I have a very low tolerance threshold for conspiracy theories, and when I see a source of information, either on the web or in print, which uses key words and phrases like ‘new world order’ or ‘illuminati’ or similar, then to my mind that lessens any reliance I put on that piece of writing. This is partly because, I’ve seen the so called evidence presented to me by conspiracy theorists for such things as vaccine ‘damage’, the nature of the 09/11 attacks, new world order so many times before and I have never found such evidence convincing. When I see such key phrases on a site, I don’t rely on any of the information contained therein, and I certainly wouldn’t quote from that source without some form of warning note attached to the quotation. I treat with contempt the utterances of those who have an adherence to conspiracy theories, as I would the utterances of the mentally sick, the drunk, and the political and religious extremist. I always find it very sad when I come across people who write really well, but spoil it by basing their viewpoint on conspiracist memes, such a thing always strikes me as a waste of a talent.
There are many reasons for my distaste for conspiracy theories but the main ones for me are that they are a deviation from the truth, they give rise to mad political movements and cause those who quote such theories a credibility loss. To elaborate on the first reason, many years ago I worked in a press agency and the legal and ethical problems that could be caused by not checking a source, or believing any old uncorroborated bullshit from a ‘green ink’ correspondent, was drummed into me by my superiors, who were impressive and obsessive fact-checkers.
Secondly, as we saw in the 20th century, conspiracy theories, and the paranoia that they feed and support, if they take off, as they did in Nazi Germany, can turn out to be lethal. False theories and false documentation played a big part in stoking the fires of Jew hatred in both Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Conspiracy theories are in a way like the ‘blood libel’ against the Jews, a piece of false information that people nonetheless believe and often has horrendous consquences.
Thirdly, I used to spend many a happy lunchtime arguing online with various flavours of conspiracy theorists on a left wing site. What I learned was that those who are obessed with the Kennedy assassination, the Princess Diana car accident, vaccine ‘damage’, chemtrails, new world order, illuminati, Zionist control of America, HAARP etc, were, if not certifiably deranged, certainly going out to find bent ‘evidence’ to fit their particular conspiracy theory, rather than seeing what outcome the available evidence gives. Because of this, I consider that promoting or quoting the above or similar memes reduces the credibility of those who do so. One of the best neologisms I’ve come across to describe those credulous people who believe in conspiracy theories is ‘conspiraloon’, which is very apt, it’s a loon promoting the idea of a conspiracy. I have examined the ‘evidence’ that the conspiraloons published to back up their theories about 9/11, vaccine damage, new world order, illuminati, HAARP and much more. So much of it was either unconvincing or not relevant or even plainly counter-factual, that now I do not need to read any of these wibblings any more. Don’t bother giving me the latest ‘evidence’ on Chemtrails, I’ll just delete it, or take the piss out of it and may I suggest that you save your efforts for the more credulous.
My message to the conspiraloons out there is that your beliefs are as irrational and counter to all available evidence as those who believe that Gordon Brown was a good Prime Minister. It is your right to hold such views, but you should expect to be laughed at, challenged, or have the evidential holes in your ideology pointed out. The tenacity with which conspiraloons hang onto their beliefs is almost cultic in nature and such beliefs should be treated with a similar level of contempt to that with which the Scientologists are treated. Sadly it is possible to see this irrational belief on otherwise sound and well written political blogs from both the Left and the Right, and that damages their credibility. For me the presence of conspiraloon ideas on a source is for me a big ‘Off’ switch, to see, for example, a site that has interesting things to say about politics also including articles about vaccine ‘damage’ immediately makes me put that site into my ‘do not trust’ list.
In anticipating criticism from the wounded egos of the conspiraloon world, it needs to be said that I’m not naïve about the nature of those in positions of authority. I know that politicians, judges, religious leaders, business people and bureaucrats can be self-serving, manipulative, venal, perverted, treasonous, authoritiarian, anti-democratic, mendacious and sometimes violent mountebanks. However, to say that there are invisible puppet masters controlling these classes of people is rubbish, put out by people who may have consumed a surfeit of Sci-Fi dystopia stories. All those negative traits listed above are human traits and humans world wide can be self-serving, manipulative etc etc. Humans don’t need encouragement to behave in negative ways, we just do.
We are all born with free will, we can choose to be good or we can choose to be bad, it’s the choice of the individual. There are no Lizard Kings, in a secret bunker telling Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council what to do, but rather we have a man who has put a lot of faith in the ideology of a united Europe, and has a lot to lose personally, politically and professionally, if this ideology, like that of Communism, proves to be false.
There are challenges in the world, and especially grave challenges to the democratic world, such as the threat of Islamism and jihadism for example, but these threats can be documented and provenances found. So far nobody has given me any credible evidence for things like chemtrails, HAARP, new world order or any one of the false gods that the conspiraloons worship.
People need to look to where there are real problems and to where the evidence suggests that there is a problem, and not get their knickers in a twist over false ideas, or the words of charismatic silver-tongued conspiracy theory prophets.
There is no ‘Lizard Conspiracy’, nor anything like it, just the normal messy business of politics, business, faith and human nature. There are no puppet masters, just ourselves and what we do. People shouldn’t be distracted by the chimera of conspiracy theories but instead should fight those enemies that really do exist.
List of main conspiracy theories from the Swallowing the Camel blog
To see the common conspiraloon theories comprehensively debunked then a trip to Snopes will be helpful