Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New World Disorder

"The central image is that of a vast and sinister conspiracy, a gigantic and yet subtle machinery of influence set in motion to undermine and destroy a way of life."

-Richard Hofstadter

The desire to have meaning in life. The drive to blame something or someone for the personal wrongs in life even if only indirectly. The need to have a battle to fight. The desire to have a sense of control because if some dark super-secret entity can be to blame for all the injustices then a sense of control can be regained by fighting against it. In other words when senseless disasters happen people want to make sense of them. Thus are some of the drivers for those who become immersed into the paranoid and sometimes deadly world of conspiracy theories.

Some common conspiracies that abound:
It is important to note that every one of these conspiracies was and is supported with mountains of “undeniable irrefutable evidence.”

September 11th was either allowed by the US government or directly committed by the US government.

Israel was behind the September 11th attacks because 4000 Jews did not show up for work that day. Allegedly they were all called the day before and warned not to go.

The government is hiding extra-terrestrials and is in cahoots with them to rule the world. The government kidnaps homeless people to be used as a food source for some of these extra-terrestrials.

Foreign troops live on US soil waiting for orders from the UN to attack Americans.

JFK was killed because he was going to talk about the government’s cooperation with aliens, Marilyn Monroe was killed because he told her the “truth.”

Jews use the blood of Palestinian children in bread recipes. And Americans like to have sex with their own kids.

Aids was created in a lab as a bio-weapon.

The government can monitor everyone’s phone calls, text messages, and emails all at once using a super program designed to pick out words like “bomb”. Even if your cell phone is turned off, the government can tell where you are by tracing its location via satellite.

These kinds of conspiracies have been around for years. They are simply rehashed and changed to fit with the times. During the Cold War, Chinese troops were secretly massed on the border in Mexico waiting to invade at any second. Russian troops were secretly living within the US under the government’s approval waiting for orders to take over. Now its not Russian or Chinese troops living near and with us, it is UN troops. The same lie, just with different characters. McCarthy suspected everyone of being a communist. Now conspiracy theorists suspect every President of the US as being part of the same secret fascist society planning to take over the world. During the Cold War every library book you checked out that would be considered questionable by the authorities was documented in your file. Now its every email you send that might say “terrorist”, “bin Laden”, “bomb”, or other key word that might make you a terror suspect.

Anytime someone famous or noteworthy dies an untimely death there is always a conspiracy of some sort. JFK, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Princess Diana, and even the death of Elvis are shrouded in some sort of conspiracy. People or things that mean something to us, can’t have simple accidents, commit suicide, or otherwise meet the same kinds of fates that everyday people meet, they must have some deeper reason for their demise.

A conspiracy theorist often has had disasters in their lives such as an untimely loss of a loved one, inability to get ahead in life, or suffers from an inability to use coping skills. Sometimes bad things happen and there is no explanation, no real purpose. People will often redirect this lack of control and anger in their lives towards something tangible.

In reality everything does not happen for a reason. We want to believe that it does because it gives us a sense of meaning and control in our lives. Even if that control seemingly appears chaotic. Sometimes accidents just happen and there are different scales of accidents. Princess Diana couldn’t have just died in an auto accident. Yet if she tripped and broke her ankle no one would have blamed this accident on a conspiracy.

Sometimes things just happen. For some that realization is too much to handle. That realization makes them feel they have no real control over what happens in their lives. Fear equals anger. Anger can lead to hate. And hate can lead to violence. For conspiracy theorists having a dark shadow entity such as a secret government cabal to create a worldwide dictatorship gives them a place to focus their fears into something tangible. Something that in theory they could stand up against and defeat. And the prospect of doing something about it returns a sense of control to a life that had none before.

Generally, the most popular conspiracy theories are centered around the belief that the government plans to turn the country into a ruthless dictatorship. One that eventually connects itself to a one world government of tyranny. Oddly enough this super secret cabal, as devious and expansive as it is, is recognized by every day people who “see through the CIA” led conspiracy. The CIA is smart but not smart enough to outfox “Ed” the local mechanic and his chat room buddies of conspiracy.com. Paranoia is the hallmark of conspiracy theory driven belief systems. There are many different flavors of this conspiracy with each claiming a monopoly on the truth, claiming they all have irrefutable evidence that their version of the truth about the cabal is the right one.

