News & Analysis
Are Those Who Believe in Conspiracies Undermining the Fabric of Democracy?
Exposure to conspiracy theories has dramatic consequences ... The school massacre in Newtown was a government hoax designed to bolster gun control. The destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was the result of a controlled demolition. Elvis faked his own death. For every major event, there's a conspiracy theory to explain it. And though the temptation is to treat it as harmless paranoia, a new study finds mere exposure to such information can have serious social consequences. Researchers from the University of Kent in the U.K. found that simply reading a conspiracy theory increased people's feelings of powerlessness, which ultimately reduced their desire to politically engage. And this effect occurred even when the information wasn't directly related to government. – Vancouver Sun
Dominant Social Theme: It is time to stop all of this confusion and doubting. Democracy works. Our leaders are wise. Our society is good.
Free-Market Analysis: Wow. Memes are flying like a cloud of malicious monkeys over the Wicked Witch's western castle. Every time we look up we're assaulted. We can hardly catch our collective breath.
And then there is this from the Vancouver Sun ...
Exposure to pro-conspiracy material on climate change, for example, not only made people less motivated to reduce their carbon footprint, it also negatively affected their interest in voting.
"When you're exposed to a conspiracy – say, that the government is involved in secret plots – it can make you feel as though your actions won't make a difference," said doctoral student Daniel Jolley, the study's co-author. "(It) appears to trigger a conspiratorial mindset."
The research, published in the British Journal of Psychology, is the first to experimentally demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship between conspiracy theories and feelings of powerlessness. And this sense of reduced agency appears to weaken interest in democratic participation.
This bears out across two experiments conducted by Jolley and co-author Karen Douglas.
In the first, 168 university students read an article that either refuted a conspiracy theory about Princess Diana's death or endorsed it. Afterward, those in the latter group reported heightened feelings of political powerlessness in comparison with the first group, along with reduced intentions to engage in politics (such behaviour as voting or contributing money to a particular candidate's party).
In a second experiment with 191 university students, this process was repeated using articles that either presented climate change as a hoax or as a legitimate phenomenon.
Those who read the conspiratorial material were more likely to report feelings of climate powerlessness, uncertainty and disillusionment, which in turn reduced their desire to act in environmentally friendly ways. They also reported a greater sense of political powerlessness – despite the article's lack of direct reference to government – which led to reduced desire to politically engage.
The researchers found this especially intriguing, as it implies that political engagement could be negatively affected by conspiracies of every stripe. Indeed, there are alternate explanations for everything from the NASA moon-landing to the death of Marilyn Monroe.
"There's not just one type of person who believes in conspiracies. Millions of different people believe in them," said Jolley.
To wit, a 2003 poll for ABC News found seven in 10 Americans believed John F. Kennedy's assassination was the result of a broader plot.
Let's unpack the above a little bit. We can see the rhetorical tricks, of course, the conflating of real concerns with things like the "death" of Elvis. In fact, its dishonesty is what makes it a meme. Yes, the assumptions are dishonest: Democracy works; an engaged electorate is preferable to a passive one; those who believe in conspiracy theories are not merely damaging their own lives and families but also their larger societies.
There is, in fact, one more meme thrown into this stew of elite truisms that has to do with the credibility of government itself. The article tells us, "Healthy skepticism can encourage government transparency and public debate."
We've been pointing out for years that "transparency" is a significant dominant social theme. We knew it even before we found out that a former top exec for the World Bank was head of the world's main "transparency" organization. We knew it even before we found out that charming "national socialist" Ellen Brown was a big proponent of transparency in government.
The power elite that wants to officially run the world loves the transparency meme. For one thing, it makes people in government more controllable – and the elites control society by controlling government. For another, it provides pro-government types with a rallying cry: "Government is bad so let's make it better!" The idea is never to SHRINK government. No, the idea is to PERFECT government.
And that's really what this larger (nascent?) conspiracy meme is all about. Yes, things may be terrible and as a result people may believe in a variety of conspiracy theories. But the answer is not social disengagement or cynicism. We are being strongly reminded here that idealism and activism count for something, too.
The stakes are high, after all. "'Conspiracy theories aren't necessarily just harmless fun,' said Jolley. 'They may have potentially serious social consequences.'"
In fact, we hope they DO have serious consequences. We hope current society unravels – peacefully and continually. We hope people simply begin walking away from their jobs, their banks, their elected officials.
That's what it will take.
Not violence. Not rhetoric. Action. Dropping out.
Creating one's own independent space and sharing it voluntarily with others.
A nation of peaceful disobedience is the proper response to an elite that has decided on a strategy of progressive, rolling genocide. A nation of small, agrarian communities – self-sufficient, informed and linked together via technology – is the antidote to decaying, poisonous urban environments and churning ruin.
