Where are our conspiracy theories?


I’m feeling left out. I just encountered yet another story of a shadowy cabal conspiring to destroy humanity by promoting transgenderism, and it got me wondering why we don’t have our own silly conspiracy theories.

While prominent Jewish transgender activists like Jazz Jennings and Jennifer Pritzker, and Jewish-themed shows like Transparent, serve as one face of this imagined conspiracy, white nationalists believe the real power is wielded behind the scenes by Jewish billionaires, talent managers, media and entertainment executives, journalists, and advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League. They think this shadow network is working patiently to normalize transgender acceptance in popular culture; as another Occidental Observer writer put it, “the stunningly disproportionate Jewish involvement in the ‘transgender rights’ movement reveals it as yet another form of Jewish ethnic warfare.”

This Jewish activism, they are convinced, is laser-focused on attacking white, Western society at its most vulnerable and sacrosanct point: the sexuality of children.

As Henrik Palmgren, leader of the white nationalist multimedia company Red Ice said in 2015, the Jewish parents of Jazz Jennings, by supporting their young daughter to become a trailblazing advocate for trans empowerment and acceptance, were enacting “one of the most disturbing agendas the Zionist elite have ever created.” This attempt at “normalizing the abnormal,” Palmgren wrote, “will sacrifice the physical and mental health of numerous children for decades to come.”

I mean, look at that! Why? Who gets together in meetings and schemes to cripple children? What loon would think that the “most vulnerable point” of Western society is allowing a tiny minority of young people to define their own sexuality? It’s not an effective strategy, and I also can’t believe that any subgroup that acquires “real power” would be interested in destroying the culture they are succeeding in. If anything, history tells us that the powerful tend to work to maintain the status quo.

That got me wondering, though, if I believe in any conspiracies. I don’t know; I think billionaires are the most horrible, disruptive force in society, but I don’t think they’re intentionally working together to nefarious ends — they’re just selfish people who are exploiting the system independently. Republicans are doing great evils, but again, it’s not a plot. It’s just ignorant people mired in fallacious dogma. Creationists are just pathetic. There’s no one on the other side I’d consider an evil mastermind, the other side seems to be full of bumbling, incompetent human beings, just like my side.

That’s a problem, maybe. It would all be so much easier if we could identify a distinguishable group to demonize, but instead, they is us.

Comments

  1. brucegee1962 says

    If George Soros or some other imaginary evil liberal billionaire were to address his evil science minions and say “I want you to invent a virus that attacks people based on their political affiliation: if they are liberal they are immune, but if they’re conservative they die,” the science minions would laugh and say it couldn’t possibly be done. And yet it has been done; the conspiracy-mongers did it to themselves. We are now entering a phase of the virus where a disproportionate number of deaths will be from Republican vaccine-deniers.
    Obviously this is not a good thing, but you would think some conspiracy-mongers might notice this and start spreading the rumor that ant-vax is a liberal plot. Is there any way we could get on their conspiracy channels and start spreading this rumor?

  2. charley says

    ” they’re just selfish people who are exploiting the system independently.”

    Billionaires have been working together for decades funding think tanks, lobbyists, educational initiatives, media, special interest groups, judges and politicians. Evil Geniuses by Kurt Anderson will make your blood boil.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    COVID19 is not accurate enough.
    I want a bug that attacks people with penthouse apartments or rolls-royce cars that are indifferent to human suffering. Maybe I could deliver it through the ventilation system in the next CPAC meeting?
    Areolized Ebola?

  4. PaulBC says

    I subscribe to the “rule by lizard people” theory. It makes at least as much sense from the left as from the right.

  5. whywhywhy says

    Anecdotally, the Jewish folks I know are similar to most other groups when it comes to trans issues. The more religious they are, the more likely they are transphobic and less accepting of the LGBTQ community.

  6. raven says

    As a member of the Illuminati, I can assure you that we are real.
    We long ago took over the world.

    All we ended up with is 7.8 billion bad tempered, untrainable jumped up monkeys.
    It wasn’t our best idea.
    These days, we are just trying to keep them from destroying the earth while we invent space flight, so we can get away from here.

  7. ardipithecus says

    After 4 years of Trump, I am amazed that anyone thinks that a leader can’t be someone who is ignorant, incompetent, bumbling, racist, misogynist, backstabbing, . . . .

