by Steve Cook
This one is pretty simple and probably so obvious to most that it is hardly worth mentioning but, hey, far be it from me to shut up:
History is in large measure driven by conspiracies of one kind or another. For example, Mark Anthony and his mates conspired to murder Caesar, the American revolutionaries conspired to liberate the colonies from the British Empire, the French Revolutionaries conspired to oust the aristocracy, ditto the Russian revolutionaries, ditto Hitler, ditto Guy Fawkes, ditto Tony Blair/George Bush and WMD etc etc etc Even the official US government explanation of 9/11 is actually a conspiracy theory.
So history is full of conspiracies of one kind or another. They are as old as civilisation and probably older. It is reasonable therefore to assume that conspiracies are still going on right now in present time and that conspiracy in large measure drives varuious events. That is not to say that everything is a conspiracy, just that (a) conspiracies happen (b) when they happen we tend not to know they are happening beczase by their nature they are covert (c) they happen more often than is entirely healthy (d) they influence events (d) they are undesirable if you want a world where we can all trust one another and (e) it is desirable to expose them.
Some will get exposed, others won’t – either because no-one spots them or they are too well covered up by the perpetrators and their chums.
A conspiracy gets exposed because someone twigs that there is a conspiracy going on. He or she then attempts to alert others. The exposing starts with putting together what data one has, extrapolating from it a theory as to what it is all about and promoting that theory in the hope that more people will pay attention and from that increased attention and interest more data will emerge.
The goal therefore of the perpetrator of a conspiracy if he wishes his conpsiracy to remain hiddeen is to nip the above in the bud either by (a) making sure no-one notices it in the first place or (b) if someone does notice it, ensuring no-one pays his theory any attention.
Of course, some conspiracy theories are plain wrong and/or made up and spread about as a propaganda ploy to mislead. The Flat Earth conspiracy theory is an example. It was wrong, it was put about to mislead – in my opinion it was an experiment by person or persons unknown to see to what degree blatantly false information would be swallowed by the masses or some such thing (another conspiracy theory right there!)
Per the Cambridge dictionary, a conspiracy is a secret plan made by two or more people to do something bad, illegal, or against someone’s wishes. The word comes from the Latin com (together or with) and spirare (to breathe).
A theory is a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained (from Oxford Languages)
A hypothesis is a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. (Oxford Languages)
It would probably be more accurate to call many conspiracy theories conspiracy hypotheses. But you can in any case summarise them as an attempt to explain events in terms of the actions of human beings working together to achieve some goal but who do not want people to know what they are doing.
There is nothing wrong with someone putting forward with sincerity a theory or hypothesis for the consideration of others. Indeed it is desirable unless you consider that we should all accept what we are told by the media, government and so on as the compete truth requiring no further examination or thought. It’s the short route to slavery but if slavery is what you want, then go for it.
Extant data, the emergence of new data and the ongoing pattern of events will put the hypothesis to the test and prove it either false, true, workable or incomplete. To the degree that a conspiracy hypothesis is correct, it will tend to explain or clarify events, why events are happning and the general pattern of events and it will also enable one to better predict events.
People who really are up to no good and for whom the theory put forward is a little too close to the mark for comfort will attempt to discredit the purveyor. One way of doing so is the use of ridicule.
This process is assisted by the fact that injected into the mix are some pretty wild ideas such as the Flat Earth conspiracy theory or the “alien lizard people are running the planet” conspiracy theory.
On the basis of the false idea that every conspiracy theory is the same as every other conspiracy theory anyone who comes up with the idea that there is a conspiracy going on is denigrated by association.
The denigration is usually an effort to deter people from looking in a certain direction or pursuing a line of enquiry.
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