Those involved in this sort of social movement – and we see it coming – will not be conspiracy theorists. They will be an informed, activist people. They will be most democratic. And republican.
They will be educated about history, yes. But they will understand the reality of their history and will be working hard to regain the REAL narrative of their existences.
You see, what this article calls conspiracy theory we call "directed history." And the Internet Reformation itself is exposing the reality of this history. It is also cultivating the sorts of trends of which this article disapproves.
And while this article – and the study that spawned it – seem to make the argument that people should consciously choose to NOT believe in "conspiracies," we hardly think it will make a difference.
The real conspiracy is the conspiracy of globalism created and activated by a small handful of impossibly wealthy Western elites. People have discovered this for themselves now and no amount of social disapprobation will likely dissuade people from believing in what they consider to be truth.
As "conspiracy theory" evolves into "speaking truth to power," the trend that will expand will be one of accuracy and reality. People will indeed pursue "activism" – but the activism will be based on certainty and passion, not faux consumerism and misguided environmental concern.
Conclusion: People are gradually discovering that "conspiracy theory" is actually "directed history." And once they discover this, there is no turning back.
Posted by clamH on 03/11/13 08:24 AM
No threat to Democracy here, but dismantling Democracy in favor of a Republic would be a good start. But I digress. Some conspiracy theories have been proven. Is anyone aware of that? And there is tons of evidence illustrating the fact that the official 9-11 story is a fabrication. If anyone has doubts about 9-11 take a look down the rabbit hole:
Click to view link
Besides if a nearly 40 ton plane had struck the Pentagon on 9-11 it would be an easy task for the U.S. Government to prove; simply show a picture from one of the 86 cameras tuned to the Pentagon that day. But they have not. And they cannot. Because it did not happen.
Remember, there were only a handful of architects, namely Dick Cheney and his neocon comspirators. Nobody is saying "the government" did 9-11.
That is all.
Posted by speedygonzales on 01/28/13 01:20 PM
Michael Parenti greatly explains "conspiracy theories" in Understanding deep politics featuring Michael Parenti" on youtube
USA is making lotta reports. One of them is on human rights and freedom.
Problem is that no one is making report about USA. One year ago China did. Here is result
Click to view link
Excerpt from Nick Turse's new book, 'Kill Anything That Moves'
Click to view link
Video for famous song of Metallica "One" starts with: Father, what is democracy? I think it has something to do with people kill each other.
Posted by 1776 on 01/28/13 11:18 AM
Deception Is Futile When Big Brother's Lie Detector Turns Its Eyes on You 01.17.13
Click to view link
Posted by speedygonzales on 01/28/13 09:13 AM
The story of Switzerland is the greatest political success story of the modern world, yet we never hear about it. Why not? Because it puts all other states to shame. Most rulers want to Americanize their countries; but if they really cared about their people's welfare - lives, liberty, property, and all that - they would try to Swissify. It's a sign of the times that I am forced to coin this indispensable verb.
Click to view link
Switzerland does not have conspiracy theories neither. 'Cause people control government, thru referendum, to make sure that their will is in place. Cowards in USA fear direct elections and open political debate- see arrest of Jill Stein, not even think they will put power into hands of people.
In Swiss is not heard so much "democracy" propagand as is in USA. They simply do have democracy, they know it and they do not have to make propaganda about it. Word democracy sound extremely "good" on Fox News.
Posted by speedygonzales on 01/28/13 09:01 AM
THE CONTRADICTION BETWEEN DEMOCRACY AND CAPITALISM
A democracy is a system of government in which not only the voice of the people is heard but the interests and wellbeing of all citizens are paramount. The existence of classes poses a serious problem for democracy, since classes presuppose contradictory interests in different parts (the different classes) of the society. But capitalist society is premised on class-diametrically opposed interests for owners and workers, the exploitation of labor for investors'/employers' profit. Hence, as a former student has said, "The agenda of capitalism is to … downgrade skilled workers…, [create a] willingness to work for lower wages…," deny sustenance to single parents, and so forth. That is a remarkably anti-democratic agenda!
Capitalism is based on a power hierarchy in which investors/employers control the lives of those who work to create profits (capital). (Refer back to my little book at the beginning of the course and Democracy For the Few, Chapter 2.) But democracy proposes that each person shall be an autonomous individual engaged in a common endeavor to create the greatest possible advancement and self-expression of all persons. Capitalism is individualistic. Democracy is communitarian, i.e., it seeks to strike a balance among individual interests. Capitalism seeks benefits for a few based on the exploitation of the many. Democracy requires that people come together to decide what is in the best interests of the community as a whole, regardless of class-based or individual interests.
