Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Age Of Conspiracy

The release of the Kennedy  assassination papers revealed no smoking gun. But that will not silence the conspiracy theorists. That's because, Jonathan Freedland writes, we live in a Conspiracy-Post Truth Age:

Superficially, conspiracy theory and post-truth might look different. The conspiracists insist that they are bent on uncovering the real truth, while post-truthers shrug their shoulders, suggesting such truth doesn’t really exist, can never be known and doesn’t really matter anyway. But what both have in common is an indifference to facts and evidence. The conspiracist brushes off inconvenient facts as bogus, while the post-truther says they have “alternative facts” of their own. But both end up in the same place, dismissing the hard, established evidence that is the basis of reason.

They share too a supposedly defiant attitude to the establishment and the powers that be, casting themselves as heroic truth-tellers who have broken free of the credulous herd – lions among sheeple. They have favoured targets in common too. Both the JFK obsessives and a post-truther such as Donald Trump – who, let us not forget, offered his own addition to the Kennedy conspiracy canon with an evidence-free claim that the father of his Republican primary opponent, Ted Cruz, was involved in the assassination – perennially cast the FBI and the CIA as the key tools of dark, unseen forces.

In the end, it all leads to a pervasive cynicism:

In this view, elections are a sham; politicians are mere puppets; the real masters are hidden and lurk in the shadows, pulling the strings. Which is why, incidentally, so many conspiracy theorists, like so many post-truth merchants of the populist hard right, end up reaching the terminus of antisemitism. For antisemitism is itself often rooted in conspiracy theory: the belief that the secret hand behind world events, manipulating each and every development, belongs to the Rothschilds or George Soros or, when no euphemism is required, the Jews.

Antisemitism is alive and well -- and it makes it even harder to tell the truth about Israel's occupation of Gaza. Gaza is an open prison. And anyone who points that out is accused of being an Anti-Semite.

The current president is selling the notion that there is a conspiracy to do him in. His own incompetence has nothing to do with those who oppose him. It's becoming more and more difficult to see the truth behind the smoke and conspiracy theories.



Steve said...

Believe the Man Owen?

Was Barry Seal a fictional character?

Does jetfuel and paper melt steel, if so we dont need to use stinky coke anymore in steel mills?

Is ISIS a CIA front, they sure move in mysterious ways and gets lots of weapons from Santa Clause.

There are so many unanswered questions around both 911 and JFK that its inexplicable there has been no credible investigation into either event. BTW I do not know if this is fake or realbut if real it is a smoking gun.

It should be clear to everyone that on just about everything the official narrative is false. Two sides spinning and the truth only a prop for the interested parties.

Owen Gray said...

You've just proved Freedland's point, Steve.

Steve said...

Owen you believe in the science behind global warming.
But you dont believe in the science behind the melting temperature of steel?

Owen Gray said...

So what is your point, Steve?

Steve said...

My point is that not believing the official narrative is a good practice.

Its documented that the CIA invented the term conspiracy crisis. They correctly reasoned if there where enough useful idiots out there, any credible investigation into the truth could be smeared with the same brush. For sure the idea that man never landed on the moon is one of the great triumphs.

The twin towers fell in a way not consistent with being hit by jet airplanes. They were designed to take a hit from a 707 which is a bigger craft than the 757 that brought them down.
There is no other example in history of steel buildings collapsing in any way after a fire.
The skeleton always remains. The way the twin towers came down defies science.

The same is true of the Kennedy assassination. A perfect bullet fell out of the body on the gurney. Oswald writes pasty on his palms and is shot the next day in broad daylight.

Freelands final point that conspiracy theory is part of anti antisemitism is just rich.
The world is a complex place and no one can rule it. Israel sits in a very percauios position and I wish that nation well.

I believe that this is the fifth or sixth advanced civilization on this planet. The evidence is not clear having survived perhaps millions of years between advance and decline.

We had a Roman Empire, we had a British Empire and historians can pick the black specks
out of their pepper and come to conclusions, but not truth.

However we can be fairly certain that our current Empires do not function in a much different way. Maybe better at PR and propaganda, but at the core humans, silverbacks
seeking the biggest harem.

Therefore when anomalies in history exist its only logical to conclude that there
is more to the picture than the lone gunman. The assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand
that set off world war one. To this day no one has any idea of how the war started.

Ever read anything about the Enigma machine and how it suggests Pearl Harbour was no surprise and the fire bombing of Coventry was collateral damage. You never wonder about
alber Hess?

My point is that unless we stop the Masters of the Universe, the man from making the plan
we will be destroyed civilization six.

Owen Gray said...

Civilization Six may be destroyed by global warming, Steve. It would be wise to believe the facts. Calling it a hoax merely feeds the conspiracy theorists.

Toby said...

Conspiracies tend to look like officials covering their butts after a difficult incident.

The problem with conspiracies is that it is hard to find three people who can keep a secret.

The most successful conspiracy was the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

Owen Gray said...

Hoffa is one secret which has passed the test of time, Toby.

Trailblazer said...

Hoffer was last seen with Elvis disembarking from the airliner that disappeared during 911.
They both had a copy of National Enquirer in their hands and were being tailed by a shape shifting lizard person.
All this was removed from the news by the by the MSM who were working with the CIA.

Come on guys ; get up to speed.


The Mound of Sound said...

