Conspiracy Theories and The Struggle for Social Improvement
"I Told You So"
They seem like an inextricably tangled web. And everyone always has one. Some incredibly fantastic story about a malevolent plot to control the masses through mind control devices that take the appearance of innocuous, everyday household appliances. A handful of circumstantial red herring evidence that points towards a cabal of untouchable men who sit behind giant locked marble doors in expensive Chesterfield winged chairs, smoking cigars and drinking 30 year old scotch as their best laid plans to run the world are set in motion with a snap of their fingers. Shape shifting aliens who came to Earth thousands of years ago and take on the form of humans to become society's most revered and glorified celebrities whose only intent is to enslave mankind. Or secret government cover-ups about all of the aforementioned scenarios. Needless to say, the ignominious and turbulent state of society today leaves people searching for answers as to how and why it got this way. Ostensibly, regardless of how outlandish or unlikely they are, conspiracy theories tend to satisfy the desperate urge for answers to such a tumultuous state of existence; at least for some. Ironically, some of these conspiracy theories have even turned out to be conspiracy facts. MKUltra, COINTELPRO, Iran-Contra, Watergate, the Northwoods documents, the Gulf of Tonkin, and the NSA spy controversy, as well as many others have, in fact, been proven to be true leaving the intensely certain theorists sweating with anticipation to utter the sweetest rejoinder ever known to man; "I told you so".
So, what if it did turn out to be true? What if we learned that there really is a secret shadow government of a few evil rich white men who hold all the secrets to the universe, have scientists surreptitiously developing futuristic weapons, controlling the population with clandestine technological advances, and manipulating financial markets with a master computer? What if there really were reptile like aliens that take the shape of humans. What if the government really does control the weather with secret extraterrestrial technology hidden in the north pole? What if it turned out the Earth really is flat? What if all the most ridiculously unlikely, fantastically imaginative scandals and conspiracies we could conjure up turned out to be true? Historically speaking... probably nothing. When the Iran-Contra scandal was exposed, what happened? Nothing. Sure, there were congressional proceedings, patsies took their expected fall, retribution (or some pathetic vague facsimile thereof) was doled out but, it's not like there was any kind of overhaul to the system that allowed for such insouciant disregard of the people or their will. When COINTELPRO finally came to light, what was the result? Nothing. The perfidious program ran by the American government for over 30 years which was responsible for the deaths of at least 5 innocent American civilians, the false imprisonment of hundreds more, and endangering and destroying the lives of thousands still, finally ended yet, the system that allowed for such an egregious policy still stood strong and proud. When the Pentagon papers were published and it became common knowledge that the American government staged an ambush on their own military just to drum up popular support to enter the war in Vietnam, it's not like there was any mass organizing effort by the people to deconstruct the government that was responsible for the deaths of millions of soldiers and even more innocent Vietnamese civilians. Twenty or thirty years ago, had you told the average person on the street that the U.S. government was watching them through satellite and listening to their phone calls, the most likely response would probably have been an iconoclastic sound of derision. But what happened when Edward Snowden publicly announced with irrefutable evidence that the NSA was doing exactly that? There was more popular support to capture and try Snowden for treason than there was to dismantle the agency that was violating American citizens' constitutionally protected right to privacy. History has taught us that exposing conspiracy theories as conspiracy facts, doesn't lead to any substantial change to the systems of socio-economic and political functions that allowed for them to occur in the first place. In fact, in some instances, the exposure of the conspiracy was actually welcomed and lauded by the people. In the 1940's, had you told people that the government was working on a project to develop a secret weapon that could destroy everything and kill everyone within 5 miles of it's blast in one shot, they may have had you committed. But that's exactly what happened. It was called the Manhattan project and the weapon was the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Once they were dropped and WWII ended, the American and European population threw their collective arms up in victory and the media had a veritable patriotic frenzy.
The Bigger Picture
While the general intent that motivates it is usually in the same vain as political education, exposing scandals, corruption, and conspiracies is a misguided step in educating people with the hopes of effecting substantial change. To be sure, education and agitation are necessary for organizing the masses. There is no question. But the education and agitation have to be systematically relevant to the condition of the masses. Appealing to their sense of betrayal with isolated incidents by an entity that they've already come to abhor is redundant and therefore, gratuitous. Furthermore, as we saw, the conditions themselves never change. Anytime a conspiracy turns out to be true, the conditions that allowed for the development of the conspiracy stay in tact. A comparative examination of the historical timeline would help to elucidate why this is. Capitalism was founded and spread as the economic norm in the 600's B.C.E. On the other hand, Freemasonry is estimated to be established as early as 1646 C.E. but, it wasn't until 1717 C.E. that the Freemasons were officially formed. Even by the earliest estimates, that's still over 2000 years after the rise of capitalism. Additionally, Adam Weishaupt founded the Illuminati in 1776 C.E. That's over 2100 years after the advent of capitalism. Conversely, Europeans started colonizing Africa as early as 1420 C.E. That's at least 220 years before the earliest estimates of established Freemasonry and over 350 years before the founding of the Illuminati. In 1446, Portugal claimed ownership of over the region of Guinea which became the center of their slave trade on the African west coast. Again, about 200 years before the earliest accounts of Freemasonry and about 330 years before the establishment of the Illuminati. Needless to say, capitalism and racism were firmly grounded as social and economic systems long before secret societies started giving conspiracy theorists cause for alarm. Moreover, it is precisely these social and economic systems that not only allow for the development and execution of conspiracy facts but, that also persistently continue to be the social and economic systems even after conspiracy facts are brought to light.
Time and Energy
Unfortunately, the burning need for an explanation coupled with the unquenchable passion to be right has a hideous propensity to blind any further analysis of the social, political, and economic conditions that exist regardless of why they happened. History tells us that the energy being spent trying to expose whatever pernicious plans are lurking in the shadows will fall vastly short of the change necessary to obstruct them. So, essentially, it doesn't really matter if the Illuminati are real. It's irrelevant whether or not the government uses direct energy weapons or played a role in 9/11. Because even if they were real, no one would care. Particularly with the ethos of contemporary society which glorifies the capitulation to authority as a virtue, people don't really care if they're being controlled through a means other than direct captivity. Most people have conceded to the erroneous idea that the price of freedom is their right to autonomy. This is why very little is done in terms of mobilization by the people after the conspiracies that have proven to be true come to light. If we spent less time and energy trying to organize against corruption and instead spent that time and energy organizing against the conditions that allow for that corruption, we could make more headway in precluding any conspiracies, regardless of how ridiculously inconceivable they may seem.
© 2019 Caleb Murphey