A fully functioning political democracy could not tolerate a capitalist economy. The power elite knows this, which is why the U.S. government has tried to subvert democracy in every country in which U.S. capitalists have tried to exploit resources and labor (see Parenti, chapter 10). A country in which the people as a whole actually make decisions about their common destiny would, of course, not permit such exploitation. "Democracy subverts capitalism": it works on diametrically opposed principles of the value of human life and the worth of collective decision-making. The power elite does not have to take the same extreme steps in the U.S. because, as Domhoff explains throughout his book (and Parenti concurs in chapter 18 and the chapters on bureaucracy, the media and elections), it has already taken control of the "democratic" forms of the political system and has reduced political culture to mere "consumption" of the ideology of individualism and consumerism.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 01/27/13 03:23 PM
It appears to me that they are trying to ensure that passive resistance will be completely ineffective. Some will languish in "psychiatric institutions", many more will die in them.
Posted by amanfromMars on 01/27/13 02:16 AM
Hmmm? ….. Are Those Who Believe in Conspiracies Undermining the Fabric of Democracy?
Is the fabric of democracy, which some will tell you is simply a virtual fig leaf for authoritative totalitarianism and an autocratic rule in a New World Order franchise, undermined by conspiracies/conspiracies exposed as being real and true and not merely imagined? ….. is a much more relevant question to be asking today, DB, in the blinding light of the following brace of hyperlinked realities/products?
"Do you have a plan in the event of an emergency? The federal government does. Only its Continuity of Government operations during a national emergency involve rationing food, water and energy; confiscating your personal vehicle; controlling the media; and telling you where to work and for what wage while our leaders sit safely ensconced within bases buried deep underground. Sound like a "conspiracy theory?" Unfortunately, these are the facts as revealed by the government's own Top Secret files within the pages of Disaster Government." ….. Click to view link
"Government orders to return to work, issued under emergency legislation, were being served to subway employees but many had yet to receive the notices and continued to strike, a subway union official said.
Under the emergency law, which is meant to be used in times of war, natural disaster or risks to public health, workers can be arrested and jailed for up to five years." …. Click to view link
:-) Welcome to the Greater Great IntelAIgent Game and Devilishly Heavenly ARG MetaPhorical Play ... .. Virtual ShowTime.
And playing a starring role in all future and derivative programming projects, CHAOS and headlining Perfect Digital Storming Weather Ahead ... .. Highly Frequent Squalls and Squirmishes Expected.
And all of those facts, DB, are as a fiction invisible and impossible mission already easily accomplished and moved on into consolidating ITs impregnable position with unassailable forces.
And that is highly sensitive secure insider information transparently shared for free and SMARTR IntelAIgent Being Great Gaming Use, DB. Use IT wisely is the soundest of sound advice, and is also freely given, because any thought of ITs abusive use will destroy one just as surely as night precedes and follows day.
And only a folly and fools would believe in the myth ... .. "while our leaders sit safely ensconced within bases buried deep underground." ... .. and that it be a secure arrangement rather than device that locates prime targets for summary attention and engagement and/or affirmative executive action elimination.
Posted by mava on 01/26/13 11:52 PM
by dave jr:
"The biggest conspiracy under our noses is the fact that fiat Federal Reserve Notes pass as dollars. They are not dollars. Currently a FRN is worth less than $0.03. A US mint Gold Eagle has a face value of $50. It takes more than 1700 FRN's to obtain one."
Very True! Most people read that the dollar had been devalued to the tune of 98%, and go on thinking: "Well, that is bad. Good thing my dollars are still dollars!" They are incapable of connecting the information and the reality and to understand the meaning. Well put, dave jr!
"The next biggest conspiracy are the manipulated foreign exchange rates which cause FRNs to pile up in China instead of currencies being allowed to seek their own level. It creates the incentive for manufacturers to locate there. "
It depends what you are referring to. If you meant to repeat the lies of our administration that China is unfairly manipulating the currency, you'd be wrong. Of course, you may have meant something else. Not sure.
Posted by JudgeDredd on 01/26/13 07:40 PM
Conspiracy theory means you are capable of critical thinking.
A trait the government deems radical and unhelpful (in covering up their conspiracies)!
Posted by Ted Lindbeck on 01/26/13 05:30 PM
I think I did already, but if agrarian communess is any kind of solution to this global problem, so is bubble gum. It has taken over 100 years of hard Antonio Gramsci labor in countless venues to get us to this point. Anybody SERIOUSLY threatening their shocking success will be quietly (or not) gunned out of contention. To suggest that the Return of Jesus Christ is comical in this culture, but will turn out to be The Solution. It'll be bloody and thoroughly successful... and just. I love The Bell: Too Little, Way Too Late
Posted by Bluebird on 01/26/13 05:20 PM
When they put out a report like this, it is to gain support for upcoming laws. They will likely make it a crime to discuss these sort of things the Daily Bell is so good at. Climate change is one group of laws they cannot get off the ground and are determined to, even if they have to kill us to pass it.
