yet again because I believe it is the crux of the issue: what kind of moral universe do you have to inhabit to be able to believe that your own people -- airline personnel, demolition experts, police and security forces, faked witnesses and all the rest -- are capable of such a thing? How much hate for your own society do you have to carry in order to live in such a desolate and ridiculous mental hell? What psychoses must a mind be riddled with in order to negate what was perfectly obvious and instead believe a theory of such monumental fantasy? How much pure constant hatred does that take? What, in short, is the miserable black hole of self-loathing that drives a person like Rosie O'Donnell and millions like her?


Bill Whittle wrote:
In XXX: State of the Union, prisoners and murderers must be set free to defend the country against the real threat: the Secretary of Defense. In Shooter it's up to a lone hero to assassinate the evil oil-drinking killers that make up the US government. The Constant Gardner has Big Pharmaceuticals testing deadly products on poor Africans as sort of cheap, PETA-proof lab rats. What does it matter to a bunch of dramatists that drug companies are our best defense against the plagues that reap entire generations of lives? That the CIA is not a band of rogue assassins with nothing better to do than pick off our own leaders but rather a hard-working group of dedicated men and women who work without fame or fortune or Beverly Hills mansions, day in and day out, trying to find that little thread that keeps millions of us alive and healthy and blissfully -- willfully, in the case of these dramatists -- stupid and naive?

And it goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

If it's not the the government then it's the corporations... always the bad guys. Always guilty. Always fat white men ready to kill anyone for money.

Have these dramatists ever -- ever? -- run a business? Have they any clue at all how much effort goes into keeping the french fry station at McDonald's adequately staffed, to say nothing about pulling together a few thousand people in spectacular acts of mass murder? Do they have any idea that the honest human men and women who work for the government are anything more than plot points in their own bitter narratives? Is there no end to the evidence -- as if more evidence was needed -- that we are daily led to believe the worst about our government, our businesses and our country by self-centered psychotics who understand nothing but the absolute imperative to glorify themselves at the expense of everyone and everything they share this civilization with?


Those are just a few of the choice bits from throughout the longer essay. Mr. Whittle touches on JFK, the Apollo mission, Chemtrails and 9/11 leading up to his conclusion. At the very bottom, in an update, he links to a psychologist who speaks on the background of paranoia and cospiracy, and what leads perfectly sane individuals to believe in such off the wall things:

Dr.Sanity wrote:
The paranoia, projection and denial all serve to make them feel better about themselves; make them feel less like the losers they are. By inventing themselves as the victims of the BushHitler--or the Jews, or the neocons or whatever-- they can, like a typical, arrogant paranoid psychotic, pat themselves on the back at their heroic, courageous, and "principled" stand against the forces of oppression. Their failures are NOT THEIR FAULT. Everything in their life would be better if THE EVIL OPPRESSORS would go away. Their need to externalize blame for their own failure will trump any facts and obscure any contradicting reality. Without the paranoia, they are nothing...


Of course, the left doesn't have a monopoly on conspiracy theories (The NAU thing seems to find cross-over appeal, for instance). But for whatever reason, they're coming close to cornering the market at this point in our history. My own explanation, in addition to those suggested above?

If you're immensely invested in a world view / philosophy where government has the power, and competence, to bring perfect order to people's lives and can or should solve most problems ... then it follows that 'the wrong people' in government can just as competently run schemes like chemtrails or faking the Apollo landing, or that they could orchestrate and then conceal the mass murder of thousands so effectively.

Any thoughts?
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think people have a basic need to believe. Some people choose religion, others choose global warming, others go the conspiracy route. People pick what teir fundamental beliefs are, and after that you cannot change their minds.
Craig
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It makes people feel more important than they are. Makes them feel special. Perhaps they are compensating for failing to live up to their own expectations in life.
FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kwlafayette wrote:
I think people have a basic need to believe. Some people choose religion, others choose global warming, others go the conspiracy route. People pick what teir fundamental beliefs are, and after that you cannot change their minds.


I agree that that drive must be a component, to a certain extent... certainly, I think it is a mental habit that is self-reinforcing. Once the central premises of one conspiracy have been set in your belief system, it becomes easier and likely more comfortable to find even more plots that build off them.

