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A Theory About Conspiracy Theories—American Style:
by Rhett Thor
13 Apr 2008
Somehow, in our corrupted culture of political correctness and judgmentality the notion of a “mere” theory is suspect on its face. In this Orwellian world of black and white dogma the very notion of hypothetically constructing a potential scenario is held in much dismissive contempt. Why? Trivial as it may seem, the word ‘theory’ is actually a cognate of the word ‘theatre’, as ancient Greek ‘theatron’ meant to look or view. So normally a theory is something that one views and contemplates—that is if one feels psychological free to do so—without arbitrarily dumping on a theory one has only half-heartedly and begrudgingly investigated.
A Theory About Conspiracy Theories—American Style:
By Rhett Thor, a rhetorician’s theoretician
“Certitude is not the test of certainty.”
Oliver Holmes Jr.
Somehow, in our corrupted culture of political correctness and judgmentality the notion of a “mere” theory is suspect on its face. In this Orwellian world of black and white dogma the very notion of hypothetically constructing a potential scenario is held in much dismissive contempt. Why?
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Trivial as it may seem, the word ‘theory’ is actually a cognate of the word ‘theatre’, as ancient Greek ‘theatron’ meant to look or view. So normally a theory is something that one views and contemplates—that is if one feels psychological free to do so—without arbitrarily dumping on a theory one has only half-heartedly and begrudgingly investigated.
“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”
After all where would science be today if it were not for “mere” theories and hypotheses? The fact remains true that rational men live by his theories. Hence theorizing is an integrative part of our everyday affairs. And the reason science survives as viable enterprise of great success is because objective scientists (those not motivated by dubious motives such as being paid operatives in clandestine cover) are willing to reject theories only “after” they have been proven false or ineffectual—not because they prove to be politically or ideologically inconvenient. Therefore theories are a healthy aspect of a rational man’s livelihood.
“That which enters the mind through reason can be corrected. That which is admitted through faith, hardly ever.”
Santiago Ramon y Cajal
Meanwhile, any time two or more individuals discuss a plot to engage in a secret activity, that is potentially harmful to another party, those plotters have “conspired” to carry out some activity. Equally the fact remains that conspiracies happen all the time. They are not the unusual as if to scoff at the cynical notion. Historically they seem the rule. Skepticism is a two way street in which the critical mind learns not to so readily trust his or her culture’s dominating perspective.
“Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon.”
Or how else would one conceive a crime was committed, without at least, a theory of what took place? Where would investigative law and journalism be without a suspicion theory to be argued by a prosecutor in a court of law? Many crimes have been committed by people who plotted their exploits first. Therefore, theories about conspiracies are not some wayward waste of time that one should hold in contempt.
“Anyone who has looked deeply into the world may guess how much wisdom lies in the superficiality of men. The instinct that preserves them teaches them to be flighty, light, and false.”
The problem with too much of humanity is that most people believe what they want to believe—not because they do an significant amount of research before reaching their conclusions—but rather because of their politics, their personalities, and their interests. In general people do not delve deeply into various aspects of an important topic (such as a political controversy as in global warming) so as to really get a handle on a given complex issue. Rather, most Americans are intellectually lazy—even when they use their intellectual rationalizations to explain their laziness and desire to not know that which they could know. Thus their beliefs are by far subservient to their personalities.
For example, Occam’s razor may be a great explanation why Copernicus’ explanation of the universe is superior to Ptolemaic universe; but, such an explanation of likely truth does not account for the fact that reality, in general, is often more complex than what the average mind would like to realize, or would take the time and patience to think about (especially when conclusions point to realizations that threaten pet attitudes and presumed loyalties to ideology and religion).
“You have to study a great deal to know a little.”
Baron de Montesquieu
Historically, the United States of America has not been a country in which the majority of people truly respected the trait of intelligence or its practice of theories—nor appreciated the time, patience and trouble to investigate matters with any seriousness—save what the profit motive may instigate. But even more critically we Americans, en masse, are not much trained to think deeply. Rather as a society we are cultivated to consumers so as to enjoy our economic prosperity. Our mission then is to be economically independent by holding a job so to have money to spend, but then vulnerable to being brainwashed to believe we need every gadget the commercial market offers. Market forces and the mainstream media do not much encourage critical thinking.
“We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.”
Independent thought or willingness to act outside the politically correct box brings the same treatment reserved for conscientious objectors—being slammed, despised, and ostracized—or worse. Authoritarianism needs the blind masses to fall in-line as a jackboot and psychological militarism marches to the slightest threat.