  8. garnetstar says

    That “this Jewish activism…is laser-focused” is pretty damn funny.
    Focused from space, of course.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    We are [fnord] our own worst enemy,
    The enemy is us.
    Only the Illuminati can see the fnord in my opening sentence.
    I won’t join any group that would have ME as a member. oh no.
    My conspiracy theory is that ET aliens are visiting us to tease us with the craptastic [Ancient Aliens] to keep rational people dismissing the idea of ET aliens as balderdash not worth considering. In order to filly infiltrate our system of high technology, introducing occasional breakthroughs to keep us convinced people are ‘good enough’.
    No never mind, not good enough “theory” to go anywhere. oh well

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    … no one on the other side I’d consider an evil mastermind…

    Hrrmm. Trump™ does have an uncanny intuition for manipulating his marks, and surely the “Mc” in “McConnell” stands for “Machiavelli”. But clearly the Professor Moriarty amongst the current Legion of Doom (to mix malign mastermind metaphors) is Rupert Murdoch, whose continuing crimes would fill several books yet who remains legally clean.

  11. Wounded King says

    I think there is a not unreasonable case to be that some of the right’s ongoing projects to limit voting rights and stuff the judiciary with constitutional ‘originalists’ could be construed as conspiracy. For an example of how easy it is to teeter on the edge of sounding like a conspiracy theorist I recommend Cody Johnston’s video on conservative dark money in the courts (https://youtu.be/lqlKMrq387Q).

  12. mnb0 says

    “it got me wondering why we don’t have our own silly conspiracy theories”
    Wasn’t this blog supposed to be a conspiracy of Social Justice Warriors trying to make this world a better place, or something? Given that Homo Sapiens basically is a plague (I refer to the 6th mass instinction), the question rises: how sillier can you get it?

  13. blf says

    @15, “6th mass instinction” — I read that Typos offering as “6th mass instinct”, along the lines of touch, see, smell, hear, feel, and plague. Or should that be eat, sleep, groom, fart, something or another, and plague?

    I realise “6th mass extinction” was meant.

  14. says

    @#2, brucegee1962:

    If George Soros or some other imaginary evil liberal billionaire were to address his evil science minions and say “I want you to invent a virus that attacks people based on their political affiliation: if they are liberal they are immune, but if they’re conservative they die,” the science minions would laugh and say it couldn’t possibly be done. And yet it has been done; the conspiracy-mongers did it to themselves. We are now entering a phase of the virus where a disproportionate number of deaths will be from Republican vaccine-deniers.

    Oh, except for the overwhelming majority of the world’s population who live in poverty, of course, where the numbers are continuing to go up regardless of political affiliation in American terms. (Although, of course, many of those regions have right-wing governments… which we, in America, have installed via coup and refuse to let the public remove. Look at the Obama administration helping to bring the poisonous Bolsonaro to power, for instance.) Experts say that most of the coronavirus deaths in the entire continent of Africa have yet to happen, while it is predicted that a majority of their population there won’t be vaccinated until 2028. (Thanks in large part to our unwillingness to waive patents on vaccines, thank you ever so much Bill Gates!)

    And, of course, there’s the entirely predictable rise of vaccine-escaping variants, already beginning to show up, which may very well be more dangerous than the original virus and kill indiscriminately once again once they return here. Those unvaccinated poorer parts of the globe will continue to create these regardless of vaccination rates here in the wealthier areas, and the jump the Brazilian variant made to Canada, for one, shows that we wealthy nations are completely inept at keeping our borders closed when there’s money involved. (And our economics are largely predicated on exploiting the global south, so money is always involved.)

  15. says

    I don’t think conspiracy theories get as far on the left because we’re a bit better at in-group criticism, something I’ve tried to support.

    This guy is kind of a right wing counterpart to Soros from a donor point of view.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Ahmanson_Jr.
    They also have tourette syndrome. I’ve wondered if history ran differently there would be conspiracies about a demon possessed donor instead of a Jewish one (TS has been connected to that in history). But I’m not Jewish so maybe that has some flaws.

  16. PaulBC says

    To get back to lizard people for a second, sometimes it’s really obvious. Are you going to tell me Matt Gaetz’s face is not a cheap rubber mask? He’s exactly what a lizard person thinks a powerful alpha-human looks like.

  17. blf says

    @19, You must really dislike lizard people. Yeah, they are not very convincing humans, but Gaetz is not even convincing as lump (doesn’t matter lump of what, Gaetz is not a convincing lump (and apologies to all lumps and most whats)).

