How, After This Crazy Year, Is ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ Still Being Used As An Insult?
Since WikiLeaks has clearly revealed that our government is lying to us and the mainstream media is helping them, it’s absurd for ‘conspiracy theorist’ to continue to exist as a dismissive pejorative.
I still get called a crazy conspiracy theorist all the time for writing about things like how Hillary Clinton’s no-fly zone in Syria would have probably required a war with Russia, or how Obama’s cabinet was largely appointed for him by an executive from Citigroup before he was even elected. These ideas aren’t based on wild conjecture or an over-active imagination; there’s plenty of solid and reputable evidence behind them for anyone who cares to do their own research (or just click my damn hyperlinks and view my sources! How hard is it, people? I’m not making this stuff up! I did all the work for you! What do you want me to do, come over to your house and read it to you in different character voices while you drink hot chocolate with marshmallows? What am I, your mom? Not that I’m bitter or anything).
But lack of solid evidence isn’t what elicits such accusations and dismissals; the reason such ideas get dismissed as conspiracy theory so often is not due to lack of evidence, but due to lack of coverage by mainstream media franchises. Which should not be the case, because WikiLeaks has confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the mainstream media actively collaborates with politicians and campaigns to manipulate the public narrative. These people who have “both a public position and a private position” also have legions of members of the press in the upper echelons of news media actively colluding with their agendas. But then, that hasn’t been covered much by mainstream media either.
It wasn’t that long ago that a conspiracy theory was generally considered to mean an unproven notion widely frowned upon because its adherents tended to have very flimsy standards for proof, and would grasp at any shred of evidence no matter how disreputable as long as it satisfied their confirmation bias. Nowadays, if the conversations I’ve been having lately are any indication, the term now essentially means “anything I haven’t seen on CNN,” or even “any new information that causes me to experience cognitive dissonance.” It’s become another meaningless, vacuous phrase mechanically bleated out by ignorant identity politics dogmatists to support the establishment agenda, much like “support our troops” when the establishment wants to kill people over crude oil, or “obstructionist congress” when the establishment wants people to ignore the way Obama continued and expanded all the worst aspects of the Bush administration, or “don’t discuss politics or religion” when the establishment wants us all to turn into a bunch of vapid, drooling idiots.
If I’ve noticed this trend, a lot of my readers probably have, too. But even if the phrase “conspiracy theorist” hadn’t been twisted into an arbitrary knee-jerk dismissive pejorative and retained its more traditional usage, it’s still silly to see it employed at all.
I mean, think about it. What have we learned this year? The Obama campaign actively conspired with a Citigroup executive to determine which cabinet members would benefit the people responsible for the Wall Street crash and push the TPP through in great secrecy. The DNC actively conspired to thwart the campaign of one of their candidates in favor of the other in the contest they themselves were responsible for ensuring remains fair and even-handed. Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff actively conspired to elevate Donald Trump above the other Republican candidates in order to sink the campaigns of the moderates. Members of the mainstream media actively conspired with the Clinton campaign to elevate her above her competitors. A Clinton super PAC actively conspired to use paid shills to deceive people on internet discussion forums into thinking that Clinton had more grassroots support than she did. Democratic party elites actively conspired to use the media to create a liberal “echo chamber” and control public discourse. I could go on and on and on. These are actual conspiracies that people would have been (and were) mocked and dismissed as conspiracy theorists for suggesting before they were proven, and then they were proven. Every one of them.
Is it reasonable, then, to dismiss anyone who comes up with a plausible theory involving powerful individuals manipulating things in a shady manner? The leaked documents from WikiLeaks only gave us a tiny glimpse behind the curtain of an opaque government and an opaque electoral process, and what we saw there was horrifying. Democracy being actively sabotaged at every turn, plutocrats being given the keys to the nation, and the American people being deliberately and systematically deceived. What else is back there? Is it unreasonable to assume that there are many, many far more horrific things going on behind the veil of government secrecy? I don’t think so. This doesn’t mean we should accept any conspiracy theory as gospel truth; these ideas ought to be vigorously debated, and we should of course always bring critical thinking to the table. But in light of this year’s revelations, critical thinking necessarily means being wide open to the possibility that things are not at all happening the way we’re being told.
It’s very naive to think that large institutions are immune to criminality, and that it’s not possible for networks of people in power to use that power for ill. Are we really meant to ignore that obvious reality whenever it appears to be manifesting in our own institutions? I’d say that would be pretty stupid.
Lately whenever someone accuses me of spreading a conspiracy theory I’ve been mentally replacing the word “conspiracy” with one of its synonyms, which makes them sound a lot sillier. You should try it. “God, spare me the collaboration theory” doesn’t have that instant debunking quality that they’re reaching for. It means the same thing, and there is definitely collaboration happening, but now it’s got the baseless stigma removed.
You can use other words like a “collusion” theory. A “co-operation” theory. “Pfft,” you hear them say. “That’s just an organized crime theory.”
Yeah. Yeah it is. Click my damn hyperlinks.
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