A world full of conspiracy theorists is the perfect place for an evil mastermind to work, undetected. So warns Carl Pettit: but just which side is he on?
If I were an evil despot, maniacal overlord or thoughtful military strategist, I would probably be head-over-heels (that expression never really made sense to me, anatomically speaking) in love with conspiracy buffs and theorists. It’s only under the cover of a seemingly inexhaustible supply of astute, crazy and almost always contradictory conspiracy theories that the actions and misdeeds of the less-than-benevolent among us can be hidden in plain sight.
It doesn’t matter if we’re discussing the dark intentions of kings, prime ministers, domestic and foreign militaries, secret societies or formidable bankers. There are tons of wild alternative theories in existence, from who built Stonehenge or killed JFK, to the true backers of bombers, hijackers and powerful, world-dominating financial institutions. And you know what? Among the hundreds, if not thousands of outlandish conspiracy theories circulating today, a few of them are probably right, or very close to the mark—the conundrum arises when we try to figure out which ones hold water, and which ones are a load of rot.
Any practitioner of propaganda or disinformation, worth his or her salt, would most likely tell you (if he or she were so inclined) that the greater the number of contending theories concerning the “true” nature of a particular event that exist, the greater the number of confused souls there will be scrambling about, trying to prove their favorite theory correct. From bombs going off in Boston, and planes hitting the Twin Towers, to the reasons behind the sinking of the RMS Lusitania or UFO landings and Sasquatch (alleged) cover-ups, there isn’t a significant or traumatic global event yet that hasn’t been linked to a few conspiracy theories, at the very least.
That’s great news for people who want to keep a secret, or at least want to get away with something that can’t be totally hidden away from prying, public eyes. A world chock-full of conspiracy theories, uncovered by all manner of people (sane, and sometimes slightly less so) leads to confusion, and quite often the complete dismissal (by many) of any alternative theory challenging the official record of a specific event.
I’m not against the idea of conspiracy theories per se, and readily acknowledge that the facts we think we know about a particular tragedy or occurrence might be somewhat, or even entirely wrong, yet… most of the conspiracy theories I’ve come across usually point to some kind of brilliantly coordinated covert government apparatus, which has all of the actors working together in marvelous synchronization in order to carry out malevolent or sleuth like activities, oftentimes on a massive scale, with the objective of swaying public opinion and altering the course of world events. This godlike, yet secret ability of a powerful few gives me some doubts.
Is such a concert of like-minded and darkly intelligent human beings with vast resources, working behind the scenes, possible? Yes, it is. Who am I to say for sure? My hesitations stem from my personal experiences with governmental and military types. While some of these people were quite impressive in their creative mental prowess, other were definitely not, which makes me wonder how the same group of folks who’ve botched disaster relief, entire economies, military occupations and the day to day governance and protection of common citizens (guns laws, health care, immigration) could carry out conspiracy after successful conspiracy throughout the annals of history.
Of course, I’m only one man. Just because I’ve never come across a secret collective as influential as conspiracy aficionados would have us believe doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Or perhaps I’m just another cog in the well-oiled machine of disinformation, generated by a global elite set on keeping the dreams of my fellow brothers and sisters on the planet down. That’s the problem with conspiracy theories—you can never be entirely sure, despite strong evidence in any direction, of who’s right, and who’s not.