Ridicule of Conspiracy Theories Focuses On Diffusing Criticism of the Powerful → Washingtons Blog
Ridicule of Conspiracy Theories Focuses On Diffusing Criticism of the Powerful - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, February 10, 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.

And Tom Brokaw notes:

All wars are based on propaganda.
A concerted effort to produce propaganda is a conspiracy.

Acceptable Versus Unacceptable Conspiracy Theories

Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme was a conspiracy. The heads of Enron were found guilty of conspiracy, as was the head of Adelphia. Numerous lower-level government officials have been found guilty of conspiracy. See this, this, this, this and this.

Time Magazine's financial columnist Justin Fox writes:

Some financial market conspiracies are real ...

Most good investigative reporters are conspiracy theorists, by the way.

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. And see this.

For example, Obama's current head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs - and a favored pick for the Supreme Court (Cass Sunstein) - previously:

Defined a conspiracy theory as "an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role."
He has called for the use of state power to crush conspiracy allegations of state wrongdoing. See this, this and this.


Michael Kelly, a Washington Post journalist and neoconservative critic of anti-war movements on both the left and right, coined the term "fusion paranoia" to refer to a political convergence of left-wing and right-wing activists around anti-war issues and civil liberties, which he claimed were motivated by a shared belief in conspiracism or anti-government views.

In other words, prominent neocon writer Kelly believes that everyone who is not a booster for government power and war is a crazy conspiracy theorist.

Similarly, psychologists who serve the government eagerly label anyone "taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, ... and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook" as crazy conspiracy theorists.

This is not really new. In Stalinist Russia, anyone who criticized the government was labeled crazy, and many were sent to insane asylums.

Using the Power of the State to Crush Criticism of the Government

The bottom line is that the power of the state is used to crush criticism of major government policies and actions (or failures to act) and high-level government officials.

Pay attention, and you'll notice that criticism of "conspiracy theories" is usually aimed at attempting to protect the state and key government players. The power of the state is seldom used to crush conspiracy theories regarding people who are not powerful . . . at least to the extent that they are not important to the government.


  1. The problem I see with conspiracy theories is the impossible extension of the proposed conspiracies. While, as the article presents, there is clear evidence that powerful people get involved in all kinds of conspiracies because they suffer from the same issues as everyone else (stupidity, egoism, envy, pride, greed, etc.), it follows from the same arguments that any attempt at a large conspiracy would fail.
    (detailed arguments at: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/theory/conspiracy.html)
    So, yes we must be vigilant and investigate all the actions of the people we put in power, but to expect a vast conspiracy of most the powerful (financially and/or politically) people of the planet against the rest of us is ridiculous.

  2. If there is no conspiracy of the powerful against the rest of us then why do the most powerful people in the world meet each year in a secret, closed door meeting? It is called Bilderburg - Do a search in Startpage or Google.

    Why are these meetings not televised?

    Why the media blackout on who is attending and what is on the agenda?

    Why for 50 years have we been told Bilderburg, CFR, Trilaterals do not exist, but now there are mainstream papers talking about them?

    To say there is no conspiracy of the powerful is pretty much making the case of this post. Those who fight the conspiracy are normally carrying the water for the conspirators.

    My 2 cents

  3. "they may be strongly opposed to considering that the wealthiest or most powerful might possibly have done so."

    The real conspirccy is to think the is no conspiracy.

  4. For the anonymous who believes there is no conspiracies involving the powerful a tip: Have you got your H1N1 shot yet?

  5. Any crime committed by more than ONE person is a conspiracy. Pretty straight forward. And when someone is trying to figure out HOW the crime took place, they create a scenario.....a "theory" of how it took place and who was involved. Every single detective on the planet is a conspiracy theorist. All of them. So I am guessing that they should quit their jobs now that they are labelled conspiracy theorists. No point in having crazy people figure out crimes.