“Choosey Moms Choose Jiff” (In other words if you don’t buy Jiff you are not a good mother.) Conspiracy theories all work the same. The individuals who are onto them are the ones privileged with knowing the truth. If you believe something else you are considered either part of the conspiracy or too stupid, ignorant, or ill informed to see otherwise. It is at its essence a supremacist type attitude. If you are willing to see the truth and abandon ignorance you will believe their version of the truth. If not, you just aren’t as smart as they are.

This is a tactic of manipulation, in other words unless you are stupid you’ll believe their conspiracy. No matter what facts you present to refute their claims, your facts are wrong, propaganda, or you are a tool of the cabal. Yet their “facts” are based on pseudo-science, fuzzy photos, and testimony by individuals who are at best mentally ill if not attention seekers out for money. 1000 people can witness something and give their testimony as to what they saw but if it does not fit the conspiracy theorist’s ideology it is wrong. Yet conspiracy theorists can have one witness with a conflicting story and that story is the one to believe, if it fits their model of reality. With paranoid thinking, if you look for something you will find it.

I recently wrote a mock newsletter blaming all the conspiracies and ills of the world on a secret cabal of Pirates. As silly as it sounds I learned something from that. Ever since writing the newsletter blaming pirates for everything from global warming to the JFK assassination to 9-11, I see something about pirates nearly every day on TV or elsewhere in the real world. Comical yes, but a perfect example of how someone looking for a conspiracy like a shadow government can make any shadow look like part of their evidence.

Have you ever noticed that when you get a new car, you suddenly notice all the other cars on the road like yours? We look for things we are familiar with, things that fit with what we know. This is part of the madness a paranoid conspiracy theorist. The same thing happens when someone thinks they have a lucky number. They’ll suddenly notice that number all the time. The fact is it was always there but it holds no meaning until we create one for it.

So if you believe that the government lied about September 11th you will begin to see all kinds of “evidence” to support your belief.

Political New World Order
Groups that believe that a worldwide cabal of bankers, politicians (who by the way feign disagreements between party lines), and global corporations are a part of a concentrated effort to take over the world. Some variants of this conspiracy include a super-secret organization within the government, a government with a government, made up of CIA members, or communists, socialists, or fascists as part of the conspiracy. The UN is often identified as the worldwide government already making plans to divide the US up into sections to be controlled after the “great gun grab” where US troops under the directive of the UN will place people in concentration camps that refuse to give up their guns or pledge allegiance to the UN.

Secret Society New World Order
The secret society conspiracy can span across all of the various conspiracy theories. Groups identified such as the Masons, Illuminati, and numerous other secret societies are blamed for the global conspiracy to take over the world. Claims of foreign troops on American soil waiting for the word to go and take everyone’s guns away abound in this conspiracy theory as well as most every other conspiracy theory noted here.

Religious New World Order
Satanic forces may be behind the global conspiracy to take over the world. Variants of this conspiracy theory also include secret societies, black ops government agencies, or even the Catholic church as being part of a global effort to set up a one world government at any moment for the Anti-Christ.

Race Based New World Order
Skinheads, KKK members, Islamic extremists, black nationalists all blame Jews for the evils of the world. The holocaust is usually called a lie or an event that was greatly exaggerated. Threats to racial purity abound under this conspiracy theory, claiming that Jews and or some other race are behind a systematic effort to wipe out “pure” racial bloodlines. Some of these groups fully support the beliefs of Adolph Hitler or at least variations of his philosophy. Other groups may claim essentially the same kind of rhetoric except with putting their race as the center of power.

Alien (Extra-terrestrial ) New World Order
This conspiracy works just like all the others. Some claim that the government knew about September 11th before it happened or completely orchestrated the event with remote control jumbo jets, explosive laden Trade Center towers, or CIA operatives posing as terrorists. Others add another element to this conspiracy, the fact that the US government is in cahoots with extra-terrestrials to set up a one world government ripe for colonization by aliens. Supported by secret societies, the Anti-Christ himself, or super secret global governments the aliens are behind all sorts of nefarious efforts to destroy the constitution and unite the world under the authority of an alien race. While even the most paranoid of conspiracy theorists might scoff at such a notion, the very same reasoning tactics they use to support their beliefs is used by UFO conspiracy theorists. And yes there is “photographic evidence” of UFOs flying near the WTC on September 11th. Once again of course they are fuzzy micro-images that look a great deal like smudges on the film.

