by Brandon Smith
The phrase “conspiracy theory” is often used by establishment agencies, the mainstream media and useful idiots as a tool to dismiss legitimate evidence or viewpoints that disagree with their predetermined version of events. This method of propaganda was not always as widespread as it is today. The phrase was not “created” by the CIA, but it was in fact weaponized by them in the 1960’s after the assassination of John F. Kennedy with the express purpose of shutting down rational 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.
Through the use of strawman arguments, red herring fallacies and sophistry, the incredible scale of evidence (exposed by investigators like New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison) suggesting the Warren Commission was either corrupt or ignorant in its findings was buried in a flurry of hatchet jobs and hit pieces. And this was the goal, of course; to attack the messenger and silence the truth without having to go through the ugly process of directly confronting the truth.
Until recently, this strategy was highly effective. Attacking a person as a “conspiracy theorist” was the only tool critics really needed to keep a piece of evidence or a concrete viewpoint from going viral. Conspiracy theory is equated to insanity, or stupidity, or buffoonery. Everyone knows a conspiracy theorist is not to be taken seriously, so why waste time listening to what they have to say in the first place?
It should come as no surprise that conspiracy REALITY is not something these people want entertained by the public. Conspiracies are a fact of history. Governments lie, all the time, and they have been caught doing it. The media lies, constantly, and has been caught doing it. Yet, we are supposed to ignore this and assume that anyone daring to stand contrary to government and media claims is some kind of lunatic?
In the past 5-10 years, however, things have been changing. Suddenly, anti-establishment views and investigations of corruption are bulldozing the mainstream scripted narrative, and the elites and the media are bewildered. They can see they are losing control of popular thought and they are disturbed, to say the least. A steady stream of articles and essays have been flooding the MSM recently lamenting the rise of “conspiracy culture” and warning of the “death of democracy” if this is allowed to continue.
They seem specifically angered by the idea that their “journalistic” and “professional” status no longer matters to most people. Not long ago, anyone wearing a suit, a uniform, a lab coat, a journalist’s badge or collecting a government paycheck was supposed to be immediately taken seriously as a designated “expert”. As Noam Chomsky describes them in his book ‘Manufacturing Consent’, they were the professional class, the top 10% or less of individuals with “all the answers”. These were the people the establishment sought to indoctrinate most of all, because these were the community leaders that many in the public listened to without question.
Now there is a growing movement of people who could not care less about what kind of degree someone’s parents purchased for them from an ivy league university. They don’t care about establishment designations and fake accolades and titles and credentials. What they care about are facts and evidence. What they care about are the arguments a person puts forth, rather than how important they purport to be. This is causing some consternation among the elites.
A key figure and gatekeeper in the propaganda war against the alternative media and conspiracy reality is Cass Sunstein, former “Information Czar” in the Obama Administration. Sunstein has written numerous books and articles lamenting the growing influence of the alternative media, including his book ‘Conspiracy Theories And Dangerous Ideas’.
The main thrust of Sunstein’s position is that conspiracy theories isolate the populace into small groups of like-minded people perpetuating each others “misguided” views. He also suggests that these groups represent a concrete threat to the stability of government and of society by spreading wrong (or perhaps inconvenient) information and civil unrest. In other words, a few decades ago all information was centralized and filtered by the corporate media and government, and now the internet is decentralizing information flow thereby allowing people to think differently and break from the majority narrative, which is unacceptable by Sunstein’s standards.
Sunstein sees the creation of a public hive mind as the best outcome for social order. He suggests in his book ‘Nudge’ the concept of “Libertarian Paternalism” (which is neither libertarian or paternal). He advocates for the control of society through subversive means of influence (nudging) while allowing people to continue believing that their choices are actually their own.
But how would Sunstein go about executing this influence? His solution to the threat of the alternative media was first made clear in his paper titled ‘Conspiracy Theories’, published in 2008. In it, he argues in favor of government interference or control of alternative media or “conspiracy theory” sources. His primary tactic was the infiltration of alternative media forums and sites by government agents or private actors paid by the government to disrupt discussion, derail activism and sow seeds of doubt or chaos. Effectively, Sunstein wanted the covert destruction of the liberty media by paid agitators.
So, the same man 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. Is this irony, or hypocrisy or both? Doesn’t this mean that Sunstein is a part of one of the very conspiracies he criticizes people like me for being concerned about?
Sunstein and his elitist ilk want the power to erase or sabotage the alternative media. In fact, there are probably a few of their agent provocateurs attacking this article in the comments below right now. They would prefer that the government eventually take full control of the internet and dictate the terms of media participation directly. This gives rise to one of the most important questions that the establishment does not want to answer – Who gets to decide what is and what is not “dangerous conspiracy theory”?
If pressed, the elites will ultimately suggest that they are the best qualified. Sunstein describes the general public in his books as essentially lazy, unintelligent, impulsive and not to be trusted to make good decisions. He does not seem to include himself and his globalist comrades as being prone to the same weaknesses. They are apparently wise and benevolent enough to make the best decisions for all of us. Imagine that…
This elitism bias and Sunstein’s overall methodology for biting at the ankles of the liberty media is being carried over into a new wave of propaganda in the past couple of years, primarily coming from (though not limited to) the political left.