  6. 33 True Conspiracy Theories, What Every Person Should Know...Nodwells


  7. --
    Conspiracy is a tool of both the powerful and the weak. It is merely covert combination so as to cohere resources and action toward a purpose, which purpose would meet resistance if its nature (and the methods of its supporters) became widely known.

    The Sons of Liberty - who were responsible for the first Tea Party in Boston harbor - was a conspiracy. So were the colonial committees of correspondence and public safety which were responsible for organizing and arming the completely illegal military resistance to the British crown in the years leading up to 1775.

    This being understood, there is no surprise that the politically powerful or the very wealthy should combine among themselves, quietly and out of sight, to settle upon ways by which they can aggrandize their power, influence, and wealth.

    That's been pretty much the way such people have acted throughout recorded history. Only the woefully illiterate fail to have learned about this.

    Which, I suspect, is one of the reasons why the governments' schools teach history so as to cripple their students' understanding of the past. What I had attributed to incompetence looks more and more to me now as having been concerted, purposeful, and effected with malice aforethought.

    The problem with conspiracies aimed at the violation of the individual rights of a majority of the people is that they eventually engender counter-conspiracies which may become effective in overthrowing that established order in which the politically powerful and the wealthy manage their own plunder and oppression.

    THAT tends reliably to get bloody.

    But, then, even the perpetrators of the criminal conspiracies in government under which we presently suffer are as ignorant of human history as is the average American private citizen.

    They are playing with pyrotechnics, the silly bastiches, and don't quite realize that it's going to be their own fat in the fire.

    Oh, well.


  8. The problem with conspiracy theories is there are so many of them. The rich and powerful definitely use propaganda to obscure their schemes and that's the problem. When us little guys conspire we are less likely to mess up the world economy and kill millions of people.

    BTW, Michael Kelly died in 2003 in Iraq while reporting on the war. His book "Martyr's Day" is a great account of the first gulf war. I don't know much about his other writing, but in that book he did a good job of showing the horror of war and great empathy for others. I wouldn't be surprized to learn that he harbored a few conspiracy theories of his own.

  9. Good analysis, but why quote the Bloviator Brokaw? He dodged Viet Nam where many of us his age served--then had the gall to appoint his father's generation: "The Greatest Generation". As one critic put it "We play the hand we're dealt."

  10. On the matter of the intensive conditioning of the public by government to recoil from conspiracy charges which inculpate it (while at the same time accepting the mendacious, anti-veridical and self-serving conspiracy theories the government promulgates), the following passage by Prof. Murray N. Rothbard is quite edifying:

    It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any "conspiracy theory of history"; for a search for "conspiracies" means a search for motives and an attribution of responsibility for historical misdeeds. If, however, any tyranny imposed by the State, or venality, or aggressive war, was caused not by the State rulers but by mysterious and arcane "social forces," or by the imperfect state of the world or, if in some way, everyone was responsible ("We Are All Murderers," proclaims one slogan), then there is no point to the people becoming indignant or rising up against such misdeeds. Furthermore, an attack on "conspiracy theories" means that the subjects will become more gullible in believing the "general welfare" reasons that are always put forth by the State for engaging in any of its despotic actions. A "conspiracy theory" can unsettle the system by causing the public to doubt the State's ideological propaganda.

    (From Prof. Murray N. Rothbard, "The Anatomy of the State," Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought, Summer 1965, pp. 1-24. Reprinted in a collection of some of Rothbard's articles, Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays [Washington, D.C.: Libertarian Review Press, 1974]. http://www.mises.org/easaran/chap3.asp )

    The inherent, unchangeable nature of government is colossal conspiracy. Recall that a conspiracy is simply when two or more people take part in a plan which involves doing something improper to others (of which plan may or may not be kept secret, i.e., secrecy is not a necessary component for actions to be a conspiracy). The mere fact that governments set for themselves double-standards is alone quite enough to logically demonstrate that governments themselves consider their own actions improper (i.e., if their same actions which they do to others were to be done to them). Thus, the conclusion that government itself is the largest corporeal conspiracy to ever exist or that could ever exist is logically unavoidable.

