I often hear people proudly boast, “I don’t believe in conspiracy theories”, as if they are boasting that they don’t have an alcohol problem. There is a widespread attitude that conspiracy theories are a symptom of a paranoid mind. My brother’s wife made the wisecrack to me, “Seen any black helicopters lately?”
One reason people dislike conspiracy theories is because they cause fights between the conspiracy theorists and the accused. The people accused of the conspiracy always insist that they are innocent. The fights can become unpleasant and confusing, and that causes a lot of people to avoid getting involved.
Was there a Conspiracy to sell Tobacco?
For example, did executives of tobacco companies conspire to hide information about the dangers of tobacco? Some people say yes, in which case we could describe it as a conspiracy to deceive the American people about the dangers of tobacco. However, the tobacco executives insist they are innocent.
Was there a Conspiracy to Destroy Trains?
For a more complex example, in the 1930’s, executives from General Motors, Firestone, and Standard Oil formed a company called the National City Lines which used buses from General Motors, tires from Firestone, and fuel from the Standard Oil company. Some people accuse National City Lines and several other corporations of being part of a conspiracy to destroy the electric trains that were developing in America at that time.
In 1949 our government convicted several of those corporations of violating antitrust laws. However, there is still a dispute over whether they merely violated a few laws, or whether they were part of a conspiracy to destroy the electric trains.
It should be obvious that America’s train system is among the worst in the world. The latest trains of Europe and Japan look like something from a science-fiction movie. Some European trains are reaching speeds of 185 miles per hour, and China is experimenting with a train that can go even faster.
Why are American trains so crummy? Is it because of a conspiracy to destroy trains? Or is it because the American people just don’t care about trains?
We may never know exactly why our train system is pathetic because the people accused of conspiring to destroy it are certain to insist that there was no conspiracy, even if there was. Every conspiracy theory results in a confusing fight between the people making the accusations and the people insisting that they are innocent.
I think another reason people avoid conspiracy theories is because when they convince themselves that there is no such thing as conspiracies, they don’t have to worry about them. When a person refuses to believe in conspiracies, he can ignore the evidence on the grounds that it is paranoid nonsense. He doesn’t have to bother reading books or watching videos, nor does he have to think about or discuss how to make a better nation. Refusing to consider conspiracies is taking the easy and irresponsible path in life.
Everybody Believes In Conspiracy Theories
Even though most people ridicule conspiracy theories, almost everybody believes in at least one conspiracy. However, if the majority of people believe in a conspiracy, it is considered a “fact” or a “sensible government policy” rather than a conspiracy.
For example, millions of Americans believe South Americans and Mexicans are making us use drugs. I would refer to this as the “Drug Dealer Conspiracy” because it claims a group of people are conspiring to make us use drugs.
There are so many Americans who believe in the Drug Dealer Conspiracy that our government spends millions of dollars each year trying to arrest the dealers. We also spend money on the spraying of herbicides on drug crops in South America. Many people refer to this as a War On Drugs.
Occasionally policemen, customs agents, and other people die in the process of protecting us from drugs. I would describe their deaths as foolish wastes of life, but most people consider their deaths to be noble sacrifices for the American people.
I would describe the Drug Dealer Conspiracy as a stupid theory because drug dealers cannot make us use drugs. By comparison, the theory that electric trains were destroyed by group of corporate executives is entirely possible because those executives were capable of interfering with the development of trains.
However, since most Americans believe in the Drug Dealer Conspiracy, it is not considered a conspiracy, nor is it considered stupid. Rather, it is considered a “sensible government policy to protect Americans from drugs”.
I can’t help but wonder how ridiculous the situation has to be before the majority of Americans realize how stupid this war on drugs is. For example, what if some South Americans began offering Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy Kits. If millions of Americans were buying these kits, and then giving themselves lobotomies, would you demand we start a War On The Lobotomy Kits? Would you complain that the South American Lobotomy Pushers are destroying the American people?