“I know or no country in which there is so little independence of mind … as in America.”
Alexis de Tocqueville
As soon as children are old enough to grasp language they are fed fairytales—not just about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy—but also, if you can believe it, the likes of a podunk tribal God that the Hebrews likely borrowed from the Egyptians, via Moses’ seeming plagiarism of wayward pharaoh Akhenaton and his heresy of monotheism for his sun God Aton. Moses, and his inner echelon, was more likely “conspiring” to “control” the minds of people—in this case using a religious conspiracy of a jealous and war-mongering God authority, that just happened to have hysterical fits every time he could not get his way (that is the Powers That Be back then could not get their way). But then who wants to consider that religious dogmas too may be conspiracies?
“The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.”
Sir Richard Francis Burton
Throughout history the masses were conditioned to “genuflect” to authoritarian opinions and commands—be it from the Catholic Pope or whomever—rather than to think for themselves. For example when a child confronts a novel situation he or she often looks to an authority figure such as a parent to get a fix on how to react. This is known as social referencing. This same phenomenon is equally true when adults, who really do not feel secure in thinking for themselves, look to the opinion makers. Most learn to conform to what and how they should think and feel about some matter.
Take, for example, Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9-11. (Irrespective of what you think of Michael Moore’s personality and politics there were “many” eye-opening scenes in the film, and hence impressions denoted by our government’s officials, that all America ought to have seen (that could not be readily refuted). But the people that went to the movie were not those that needed to see it—or hopefully would have been open-minded enough see it. Rather people of the dogmatic right were content to merely settle for what the talking propaganda heads were saying, and then rejected viewing the film for themselves all together (hence it was expecting too much that insecure minds might get out of their comfort zones and expose themselves to the films notions so as to evaluate those impressions independently).
But even Michael Moore was willing to “presume” that it was indeed 19 Arabs with “mere” box cutters, and who supposedly trained to fly “puddle-jumper” two seated Cessnas that somehow managed to competently high-jack four major airliners and successfully fly them into the Twin Towers! Talk about American gullibility—even when the FBI has little, if anything, to show in the way of proof positive that these individuals were even on those flights on 9-11? Still, it did not take long for someone at the FBI to come out with a “list” of 19 Muslims after the event—which the controlled mainstream media was more than happy to propagate.
“Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance.”
Like a typical child does not readily want to know or realize that his parents maybe criminal, few citizens of a given nation want to be told that they live in a seriously corrupt society. Still there are children occasionally born to criminal parents, and equally too citizens are born to criminal societies—even if those same societies spend a great deal of energy trying to brainwash its people on how great a nation they reside. (For example our mainstream media spends considerable space airing demonstrations on how China or Sudan violates human rights on page one while burying stories about Afghans once held in U.S. get “secret” trials based solely on what the U.S. government asserts—with little regard for legal rights as we normally understood them.)
“The only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing – to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts.”
And as the United States of America becomes more imperious as a nation and government talking spin masters are demanding even more patriotism and herd mentality. Mrs. Obama how dare you not love America in every way! How dare you not be especially proud to be an American! Doesn’t she realize the McCarthyism needs its ostracizing pundits?
“Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” (or knowing)
G. M. Trevelyan
In a politically sophisticated society people come to realize it takes a lifetime of active learning and curiosity (research) to understand how politics and economics really operates in a given culture (as opposed to how they are purported to work as “theoretical” dogma) so as to gain enough cynical awareness to get a clue on what needs to be addressed and accomplished to survive and thrive as a nation. Whereas, here in the United States youth and college students loose the virginity of idealism (as soon as they learn things are complicated) and then loose interest in politics altogether. Or then they either spend the rest of their lives either lackadaisically drinking the Kool-Aid of the mainstream news media repeated factoids, or zoned into TV zombie-ism and sports fanaticism.
“Facts are stupid things.”
A wise culture actually engenders an elderly people who can teach its youth about how the world really works. But the United States elderly population, who refer to themselves as the “greatest” generation, too are concerned primarily about their own welfare and tax payer supplied prescription drugs, and the allowing the lower class youth to die for their economic welfare. Hence the ME generation, that the editors of the mainstream like to refer, is merely a reflection of such elderly self-centered egotism and lack of enlightenment. Our elderly are not nearly as sharp as a challenged youth might hope and need.
“Ignorance is not bliss—it is oblivion.”