    Since obviously more than one person was involved in planning the 9/11 attacks, then by definition the U.S. government's offical fairy tale is a conspiracy theory, as the U.S. government is putting forth a theory concerning the 9/11 attacks which involves a conspiracy.

    Furthermore, conspiracies are ubiquitous (witness all the laws on the books against conspiracy, and how many people are routinely charged under said laws), and the most egregious perpetrators of murderously brutal conspiracies are governments upon their own innocent citizens. More than six times the amount of noncombatants have been systematically murdered for purely ideological reasons by their own governments within the past century than were killed in that same time-span from wars. From 1900 to 1923, various Turkish regimes murdered from 3.5 million to over 4.3 million of its own Armenians, Greeks, Nestorians, and other Christians. The Soviet government murdered over 61 million of its own noncombatant subjects. The communist Chinese government murdered over 76 million of it own subjects. And Germany murdered some 16 million of it own subjects in the past century. And that's only a sampling of governments mass-murdering their own noncombatant subjects within the past century. (The preceding figures are from Prof. Rudolph Joseph Rummel's University of Hawaii website at http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/ .)

  11. All totaled, neither the private-sector crime which government is largely responsible for promoting and causing or even the wars committed by governments upon the subjects of other governments come anywhere close to the crimes government is directly responsible for committing against its own citizens--certainly not in amount of numbers. Without a doubt, the most dangerous presence to ever exist throughout history has always been the people's very own government. (This is also historically true for the U.S. govermment, as no group has killed more U.S. citizens than the U.S. government. Viz., the Civil War; etc.)

    Not only were all of these government mass-slaughters conspiracies--massive conspiracies, at that--but they were conspiracies of which the 9/11 attacks are quite piddling by comparison.

    Moreover, terrorism is the health of the state (indeed, government is itself a logical subset of terrorism, and the word terrorism originally referred exclusively to government actions: i.e., the Reign of Terror in France against critics of the state, which was done according to the law--and later on the word terrorism was used to refer to other governments), which is why so many governments throughout history have manufactured duplicitous terrorism in which to serve as a pretext in order to usurp ever more power and control. In the below post by me is contained voluminous amounts of documentation which refutes the U.S. government's mendacious, self-serving, anti-historical, anti-physical law, anti-factual, and provably false official fairy tale conspiracy theory concerning the 9/11 attacks, as well as documentation on many other government-staged acts of terrorism:

    "Documentation on Government-Staged Terrorism," TetrahedronOmega, September 30, 2005 http://www.armleg.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2&mforum=libertyandtruth

  12. It's interesting that we have all these government guys telling us that conspiracy theories are ridiculous at the same time passing campaign finance laws which only make sense if people conspire. I mean if people aren't trying to influence the actions of government covertly what's the point of making them declare their contributions?

  13. It is interesting that during the eight Bush years "Conspiracy Theorist" were ridiculed as uninformed crackpots who found imagined evil behind every bush. (No pun intended) Now that the Republicans are out and the Democrats are in, "Conspiracy Theory" is once again back in vogue and is defended and elevated almost to a level where it is regarded as keen perception.

    Daniel Mulvihill (A conspiracy Theorist)

  14. First step to Genocide and Democide is take away the people's arms so they can't defend themselves.

    Cambodia 1975–1979 2,035,000
    China (KMT) 1928–1949 10,075,000
    China (PRC) 1949–1987 77,277,000
    China (Mao Soviets) 1923–1949 3,465,000
    Colonialism 1900–Independence 50,000,000
    Congo Free State 1885–1908 est C20th 3,480,000
    total of 10,000,000
    Germany 1933–1945 20,946,000
    Japan 1936–1945 5,964,000
    Pakistan 1958–1987 1,503,000
    Poland 1945–1948 1,585,000
    Mexico 1900–1920 1,417,000
    North Korea 1948–1987 1,563,000
    Russia 1900–1917 1,066,000
    Turkey 1909–1918 1,883,000
    Vietnam 1945–1987 1,670,000
    Yugoslavia (Tito) 1944–1987 1,072,000
    U.S.S.R. 1917–1987 61,911,000

    The experts agree...Gun Control works.


  15. How to slience all "CONSPIRACY THEORY" ...

    Show the world a picture of a nearly 100-ton Boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon on 9-11-01

    That is all. Thank you.

  16. I've been saying for years that the ridiculing of conspiracy theory is, itself, a conspiracy. But there do exist such things as media-friendly conspiracy theories that are every bit as implausible as mainstream conspiracy theories are alleged to be.

    It's not clear whether every homosexual is in on the Gay Agenda, or just a steering committee of powerful, elite gay opinion makers, but the idea that all attempts to alleviate their suppression are part of an unholy attempt to further the Gay Agenda is certainly a conspiracy theory.

  17. The idea of the "Conspiracy Theory" was created by Karl Popper a member of a secret cabal called the "Mont Pelerin Society" well known for promoting fascist policies and coups in the name of free markets. Karl of simple a member of the elites created a pseudo intellectual reason for ignoring the actions of the oligarchy against the general welfare.

    It is merely class pysch warfare were the poor and underclasses i.e. those without property are criminal by nature and the propertied classes by their nature a incapable of harming society because after all increasing profits from property is "god's work" and notions that any State action to stop such accumulation is simple evil.

    The Karl Popper and other derive their belief from the Aristotelianism notion that the mind of man is incidental to history and history is driven by market forces.

    Since, according the Oligarchy, history is driven by market forces i.e. the animal preferences of individuals there can be no conspiracies because the elites are merely acting in their self interest which if left unfetter by notions of general welfare would best for everyone because their ideas are the best as evidence by their property.

    Any standard of idea directing of historical processes outside of market forces therefore lends itself to the idea history is directed by human reason and therefore true principle of correct action discovered outside of the property markets owned by the Oligarchs is dangerous and must be attacked such a notion would by definition give authority to any individual discovery of principle regardless of class, title, or property.

    The ability of any citizen to exercise political power simply based their ability to use creative reason is considered greatest threat because it invalidates the rule by blood or property because a society ordered around the truth and more perfect discovery of truth defeats the greatest weapon of the Oligarchy the free market doctrine of "Ordo ad Chao."

  18. Conspiracy theories should rise or fall on the strength of the argument made and evidence produced. It may be true that special interests fearful of discovery will refute valid claims on the grounds they are merely "conspiracy theories," but the simple fact is that there are a lot of irresponsible bullshit conspiracy theories floating around. Howecer, consider this possibility:

    If I represented a powerful interest group and I wanted to hide our conspiracy from the public I would float all kinds of goofy and easily disproven "conspiracy theories." I might also include something akin to the truth among them. Then, whoever attacked us and came close to explaining our conspiracy could easily be discredited or "linked" with a plethora of irresponsible conspiracy theories. In other words, flood the marketplace with counterfeits and the bona fide goes unrecognized and unappreciated.

    In any event, if you publish something akin to a conspiracy theory, or a theory alleging a conspiracy, pay special attention to the form of your argument, evidence supporting it, check it over for logical fallacies and "howlers," be aware that underselling can be more convincing than overselling, admit the weaknesses of your thesis where they exist and avoid pejorative name-calling. This will help you avoid the "conspiracy theory" trap.

  19. This is without a doubt one of the more level headed - step back, unemotionally driven pieces on the notion of conspiracies I have to date read on the "web" - and the quality of the comments it has generated so far has put this in a class by itself. EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT piece.

