As I’ve written before, I am not exactly what you’d call a big follower of “conspiracy theory”. There was a saying once – “Anti-Semitism is Socialism for fools”, meaning that people who were anti-Semites understood that there were evil rich people in the world, they just were grossly mistaken in thinking that the reason they were bad was that they were Jewish. Actually capitalism doesn’t give a hoot who runs its Dark Satanic Mills or, for that matter, who labors in them.
Thats why I often say that “Conspiracy Theory is Political Economy for Americans.”
In other words what conspiracy theorists get wrong is to think that the evil done on the planet is being planned by some secret cabal of nefarious dark-cloaked villians, as opposed to being a systemic feature of the capitalist world.
It also presumes that everything bad in the U.S.A. is the product of, again, some secret conspiracy, and not an inherent feature of the country. As if to say (as conspiracy-heads often do) “If we could only expose the conspirators we could rid our nation of them and be the nice, wholesome, wonderful America we used to be!”
Which, of course, never existed.
HOWEVER, this criticism of conspiracy theory, which I more-or-less accept, itself has a huge blind spot: it ignores the cases of actual conspiracies that take place within the overall system. Slavoj Zizek noted this in his book Iraq:The Borrowed Kettle when he said well, what about events like the wholesale destruction of the Los Angeles public transit system in the 1930’s, which was thoroughly planned and executed by oil companies, road manufacturers, and real estate developers? It was a true conspiracy in every sense of the word, and is brilliantly portrayed in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. In this instance evil men actually did sit around a table somewhere in L.A. and did hatch a nefarious plot to turn Southern California into a maze of highways and horrid suburbs so that they could sell more cars and gasoline and build scads of ugly freeways and crap homes.
So we have to place real conspiracies into an over-arching anti-capitalist worldview. Within the world system we must realize that people do hunker down over coffee or whiskey or cocaine and really do plot evil deeds. Their motives are dictated by capitalism (most of the time), and so the conspiracists fit within the system, not above it or outside it, but they are still there.
The best article I have found to put all this together is by the ever-lovin’ Hakim Bey, and it is called The Ontological Status Of Conspiracy Theory. It is worth a look, like most of his musings.
Which brings me to the news of the day: so the conspirators are out there, up there, and in there, we cannot deny it even as we try and put it in context….and they plan “little” things like smearing a political candidate or putting innocent people in prison……and they plan big things like…..an Anthrax attack that helps goad a country into war?
As readers have no doubt noticed, the government’s prime suspect in the 2001 Anthrax attacks just offed himself. While this in no way confirms his guilt it does beg the question (actually it sort of demands or howls the question): if the main suspect was an employee of the U.S. government, why did the media and the government use those attacks as such a rabid justification for attacking Iraq? And why have they issued no retraction, no apology for their repeated use of the Athrax attacks as more noise for the war-drums (as John McCain did) that they were all beating back in 2002?
On the media’s part I well understand their reluctance to admit that yet again they were such spineless nits that they went along with a fool’s errand….this comes as no surprise.
But Jesus H. Christ….the guy who sent the Anthrax letters worked at a government lab in Maryland?
All you conspiracy theorists out there, I raise my glass to you tonight.
And I highly, highly recommend reading Glenn Greenwald’s expose of this whole appalling charade.
Coincidence, conspiracy, or business as usual?