Few Americans are skillful enough to intuit the difference between what seems true based on critical research versus the dogma of deception. And since distortional propaganda is dished up by the truckload it readily overloads any few sentiments of doubt and apprehension. Hence we Americans are slow (as in retarded) when it comes to waking up from the child-like fantasy that we as a culture are somehow special and therefore protected from the corruptive forces of history.
We simply cannot imagine that maybe some well-connected and devious people living in our own society would conspire against its own people. We cannot imagine that there might be a cancer in this land that eats its at it own nation as a war within, and that corporations and special interests have come to control and dominate. Whereas, The People are no longer the government—if they ever were.
“The first key to wisdom is this—constant and frequent questioning … for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.”
Yes there certainly are plenty self-proclaimed “skeptics” that talk proud that they have not bought into various conspiracy theories—such as theories about 9-11—but seldom do these same self-proclaimed skeptics have a good grasp of the opposing viewpoints (save those deliberately engaged in the propaganda war meant to discredit the 9-11 truth movement).
“What is the first business of philosophy? To part with self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
“Skepticism”, as a philosophical movement in ancient Greece, maintained that human knowledge is limited, as it is also vulnerable to distorting conceits about how much mankind can really know with any certainty. Skepticism was therefore an attitude that purported that human knowledge (or knowing) was hypothetical, relative, and subject to human error. It was an attitude of intellectual relativism way before Einstein’s scientific relativism.
“I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.”
In fact the purported founder of scepticism, Pyrrho (pir-OH) of the 4th century before the common era, 360 BC to 270 BC, called for the suspension of belief altogether and the attitude of non-commitment to any absolute assertion. Such extremists would maintain that mankind can not know anything for sure.
But the problem with such philosophic extremism is that most of mankind still has to live, and consequentially still has to make decisions, irrespective of the Ivy Leaguer theory of passive dis-engagement on matters of epistemology. Therefore, people and societies will continue to have opinions, rhetoric and propaganda despite the polemics of an inability to know things with absolute certainty.
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.”
Most classical Greek philosophers were paid by aristocratic patriarchs to teach their sons how to be future lawyers, generals and politicians for fame and fortune. There was no free school for the indigent. Rhetorical studies presumed a “sophistry” of language. But at least the ancient Greeks held thought, language, and ethics in high regard—unlike the average American that reads far too little on important matters. At least the ancient Greeks gave democracy a chance.
“To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step toward knowledge.”
Yet we are far removed from Plato’s disdain for absolute democracy that took it as a given that any Joe Blow citizen could pretty much do any job within the government irrespective of his or her background, training, aptitude, or skill level.
Rather, modern man has gone from disdain of the average person’s opinion to a pro-active and deliberate assault so as to manipulate his prejudices and attitudes. The average modern American is supposed to be gullible and ill-informed (that is mis-informed). Although the Powers-That-Be pay lip service to democracy, and the peoples’ right to choose their representatives, the truth is more that politicians, and the professionally manipulated mainstream media, have polished their skills to lie to what is basically a stupid herd mentality.
“A nation without the means of reform is without the means of survival.”
Speaking of character, we Americans have had the luxury of being ignorant and mis-informed, because ignorance is indeed a luxury that only a spoiled people can afford. The rich (and on an international basis most Americans qualify as being economically wealthy) have not had to bother with understanding the perspectives of other people or other cultures. Rather, we the wealthy consumers can adapt rationalizations as we too often duck awareness.
“Poverty makes you sad as well as wise.”
We have made it a habit to avoid too much truth. Anything that makes our heads hurt we simply close off. The droves say: “I do not read the news because it is “too” depressing to do so, plus I can not do anything about those issues anyway.” (After all what is more important egotistically than how one feels about something?) So even when informative investigative journalism is written too few are reading it. When a person has secure access to three square meals, a safe neighborhood, and a clean hot shower day after day, and year after year, he or she learns to take things for granted.
“Too often we … enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
John F. Kennedy
Still the gnawing fear of ignorance is fuel’s fodder that is ready for the demagogue’s manipulation. Those of insecure fear and anxiety will be the first too willing to believe twisted propaganda (that is not labeled as conspiracies but facts) and to look for scapegoats outside the self or group.
But what does the 9-11 Truth Movement imply if many of its theories are substantially correct (even if some are not so correct)? How does the truth movement challenge the average American on his of her presumptions about the kind of country one resides? There has too be a reason why so few Americans are willing to do their own research on this matter and to show enough honest curiosity as to investigate the issues within the propaganda war that resides—rather than to cling to what one wants to believe based on how the talking heads diss one idea or another? They throw the proverbial red herring and followers are rejecting the entire conclusion that it was not 19 Arabs with box cutters who could fly puddle jumpers.