  20. I just posted a comment complimenting this piece and especially the quality of the comments posted in response so far - but I am OLD and still not quite awake so it posted under an Anonymous banner ... well, I am not hesitant to identify myself.

    So - it was me :)

    I think Tucci's comment was extremely well put.
    "Conspiracy is a tool of both the powerful and the weak. It is merely covert combination so as to cohere resources and action toward a purpose, which purpose would meet resistance if its nature (and the methods of its supporters) became widely known."

    The term "conspiracy", it seems to me, has taken on a meaning that far exceeds its actual definition. There also seems to be an automatic vilification of the motives that surround it. (In most cases this is justified) - but actually, wouldn't it depend on which side of the conspiracy issue one resides.

    One thing that I have noticed in the comments thus far is that while there are slight differences in content - one constant is emerging and that is more important than was it or was not a conspiracy - TO WHAT END the conspiracy.

    Again it has been refreshing to read this excellent piece and the outstanding comments to this point and I truly look forward to following the train of thoughts over the life of this piece.

  21. Just remember, Bush can't have been too incompetent to perpetrate 9/11, while being competent enough to have prevented ANY further ones! After all, who's benefitted?

  22. Of course it is the nature of the state to foster conspiracies. But, what is objectionable is to
    link everything that happens to ONE GRAND conspiracy, which is what conspiracy theorists do.

    For Lyndon Larouche, it is the Queen of England who calls the shots. For the John Birch Society, it is the Cecil Rhodes Round Table that causes all unconstitutional happenings. For some guy named David Ickes, it is reptilian aliens disguised as world leaders. For others it is the Illuminati or the Elders of Zion or whomever. This is what is objectionable about conspiracy theories. Not that conspiracies don't exist, every lobbyist writing a law to make it harder for his competition is conpsiring against the public interest. It is the all embracing conspiracies that are nonsense.

  23. 1984: War is peace, black is white, lies are truth.

  24. A "conspiracy theory" is an accusation of criminality or immoral behavior at least. Consider human nature:

    An innocent, accused; becomes indignant, confronts the accuser, is willing to debate, lay out the facts, to clear his name.

    The guilty, accused; begins with name calling, hideing and coverup. If pinned down, then claims self ignorance, "intelligence failure" (stupidity), then ultimately violence.

  25. The evidence a false flag operation on 9/11 is a perfect example of a people's willing disbelief in the possibility of a conspiracy by their leaders. Every single American, and most of the rest of the world has seen the evidence in watching the falling buildings of the world trade center. Three steel frame buildings (the first ever) fall to the ground too fast(lower floors gave no resistence to the falling upper floors), too symetrically (straight into the basement with almost no damage to surrounding buildings), and too quickly (an hour of fire on a few floors and a plane crash the buildings were designed to withstand). And yet, the people who question that theory that 19 men armed with box-cutters were able to bring the building down are called conspiracy theorists.

  26. "Members & front organizations must continually embarrass, discredit, & degrade our critics. When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as fascist or Nazi or anti-Semitic (or tin foil hat conspiracy theorists). Constantly associate those who oppose us with those names that already have a bad smell. The association will, after enough repetition, become 'fact' in the public mind."

    Central Committee of the Communist Party, 1943, in an instruction sent to Communists around the world.

    This is not confined to the communists, of course.

  27. "The problem I see with conspiracy theories is the impossible extension of the proposed conspiracies."

    This is true; some people just don't know where to stop, and continue weaving theories out of the most tenuous evidence. But, I believe this tendency is at least partially driven by the ruling class itself (how's that for another conspiracy theory!). Provocateurs are used to absurdly exaggerate and therefore discredit actual conspiracies. It wouldn't hurt to wonder if the wildest theorists are not receiving a government paycheck...

  28. So maybe there are some cases where the government is doing bad things and just trying to cover it up, but complicity in the 9/11 terrorist attacks - that's just beyond the pale.

