Author Topic: When conspiracy theories lead to tied-up thinking  (Read 521 times)

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Offline AbaraXas

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When conspiracy theories lead to tied-up thinking
« on: May 26, 2012, 05:34:28 PM »
...That "obscure psychological need" seems plain enough to me. The beauty of the true conspiracy theory is that there is no room for error or stupidity. Everything is planned. That is a comforting thought. This deep faith in the existence of a masterplan is, for all the radical posturing of the modern conspiracist, a deeply conservative viewpoint. The idea of the Illuminati was thought up in the 18th century to explain why the Enlightenment rejected the pillars of church and monarchy. One hundred years later, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were adapted by the tsarist regime in Russia, pinning blame for social unrest and anarchist violence on the easiest target – the country's already deeply oppressed Jews – who despite their desperate poverty and isolation in Russian society, apparently ran the world.

We may, in the Occupy movement, be seeing the latest strain of this tied-up thinking. The protesters have found a "They" (the nebulous 1%), who are keen to keep the masses (the 99%) subjugated. The recently published Occupy manifesto suggested not a serious critique of capitalism, but a skewed, and possibly dangerous view of how the world works. While the group seems broadly benign, it was disheartening to see their London ranks swelled by believers in "freeman of the land" pseudo law. More worryingly, the St Paul's camp was regularly frequented by advocates for Iran's Press TV, the propaganda channel of a regime that holds conspiracism at its core....

...And here lies a real problem. Conspiracism can appeal to the disenfranchised and idealistic as an explanation of why the world isn't how you'd like it to be. But it can become dangerous when one starts to believe that the big "They" are intent on keeping you from reaching your full potential, possibly out of malice, possibly out of fear of your unleashed abilities. Start that line, and you're really not far from believing in the Übermensch, a view that Anders Breivik undoubtedly subscribed to in his hotchpotch manifesto, filled with references to leftist plots against Europe and confused allusions to the Knights Templar, possibly gleaned from Scandinavian television's regular showings of the 1982 TV film of Ivanhoe.

Never delude yourself into thinking you're "influencing" or making a difference on the internet. It is an ephemeral pleasure.

Offline Chieftain

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Re: When conspiracy theories lead to tied-up thinking
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 05:52:45 PM »
Again this is from Britain, but we're had our share of this conspiracy theory crap here as well.

The Bush Family Evil Empire, Oklahoma City, 911 Trufers, and everything about Ron Paul, just to name a few.

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