Conspiracies and Delusion
It would seem that there is some faculty in the human consciousness that thrives on conspiracy theories -- the idea that there is a secret truth that lies just below the surface of perception waiting to be unraveled like a woven fabric. So often, we find that by pulling on and following that conspiratorial thread like some Theseus in a labyrinth, we do not so much as find our way back into the daylight but become even more confounded in the maze, as the fabric disappears and we are left with little more than the useless strands we pursued in heightened anticipation. We are ever curious and at times cynical beasts; and our curiosity in regarding the subtle mechanisms that drive and shape world events can be motivated by either the genuine desire for understanding or as a result of some paranoia of mind that interprets the world to be a cesspool of intrigue -- if it is filtered through darkened eyes.
That conspiracies exist is without doubt. No act of political duplicity, coup, or assassination could come to fruition were it not for the coming together of minds in a bond of secrecy. But the mind that dines exclusively on cabals -- who seeks for the grand Unified Field Equation to explain evil simply and to wrap it up tidily into a box is more psychologically "problematic." For pure malevolence, the conspiracist thought behind The Protocols of The Elders of Zion stands in dark preeminence. Indeed, the Jews have steadily throughout the ages been on the receiving end of this paranoid frame of mind. The idea that a people, who for much of their history lacked a homeland and the material means to even defend themselves, should somehow craft a worldwide scheme to command the earth is more beholden to loathsome anti-Semitic hatred than anything else. Moreover, the Protocols served as an apologetic to instigate the isolation and persecution of the Jewish people and fan a noxious flame that eventually led to the Final Solution. But this conspiratorial perception has waxed and waned throughout the ages for the Hebrew race; since from time immemorial they have been accused of magic, poisoning wells and making matzoh from the blood of Arab and Christian children for their Seders.
Religion too is a fertile field for the conspiracy theorist to harvest from and Christian believers have therein played their roles as both predator and prey. Nero persecuted the early church for "burning Rome" while witch and warlock hunts grew out from the Middle Ages of Europe -- culminating in the infamous Salem Trials of the late seventeenth century. To this very day, the Catholic Church is accused of repressing Gnostic accounts concerning the true character of the Historical Jesus: holding that he was married to Mary Magdalene, fathered children, fled to Egypt, or as the Muslim's believe -- was replaced by another on the cross. Mormonism is not exempt from conspiratorial accusations, as it is rumored that the Book of Mormon itself is a plagiarism of Solomon Spaulding's fictional novel. It seems that every nook and cranny of the human condition worth debating is mother to a clash of bold theories. Whether they are taken in as incredibly serious or downright laughable is a function of the listener's disposition.
For many years I worked the graveyard shift and while driving tuned into a radio show hosted by the conspiracy theorist par excellence -- Art Bell. The show was clearly a creature of its time and Bell blasted his signal coast to coast from his compound near Pahrump, Nevada -- ironically close to Area 51. During the time when "The X-Files" was in vogue, the spooky chain-smoking host served up an eerie fare of authors, experts, and some say lunatics who would hold forth for hours on topics such as: vampires, werewolves, Roswell, assassinations, remote viewing, chemtrails, fluoride, the Illuminati, the Anti-Christ's identity, "Haarp," and literally anything that could possibly go "bump in the night." The only thing more disturbing than Art and his guests were the call-ins: a mélange of insomniac listeners who ranged from quirky to "certifiable." Bell's show convinced me that in the World of Conspiracies, nothing is ever settled or laid to rest and that a huckster hawking a book can always fan an exhausted ember into a forest fire with the subtle twist of a fact or a new sighting of Sasquatch behind the Wal-Mart in Gillette, Wyoming.
But it is within the panorama of politics that the conspiracy theory finds its true equilibrium and comes into its own. In societies such as ours that are divided along ideological lines, patent distrust blossoms into schemes of conspiratorial collusion as Bush and Obama both seem to have spawned their own Derangement Syndromes. Since the mid-twentieth century, Red Scares, the assassination of the Kennedys, the John Bircher's "Get us out of the U.N." (an idea proving to be less paranoid and more prudent), Bush 41's SR-71 jaunt, 9/11 Truthers, and the reputed string of murders associated with Bill Clinton's Hot Springs mafia connections have sold magazines, books, and provided radio talk shows with an unending supply of perfidious grist for inquiring minds. But all things being equal, if one wished to maximize the dissemination of political intrigues, it would take the Internet to raise the conspiratorial stakes exponentially and provide a medium where the significant and the paranoid could lounge like twins side by side: rendering it nearly impossible for a thoughtful person to determine in a tsunami of information what is real and what is crafted propaganda or just bat crap craziness.