  29. There is no need for conspiracies; just follow the money.

  30. no such thing as 'conspiracy theory', only conspiracy FACT! I do not waste my time with people who cannot or refuse to connect the dots because simon cowell is leaving idol or the new i phone is coming out tomorrow or the saints win a freaking game.

  31. "Conspiracy
    1: The act of conspiring together
    2a: An agreement among conspirators
    2b: A group of conspirators"
    -- Merriam-Webster's Dictionary

    1a: To join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement
    2: To act in harmony toward a common end"
    -- Merriam-Webster's Dictionary

    As government is fundamentally a power-distribution agreement amongst some number of people, by its very nature it would seem to meet the definition of a conspiracy. Therefore, any comment that conspiracies must fail due to fundamental human flaws is plainly incorrect.

    More cogent are the questions, "What is the nature of the conspiracy? Harmonious action? Or Secret agreement to do a wrongful act?" One should note that an agreement to do a wrongful act requires harmonious action - or there would be no need to conspire.

    And so, one should understand that the differentiating factor of a conspiracy in the negative sense is the moral evaluation of the act. Whether the act is wrongful or not is a moral evaluation depending on one's philosophy.

    Whether the act is secret or not is plainly not cogent because secret or confidential and confidentiality agreements are numerous, commonly used, and not considered to be conspiracies minus a sense of wrongful action. So, the differentiating factor of a conspiracy, again, is in a person's moral evaluation of the acts proposed under the agreement.

    Unfortunately this raises the specter that a particular agreement to act may be simultaneously an "agreement to act wrongly" to some and an "agreement to act harmoniously" to others. So, one person's "conspiracy" is another's "so-what?"

    But what about the unlawful part???? Here's where we get to the crux of the article! I would say, and I suspect the author would say, "NO!" But why? Because when the agreement in question is levied by government - or by the powerful who are responsible for government - it tends to legalize its own activities.

    So "unlawful" for you and I will likely be legal for "them". This disqualifies lawfulness as a criterion in the definition of conspiracy.

    And it also underscores the author's point.

    What ordinary people see as conspiracies amongst the powerful to act wrongly, the powerful see as their harmonious actions in their own best interests. And this, in turn, is why an unlimited government can NEVER be just.


  32. Josh may be the perfect commenter for this essay. Thanks Josh, I got a good chuckle out of your reply.


    "...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.."


    "So maybe there are some cases where the government is doing bad things and just trying to cover it up, but complicity in the 9/11 terrorist attacks - that's just beyond the pale."

  33. The church abuse conspiracy is a really good example of how a powerful conspiracy that made nuts out of critics, came apart and failed. The church had the power and credibility to silence critics and then in a matter of months lost all of it.

    Remember that just a few years ago people who suggested that abusive priests were being shuffled from town to town were given the full kook treatment. You were made to feel crazy if you suggested that the church was conspiring to shield their clutch of scumbags. The church, like all powerful institutions who fall into conspiring to cover up misdeeds, makes critics out to be nutjobs because it works. Isolated, discredited, shunned by peers, the whole subject of priest abuse became radioactive. This strategy works, but only for a while. A wheel always comes off.

  34. Just a slight correction: the use of insane asylums for detaining dissidents was actually more common in post-Stalinist USSR. Under Stalin most dissidents who did not get shot were sent to labour camps. The post-Stalin leadership basically stated that critics of Communism and the Party were insane, and hence they should not be treated as criminals and instead should be "treated" by psychiatrists. This was, of course, even less humane, since the asylum inmates did not even have a definite term of incarceration and could be locked up forever.

  35. So Cass Sunstein proposes that the Govt conspire to disinform those who embrace conspiracy theories.

    Surely he is living proof of that which he seeks to debunk. How could such a numbskull have risen to the position of Professor of Law at Harvard except through patronage and preferment ?

    Save the World for Sanity - close Harvard.

