Originally published at https://ideapod.com/conspiracy-and-freedom/
I often find myself advocating positions characterized by others as conspiracy theories and am irritated in these cases at what I feel is unthinking lazy vituperative, often from energetic individuals capable of a very high level of thinking. I say that the emperor (as I see it) has no clothes. The unthinking response: “that’s conspiracy theory” (of which this article’s illusory pattern perception argument is an excellent example). The thoughtful response I’d prefer: “the emperor is not naked as I see it and let me explain why I see it this way.” The most disturbing aspect to this scenario is that it appears to be the result of carefully crafted disinformation propaganda.
According to Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermuele in their paper entitled Conspiracy Theories:
“Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups.”
Responding to the above-mentioned paper, Brandon Smith apologetically writes in Alt-Market.com the following:
“So, the same man (Sunstein) who accuses the alternative media of conspiracy mongering and the destruction of the western world is actively seeking to foment a conspiracy to undermine that movement.”
He continues, explaining the insidious origin of the use of the term to shut down contrary debate:
“CIA memo 1035-960, circulated within the CIA in 1967 and exposed through a freedom of information act request by the New York Times in 1976, outlines strategies the agency would use to shut down critics of the Warren Commission Report. Specifically, they suggested the accusation of “conspiracy” with negative connotations attached, predominantly in mainstream books and articles. This was indeed done through the CIA’s many puppets in the media, and the concept of “conspiracy theory” as a pejorative was born.”
Where the report of the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy is concerned, the memo directs CIA employees as follows: “… addressees are requested to employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics.” (source)
The emperor has authority because we believe that the emperor has authority. The moment we question that authority is the moment when we will begin to see the emperor’s nakedness. It is also the moment we will begin to reclaim our freedom.