It's a conspiracy!
to make conspiracy theorists feel silly
Originally posted by ziggystar60
Do we see conspiracies where there really is none, just because we feel a lack of control in our lives?
I believe so, and I believe I can explain why, too.
Most people who don't get what they want will blame someone else for it. This is human nature and although it isn't a very good or helpful habit,
it's an understandable one. We've all done it, even if only as children.
Now think how it is with the perennially unsuccessful, those for whom nothing ever seems to go right, however hard they try. Except for a tiny
minority who are genuinely the victims of bad luck, such folk are obviously doing something wrong. Lightning does sometimes strike twice, and bad luck
too, but neither bad luck nor lightning are famed for striking over and over again in the same place. Thus the cause of recurrent failure must lie
within the one who fails - some poorly-developed faculty, some quirk of personality (shortness of temper, a mental illness of some kind, a deficiency
of intelligence) that robs him or her of success time and time again, sometimes snatching defeat out of the very jaws of victory.
Such people, unable or unwilling to look within themselves for the cause of their ill fortune, are all too likely to blame other people - or reptilian
aliens, or evil spirits, or God Himself - for it instead.
Such are the conspiracy theorists.
Then there are others, who are not in truth failures, but feel that they have been denied their just deserts in life. The manager who was passed over
for department head, the singer who makes a reasonable living on the club circuit but can't get anyone to buy her records. These people, who work
within the system but cannot get the system to work for them, are quite liable to believe that the corporate world is run by a cabal of Masons and
Jews, or that you can't get a break in the music industry without performing sexual favours for record company bosses.
Such, also, are conspiracy theorists.
I spoke on the telephone this morning to a friend in Bombay (they call it Mumbai these days). My friend is a senior advertising man with a reputation
in the industry. He is also a Muslim. You wouldn't call him a loser by any means, but this morning, with his city torn apart by murderous acts of
terror, conflicting reports flying around and everyone in a state of fear and confusion, this is what he told me: 'Remember, the Indian elections are
due soon, and after this, the BJP (a right-wing Hindu party) will be a shoo-in.'
He's suggesting, in other words, that Hindu nationalists are behind these attacks under a false Jihadi flag, using them to raise anti-Muslim feeling
and ensure the election of the Hindu party. My friend's normally secure economic and social position cannot insure him against the fear and sense of
helplessness he feels at this time of crisis and threat, so he embraces an explanation that will help absolve his co-religionists (and by extension,
himself) of blame for these vicious attacks.
My friend is, for the moment, a conspiracy theorist.
After 9/11, the whole world was riven by feelings of terror and helplessness, but none more so than pro-Western Arabs. I have a few friends of this
kind, and it was from them that I heard the first 9/11 conspiracy theories. They tended to blame Israel or the CIA, or both, but that isn't my point:
my point is that the vast corpus of 9/11 conspiracy theories is eminently the result of so many people's feelings of helplessness on that
9/11 turned more Westerners into conspiracy theorists than any other event of recent memory.
The circumstantial evidence is all in favour of the conclusion: conspiracy theories are the opiate of the helpless.