Personally, I am prone to believe that what scrolls down my Facebook timeline is highly suspect, but I frankly just don't know anymore. The one thing that is ieminently clear is that the gravitational shift of people relying on the Internet, rather than the MSM, is in fact due to the epiphany that the latter are no longer honest brokers of information. Having traded on their charms as ideological strumpets and shills for Progressive evangelism, the MSM's sins of commission and omission have blackened their reputation and standing in the eyes of America: rendering their journalistic judgment as morally compromised as someone hiring Casey Anthony to work in a church day care center. If the information on the Internet is such a Wild, Wild West free-for-all of fact and delusion, a good part of this can be laid at the doorsteps of Statist organs that can no longer be trusted to reflexively tell the truth.
Will Rogers is famous for his observation: "I only know what I read in the newspapers." It is indeed ironic that in an age where we are saturated with media 24/7 and privy to information at a lightning cadence, the content of this information is invariably wrong or ideologically skewed. Conspiracies seem to flourish when mistrust abounds and it only took a day or two after the Marathon Bombing for tales of "false flags" and regime cover-ups to ignite our computers like a Southern California hillside on a windy day. The conundrum thus arises: who can be confident what is true anymore when we are drowning in a sea of Internet print that pulls our minds in one direction and then another? Unless we are of the chosen few who are "in the know," how do we distinguish the true from the false -- how do we know if a charge of conspiracy is authentic or delusional?
Perhaps the biggest conspiracy theory that preoccupies the brain of the concerned Conservative today is whether Barack Obama is indeed a Manchurian Candidate. This term in itself is one of imprecision, since a true Manchurian Candidate is unaware that his actions are treasonous or detrimental to his country. With that being said, conspiracists claim that the foreign-born Obama is a secret Muslim who is ideologically wed to amoral Alinskyite power tactics and is utilizing a Cloward-Piven economic strategy to: overwhelm public safety nets and entitlements, bankrupt healthcare and small business, and amass mountains of economic debt towards an end wherein Capitalism implodes and bleeds to death. This same Obama cabal, it is said, would use a Hyper-Keynesianism to inflate the dollar into pennies and provoke an agenda where national sovereignty surrenders to globalist whims. Furthermore, the narrative goes that the American constitution would be reduced by Obama to a worthless document. Therein, the Founders' architecture of individual freedoms and prudent restrictions on state power would be replaced by an Imperial prerogative where the president would: disarm the populace, redraw immigration law to assure his party majorities from now till the Second Coming, create a domestic federal force of militarized shock troops to enforce his executive edicts, and de facto demolish the Constitution's separation of powers and checks and balances which would allow him to create law by fiat and to reward and punish with impunity.
Additionally, some conspiracists say Obama might use his energized bully pulpit to: rewrite society and nature by normalizing homosexuality, uplift secular values over the traditional, bow cravenly to Islam, or de-fang Catholics and Evangelical Christians by diluting their influence in the Public Square by ramming birth control, Gay Marriage and publicly funded selective abortion down their collective throats. Finally, those wild-eyed loonies hold that he would use America's military gravitas to malign our allies, arm our foes and coddle terrorists: all while blaming his manifold failures on his domestic enemies and using the combined power of his formidable media lackeys to grant him the political cover to fundamentally transform America into a regime unrecognizable from its constitutional roots. To all this I must say, just where do people come up with this stuff?
In a time where we can no longer discern conspiracy from reality, and irony and sarcasm are lost because the velocity of change has rendered such commentaries bland and toothless, the tension between a man and his country slides on a continuum between fawning obsequiousness and revolutionary ire. It may soon be impossible to steer towards a middle ground as events overtake us and the demagogue's fig leaf slips; revealing a cancer that is too far gone to arrest. In future days to come, that which America deems paranoid may soon come to pass as today's conspiracy theories become tomorrow's headlines -- delivered to your living room straight from the Ministry of Truth. We call it a delusion when someone ignores something vitally important -- even when overwhelming evidence to the contrary proves otherwise. If we choose to remain fixed in our delusion, then finding out that Chupacabras and Zombies are our next door neighbors just might be the very least of our troubles.
Glenn Fairman writes from Southern Ca. and blogs as The Eloquent Professor at www.palookavillepost.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.