    It’s been pointed out in another blog not too far away some images of Gaetz are almost indistinguishable from Max Headroom (except for the (alleged-)hair colour).

  18. Dauphni says

    Since the whole “lizard people” is just repackaged antisemitism, can we not?

  19. PaulBC says

    Dauphni@21 I’m pretty sure it has antecedents in science fiction that have nothing to do with antisemitism.

  20. PaulBC says

    @23 Well, I like the image of the villain pulling off a rubber mask to reveal that they are something other than human. This is problematic since the truth is that humans are about as bad as it gets and there is no need to imagine an alien monster. But it’s just a great a schlocky image to fall back one.

    This, I think, is less a case of alien conspiracies originating in antisemitism than perfectly good conspiracy theories getting co-opted by bad people. I could fallback on cryptozoology, but honestly it is hard to develop a political theory around bigfoot.

  21. blf says

    @22, @21, The David Icke conspiracy theory is certainly antisemitic, but the idea of lizard people long predates that nutcase, mostly(? entirely?) as fictional story-telling device. From Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge, “Michael Barkun, professor of political science at Syracuse University, posits that the idea of a reptilian conspiracy originated in the fiction of Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E Howard [… in] “The Shadow Kingdom”, published in Weird Tales in August 1929. […] Howard’s ‘serpent men’ were described as humanoids (with human bodies and snake heads) who were able to imitate humans at will, and who lived in underground passages and used their shapechanging and mind-control abilities to infiltrate humanity.” Howard apparently begun his career with a somewhat bigoted outlook but seems to have eventually moderated or changed his views.

    I myself am not familiar with Howard (including Conan, albeit I’ve heard of that character), or his “serpent men” — perhaps someone who is can comment on any possible antisemitism there?

  22. PaulBC says

    blf@26 Intriguing, but still not something that can explain the eternal appeal of supply-side economics despite its repeated debunking.

    Also sort of hard to imagine Greybeard calling “Honey, I’m home!” to Sasquatch. (I’ll work on it.)

  23. blf says

    @27, Actually, it explains the so-called appeal of supply-side economics quite well. Supply-side economics promises something you never see. Very similar to Entwives, who exist but are rarely seen. Entwives are fascinating, so that so-called legend has been corrupted into a economic fantasy with similar attributes. The truth-into-fantasy conversion has garbled things slightly, of course; e.g., Greybeard is wise and (usually) nice, neither Koch brother is neither.

  24. unclefrogy says

    I think that conspiracy theories must be connected with our fascination with and need to tell stories one of the primary ways we think. I have never heard of the opposite kinds of conspiracies either. Could it be connected to the human need to create religion? Which is so similar to conspiracy theory that I do not see any real distinction not in the way they work any way.
    People want a sure discrete story that is in some way predictable to explain existence and their lives even if it is full of contradictions and does not match what is really experienced day to day. Just look at Trump and “trumpism” it has never matched reality at any point but he and the followers can still not let it go to face reality.
    It is hard to face that we are not special nor privileged in anyway We seem to be different only in our ability to not accept existence as what it is and makeup unchanging stories to believe instead. All the rest of the creatures do not seem to have that problem.
    our “intelligence” is really a double edged sword.
    uncle frogy

  25. snarkrates says

    So, who is this “us” of which you speak. ‘Cause if it’s the political left, I heard some pretty wild speculations from the Bernie Bro’s about both Hillary and Ol’ Joe. If it’s more mainstream, some of the speculation about Darth Cheeto being the Manchurian Candidate–a Russian agent–were fairly far out there. Some anti-vaxxers are let wing, although they seemed to have no difficulty swinging into Q-Anon. I think there are some who care about climate change who envision a vast right-wing conspiracy as being behind all the denial, when in reality, it’s just plain human stupidity, guilt and laziness, coupled with some advertising funds from the Koch suckers.

    And I think sometimes we can think of all the cop on minority violence as arising from a conspiracy, when really, it’s a systemic problem with roots deep in a racist past. We’re all prone to onspiracist ideation if we get lazy. It’s tempting because it localizes the problem and makes it easier to envision solutions if we just have to get rid of a few bad people.

  26. raven says

    Why are we insulting the lizard people here, anyway?

    Lizard People’s Lives Matter!!!

  27. Tethys says

    The show V aired in 1983, and was remade in 2009. Alien Lizard people taking over the world is its plot.

