Saturday, July 23, 2016

Conspiracy Theories as a Justification for Passivity

  By Gary North - July 22, 2016

I am a conspiracy theorist. I have been since 1958, when
I began to research the question of the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor. I have never accepted the official explanation that the
government had no advance warning of the attack.
I was the only
conspiracy theorist I knew of while a graduate student in history. I was
unique. I have kept at it over the years. But, I learned long ago that
in order to retain your sanity, and in order to remain productive, you
have to accept the official story most of the time unless there is
strong evidence to the contrary. If you don't accept this, you will
find yourself in a sea of chaos. You will have no concept of historical

One of the major problems of conspiracy theory
is that the conspiracy theorist can use his conspiracy theories to
separate himself from all cause-and-effect in history.

Someone who
believes that a conspiracy is behind everything, and therefore believes
that all official stories are corrupted by special interests or the
desire to deceive, is in a position of never being able to understand
any aspect of history. That is to say, visible cause-and-effect in
history has no effect on his thinking. He cannot come to grips with
causality in history, because he interprets all history, whether written
or unwritten, as the outcome of hidden forces that never reveal the
truth to anyone outside the conspiracy.

What if there is more than one conspiracy? Which one was the one behind an event? This creates havoc for conspiracy theorists.

chaos is one of the great pitfalls of all spy networks. They see all
truth as a deception. This is what brought down the famous CIA spy,
James Jesus Angleton. He was always convinced there was a mole in the
CIA, and he could never find who it was. I'm sure there were more than
one, but in most cases, the information that a mole would have had
access to was really not that important. The CIA never figured out that
the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse. What good is a spy
network that cannot detect the biggest trend of all?

I think for some
people, the desire to see all of life as a conspiracy is an attempt on
their part to disengage themselves from responsible decision-making.
They assume that they have no responsibility in history, because all of
history is a grand deception. This is the reigning outlook of Eastern
mysticism. All perception of history is maya, and maya is a delusion.

In short, turn on, tune in, drop out.

This is
futile, both personally and socially. It is the acceptance of the
principle that you can beat something with nothing. But, of course, you
cannot beat something with nothing. So, if you have no counter
explanation, and you are not actively involved in researching possible
rival explanations, then you have adopted paralysis in the name of
realism. You've adopted a theory of cause-and-effect that will always
remain hidden.

Eyewitness testimony, especially when photographed
on a cell phone, is strong evidence. There may be, and probably is,
contradictory eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously
unreliable, especially after two or three days have gone by. But
eyewitness testimony from several people, when backed up by videos taken
on separate cell phones, is powerful testimony. It makes testimony far
more compelling in our day than testimony has ever been in the past. The
technology of providing backup testimony is greater today than at any
time in human history. Thus, we should find more accurate historical
accounts than ever before.

If there
is a mass murder followed by dozens of funerals, you can safely assume
that there was a mass murder. If life insurance companies write checks
to beneficiaries, there was a mass murder.

 I knew one man who did this, historian
William Marina. Marina was the only historian who was actually in Dealey
Plaza at the time of the assassination. He had taken students to see
the President. He spent the next four decades investigating the topic,
including teaching classes on it, and benefiting from the division of
labor from his students. When it was all over, at the end of his life,
he concluded that Oswald acted alone. He did not think there was any
conspiracy to it. Yet Marina was a libertarian historian who did not
take the textbook view of anything important in history. He did,
however, write a textbook on Florida history.Sometimes there is
just no conspiracy involved, other than a lone gunner. But it never
hurts to look into it. It never hurts, that is, if you're serious about
looking into it. But if you're not serious about looking into it, drop
it. It can lead to paralysis.

Look for a motive. Then look for opportunity. That will help narrow your investigation.


Conspiracy Theories as a Justification for Passivity

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