Conspiracies or, Do These Nuts Grow on Trees or Just Congregate on Social Media?

First I want to say I am conservative, Republican and God-fearing, but I believe that conspiracy theorists do a disservice to the Conservative movement.

Conservatism should foremost be mostly non-reactionary.  In the last decade, though, I have watched it devolve into a knee-jerk reactionary movement more akin to children not getting their way.  That is not to say that quick reaction is unnecessary.  In some instances it is paramount, but even then should be well reasoned and pragmatic.

I see posts on Facebook, other social media and websites devoted to the belief that the United States is going to hell in a hand basket.  From Obama is a communist, Islamic, non-citizen (points 1 and 2 are mutually exclusive theoretically) to FEMA concentration camps and death lists.  A major proponent of these theories is Barbara Hartwell (disclaimer: from what I find on the Internet).  A perusal of her website seems to show a well spoken person with inside knowledge of some sinister things.  But posts and copied emails by her (less polished) show a rambling disorganized mind that bounces all over.  I will admit to not having read any books, papers etc. that she has written, but I have met several people like this in my 46 years and in almost every instance the person was a nutcase to the extreme.

Most of these theories are presented as secondhand information from a “source” that is nameless and unverifiable but nevertheless we all would know and admire if we only knew who they were, at least so we are told. Interviews on the subject tend to move from the original topic to more bizarre and unverifiable topics if allowed to proceed long enough. Other times there is verifiable information that has been so distorted from the original that it supports the crazy theory that someone is espousing.  Mainly though these theorists speak from their gut, going with what will sell regardless of outlandishness or verifiable evidence to contrary.

The internet provides a bully pulpit for those who crave attention.  Bizarre theories, distorted facts, and bombastic rhetoric are the bread and butter of these “purveyors of truth.”  But this does not negate the fact that as long as it tickles our ears or falls in line with our beliefs or paranoias (depending on the person), we will lap it up and ask for even more bizarre things. Ephesians 4:14 says it best:  “We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.”

This concludes today’s rant

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9 thoughts on “Conspiracies or, Do These Nuts Grow on Trees or Just Congregate on Social Media?

  1. Ken

    Upon reflection, Barbara Hartwell may not be the person that I was remembering. I will have to try to find the posts and emails that I found once before to confirm.

  2. Pingback: Nut Season Never Ends In Conspiracy Land! « American Liberal Times

  3. Do you dismiss all conspiracies? Do you feel any group does things in secret to achieve a goal that they do not proclaim publicly?

    I am always careful to use the term “conspiracy theory” because it has gotten such a generic definition that creates a negative feeling. Do I think there are aliens at Area 51? No. Do I think that someone in our government had a hand in assassinating JFK? Possibly. Do I think Wall Street bankers have politicians in their pocket so they can bend laws to their favor? Definitely.

    We are all conspiracy theorists, it is the crazy ones we need to ignore and the rational ones we need to expose. But we also need to avoid lumping the rational theories with the crazy ones.

    1. I do not dismiss all out of hand. I do dismiss the ones that are clearly undocumented or those that have an unnamed and unconfirmable source unless reason and common sense might dictate otherwise.

    2. I didn’t think you would Ken, but your standard for what is not a crazy conspiracy is a bit vague. “unless reason and common sense might dictate otherwise”, do you think it is unreasonable to think that our government would knowingly put our citizens in harms way in order to get the general public behind the idea of going to war?

      1. If you would state which conspiracy to which you are referring, I will endeavor to answer. I believe that certain parties might attempt that, but not in all cases that conspiracy theorists would like to say that they do. As to being vague, I do not not see what is vague about it. Reason and common sense would fall along rational scientific explanation and evaluation on some things, the ability to keep a lid on the conspiracy on others since the secrecy of a conspiracy is inversely proportional to the number of people attempting to keep it secret, etc.

      2. Nothing spcifically, it just has been a general statement by a lot of people that dismiss conspiracies that “our government wouldn’t do something to directly hurt Americans”, when it has been proven they have and it is logical that any government would again.

        “rational scientific explanation and evaluation” have been wrong over and over again, it’s part of the scientific method. But what really makes your standard vague, in my opinion, is that reason and common sense are very subjective and easy to be obscured by biase. I’m sure you are a lot like me and do your best to be unbiased when examining evidence and facts, but it is impossible to be completely unbiased.

        I also agree with your observation that “the ability to keep a lid on the conspiracy on others since the secrecy of a conspiracy is inversely proportional to the number of people attempting to keep it secret, etc.”. This is one of the reason why I believe most ‘government’ conspiracies are normally between a small group within one or two agencies.

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