Weren't these same elements instrumental in the demise of Wiemar and the rise of what followed? The German people were swept up in conspiracy theories and post-truth propaganda. It was a time when there was actually a "ministry of public enlightenment and propaganda" that operated from 1933 until 1945. The same sort of thing is now operating in the US although Trump hasn't formalized it - yet. At the risk of repeating myself again, critical thinking seems to be at an all-time or at least post-war low in the United States and I don't for a minute believe that occurred inadvertently. People have to be conditioned to accept this stuff and I suspect much of that comes from fear-mongering and appeals to the basest of instincts and prejudices.

Then there's Bob Altemeyer's book, "The Authoritarians." He demonstrates that even when liberal democracy was at its zenith there was always a significant majority that harboured authoritarian leanings that they suppressed while it was not helpful for them to reveal. Along comes an authoritarian leader and these types crawl out from underneath their guise as moderates. You can read Altemeyer's book free here:

Owen Gray said...

Admittedly, TB, Hoffa is old conspiracy news.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Mound. Trump got his political start by claiming that Obama was born in Kenya. He serves up conspiracy and his base it up. As long as they do, he'll be around.

The Mound of Sound said...

BTW, while there is evidence of five previous mass extinctions there's been no sign of five previous advanced civilizations prior to the current human civilization that came into being some 12,000 years ago. I think that's definitely venturing into tinfoil hat territory. Had previous advanced civilizations existed there would be evidence of it. For example, they would have had to exploit minerals. Coal, for example, is 250-million years old - for the youngest coal. There would have been evidence of coal veins that had been exploited. The same can be said for many other minerals. This is standard conspiracy nonsense. One feature is seized upon and exploited as evidence of something fantastic except the other evidence that should have been found were that true simply doesn't exist.

The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry, Owen, I meant "significant minority" not majority.

Owen Gray said...

That's interesting, Mound. We like to think that we're the most advanced civilization the world has seen. And, on one level, we are. But, as the quote for today says, "We're acquiring the right technology for the wrong reasons." We still make the wrong decisions.

Owen Gray said...

I read it that way, Mound. I frequently choose the wrong letter. Luckily, my wife -- on most days -- serves as my proofreader and asks me if I want to buy a vowel. On the days my mistakes get published, you'll know she hasn't read what I wrote.

Anonymous said...

and in parallel to the Altemeyer’s book you should also consider Sheldon Wolin’s “Democracy Incorporated”

jimmy hoffa / magic bullets

perhaps the problem is that democracy requires continuous thought and careful consideration, and modern people are not willing to accept that thinking is hard work


thwap said...

On melting steel.

Anonymous said...

The conspiracy theory nutjobs were saying the Las Vegas shootings were faked about half an hour after the event. Supposedly 20,000 out-of-work actors pretended they were being shot at, nobody died, there wasn't enough blood on the ground for the wounded, people recovered too quickly in hospital from the wounds they were supposed to have, and on and on. Oh and ditto the French truck rampage, the Miama night club fire, Manchester explosion and of course, the ever-popular Boston Marathon bangs were just big firecrackers. All staged by actors, don't you know, people paid by the CIA and who chuckle at all the money they got and never ever even when blind drunk at a party ever admit to being part of the conspiracy. As if.

The chief water-carrier for this nonsense is the once reputable Paul Craig Roberts, who has managed to attract a ragtag bag of hangers on, all mouthing this ridiculousness. As for Steve above, apparently he's never seen a burnt-out chicken farm pen, all steel construction, warped and melted to crazy shapes, all done by chicken sh!t waste which has an open air burning temperature of less than jet fuel. Room flashovers in house fires don't happen, no, never. Out of the woodwork crawl people without a clue who stand there and spout "open your eyes, people!" as if that explained everything. I've about had it with this crowd.

As a Global TV News report last night relayed, a wounded Canadian survivor of the Las Vegas attack is being pilloried online for recovering from his wound, because hey it was fake and he's a paid actor. And the four Canadians who died? They weren't buried? I followed online to make sure funerals were held. They were. But to truthers, well, hell, everyone was in on that scam as well. Not only is this sort of idiocy disrespectful of the families whose relatives were wounded or killed, it shows why anti-vaxxers can proliferate, why drug stores have aisles filled with Health Canada Approved (debunked by CBC Marketplace in fine style - they got a non-existent drug approved by that lazy HC crowd in Ottawa) old wives' tales remedies claiming to prevent cancer and so on, and "measles won't kill my child never heard of such a thing" intellectual dung beetles who live in the present and haven't asked their grandparents about TB and whooping cough, or ever cracked a Wikipedia page.

Is this society worth saving when people believe in magic?

That is not to say outfits like the CIA haven't staged false flag events all over the place. Of course they have. Maybe they did the JFK assassination, few people involved to bribe. But this latest trend to blame the people killed or injured in major mass-killing events as paid actors is what's new. Nutbars equipped with little logic apparently conflate conspiracies with the tacit buy-in of actors willing to stage fake moaning and groaning, thousands of them, all at once, who put on the performances of a lifetime, perfectly choreographed, and not a one of them ever gives away the secret afterwards.



Owen Gray said...

Absolutely true, ktron. Democracy requires continuous and careful thought. And that kind of thought is hard work. If Donald Trump personifies anything, it's intellectual laziness. The consequences of that kind of sloth are abundantly clear.

Owen Gray said...

Conspiracy theories have been around since the beginning of the species, BM. What's disheartening is not just that the theories are getting wilder, but that the numbers of those who buy into them are growing. When facts get uncomfortable and inconvenient, lots of us flee into magical thinking.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, thwap. A picture is worth a thousand words.