Conspiracy Theories Kill Politics

Conspiracy theories, in my opinion, represent the death of politics. This is shown by the manner in which they explain society. Most conspiracy theorists argue that there exist two main classes, the illuminati, globalists, ruling class, bilderberg and so forth vs the people. This claim is based on the existence of rich and powerful individuals who have an intimate relationship with government, such as corporate CEO’s. Interestingly these premises do not lead to the conspiracy theorists conclusion that all governments are controlled by the new world order or other such nefarious groups, only the conclusion that rich and powerful people use government for their own ends. We can see here how conspiracy theorists take a factual observation and transform into a complex over-arching plan made by global elites. Rather than actually explain things conspiracy theorists postulate explanation beyond necessity. For instance, some people believe that global warming is not occurring. Conspiracy theorists take this belief and add to it the idea that global warming is a propaganda tool used by the ruling elites to justify higher taxation, controls on lifestyle and more authoritarian government. Another example is 9/11. Many argue that 9/11 was used by the American government as nationalist propaganda to justify the invasion of Iraq. Conspiracy theorists then add on the idea that far from profiting from the event, the government, which is of course a puppet for the ruling elites, actually orchestrated it.

All conspiracy theories begin with simple observations then from these observations build a conspiracy framework, common sense observations are thus mutated into paranoid delusions.  Conspiracy theories therefore kill politics by taking global events and reducing them to the hidden plan of an elite few. This aspect of conspiracy theories is best shown in their conception of history. To the conspiracy theorist history is simply the story of the specific conspiring elites controlling everything from behind the scenes. For instance the Russian Revolution was planned and of course funded by the illuminati. JFK was killed by the illuminati. The European Union was created by the illuminati. The Arab Springs was caused by the illuminati. Occupy was created by the illuminati. Need I continue? To argue this is to ignore the fact that nobody controls history, as every action of every human being in some manner creates history. While certain individuals or groups have a greater impact on history, it is foolish to argue that one specific group has complete control over it. Indeed one finds that the harder the event is to understand the more conspiracy theories there are about it.

In my opinion the reason why conspiracy theories root the events of society in the actions of conspiring hidden groups is to firstly make politics a black and white narrative of good vs evil, and secondly to absolve themselves from moral responsibility about disastrous global events. By blaming undesirable events such as 9/11, natural disasters and the erosion of civil liberties on what is to them a clearly conceived group such as the New Word Order, conspiracy theorists feel that they are no longer responsible for remedying the societal, institutional or political flaw that lead to the catastrophe. This seems to be based on the feeling that if I as an individual cannot change my own life or the world then some greater force must be controlling it. Conspiracy theories act as pleasurable illusions that allow individuals to deal with the suffering that occurs around them and the powerlessness they feel.

Conspiracy theories are therefore very similar to religion because all theistic religions in some manner fabricate an all powerful universal force which controls human affairs, conspiracy theorists do the same except their force is material rather than meta-physical. Moreover, both religion and conspiracy theories offer simplistic and easy to understand explanations of complex events. For instance a religious person feels that they cannot explain why it rains, where mountains came from, what caused the beginning of the universe and so postulate a meta-physical being which creates and causes them. To argue for God is therefore to be unable to explain things. The same is true of conspiracy theorists, to believe in a conspiracy theory is to be unable to explain an event and so explain it simply through a meta-narrative of ruling elites controlling society with an iron fist. In short, conspiracy theories represent the death of politics as rather than delving into the true causes of events, conspiracy theorists fabricate illusionary explanations that are easy to understand and ensure that the individual feels that they are no longer ignorant or confused about the world around them.

The similarities only continue when we consider the division within conspiracy culture between those who are awake and those who are asleep. The awakened are of course the conspiracy theorists as they are awake to the fact that the world is run by an elite minority, that vaccines sterilise people and so forth, while those who are asleep are well everybody who disagrees with them. Conspiracy theorists therefore advocate awakening people to the true reality of the world. This has awful religious connotations to concepts such as those who have been saved by Jesus and those who live a life of sin, those who are enlightened and those who are eternally on the wheel of Samsara. Conspiracy theorists also act remarkably similar to religious fanatics when individuals decide to stop believing. This is perhaps best shown by the extreme attacks on Charlie Veitch for changing his opinion about 9/11. He was labeled as being a new world order agent on the pay roll of the elite.

Conspiracy theorists also have a similar obsession with purity. Just as the religious advocate a sin-less pure spiritual life so too do conspiracy theorists argue for individuals to stop drinking tap water as it contains fluoride, stop reading mainstream news or watching television, as to do so would make you a sheeple. Therefore, by becoming awake and un-poisoned the conspiracy theorist elevates themselves to the status of the all knowing minority. This articulates the great collision within conspiracy theories between the desires to persuade the general population that conspiracy theories are correct and the sacred identity that they create about themselves due to their very lack of popular acceptance. If the objective of persuading everybody were to succeed they would cease to be conspiracy theorists and just become normal people. For instance Alex Jones would cease to be, in his own words, “breaking down the electronic Berlin Wall of media control” and no longer act as the “tip of the spear in alternative media”. Through their lack of popular acceptance conspiracy theorists make themselves believe that they are an info-warrior struggling against the New World Order. Just as fundamentalist Christians believe that they are the servants of Christ in the struggle against the Devil.