    I always imagined the Morlocks in The Time Machine as vaguely reptilian, similar to the Sleestaks in the 1974 kids program, Land Of The Lost.

    Bigfoot is clearly a dvergr, as is the dragon Smaug. I always picture Ents as shrubbery, not at all lizard-like or a cave Golem.

  28. PaulBC says

    Tethys@32 Weren’t the Morlocks supposed to be the divergent evolution of humans, though? (Specifically the workers.) It was a silly idea then, and seems moot now with automation.

  29. Tethys says

    @PaulBC

    Yes, the premise of HG Wells novel is that humans diverge into the Eloi descended from wealthy elites, and the Morlocks descended from working class folk.

    The Morlocks eat the Eloi, and live underground much like Sleestaks. I don’t remember many other details from the book, it’s been a very long time since I’ve read The Time Machine.

  30. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @27 and blf @28: Do you mean Treebeard? I think you should both hand in your LotR fan cards.

  31. PaulBC says

    RobG@35 Darn. You’re right. I did a quick search to check and was led astray when I found something that seemed to match.

    Now Treebeard, I can totally picture calling “Honey, I’m home!” to his entwife, though I’m not sold on the bigfoot angle.

  32. raven says

    I put, “Are the Lizard People Jewish?” into Google.

    Wikpedia Reptilian Conspiracy Theory

    Origins
    Michael Barkun, professor of political science at Syracuse University, posits that the idea of a reptilian conspiracy originated in the fiction of Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E. Howard.[8] The first appearance of “serpent men” in literature was in Howard’s story “The Shadow Kingdom”, published in Weird Tales in August 1929. This story drew on theosophical ideas of the “lost worlds” of Atlantis and Lemuria, particularly Helena Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine written in 1888, with its reference to “‘dragon-men’ who once had a mighty civilization on a Lemurian continent”.[9][8]

    Howard’s “serpent men” were described as humanoids (with human bodies and snake heads) who were able to imitate humans at will, and who lived in underground passages and used their shapechanging and mind-control abilities to infiltrate humanity.[10] Clark Ashton Smith used Howard’s “serpent men” in his stories, as well as themes from H. P. Lovecraft, and he, Howard and Lovecraft together laid the basis for the Cthulhu Mythos.[11]

    In the 1940s, Maurice Doreal (also known as Claude Doggins)[12] wrote a pamphlet entitled “Mysteries of the Gobi” that described a “serpent race” with “bodies like man but…heads…like a great snake” and an ability to take human form.[13] These creatures also appeared in Doreal’s poem “The Emerald Tablets”, in which he referred to Emerald Tablets written by “Thoth, an Atlantean Priest king”. Barkun asserts that “in all likelihood”, Doreal’s ideas came from “The Shadow Kingdom”, and that in turn, “The Emerald Tablets” formed the basis for David Icke’s book, Children of the Matrix.[14]

    Historian Edward Guimont has argued that the reptilian conspiracy theory, particularly as expounded by Icke, drew from earlier pseudohistorical legends developed during the colonisation of Africa, particularly surrounding Great Zimbabwe and the mokele-mbembe.[15]

    The answer is that they aren’t.
    Or weren’t anyway.

  33. chrislawson says

    Brony@18–

    I don’t think the left is any better at self-criticism than the right, or any other broadly-defined group of people really (c.f. “atheists are more rational and will support human rights”). The evidence is in Greenpeace press releases or the anti-semitic crap coming out of British Labour politics (it’s good to pressure Israel on its dismal human rights record, btw, but many senior Labour politicians were spreading bald-faced anti-Jewish conspiracy theories on social media), or if you prefer scientific papers, here or here.

    As a side note, that second paper refers to a great description by Russell Hardin of political extremists as “epistemologically crippled.”

    My own hypothesis is that the prevailing abundance of right-wing conspiracy theories has a lot more to do with power. That is, the right wing is in the ascendant, with huge influence over politics, money, and media. This makes it easier for right wingers to promote conspiracy theories without consequence. Meanwhile, those outside the right wing bubble get no protection at all — witness how Dan Rather lost his job for failing to authenticate the evidence in one minor conspiracy theory, while FOX anchors get to spout malicious, wild-eyed conspiracy theories week after week.