I won't equate religous faith with belief in conspiracy, but I think the cognitive processes involved in religous zealotry could lend themselves to paranoia - a clear example would be the pairing of Islamism with Zionist conspiracy, or on a smaller scale, the 'Satanic Abuse' scares in the US that took hold in some fundamental Baptist communities (and no, I'm suggesting any kind of equivalence - just giving examples).
FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig wrote:
It makes people feel more important than they are. Makes them feel special. Perhaps they are compensating for failing to live up to their own expectations in life.


Yes, I think this part of it, too. Whittle suggested this in his essay:

Bill Whittle wrote:
But if I didn't have that sense of identity rooted in my own small achievements, I wonder how likely it would have been for me to grab onto that sense of sudden empowerment, of being an initiate in some arcane club of hidden wisdom. I wonder what might have happened to me if being the Holder of Secret Knowledge had been my only source of self-esteem; the one redeeming landmark in a life of isolation and failure. Indeed, I wonder what power such a worldview would have over me if I could believe that behind the scenes lurked vast and unknowable dark forces -- forces that could topple a president and perhaps even explain why a person of my deep, vast and bountiful talents was not doing a whole lot better in life...

...I'll tell you something. These conspiracy theorists that ignore that miserable, pathetic, self-aggrandizing egomaniac named Lee Harvey Oswald, or glorify him as a patsy and a hero, do so because deep down inside they realize something unpleasant about Lee Harvey Oswald and themselves.

They are Oswald.
Mac





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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great article, FF_Canuck!! I enjoyed that immensely.

-Mac

ps: Oops!! Apparently FF_Canuck and I had the same notion... and he got there first!
Bleatmop





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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent article. I shall send it to my friend who is teetering on the edge of becoming a Troother. I fully expect him to reject all the idea's within immediately, but I hope it plants a seed.
mrsocko





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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It all started with JFK didn't it. The U.S. government took a look at the findings of the Warren Commission and found(thanks to new evidence) that JFK was probably killed due to a conspiracy.
from wiki:
Quote:
The House Select Commitee on Assanitions(1978) involved Congressional hearings and ultimately concluded that Oswald assassinated Kennedy, probably as the result of a conspiracy. Their conclusion was based, in part, on acoustic evidence.


This plus the other 2 (Bobby and Martin) happening so close to each other caused Americans to be rightfully suspicious. Conspiracy theory has gotten out of hand but the root cause was very suspicous.
Mac





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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This kind of nonsense pre-existed the JFK assassination. I'll bet it can be traced back to the founding of widely accessible media... likely even further back...

Take, for instance, the panicked aftermath from the 1938 radio broadcast of H. G. Wells "The War of the Worlds" or the Roswell UFO incident of 1947, not to mention the infamous Area 51. All of these incidents took place years, if not decades, before the JFK assassination.

-Mac
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There have always been conspiracy theories. The protocols of the elders of zion, Marx's entire theory, the first conspiracy theory was probably etched on a cave wall by some half ape a billion years ago.
crazymamma





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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd post what I really think but "they" would trace it back to me somehow and make my life a living hell. Also for my friends and family. Some things are best kept not written down, it's just not safe. :wink:
Sheila





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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And who would have thought a year ago that there was a conspiracy with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. There was Ezra on the Duff today saying that the R.C.M.P. are investigating a Canadian Human Rights Commissioner using a private citizens internet account and pretending to be a Neo Nazi to spread hatred. The whistle blower was Bell. Does this classify as a conspiracy? Or do some conspiracies prove to be true?
FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think of the CHRC issues as a conspiracy, more as another example of the Banality of Evil - which is more or less the opposite of Conspiracy. To me, conspiracy implies a large, concerted effort to commit and/or conceal some dastardly plot.
FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd forgotten about this, but this short video from the Onion is VERY on-topic: LINK

Edit: Warning, a little morbid.
Mike McB





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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing I am wondering is that if I should trust the government or opposition on everything it tells me?

Is it a conspiracy theory to think that the Liberals are really out to get the CPC? Look at the Cadman affair, Mulroney, Elections Canada, Bernier's ex-girlfriend etc.. Did all of these things just happened naturally..

Conspiracy theories do get out of wack, but the JFK assisination left alot of questions. Especially how Lee Harvey Oswald could squeeze of (i think 4 shots) in 5 seconds with a bolt action rifle at a range of few hundred yards.... Accurately.

Or why the KING family believes that James Earl Ray is innocent..

I don't know.. what is true and what is not but I do know that there is alot of unanswered questions to many supposed accurate accounts..
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