Conspiracy theories therefore function as religions; they are a form of civic religion. For Marx “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” For me, conspiracy theories are the same. They are the sigh of the oppressed individual who cannot articulate a critique of government and corporations within modern day political discourse and as a result feel alienated. It is this alienation from society which in my opinion leads people to postulate conspiracy theories. This claim is backed up by the popularity of conspiracy theories amongst those who advocate a return to the American Constitution and as a result feel alienated from the contemporary Democrat vs Republican divide.

I feel that in a similar manner to how rationality dies when religion is dominant in an individual’s mind, so too does politics die when conspiracy theories dominate an individual. It is almost impossible to have a rational discussion with a religious fanatic, likewise is it impossible to have a serious political discussion with a conspiracy theorist.

Most unfortunate of all is the fact that not everything conspiracy theorists say are false. They are correct to argue that mainstream media manufactures consent, that politician’s lie, that governments commit crimes, that the financial system dominates politics and so on. Importantly though, conspiracy theorists proceed to pollute these truthful sentiments with dark hidden plots and secret organisations. Conspiracy theorists thus quite literally kill politics in the sense that the small amounts of truth within their statements are suffocated by obscene amounts of paranoid blubbering.

The greatest error conspiracy theorists make is thinking that conspiracies actually succeed. History is full of dark plots by sinister groups, that is to say failed dark plots by sinister groups. They go from the premise that people conspire to the conclusion that these conspiracies actualise themselves in the world. If the modern world is as they argue the result of carefully and meticulously crafted plans made by global elites then these global elites are not very good at planning. In the same way that if God did indeed create the universe, life and everything, he did not do a very good job of it. So what is a simpler and better explanation?  Well just as no sentient being is in control of the universe, no individual or group of individuals is steering society. That is the terrifying thing. No one is at the helm. No one is in absolute control. No one ever has been.

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3 thoughts on “Conspiracy Theories Kill Politics

  1. I’m really glad you chose to tackle this topic. It’s something that has bugged me for years, and it is only relatively recently (at least in the grand scheme of things) where I’ve discussed the Carousel of Carnivores and the larger Carnival of Distractions. For anybody who thinks the alternative media can never get anything wrong, these phenomena demonstrate the contrary.

    One aspect I’ve particularly gotten sick of is the habit the conspiracists have of vehemently disagreeing as to who the enemy is! First someone will tell you, “It’s the Illuminati,” but another says, “No, it’s really the Jesuits.” “Ah,” says a third, “it’s really just the Freemasons and their Jewish masters.” A fourth pops in, boldly declaring, “All of you are DEAD WRONG…it’s really the extraterrestrial, extra-dimensional, hyper-intelligent reptilians who are behind everything!” As you can see, the issue of who is “behind everything” is disputed amongst even the conspiracists.

    I think your simile that conspiracisim is akin to religion is right on the nose, and your overview of what it means to be “awakened” was good, but I’d like to take it another step. There is also an incredible snobby, superiority complex with those I’ve talked with, simply because I differed with them on specific points because of the reason and evidence in question. Needless to say, there is very much a “love it or leave it” mentality they possess, as well as the victim mentality you mentioned in your article.

    Overall, excellent job. Good to know I’m not completely alone in the proposition that it’s ok to be anti-Establishment, yet not pro-conspiracist.

  2. What I find interesting is how some sections of the media seem to like to hint at or postitulate a conspiracy theory to get their audiences to act against their own interest. A prime example of that was the debates over Obama care being linked to the “birther” conspiracies and new world order conspiracy theories.

  3. Just discovered this site and am enjoying it very much. So it is with regret that my first comment here will be negative, but with all due respect and comradely affection to the author and commentors, I believe you have it precisely backwards. I believe you have been snookered. If you are supporting or rejecting “conspiracy theories” then you have fallen into the trap. The question is whether one should accept what one hears/reads or subject everything to rational scrutiny. If you are either pro- or anti-conspiracy then your mind has been shut off.

    Second point: Conspiracy theory (as you insist on putting it) is in no way incompatible with a class perspective. In fact, I believe it rigorous, objective examination of what the state and capital are telling us leads to the knowledge that a) they are lying to us, and b) they do not have our best interests at heart. In fact, we are the target of their abominations.

    Michael Parenti has a video on youtube called “Conspiracy and Class Power,” which is worth the time.

    I have been writing about this topic a good deal lately, since the Snowden and Assange psy-ops are topical. But of more relevance I wrote abt the recent alleged “discovery” of Gestapo head Heinrich Mueller’s corpse in a Jewish cemetery. The BBC article is pure propaganda. Once that is understood, the question then follows why are they lying about this?

    Anyway, I got more feedback, most of it negative, than I usually get for any hundred posts. So much so that I added an italicized foreword. The piece ended up being quite long, but if you are interested you might just read the italicized bit at the beginning, and then the last six paragraphs.

    http://saveourcola.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/disinformation-alert-the-bourgeois-broadcasting-corporation-is-up-to-its-old-tricks/

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