Sunstein’s gatekeeping has spawned a cancerous growth of copycats in progressive academics. This is going on everywhere, but one particular example I found recently was on Vox, a leftist rag which shamelessly flaunts its political bias and actively slanders conservatives. Vox’s article ‘Conspiracy Theories Are Getting More Absurd And Harder To Refute’ promotes a new book which regurgitates Sunstein’s propaganda model. The article takes special time to reassert the old disinformation narrative by stating that:
“Democracy requires a minimum amount of mutual trust among citizens, and conspiracism destroys it.”
Are you getting the sense yet that there is a repetitive message coming from these people that they want you to embrace? Is there ANYTHING true about the statement above? The fundamental root of their argument is that conspiracy theories (viewpoints outside the mainstream) must be treated as existential threats to society. In other words, some ideas are so dangerous that they must be controlled or outlawed. The basis of this argument, though, is entirely fraudulent.
First, leftists incessantly refer to our society as a “democracy”, I think because they believe if they tell the lie enough it will become reality by default. The US was never intended to be a “democracy”, but a Republic, and with good reason. Democracy requires blind and often misplaced faith in the system. A Republic requires constant vigilance and healthy skepticism. In a Republic, we are not supposed to simply “trust” that our leaders are going to do the right thing. We are supposed to put them under a microscope, uncover criminality and corruption, and generally make them uncomfortable at all times. It is our civic duty to become “conspiracy theorists”.
The establishment prefers a democracy because in a democracy 51% of the population can dictate the individual liberties of the other 49%, and they are rightly convinced that they can influence the thinking and decisions of the larger half. Also, in a democracy, society revolves around moral relativism and the ever arbitrary “greater good for the greater number”, instead of governing according to individual liberty, inherent moral compass and human conscience.
The Vox article goes on to make the claim that while there are some correct conspiracy theories, they have all come from the left side of the political spectrum (which they call “progressive” conspiracy theories”). They then assert that there are no verifiable conspiracy theories coming from the political right. This is madness.
When Cass Sunstein describes the tribalist isolation and conspiracy delusions of certain groups, he was clearly trying to mislabel conservative activists and the alternative media, but the REAL conspiracy nutbags have actually been on the left this whole time.
A lot of young leftist millennials, professional (I say this with the utmost sarcasm) mainstream media personalities and celebrities foolishly bought into the Russiagate conspiracy theory; a theory based on ZERO concrete evidence and a garbage heap of empty conjecture. For example, how many sessions of Real Time With Bill Maher or Late Night With Stephen Colbert was the Russiagate fantasy propped up as verified fact by a screeching flock of leftist parrots, blanketed in the protective peanut-brained imbecility of the audiences in their Los Angeles and New York echo chambers?
Even today, after the long anticipated Mueller Report led to no indictments, leftists continue to cling desperately like hemorrhoids to the anus that is Russiagate.
Leftists have to this point justified much of their schizophrenic and sometimes violent and criminal behavior on the lie that Donald Trump is a usurper put into office by Russian manipulation of US elections. Now isn’t this the epitome of a conspiracy theory that is destructive to society?
Not all conspiracy theories are started by the alternative media. Many are started by the establishment itself, and these are indeed designed to cause the destabilization of the nation.
At the same time, the fabricated Russiagate conspiracy has been very effective at leading the left away from the very real conspiracy of Trump’s saturation of his cabinet with banking elites and globalist think tank ghouls like John Bolton, Steven Mnuchin or Wilber Ross. Weren’t these the same elites that Trump was going to “drain from the swamp”? Why hasn’t the left talking about that for the past two years?
The article also makes no mention of the DNC rigging of the Democratic primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders. This was a conspiracy conservatives had to help expose, while the left sat idle and ignored it, hyperfocusing on their hatred of Trump while propping up Hillary Clinton, a repeat criminal offender. But, hey, conservative conspiracies are always wrong and leftist conspiracies are often correct according to Vox and friends…
And what about the verified fact of mass digital surveillance by government on the public? This was a conspiracy that conservative groups had been warning about for years. We were called kooks, because why would the government care about what the average person did in their day-to-day life? Our fears were verified by the exposure of classified data by people like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange (who is now facing extradition and prosecution for nothing more than publishing truths on the internet). Both the political left and political right are aggressively hostile to both these men, and are seeking to bury them.
My question is, what is really more dangerous? Conspiracy theories, or the actual conspiracies governments and elitists execute against the people?
The message here is not ambiguous at all. To summarize, the establishment wants control of internet media, by hook or by crook, in the name of protecting people from themselves and from ideas they consider unsettling to the world order. The political left is all on board with this as long as their conspiracy theories are treated with legitimacy; and they will be, because their conspiracy theories are the establishment’s conspiracy theories.
The only theories that are being threatened with subjugation are those of conservatives and the alternative media that are contrary to centralization and government power. Not because our theories are dangerous to the fabric of society, but because our theories are dangerous to the people who want to dictate the fabric of society. Our activism and journalism represents decentralized thought which could choke the engine of the globalist agenda. We aren’t tearing down the western world, we’re the only thing keeping it alive.