  36. Gees, the stupidity of this. We live in a "division of labor" (cooperation) civilization. Conspiracy is merely "division of labor" (cooperation) among criminals. Why is this such a stretch to believe? Are criminals (those who cause harm)assumed to be, by definition too stupid to cooperate? How about the Mafia, is this not a conspiracy? Government?

    THINK about it:


  37. Well done, well said and wonderful discussion afterward! I often find myself saying to someone, acquaintance or friend after they say that their Brother or Sister believes in all of "these" conspiracies, Yeah, I do too! And they stop talking to me and look at me like I have three heads! What can you do, but keep it brief and hope that IT doesn't bite them in the you know where!!?

  38. I wrote on this general topic five years ago - my heading was "Conspiracy theories - some go too far, some not far enough"


    As I said then, it is possible to be too paranoid, and to overinterpret the coherence of historical events and see connections that aren't really there...

    on the other hand, it is also possible to miss the coherence that is really there - to be oblivious or to have "false consciousness"

    it's not easy to know what's really going on, and everyone applies a Bayesian approach - we evaluate the probability of new information being accurate based on what we already believe

  39. Replying to an anonymous who stated:

    "How to slience all "CONSPIRACY THEORY" ...

    Show the world a picture of a nearly 100-ton Boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon on 9-11-01

    That is all. Thank you."

    I say, How to support a conspiracy theory, show the collapse of WTC 7.

    Now unless I misconstrued the intended comment as it is in reference to the repeated showing of the collision of the 757 in towers 1 and 2 over and over again until the public believes it, then I agree. But then why not also show the collapse of WTC 7 over and over again unless the intent is to distract from questionable collapse of a building that was not hit by a 757 and fell at free fall speed into its own foot print? Surely any visual comparison of a controlled demoliton would lead the thinking person to at least ask questions. But oh more conspiracies I guess.

    Deny everything and make counter accusations, the oldest rule of a criminal under investigation. Even though most agree that our govt lies to us about everything else, they are some how telling the truth about this one and truly not making counter accusations.

    Follow the intitial investment vs pay off on this one and it is not real hard to conceive of its potential reality.

    Excellent article and comments

  40. Anonymous said...
    "The problem I see with conspiracy theories is the impossible extension of the proposed conspiracies. While, as the article presents, there is clear evidence that powerful people get involved in all kinds of conspiracies because they suffer from the same issues as everyone else (stupidity, egoism, envy, pride, greed, etc.), it follows from the same arguments that any attempt at a large conspiracy would fail."

    You don't think Enron & Bernie Madoff were large conspiracies? Seriously???

    I saw Iraq first hand after volunteering for the US Army in a combat arms role just three months after 9/11. If you are interested in the opinions of a young man who was willing to give his own life to defend the freedoms of this great nation, please check out.......


    Washington's Blog- Thank you for consistently providing such great material, and thank you for your efforts in helping the general public better understand the world in which we live!


    Daniel Edd Bland III

  41. What is surprising that Blair thought that he would get away with a remark like this banal and vapid.At least by his assertion he is affirming commonly held belief that the leaders and their minions who try to explain away things as "conspiracy" theory have no respect for the citizen and to the offices they hold.

  42. The problem seems to me that any analysis of conspirative behaviour has to contend with various obstacles:
    a) There can be more than one party involved, working against each other's interests - then not only do we have more than one conspiracy, but the outcome may not benefit either of them (at least not to the desired extent). A "cui bono" analysis must then fail.
    b) An undisputed conspiracy makes, erring is human, mistakes, the outcome is different than desired, still great harm may be done to others who then look for culprits - again a cui bono analysis will not only fail, worse, it will probably point in a wrong direction!
    c) A conspiracy sets things in motion, all goes well, until the effects "overshoot" (like in financing juntas that then do not follow their instigators will) which leads to a very roundabout way of further interventions all of which betray the original end, yet are part (necessarily, need-driven) of the original endeavour.
    And so on ...

