Thursday, January 12, 2012

One [Big] Reason for Conspiracy Theories

There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there. Many of these have to do with governmental, or extra-governmental, organizations, and how they are following secret agendas to advance their own goals, to the detriment (or in indifference to) to well-being of the rest of humanity. I'd be surprised if there weren't a few which are true, but likewise I'd speculate that most are false, yet they continue to persist, and many are at least somewhat plausible. I postulate that one significant reason for this is that people, probably largely subconsciously, refuse to believe that the actual governments could be as bad as they actually are.

Consider, for example, the Department of Homeland Security. You could certainly make the argument that, as part of a secret plot by the Skull and Bones fraternity (of which George Bush was a member), and using the 9/11 attacks as a pretense, DHS was setup as en evolution of police-suppression and monitoring in the US, and was designed to be a modern-day gestapo to oppress the people. Now, lots of that makes sense: the DHS is a modern-day gestapo, it does monitor the populace, it actively ignores Constitutional rights, and it could (and probably will) certainly be used to suppress dissent and exert government control. However, the idea that DHS was designed to do all of these things from the beginning stretches credibility: it would be akin to asserting that all the people who voted for Obama were secretly collectively architects of Socialism in America; while it may be true that Obama himself has socialist goals, it's difficult to believe that most people supporting him were intelligent enough to see the eventual consequences of their actions.

Rather, in the DHS case, it's more likely a product of incompetence, short-sightedness, and the undercurrent of adding to centralized government control which created this gestapo-nightmare, rather than a coordinated plan. I think people are quick to attribute eventualities which seem so counter to the well-being of the people to forces outside of the government (which nominally exists to protect and serve the people, rather than oppress them); in reality, it's more likely just a combination of incompetence, corruption, gross malfeasance, contemptible disregard for the Constitution, and outright stupidity which create these incomprehensibly bad eventual situations. There may indeed be a few people who could foresee the predictable outcomes, but the idea of a conspiracy encompassing all the people who contribute to the problem (in this case, essentially all of the federal government) defies common sense.

I think in reality, that's probably the cause of many of the conspiracy theories related to extra-governmental forces working to control events. To be fair, I think it would be a mistake to assume there aren't at least a few truly evil people in government, but most of the people in office are probably just ignorant, corrupt, or simply not interested in serving the interests of the people, or upholding the values of the country. Sure, you could interpret the fact that virtually everything the government does being detrimental to the people they nominally serve as one or more conspiracies, but I think Occum's Razor would suggest that, given the plethora and magnitude of downright scum in government, it's probably more just a natural consequence of an institution which itself has evolved to become the #1 enemy of the people, rather than sinister plans of external entities.

That's my thought, anyway, although I don't expect this will dissuade anyone who clings to the belief that government cannot possibly be as collectively bad as the end-results would suggest. For some things, we may never know the whole truth.


  1. Nick: Totally off topic here - just saw your comment at LCR from a couple of weeks ago; you haven't "become too left-wing"; the comment moderation wasn't set up correctly at my site. Continue stopping by and leaving comments!

  2. PS: Conspiracy theories (and their gaining popularity) are merely a reflection of peoples sense that they have absolutely no control over our government. Heck, I believe in a few myself (even though I don't blog about them).

  3. Nick, you are not doing your part to support the tin foil hat industry.