The Age of Conspiracy

I sometimes think that when future historians look back on our time, they will label it “The Age of Conspiracy.” And there would be some truth to that. One tends to see conspiracies, plots and secret plans galore, wherever one looks, whether from the perspective of the left or the right. The left believes that the right is conspiring to promote a fascist takeover of the nation, in line with its presumed colonial history. The right sees a socialist, if not a communist, conspiracy to ignite a coup against the body politic and its political organization. There is no possibility of moderating these views. They are frankly irreconcilable.

The issue is that some so-called conspiracies are hoaxes ginned up by those who seek to alarm a docile and pliable, low-information public. And some conspiracies are precisely what they are called, real plots that can be verified objectively. The problem is how to distinguish conspiracy-mongering from representations of fact.

“Like every successful con,” Rupert Darwall writes in Green Tyranny, “maintaining audience credulity depends on preventing the audience from noticing what the trickster is up to,” a tactic known in the trade as “defining the baseline” -- that is, by deceptively touting how damaged the world would be minus whatever transformation is envisioned. In all too many instances, there is no dispositive proof that such would be the case. Much to the chagrin of our false prophets, the seas do not rise to engulf our cities and low-lying islands, famine does not fall upon the land, populations do not grow extinct, the air is not becoming unbreathable, the spring does not grow silent, and the world does not end on a given date -- though it may on the next given date, or the next. We can always hope.

Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the media and the large digital platforms to enlighten us since these, especially Google, have become manifestly, and often confessedly, manipulators of search results as well as agents of disinformation, organs of censorship and propaganda outlets lobbying for one side of the political divide. As Peter Skurkiss writes at American Thinker, the media are “able to create a fictitious reality for millions of Americans who are in their bubble.” The only option available to the ordinary person is the exercise of common sense in combination with the willingness to pursue a determined program of research, which the Internet still to some extent permits -- for how much longer is another question. But if one learns how and where to look, and is prepared to invest the time, one can begin to sort out where the real conspiracies lurk.

For example, is the “settled science” of global warming really “settled,” as we are relentlessly told, or is it a conspiracy waged against scientific truth and the public good by interested parties -- statist visionaries, corporate plutocrats, state-funded scientists and profit-driven universities? For that matter, how can science by its very nature ever be considered “settled”? They very use of the phrase gives the game away. The red flags are everywhere, leading an impartial observer to conclude that one of the greatest swindles of our time is in progress. To note that Project Climate is a conspiracy is not itself a conspiracy but an informed and sober reading of an actual state of affairs.

Or is there such a thing as the “Patriarchy”? Feminists certainly believe so, but it has never been identified as an organized group following a pre-arranged agenda, any more than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a Jewish conspiracy against the international banking system. Fantasies are always attractive to zealots. Historically, men and women together have worked out a symbiotic relationship and a division of roles in which family, society and civilization are defended, nourished and advanced. The feminist assault on the “Patriarchy” as a tyrannical power elite inimical to the rights and prerogatives of women is a false and superficial reading of gender relations, aimed at every level of society, as brave women like Erin Pizzey, Daphne Patai, Karen Straughan, Janet Bloomfield, Diana Davison, Christina Hoff Sommers and my wife Janice Fiamengo, have amply demonstrated. Hoff Summers writes in Who Stole Feminism?: “feminist ideology has taken a divisive, gynocentric turn, and the emphasis now is on women as a political class whose interests are at odds with the interests of men,” and who are “united in hostility” against a presumably adversarial culture. It seems more plausible to assume that there is such a thing as a conspiratorial Feminarchy rather than a systematic Patriarchy, and that the deprivileging of men goes hand in hand with the unsexing of women. Radical feminism is nothing but a conspiracy disguised as a historical necessity, much like communist doctrine with which it has close conceptual ties.

Or is Donald Trump a despot who “represents a real threat to democracy,” as the signatories of Harper’s July 7, 2020 Letter on Social Justice and Open Debate claims, or is he a genuine patriot and benefactor of the nation? Given the sequence of exploded myths about his ostensibly reprehensible actions (Russia, Ukraine) and the facts on the ground, namely a President who labors to revive the national economy, create jobs, bring back manufacturing to the heartland, strengthen the military, rationalize immigration, prevent “illegals” from flooding across the southern border, and revise trade deals to benefit the nation, one must conclude that the effort to unseat him relies on little but a conspiracy engendered by his enemies. For all his media-hyped flaws, compared to his competitors and most of his recent predecessors Trump seems as close to a just leader as we can get. One recalls Russell Kirk’s remark in The Conservative Mind, “Only just leadership can redeem society from the mastery of the ignoble elite.”