  43. What part of our econonmic recovery Czar Volker is a principle of a european Rothschild Bank, a founding member of Bildeberger and the Trilateral Commission do we not understand?

  44. There's a slight but somewhat important typo in this piece.

    "All wars on based on propaganda."

    It probably should be "are based on".

  45. Using Occam's Razor to discredit (ridicule, patronize, etc) evidence of a conspiracy - debunkers will say, "the simplist explanation given the available evidence is that the official story is true." BUT, what person would enter into a conspiracy in which the available evidence would point to them. The whole reason one would conspire with others to commit a crime hinges on finding a way, through deception or stealth, to get away with it. Conspirators conspire to have the available evidence of their crime point somewhere, anywhere else, but at themselves.

  46. Do dogs conspire to urinate on fire plugs?

    Rich people do what rich people are hard wired to do. Has nothing to do with conspiracy.

  47. I disagree with the author's conclusion. I have criticized conspiracy theories and their proponents.

    My last article doing so was muchh more critical than the first one I posted about a year ago.

    However, I do not endorse censorship nor should my criticism of conspiracy theories be an indication that I favor halting criticism of government officials and the stupid things they do.

    Most conspiracy theorists believe in the power of plots because they utterly fail to grasp the power of ideas. It was John Maynard Keynes who said:

    “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

    Sure conspiracies happen even in an open society like ours. Watergate is proof of this. But they occur due to the lust for power and not out of some deterministic plan.

  48. I think the word conspiracy has been sensationalized in such a way by the government and big business that it can label critics as nut jobs. If they're labeled as nut jobs it's a lot easier for the majority of the population to go along with the propaganda, go to work, and pay taxes. It takes a lot of courage to criticize government in the public space.

  49. To any of you COMPLETE IDIOTS, like the first person who commented (above, top of the list), you need to read this free e-book:

  50. Is this a ZIONIST-funded site?

  51. listen to conspiracy radio with Paul A. Drockton M.A.!

  52. Thanks for an insightful post, G.W.

    I personally have never dealt in conspiracy theories, but I do indeed deal in conpiracy data. Since there are any number of convictions on criminal counts of conspiracy every month in the U.S.A., we all know that conspiracies do indeed occur with great frequency.

    Since it is public knowledge that the Group of Thirty, created financially by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1978, did push for the removal of legal risk, and the adoption of credit derivatives, and was in frequent communication with JPMorgan, and they published the internal report titled, Glass-Steagall: Overdue for Repeal, and then the Derivatives Policy Group was formed (composed of the Usual Suspects, of course, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman, Salomon Bros, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse FM, with E. Gerald Corrigan, co-chair [Peterson Institute, Bretton Woods Committee, etc.]) which pushed for the legislation (three legislative acts in 1995, 1999, and 2000 - and everyone should know what they were by this time) which removed legal risk, and allowed for the formation of ultra-monopolies (after the fact since Citigroup/Travelers had already illegally occurred) and the ultra-leveraging by said ultra-monopolies, the conspircy becomes rather obvious.

    And since many, if not most of us, don't belong to those power elite organizations which wield so much influence (Peterson Institute, Bretton Woods Committee, Group of Thirty, American Securitization Forum, NABE, etc.), it is obvious as to where those conspiracies emanate.

    Thanks a bunch for this blog.


  53. One more important point to be added to put the proper light on this subject:

    one thousand years ago, the monarchs (kings, queens, sultans, and so forth) owned the majority of the world's property.

    Today, one thousand years later, the monarchs still own the majority of the world's property.

    Any questions?


  54. Many of the comments here say that "Any attempts at a large conspiracy would fail" and "Somebody would've talked" about secret conspiracies.

    Two words: Jimmy Hoffa.

  55. I personally have never dealt in conspiracy theories, but I do indeed deal in conpiracy data.


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