A Short Checklist for Conspiracy Theorists … Unlike Wall Street, conspiracy theories are a perfect market, with supply and demand in perpetual equilibrium. This election year has seen soaring demand. –Bloomberg
Bloomberg has just posted an editorial debunking conspiracy theories, and the reason for it seems to involve people’s suspicion that Hillary Clinton has significant health problems.
Usually articles like this appear when certain elite dominant social themes are under attack. For instance: President Barack Obama was exposed in the alternative media for apparently not being born in the US. As a result, there was an increased mainstream attack on “conspiracy theorists.”
It was at this time, as we recall, that the labels “truther” and “birther” became increasingly popular. But as the attacks on Obama diminished, so did the use of these labels.
Now, it would seem, conspiracy-bashing may be elevated again.
Like most conspiracy theories, [the attacks on Hillary’s health are] a mix of fantasy, improbability and willful stupidity. And, like others, it will no doubt prove tenacious.
If Clinton is elected president, some will swear the woman in the Oval Office is in fact an expertly rouged cadaver.
Countering conspiracy theories is hard, since facts trade at a discount among the conspiracy minded. But for those tempted to jump to conspiracy-tinged conclusions, perhaps a checklist would be a useful precaution ..
The article then goes on to list four such “theories”:
Ask why. Then ask why again. Once is not enough: This theory suggests that the White House instructed the Internal Revenue Service to harass local Tea Party groups before Obama’s second term. The rebuttal is that Obama has plenty of enemies. Why should he turn to the IRS alone to attack his critics?
When you say “rich and powerful,” which “rich and powerful” do you mean? This is a broad theory that suggests rich and powerful people manipulate US society for personal gain en masse. The rebuttal is that there are many wealthy people in the US and not all of them seek the same things. The theory therefore fails on its face.
Exactly how complicated is this anyway? This is one of the older conspiracy theories suggesting that global warming must be true because so many people believe in it. The rebuttal, obviously, is that it is impossible to create a conspiracy involving so many people.
What’s Occam say about this? The “Occam’s razor” theory suggests simple analyses are better – and conspiracy theories often seem simple and powerful, even though they are not. The rebuttal is that the world is more complex than conspiracy theorists acknowledge.
The trouble with this editorial is twofold.
First, documents showing that the CIA itself was instrumental in coming up with the conspiracy meme have been well reported. The CIA developed it in order to debunk accusations undermining the current US power structure and the preferred, elite narrative.
Second, basic elements of a certain kind of modern conspiracy theory are evidently true, confirmed both by historical evolution and factual evidence.
Back in February 2015, ZeroHedge posted an article about the CIA’s involvement in generating the “conspiracy theory” label (here):
In 1967, the CIA Created the Label “Conspiracy Theorists” … to Attack Anyone Who Challenges the “Official” Narrative … Democracy and free market capitalism were founded on conspiracy theories.
The Magna Carta, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and other founding Western documents were based on conspiracy theories. Greek democracy and free market capitalism were also based on conspiracy theories.
But those were the bad old days …Things have now changed. The CIA Coined the Term Conspiracy Theorist In 1967 That all changed in the 1960s.
Specifically, in April 1967, the CIA wrote a dispatch which coined the term “conspiracy theories” … and recommended methods for discrediting such theories.
The dispatch was marked “psych” – short for “psychological operations” or disinformation – and “CS” for the CIA’s “Clandestine Services” unit.
The dispatch was produced in responses to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times in 1976. It states in part (bullet points, ours):
- This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization. *** The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the [conspiracy] question be initiated where it is not already taking place.
- Where discussion is active addresses are requested: To discuss the publicity problem with and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors) , pointing out that the [official investigation of the relevant event] made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Employ propaganda assets to and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.
The validity of conspiracy theory begins with central banking. It is easy enough to track the history of central banking and then to conclude that modern central banking gave a few people in London’s City the power to manipulate unfathomable assets to realize a specific agenda.
The goal – global governance – is simple enough to discover as well. It has been written about endlessly in various forms, often with good, footnoted support and historical evidence.
Conclusion: There is documented support regarding “conspiracy theory,” but this editorial leaves them out. It’s one more example of why the accuracy of modern mainstream media is increasingly questioned and criticized.