  34. PaulBC says

    Broadly speaking, there are leftwing “conspiracy theories” in the sense of ascribing intent and planning to circumstances that can often be explained by chance and opportunity. I have been hearing about the Republicrat conspiracy most of my political life, especially during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, though it is increasingly untenable. Partisan Republicans and partisan Democrats hate each other and aren’t faking it. Hillary Clinton accepted money from Wall Street to give speeches because… well, she likes corporate America and never made a secret about it. They have lots of money and are allowed to pay her to speak. There’s a dysfunctional system resulting from circumstances, but nobody meeting in a room to plan out how they will pretend to be enemies in order to rob the masses.

    However, completely loony conspiracies like Pizzagate and QAnon do seemed to be the speciality of the far right. I have watched Democracy Now! and read Jacobin, for instance, and don’t fully agree with their take on politics, but it is still worlds apart from Alex Jones claiming that juice boxes contain hormones to make children effeminate.

    Maybe it’s like the difference between a paranoid spy thriller and pure fantasy along the lines of The Matrix.

  35. PaulBC says

    In fact, a pretty good example of a leftwing conspiracy theorist would be Mark Crispin Miller. I used to listen to him on local public radio when he was a professor at Johns Hopkins in the 90s, and he is well-spoken and informed (or I remember him being so). One of his big focuses was the concentration of media ownership. That’s very well documented.

    However, he’s a 9/11 truther, has promoted Wakefield’s anti-vaccination film, and apparently has even taken an anti-mask stance. It makes me sad, because I liked listening to him back in the day.

  36. PaulBC says

    chrislawson@39

    the right wing is in the ascendant, with huge influence over politics, money, and media. This makes it easier for right wingers to promote conspiracy theories without consequence. Meanwhile, those outside the right wing bubble get no protection at all — witness how Dan Rather lost his job for failing to authenticate the evidence in one minor conspiracy theory, while FOX anchors get to spout malicious, wild-eyed conspiracy theories week after week.

    Yeah, that is a good explanation. I would add that they get less publicity as well. You have to go out of your way to find leftwing conspiracy theorists (such as Mark Crispin Miller, who I recalled only by chance), whereas Fox is a well-funded arm of the mainstream media (though they pretend not to be) and they invite these crazies on all the time.

  37. publicola says

    Susan @1: Also, GOP legislators who pass laws to deny Trans-kids medical treatment; GOP administrators who deny access to students by vaccinated teachers; GOP pols who get together to pay minors for sex; GOP… well, you get the idea.

  38. consciousness razor says

    PaulBC, #40:

    Broadly speaking, there are leftwing “conspiracy theories” in the sense of ascribing intent and planning to circumstances that can often be explained by chance and opportunity. I have been hearing about the Republicrat conspiracy most of my political life, especially during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, though it is increasingly untenable. Partisan Republicans and partisan Democrats hate each other and aren’t faking it.

    So what? Even if their hatred is completely genuine, they’re still united in maintaining their capitalist, war-mongering system, because they think they benefit (more) from not actually trying to tear it all down.

    The point is, these are a whole bunch of deliberate actions made by a bunch of human beings who have agency, who know at least something about their own interests and pursue them … sometimes very aggressively. So, we’re really not talking about accidents, natural disasters, or anything along those lines. (No miracles or divine intervention either. But whatever kind of story you may tell yourself about how it came about, it’s definitely not just “how the world works” so we’re stuck with it.)

    Also, if somebody had “opportunity,” that suggests they had a choice available to them, to either take it or not take it. So it’s not even clear what (if anything) you could be trying to rule out with this.

    Hillary Clinton accepted money from Wall Street to give speeches because… well, she likes corporate America and never made a secret about it. They have lots of money and are allowed to pay her to speak.

    Why are they allowed to have so much money in the first place? Who decided that? I think I can ask, because it certainly wasn’t anybody like me, and it certainly did involve decision-making about how our society should work.

    Anyway, just to make sure I get this straight…. When the wealthy decide to run the government and make its laws which maintain their power, etc., are they somehow just not doing all of this intentionally enough? Is that the idea? If so, what the hell does that even mean?

    And despite the supposed lack of “conspiring” or “coordinating” or “colluding,” it nonetheless just so happens to be the case that they still dominate basically every aspect of our society (economically, politically, academically, culturally, etc.)? Then how exactly did that happen?

    There’s a dysfunctional system resulting from circumstances, but nobody meeting in a room to plan out how they will pretend to be enemies in order to rob the masses.

    Oh, right, of course … it’s “resulting from circumstances.” That explains it then.