If a policeman died in the process of trying to stop the Lobotomy Pushers, would you describe his death as a great sacrifice to the American people? Or would you say he was a fool who threw his life away?
The American Conquest Conspiracy
For another example, millions of people believe our government is controlled by a small group of people. Republicans, for example, believe that the government is controlled by small group of liberals, and their solution to the problem is to elect more Republicans. Liberals, on the other hand, believe the government is controlled by small group of Republicans.
Some people complain that the government is controlled by “The Special Interests”, the “Lobbyists”, the Military Establishment, “Political Action Committees”, Bilderbergs, Zionists, Neocons, Fascists, or Nazis.
I would refer to this as the “American Conquest Conspiracy” because it claims a group of people are conspiring to take control of America’s government.
I agree that a small number of people have a tremendous influence over our government, but this conspiracy theoriy is as stupid as the Drug Dealer Conspiracy because a small group of people cannot control a large majority unless the majority allow themselves to be controlled.
However, since it is so common for Americans to blame our crummy government on small groups of people, let me give you an extreme example to show why I consider this conspiracy to be stupid.
Imagine that a few dozen children who live in the Washington D.C. area walk over to the capitol and demand that the government provide free candy to all children. The next day the President Bush passes legislation to increase taxes to purchase and distribute candy to children all over America. As you watched adults distribute candy to children, would you complain that the U.S. government is controlled by a few children? Or would you realize that the American voters are jerks who have elected so many lunatics that our government follows the orders of children?
Now imagine a small group of adults goes to Washington D.C. and asks for some legislation that harms the nation but benefits those few adults. The next day the President Bush passes the legislation they asked for. Would you complain that the U.S. Government is being controlled by a small number of adults?
What’s the difference between a group of children telling the U.S. government what to do, and a group of adults telling the U.S. government what to do? In both cases our government is pathetic, and the voters ought to be ashamed of themselves.
A few drug dealers cannot make a nation take drugs. Instead, the people must voluntarily make the decision to use drugs. Likewise, a small group of people cannot control a nation. Instead, the majority of citizens must be so irresponsible and incompetent that they create a government that is easily manipulated.
Some people complain that our government officials are bribed and blackmailed, but how could that be possible unless the voters were electing candidates who could be bribed and blackmailed? Why don’t the voters select better candidates?
A nation with a crummy government is vulnerable to abuse by both its own citizens and by foreign nations. And that is exactly what America has. The voters have given us a crummy government, and as a result, Washington D.C. is full of selfish people who are fighting with each other to influence our crummy government.
Complaining about the people who abuse our crummy government is not going to solve our problems. We need a respectable government, and we need respectable voters.
The Helpless Voter Conspiracy
Some people respond to me that we cannot create a respectable government because the elections are controlled by a mysterious group of evil people. These evil people forced us to select between Al Gore and George Bush in the 2000 election, and they are forcing us to select between John Kerry and George Bush in the upcoming election.
I am also told that this mystery group alters the votes with electronic touch screens, so it doesn’t matter who we vote for. I would refer to this as the “Helpless Voter Conspiracy”.
It certainly seems true that a small group of people have selected George Bush and John Kerry to be our presidential candidates, but we could easily tell both candidates to apply for some other job.
What would you think if your friend spent $5,000 on a do-it-yourself lobotomy kit, and when you asked him why, he replied that the South American salesman only gave him two choices; a lobotomy kit, and a suicide kit, and he chose the lesser of the evils.
When a voter complains that he must select between Bush or Kerry, and that he is going to vote for the lesser of the evils, he is behaving in the same stupid manner.
The Helpless Voter Conspiracy is stupid because voters are not helpless. Rather, they are irresponsible, incompetent, and easily manipulated.
The voters can select anybody they want as president. Voters can refuse to vote if they don’t like any of the candidates. Voters are even allowed to write a person’s name on the ballot. This allows them to elect people who are not on the ballot, such as you or me. And they can throw government leaders out of office whenever they want, even if it is not an election year.