Posted by dave jr on 01/26/13 03:43 PM
Likewise a US Mint Silver Eagle currenty requires about 36 FRN to obtain.
gold: $50 / 1736 = $0.029 / frn
silver: $1 / 36 = $0.028 / frn
The US Treasury has set the gold to silver ratio at 50:1. No conspiracy here.
Look to the criminal global banking cartel. Then inform your representatives that supporting criminal activity is also a criminal act. But of course they know that, so the only thing left to do is walk away.
Posted by dave jr on 01/26/13 03:14 PM
I do not have a problem with the economy becoming more global. As the knowledge and abilities of man increases, being able to reach further markets is quite a natural result.
What I do have a problem with, are those self appointed 'leaders' aka the centralists, who position themselves, to control trade, to artificially create economic pressures to be used as weapons against markets for purposes of wealth extraction and ultimately control over everyones life.
The biggest conspiracy under our noses is the fact that fiat Federal Reserve Notes pass as dollars. They are not dollars. Currently a FRN is worth less than $0.03. A US mint Gold Eagle has a face value of $50. It takes more than 1700 FRN's to obtain one.
The next biggest conspiracy are the manipulated foreign exchange rates which cause FRNs to pile up in China instead of currencies being allowed to seek their own level. It creates the incentive for manufacturers to locate there.
Reject the fiat and reject the notion of reserve currencies and things will begin to improve.
Posted by rrrr on 01/26/13 03:11 PM
We don't have a democracy for those who believe in conspiracies to undermine. What we have, or what we're supposed to have, is a constitutional republic.
Posted by Edgar Friendly on 01/26/13 02:49 PM
For those of you interested in the Galt's Gulch proposal by daddy Warbucks on this article; there is a project known as "the Citidel" being proposed in Idaho. I am watching this group; and may consider it a viable step in the proper direction. Since it is in America; there is the threat of totalitarian violence upon this group by the government. But it may be a haven during an economic collapse. check it out.
Posted by Edgar Friendly on 01/26/13 02:29 PM
For those of you interested in the Galt's Gulch community proposal; look up the Citidel; proposal for Idaho; I am watching this group , too. However, it has the possibility of another Waco Texas disaster... .in an age of totalitarianistic Obamaism... .scary s--t, huh?
Posted by Edgar Friendly on 01/26/13 02:14 PM
A nation of small agrarian cummunities linked by technology? hey, that;s all I want, to live free on my own land; surrounded by like minded people, but who ya gonna call when the statists come with thier guns, tanks, drones??? ghostbusters? no, my good freinds... this is why that Agrarian founding father, Jefferson and his fellowswrote the 2nd amendment for; it isn't for self defense against criminals; unless you expand the concept and mesning of criminal to include the government class; who through thier religious belief in collectivism, communism, marxisim want totoal control of all the earth's people I have little faith in pacifist movements at this point in time; even pravda has warned Americans to not give up thier guns, yes, after the dust settles, with God's intervention, can we peacably retire to our little technologically linked agrarian communities; but here on Earth each individual is tested from above, to choose the path of evil; or goodness, and this struggle for control of the Earth by the blackest souls; the Elites; bankers, Zionists, lizards, whatever... pick your label; is what humanity must face before the peace of a new age balnkets the perseverant souls who stand for the light against the darkness.
Posted by zeno on 01/26/13 01:02 PM
Dr. Mr. Sunstein & Friends,
I give you your British Journal of Psychology "conspiracy theory" study and raise you Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief model.
Posted by seer on 01/26/13 12:34 PM
"The real conspiracy is the conspiracy of globalism created and activated by a small handful of impossibly wealthy Western elites. "
This is such an OPEN conspiracy. The Corporatocracy promotes free international Corporate trade. The elite own most of the shares in these corporations and thus expound the meme. It has been going on for hundreds of years. After WWI, 250 American firms owned more than $ 450 million worth of German assets and Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler admired each other: Hitler had a pic of Henry on his wall in his Munich Office.
Look at the profts made from WWI, WWII, Korean, Vietnam,Afghanistan/Iraqi Wars- nothing is hidden. Just most people do not bother to become aware.
Posted by Hoss on 01/26/13 11:23 AM
Reply from The Daily Bell
The Swiss model is agrarian. So was the initial US Republic. And earlier ... Greek. Rome. India. Egypt. China. Etc.