Conspiracy theories and fantasy.

Reply Sat 4 May, 2024 06:37 am
This is a very long article by George Monbiot where he meets a promoter/believer of anti vaxx antisemitic tripe.

I am a conspiracy theorist. I believe that groups of people conspire secretly against our interests to line their pockets, cover their backs or achieve political goals. By this definition I suspect you are, too. We see evidence of these conspiracies every day. We see them in the Horizon scandal, in which the Post Office kept prosecuting innocent operators. We see them in the government’s use of a “VIP” lane for procuring PPE from friends and donors at extortionate prices. We see them in the Windrush scandal, in which people were denied their legal rights and unlawfully deported by the UK government. In the Cambridge Analytica scandal: a secretive micro-targeting campaign likely to have influenced the Brexit vote. In the Panama Papers and the Pandora Papers, showing how the ultra-rich hide their money from taxes and legal scrutiny.

All these are conspiracies in the true sense: hidden machinations that advance particular interests while causing harm to others. A theory is a rational explanation, subject to disproof. If you accept these scandals are the result of hidden machinations, which they evidently are, you are a conspiracy theorist.

As so often with matters of public importance, the language we use is deficient and misleading. We need better terms, that distinguish wacky and often malign fairytales from the very essence of democracy: the reasoned suspicion of those who exercise power over us. I prefer to call the fairytales “conspiracy fictions” and those who peddle them “conspiracy fantasists”.

An extraordinary aspect of this issue is that there’s so little overlap between conspiracy fantasists and conspiracy theorists. Those who believe unevidenced stories about hidden cabals and secret machinations tend to display no interest in well-documented stories about hidden cabals and secret machinations.

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Reply Sat 4 May, 2024 07:04 am
Every political persuasion has its share of the mistaken or misguided. It's up to each of us to keep our focus on the ultimate prize -

And that's all I am going to commit myself to saying, as I have vowed to keep out of the political discussions on here.
Reply Sat 4 May, 2024 07:12 am
I think you're a man of honour Ed, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm with George Monbiot on this.

I remember arguing with JTT about his twin towers horseshit detracting from the very real conspiracies allowing the US and UK govts. to embark on an illegal war in Iraq, the passing of the antidemocratic Patriot Act and Halliburton industries making a **** ton of money.
Reply Sat 4 May, 2024 07:45 am
...detracting from the very real conspiracies allowing the US and UK govts. to embark on an illegal war in Iraq...

Or how about the jihadists who conspired to attack the Great Satan itself?

The actual conspiracies exposed by conspiracy theorists seem to differ in substance and credibility than the fantasy conspiracies which are often either preposterous or bordering on the paranormal. It's not difficult to believe that elements of big corporations and government might work together, in secret, to promote a particular outcome. The problem is getting access to the paper trail but once uncovered the case can be unraveled and all the participants identified.

But stuff like the Q-anon crap (which has, mercifully, seemed to recede) is much more difficult to actually disprove because the purported "evidence" is just made up. So when the gunman appeared at the pizzagate restaurant and couldn't find the imprisoned children, fantasists knew that the perpetrators had been warned and had obviously moved the children.

Yeah, I agree with the article but I doubt that alternative terms to differentiate between the two types of conspiracy will ever come into use. Maybe there's a term from another language that could be used?

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