Rumour has it that you no longer have to be paranoid to believe that there exists a conspiracy to spread conspiracy theories about everything. The number of acronyms, code name, and trebled names that have infiltrated the American mind, and thusly the Western World since the 1960's is massive.
The list includes JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X, Marilyn Monroe, Cointelpro, Lee Harvey Oswasld, James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan, Mark David Chapman, John Hinkley Jr, LSD, MIA, CIA, FBI, NSA, Octopus, Gemstone, Roswell, Area 51, Jonestown, Chappaquiddick, Waco, Oklahoma, Watergate, Iraqgate, Iran-Contra, Savings and Loan, Whitewater, Lockerbie, TWA Flight 800, OJ, ebola, AIDS, crack coccaine, military industrial complex, black helicopters, grey aliens, grassy knoll, magic bullet, lone nut - and many more.
It seems that since the Kennedy assasination conspiracy culture has moved from the fringes to the centre of American/Western cultural life, in America particularly it has moved from an obssession with a fixed enemy to a generalised suspiscion about conspiring forces. Where conspiracy theorists once saw the US threatened by an external minority such as the Communist Party, now the assumption in more that the American way of life is itself a threat to those marginalised by it, and that the conspiracy now exists within the corridors of power. This logic of conspiracy has helped to shape the outlook of not just the right-wing militia, but of the new Left, feminists, black radicals, AIDS activists and academics. As the cultural theorist Peter Knight argued the situation in the US is one in which the nation is 'increasingly being fragmented into minorities, each of which feels itself beseiged' thus 'paranoia becomes the default political style'.
The most striking contrast is between the conspiracy culture of today and the classic American conspiracy theory, of say the McCarthyite witch-hunts of the early 1950's. Back then, the conspiracists saw a deliberate plot by communists with clear subversive aims. Even when the the communists were culturally represented as aliens, as in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the conspiracy theory concerned willful human action in the pursuit of predetermined goals. By contrast, all the sides in the current debate about conspircacy culture contain rest on the loss of belief in the history-making potential of humanity.
However, conspiracy thinking can be seen as a creative response to bewildering change. Again Peter Knight argued that conspiracy is often 'an everyday epistemological quick-fix to often intractably complex problems'. Unfortunately this only demonstrates the problem: because whatever form they take, conspiracy theories are not theories of society at all. They do not offer anything in the way of understanding society, far less resolving the complex problems society faces. In the end they can only reconcile people to the hopelessness of the human condition. So conspiracy thinking in essence, is an intellectual endorsement of ignorance, fear and powerlessness.
Many years ago Karl Marx attacked the philosphers for merely interpreting the world, and then argued that the point 'was to change it'. Now it seems the philosphers are interpretting the X-Files as the world. So is the point now to change channels?
If you find out some of the stuff that people have definiteley been up to, say the CIA trying to assassinate Castro with poison ice cream administered by his mistress, or sponsoring an invasion and fireworks display to convince religious Cubans that the second coming was nigh and Fidel the antichrist (I saw a former CIA executive discussing these), the downfall of the Chilean government where the CIA incited a trucker's strike, the meddling in the politics of Ghana... you can see why people will believe in conspiracies. The reason I am often dubious is that the theorists don't often produce evidence and without that I am not convinced(imagine Watergate being suggested without the evidence of the Watergate hotel, say, I wouldn't believe it). I am sure that some weird stuff will come to light in the future but I don't know how much, if any, of the big conspiracy theories are true.
Incidentally, I am convinced that man landed on the moon.
One, the "American way of life" has changed (see my sig) and those of us who want to uphold the ideals (justice, equality, etc.) upon which this country was founded are marginalized quite frequently.
Two, I am all for unity...what people call "diversity" nowadays is really just culture wars...but it had not occurred to me that in some ways I am in fact becoming my own little minority and fighting battles just like all the rest...
I think some of the conspiracys are true. It is the nature of man to band together in order to make change. It is extremely difficult for one person to instigate a change without conspiracy.
The word conspiracy has become a word to describe kooks but there are more conspiracys afoot than one can count.
The word conspiracy has been used to discredit people. Even Hillary was laughed at for using the "Right wing conspiracy" card. If you use the "C" word you are automatically discredited. People would rather hide their heads in the sand than admit there are people whom would put their own interests above mankid.
I'm pretty sure that spooky is just trying to get me to post so he can frame me for the assasination of Janet Reno in a couple of weeks.....
you crafty bastard!
I would be willing to summise that the American acceptance of conspiracies stems directly from our disassociation with our government.
Our elected leaders do not represent us.
They are rich evil liars and cheats who make more money on the side at our expense then we will ever have and cheat on their wives with young power hungry women....
The federal Soap Opera continues......
Besides would you have me believe that all the stuff that happens is just a result of the system we have in place rather than the work of a few ambitious men?