But the ignoble elite is busily at work. The Harper’s Letter goes on to state in a disingenuous attempt at fairness: “The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump…But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion -- which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting.” Who are these “right-wing demagogues”? They seem conspicuous by their very absence. Are populist leaders like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orbán in Hungary and, of course, Trump such political monsters, or are they leaders duly and properly elected in a democratic process -- a process without the illegal alien vote, the dead vote, the felon vote, the mail-in vote, the multiple vote and the ballot-harvesting vote, all tactics adopted by the Democrats? In arguing for “open debate” and against “ideological conformity,” the letter in effect closes debate precisely in favor of ideological conformity -- of a leftist stamp. In other words, the suggestion that a right-wing conspiracy is afoot is itself a conspiracy, purpose-built to influence the uncommitted voter.

As noted, such distinctions are not always easily discernible. Was the COVID pandemic, for example, an accident of global proportions, the result of some obscure goings-on at a Wuhan wet market or a disastrous leak at a nearby Chinese lab? Or was it a deliberate act on the part of the CCP to sabotage its arch-enemy the United States and destroy its economy? Or might it have been weaponized by the left, a covert strategy orchestrated between the Chinese government and the Democrat party, as a correspondent of mine believes, in order to ensure the latter’s victory at the polls and to accomplish its hegemony over the nation?

And yet it is well known that the Democrat party has enjoyed warm relations with the CCP, benefitting, for example, from Baidu Inc. stock sales. Despite recent tough talk, Joe Biden’s record on China is rather suspicious; Biden’s son Hunter is listed as a director of a state-backed equity fund in China. Hunter has also profited from investments in Chinese surveillance technology, as well as in automotive, technical, energy and mining concerns. As the Boston Herald writes, “The Democrats and their media allies are holding the Chinese communist party line” on the question of China’s responsibility for the COVID outbreak. Moreover, the Democrats would rejoice to see the American economy crippled as an opportunity to blame Trump and a consequent means of acquiring power -- as the unnecessarily protracted, recession-provoking lockdowns primarily in Democrat-governed states would appear to imply. In a serrated article for American Greatness, Conrad Black writes with undisguised contempt of how “in a barefaced attempt to prolong economic miseries and public hysteria, the Democrats uniformly agitate for a resumed economic shutdown.” 

Is the release of the COVID pathogen, then, or at any rate the prolongation of its social and economic effects, part of an actual conspiracy to undermine the Constitution and remake the political structure of the country in the image of a socialist oligarchy? Or is it a form of conspiracy-mongering even to suggest the possibility? This is where the issue may become murky for some, though in many instances, as observed, common sense and research-based analysis can differentiate the con from the real thing.

Not all bruited conspiracies are fabulist absurdities; some are actually real, actually policies deceptively put in place to sway multitudes and engineer desired electoral results. In other words, there are conspiracies meant to target something as a conspiracy which in fact is not a conspiracy -- and to do so for nefarious purposes. This is the same modus operandi of blatantly hateful organizations like the SPLC that accuse innocent groups and individuals of precisely the hate these hateful organizations themselves embody. As we’ve seen, terms such as “conservative,” “populist,” and “right-wing” have become uniformly pejorative in an increasingly Left culture, as if they indicated a revived conspiracy to bring Hitler, Mussolini and Franco back into the Western political sphere. Rather, the truth is that Stalin, Mao and Castro are the ones making a surreptitious and legendary comeback.

I have no doubt that we live in the Age of Conspiracy, as attested by most of what we read, see and hear in the press, the social media and the big digital platforms. “Fake news,” which accounts for the bulk of contemporary journalism, is plainly conspiratorial, intended to create that impression that what is not the case is the case. The irony is that it is itself a conspiracy mounted against the truth. The same motive applies to most academic discourse and institutional literature, as any sentient observer is aware.

But of course, when we get right down to it, the Left in all its manifestations is itself the greatest political conspiracy ever generated against the truth of human affairs, the facts of human nature and the well-being of men and women everywhere, whatever their race, creed or gender. And we are now in the midst of a renewed and powerful socialist conspiracy to place a competitive and prosperous free-market society under hegemonic state control.

Graphic credit: Skeptical Science

David Solway’s latest book is Notes from a Derelict Culture, Black House Publishing, 2019, London. A CD of his original songs, Partial to Cain, appeared in 2019.

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