    It reminds of me “mistake were made (but not by me).”

  39. consciousness razor says

    Obviously, it was “mistakes” (plural) which were made — quite a large number of them, in fact. That was just a typo.

  40. KG says

    I think there are some who care about climate change who envision a vast right-wing conspiracy as being behind all the denial, when in reality, it’s just plain human stupidity, guilt and laziness, coupled with some advertising funds from the Koch suckers. – snarkrates@30

    Have you read Oreskes and Conway’s Merchants of Doubt? Pretty convincing evidence of successive conspiracies to undermine scientific findings that threaten corporate interests, going back to the link between smoking and cancer, through to climate change, and remarkably, involving some of the same “scientists for sale” over that entire span.

  41. KG says

    consciousness razor@44,
    So do you believe Hillary Clinton was meeting with Republicans “to plan out how they will pretend to be enemies in order to rob the masses”? Because that this is implausible was the point PaulBC was making@40.

    And despite the supposed lack of “conspiring” or “coordinating” or “colluding,” it nonetheless just so happens to be the case that they still dominate basically every aspect of our society (economically, politically, academically, culturally, etc.)? Then how exactly did that happen? – consciousness razor@44

    Yes, PaulBC@40, why didn’t you explain how capitalism developed from earlier class-based social systems and has subsequently maintained itself in your two-paragraph blog comment?

  42. KG says

    Look at the Obama administration helping to bring the poisonous Bolsonaro to power, for instance. – The Vicar@17

    The Obama administration ended in January 2017. Trump-admirer Bolsonaro was elected by the people of Brazil in October 2018 and came to power at the start of 2019, after the frontrunner, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, was arrested in April 2018, apparently as a result of a conspiracy among the Brazilian right to prevent his candidacy. So Obama has not quite matched Hugo Chavez, who was able to rig the 2020 US elections post mortem, but still, his ability to manipulate affairs in Brazil to install his favoured candidate nearly two years after leaving office is impressive.

  43. consciousness razor says

    KG, #47:

    So do you believe Hillary Clinton was meeting with Republicans “to plan out how they will pretend to be enemies in order to rob the masses”? Because that this is implausible was the point PaulBC was making@40.

    The point he thought he was making was that “there are leftwing “conspiracy theories” in the sense of ascribing intent and planning to circumstances that can often be explained by chance and opportunity.”

    Yes, PaulBC@40, why didn’t you explain how capitalism developed from earlier class-based social systems and has subsequently maintained itself in your two-paragraph blog comment?

    I bet that if somebody came along to write a comment dismissing intent and planning among racists (for example) as a mere conspiracy theory of the left, on the basis that:

    — there are some racists who hate each other
    — two such racists who hate each other (or alternatively, all of them in the entire world) never met in a room to plan how they could get away with more racism

    … then, if that’s the argument, I bet you would probably not be so inclined to defend the comment. In that case, you know better. I’m sure of it.

    And to counter the argument, when someone else points to the actual intent and planning among racists which did (and still does) actually happen, you might not have a problem with that, because it couldn’t be more relevant to the argument. And generally, you may have an easier time recognizing that it’s not an unreasonable demand to approach that kind of subject thoughtfully and with some degree of sensitivity, whether or not it’s a two-paragraph blog comment. Or at least it wouldn’t seem okay to casually make such an ass of oneself on that particular topic.

    So, how to explain the difference? I really don’t know what’s going on. The only thing I know to do is just to point at it and ask you to try out another perspective.

  44. consciousness razor says

    Almost forgot one piece of the argument (not that it makes any difference):
    — on the occasions when they did meet in a room to plan how they could get away with more racism, it didn’t count. Not because it didn’t happen, but because they’re allowed to meet in rooms. Indeed, it is their constitutional right in this country.

  45. says

    @#48, KG:

    It was Obama who, in 2015, greenlit the CIA to join in on “Operation Car Wash”, a deliberately concerted effort to use the media to exaggerate reports of corruption where it existed or to fabricate them out of whole cloth where they didn’t, in order to topple the left-leaning government and bring Bolsonaro to power. (Like many of the extremely evil things the CIA has done, this is now a documented and admitted fact even though it sounds like a conspiracy theory.)

    Bolsonaro might possibly have come to power anyway, but the US very definitely played a covert role in which it attempted to subvert democracy, and Obama was very definitely the president who did it.