One thing is for sure, within the propaganda war the Powers That Be are definitely not looking too closely to make sense on how a third Building 7 just happens to collapse by a mere fire on the same day and same block of the Twin Towers—one of “many” obvious red flags.
“He who only knows his own side of the case knows little of that.”
John Stuart Mills
The Truth Movement basically says that critical elements (individuals) within the U.S. government (not anywhere close to most employees of the government or its agencies) were corrupted enough to employ a war on their own people for political or personal advantage. There is simply no way this could have been pulled off without insider involvement. Yet this implication is a threat to anyone who has been living in the fantasy that America is a Utopia (even if from a materialist perspective it has been).
“Belief is harder to shake than knowledge.”
The 9-11 truth movement does not say that the official U.S. government did 9-11; but rather a “secret” rogue cabal within the government likely did it—or at least that is what the evidence strongly suggests—likely with the help of others individuals that represent both corporate elites or other rogue elements from other nations. Therefore the 9-11 truth movement is not an indictment on the official U.S. Government. Nevertheless it is too hard for most Americans to believe that people within their own culture would consider doing something this corrupt.
“There is no sin but ignorance.”
When one looks at the “results” or consequences of what 9-11 has wrought it looks like a classical “false flag” operation. Two invasive wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) happened that would have been impossible without such a scapegoat provocation (with more wars in the Neocon plans). Secondly a major propaganda war continues that strenuously attempts to pit the Christian West on the side of Israel against Muslims and Arabs has been for the most part a success as media conspiracy (Israel’s enemy of Saddam Hussein and his standing army has been dismantled—he actually had scud missiles that could hit Tel Aviv and he sided with the Palestinians’ cause). Third, many corporations and investors have become wealthy on the military industrial complex and energy industry. Fourth, U.S. liberties have been dismantled as the government anticipates potential internal rebellion. So we now reside within a state where all surveillance is possible and distrust of one’s neighbors is encouraged. Firth, Israel’s enemy of Iran, who has also been siding with the Palestinians, are in U.S. cross hairs. Third; Israel continues to appropriate more land and resource from Palestinians based on their cockamamie “theory” that God gave them that “theocratic” land in ancient times—but even their own literature tells us that Abraham and company was a Johnny come lately from Ur Mesopotamia to take land in Canaan—similar to how European Caucasians stole the native peoples’ land here in the United States millennia later.
Furthermore after 9-11, America has become more like Israel with fences being built around it and its population told that Arabs and Muslims are “the” enemy—while this government gets more autocratic. Hence the American reaction to 9-11 was a classic Straussian Neo-Con operation that needed to mobilize its populace against an outside enemy. 9-11 was not just an attack on U.S. soil—it was a ground zero for an entire political stage of pre-planned events.
And when looks at other conspiracy theories floating around regarding the Middle East we do have a series of conspiracies that do seem to plausibly coordinate:
A) Secret construction of websites that purport to be official Al Qaeda websites—but may well be third party fronts paid to private corporations that claim to send Al Qaeda messages. Yet people in the mainstream media refer to Al Qaeda as a given fact.
Secret propaganda about the concept of Al Qaeda (see film series The Power of Nightmares: Rise of the Politics of Fear, is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis)
B) ) as if it were more a concept of propaganda than an actual entity as defined in the West.
C) Secret terrorist attacks carried out by third party corporate employees that pretend to be the purported enemy.
In learning nations with some integrity skeptics at least study the varying points of view before jumping to conclusions. Whereas in a reactionary culture, skeptics reject opposing ideas outright without any examination—or pretend to perfunctorily examine the issues but with snide motives—then proclaim the theories en masse are worthless. Unfortunately the second type of skepticism is what is mostly found in the United States—irrespective of any dire consequences. A propaganda war here is a war that truth will have a very difficult time winning. The sad fact is that Americans are even more gullible and naïve than the German society of the 1930s.
Our founding fathers were leery of this country having a standing army. But what would they have thought of having a standing intelligence apparatus that has come to work for corporate interests and other special interests at the expense of true national security and the civil rights of the people?
Americans have been forewarned about their own government’s interference in other countries’ affairs for a long time—but have chosen to remain asleep. It never bothered them much, in their xenophobic ignorance, if other people were paying the price.
“What good fortune for those in power that people do not think.”
This work is in the public domain
The Big Lie, American Style
(No verified email address)
13 Apr 2008
The "conspiracy theory" taboo in American culture is the American version of Hitler's big lie - that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously".