On Conspiracy Theories
The Burning Platform
Guest Post by Hardscrabble Farmer
“In many nations, rational people end up believing crazy things, including (false) conspiracy theories. Those crazy thoughts can lead to violence, including terrorism. Many terrorist acts have been fueled by false conspiracy theories, and there is a good argument that some such acts would not have occurred in the absence of such theories. The key point—and, in a way, the most puzzling and disturbing one—is that the crazy thoughts are often held by people who are not crazy at all.”
Cass Sunstein- White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
If you don’t know who Cass Sunstein is, or what he does now would be a good time to do some research. Not only because of his position with the White House and the power that entails, but because he understands quite clearly what problems are posed by people who, in his own words are, “…neither ignorant, not ill-educated. On the contrary they can be spectacularly well informed…”
Conspiracy theories are, in short, the belief that others conspire in secret to commit criminal acts. They do, no secret there. In fact the majority of prisoners in Federal Penitentiaries are serving time not for a specific crime, but for conspiracy to commit a felony, more simply discussing their intentions with another person in secret. It must be difficult indeed to simultaneously prosecute large numbers of people for the very activity that you are assigned to debunk and then somehow explain to people that it’s dangerous to believe in them. Yes, yes, you can imagine them saying, other people do engage in conspiracies, but we never would and you’d have to be crazy to even consider it.
Point taken, Mr. Sunstein.
Prior to the advent of the Internet there were few places where people could openly engage in any discussion of the misgivings they had about certain events. Mailing lists, fringe publications, but no open forum for expressing doubt and discovering the fundamental and underlying reasons behind such thoughts. Mr. Sunstein has often argued that the reason most people believe in conspiracy theories is because it makes them feel safe, a notion that is as hard to believe as the one that says the government would never engage in a conspiracy. If anything, the dawning realization that those entrusted to care for and protect you are engaged in a pattern of behaviors that are not only dangerous, but wantonly destructive to the very values and beliefs we hold most dear. To believe in a conspiracy committed by a government that is powerful, that is actively spying on it’s own people without legal justification and that appears immune to the law is not reassuring or comforting, it is terrifying. It is also, based on what we actually know for a fact, common sense
Let’s begin by covering a few basics-
In 1962 the Department of Defense acting in cooperation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted a paper detailing covert operation by either the CIA or other Government operatives to commit acts of terrorism against innocent American civilians, specifically to either hijack US commercial aircraft, shoot down commercial aircraft, attacks and kill US soldiers at Guantanamo or an attack on the Organization of American States with the intent of blaming the actions on Cuba in order to destabilize or overturn the government. These plans were signed and submitted by a host of top ranking US Military officials including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer and submitted to the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara who would later play a large role in the US war in Viet Nam.
None of the people involved in the research, planning, drafting or submission of this authorized government conspiracy was ever charged with a crime or held accountable. In fact the chief defense has always been that it was rejected by then President John F Kennedy, rendering further discussion null and void. Think about it for a moment and decide for yourself what the implications of such a plan mean for people who are, in the words of Cass Sunstein, spectacularly well informed, i.e conspiracy theorists. The government of the United States of America, using top secret clearance and taxpayer dollars actively plotted to murder innocent Americans in acts of terror in order to instigate a war on false grounds. To know this, according to the leading expert on conspiracy theories, makes us feel safer.
Incontrovertible proof that the government does in fact engage in criminal conspiracies that target innocent civilians in order to promote government sanctioned programs or military actions while it’s criminal participants escape justice has now been established as a fact, not a theory. Why this important piece of American history is unknown to most people is not puzzling, it is because it has been deliberately pushed off to the side, dismissed as irrelevant or pointless because it didn’t happen. Conspiracy theories do not require action, however, only the conspiracy.
One of the greatest issues the Government has in dealing with the conspiracies currently circulating is the ease with which the Internet allows them to propagate. While the vast majority of Americans have never heard of the Gulf of Tonkin, quite a few have heard the term “9/11 was an inside job” or know that something is not quite right about Sandy Hook. The ubiquitous nature of cell phone cameras has given people the ability to see for themselves without having to look through the lens of the MSM and depend upon sanitized news coverage to inform them of the details of various events taking place around the troubled world. The time when the government was kept in check by the 5th estate has long ago ceased to restrain them. The news organizations have become a tool of the establishment rather than a check on their power. The only option left is for either whistle blowers to come forward or citizen journalists to investigate on their own time and dime...
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