    Can Democrats please abandon the personality cults around Obama and the Clintons? All three of them were (and are) rotten human beings and the two who won the Presidency did a better job of implementing Republican goals than the actual Republicans did, and the nation and the world are worse because of it.

  46. Rob Grigjanis says

    The Vicar @51: You’re right.

    The western elites will decry Bolsonaro in the forlorn and cynical hope of shoring up their credentials as guardians of the existing, supposedly moral order. But they engineered him. Bolsonaro is their monster.

    The West has been creating monsters for ages, and those monsters have almost unfailingly bitten us in the arse. The CIA/MI6 overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 is another among many examples.

    Where you and others go off the rails is in apparently thinking, despite all evidence to the contrary, that voting for someone indicates approval. Voting for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or Joe Biden should only ever be considered a stopgap, or a rearguard action. Partially stemming blood loss, if you like. Much more action is required between elections if there is to be any hope of real progress.

    If you have a case that not voting for those horrible people would have improved anything, in the long or short term, you have yet to make it.

  47. KG says

    The point he [PaulBC] thought he was making was that “there are leftwing “conspiracy theories” in the sense of ascribing intent and planning to circumstances that can often be explained by chance and opportunity.” – consciousness razor@49

    And he made it successfully, by pointing to examples you have not refuted. He did not, as you pretend, deny that members of elites act deliberately, and often together, to maintain their power.

    The Vicar@51,
    Here’s what you said @17:

    Although, of course, many of those regions have right-wing governments… which we, in America, have installed via coup and refuse to let the public remove. Look at the Obama administration helping to bring the poisonous Bolsonaro to power, for instance.

    The implication is clearly (given the use of “for instance”) that the Obama administration installed Bolsonaro in power via coup – which it clearly couldn’t do once it no longer existed. If that’s not what you meant, why did you use “for instance”?

    As for your:

    Can Democrats please abandon the personality cults around Obama and the Clintons?

    who are you addressing? Who among commenters here are you accusing of participating in these personality cults? Come on, name names and produce your evidence.

  48. PaulBC says

    KG@53 I felt that CR basically dismissed my point in favor of what he considers a more important issue, which is fine I suppose, and one reason I didn’t feel like getting into a protracted argument.

    The problem with the “Republicrat” conspiracy is that it results in testable predictions that have nearly always failed, at least for the past 25 years. Bill Clinton should be a perfect example of a Democrat coopted to serve the right, and to an extent this explanation fits his demolition of welfare and increases in mass incarceration. But past that point, the explanation goes completely off the rails, because Republicans did not want more of the same. They acted out of personal animus (the nominal loss of the White House, which they believed they had locked in). There is little about the Clinton impeachment that can be explained as a deep conspiracy, and with every passing year, the secret center-right conspiracy has made less and less sense.

    There are clearly elite groups that act deliberately, sometimes in secret, and sometimes publicly. But if you assume that they are acting with each other, colluding for some kind of mutual benefit, you come up with predictions that are nonsensical. This is where I wish facebook had better search capabilities, because I remember one riff about how (I think) Trump would be eliminated by Republicans somehow and replaced by a moderate. It fits the idea that there’s a plan to all this, but it is completely at odds with clear evidence of elite factions at war with each other. Republicans love Trump, because he expresses their worldview, and this probably harms them in the long run. It’s not an act. Not everything is intentional.

    I accept the fact that things can be very bad without being intentional. My narrow point was that the leftwing assumption of intentionality and deep cooperation between nominal enemies can often amount to a conspiracy theory. I think the left focuses way too much on money as a motivating factor too. Elites on both sides are often wealthy beyond satiation level, and they’re probably fighting about something else. Even if it appears to be about money, it is only because money serves as a proxy for social status.

    Vicar@51

    Can Democrats please abandon the personality cults around Obama and the Clintons?

    Democrats are human beings and are as subject as anyone to personality cults. I haven’t seen much around the Clintons recently. There is a core Hillary Clinton fanbase and I know a few (Pantsuits Nation on Facebook), but that’s not a big faction. There are more fans of Michelle and Barack Obama, and what a nice couple they make (which to all appearance they do) and some of this being applied to the Bidens now. Again, these are human beings. I am not into posting memes about Joe Biden picking a dandelion for Jill. Telling people to stop doing it is unlikely to be effective in stopping them, though, and particularly unlikely to help win elections if you are slapping people down for doing something they enjoy personally.

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