Most of these conspiracies are essentially the same. The differences being the motive for the takeover of the US and the world by one entity. Each group claims to have absolute proof with such outlandish claims like secret symbols being placed on the backs of road signs to help direct invading UN troops throughout the country. With logic suspended simple consideration of GPS technology that could be used instead of road sign stickers escapes the reasoning of these kinds of conspiracists.

Occam’s Razor (the simplest solution / explanation is often the right one) is generally ignored unless it can apply to the conspiracy theorist’s ideology. Consider the convoluted plot to begin the erosion of privacy by the staging of September 11th. Conspiracy theorists ignore common human sociology and claim that hundreds or even thousands of secret cabal members are able to keep quiet about their plans to take over the world. The inordinate elaborateness of using remote controlled jumbo jets to hit the towers is touted without considering that hundreds of airport personnel, air traffic controllers, and others would have to be in on the plot by claiming that these flights took off secretly from the airport to go on their dastardly mission.

We are also supposed to believe that flying planes into buildings wouldn’t be enough to bring down the towers but also explosives would have had to be planted ahead of time. Why then wouldn’t the government just use the explosives and claim terrorists did it? Why wouldn’t they just do something simple like detonate a small nuclear weapon in Manhattan? There would have been an innumerably less number of conspirators involved had they done something this simple. Logic is quite simply thrown out for the convenience of fitting their hate and suspicion of the government.

Yet none of these conspiracy theorists seem to notice that all the conspiracy websites sell merchandise, books, videos, and ask for donations to keep the “truth” going. They ignore that the real truth here is money. Money that could be going to help fight the real threats of terrorism, poverty, and child abuse but is rather squandered on those getting famous and rich off of paranoid people’s fears.

Fuzzy photos, doctored photos, comments taken out of context, and junk science are all presented as absolute evidence confirming beliefs that defy logic. What many of these conspiracy theorists don’t realize is that the base root of their beliefs about the “evil government” originated in Neo-Nazi / white supremacist philosophy.

An ongoing claim that a missile hit the Pentagon is circulated ignoring the fact that numerous people involved in launching such a missile would have known about it and would likely talk. They ignore the fact that air traffic controllers would have to be silenced as well. Not to mention that hundreds of eye witnesses saw the plane hit the Pentagon.

They ignore basic physics in favor of juvenile reasoning of how much damage a plane would do to a heavily reinforced building. We are also supposed to believe that real physicists would not come forward and raise questions or experts like engineers would not come forward and ask questions.

Logic is abandoned to fit fear. The real danger of all of this kind of rhetoric was made clear by individuals like Timothy McVeigh who believed in these kinds of conspiracies and felt that he had to take the battle to the enemy first. Al Qaeda centers itself on conspiracy. Jews control the US and are working with them to destroy Islam. They are killing thousands of people based on ridiculous illogical theories.

Paranoids who become more unstable over time begin to feed upon the ideology of fear and doom and their tendency for violence can be amplified over time by such irrational beliefs and active involvement in groups that support such beliefs.

More frightening is the fact that some well educated people are beginning to question the events of September 11th as being part of a government plot. Thanks in part to “convincing” videos full of junk science, conjecture, and just plain lies. This process is slow but effective over time. And people are often too lazy to go out and research something for themselves. They gladly sit back and question everything but the “evidence” of parasitic crazies, quite simply because sometimes its just entertaining.

Paranoia, conspiracy, and fear all drive cults, terrorist groups, and supremacist groups. Without these elements these groups don’t flourish. A threat must exist to keep the group intact. Often times this “threat” is a manufactured one using miniscule bits of truth and distorting them to outlandish proportions. Fear of being labeled foolish or ignorant also keeps these groups in tact. If you disagree on the elements of conspiracy and don’t follow the groupthink of the group you must be stupid, an outcast, and doomed to failure.

Look at Nazi Germany in World War 2. The populace was gradually brainwashed to believe that a single race was responsible for the impending destruction of Germany.

Perhaps that is why residents living near Auschwitz ignored the smell of burning flesh, because Hitler’s “evidence” of the Jewish threat was so convincing. Convincing that is in the absence of logic, reasoning, and real facts.

I speak from experience I am shamefully embarrassed to say. For some time I too bought into some conspiracy theory rhetoric. Until the day of September 11th when I was shocked into reality and realized that you don’t have to look for men in black hiding under your bed to get you. There are plenty of real threats out there ready, willing, and able to kill as many Americans as possible.

All because of their own conspiracy laden beliefs.