Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:11 pm

SCAD is a fascinating silo, thank you for the heads-up: much appreciated.
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby jfshade » Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:51 pm

An excerpt from deHaven-Smith's book:
A Curious History

The term “conspiracy theory” did not exist as a phrase in everyday American conversation before 1964. The conspiracy-theory label entered the American lexicon of political speech as a catchall for criticisms of the Warren Commission’s conclusion that President Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman with no assistance from, or foreknowledge by, any element of the United States government. Since then, the term’s prevalence and range of application have exploded. In 1964, the year the Warren Commission issued its report, the New York Times published five stories in which “conspiracy theory” appeared. In recent years, the phrase has occurred in over 140 New York Times stories annually. A Google search for the phrase (in 2012) yielded more than 21 million hits—triple the numbers for such common expressions as “abuse of power” and “war crime.” On Amazon.com, the term is a book category that includes in excess of 1,300 titles. In addition to books on conspiracy theories of particular events, there are conspiracy-theory encyclopedias, photographic compendiums, website directories, and guides for researchers, skeptics, and debunkers.

Initially, conspiracy theories were not an object of ridicule and hostility. Today, however, the conspiracy-theory label is employed routinely to dismiss a wide range of antigovernment suspicions as symptoms of impaired thinking akin to superstition or mental illness. For example, in a massive book published in 2007 on the assassination of President Kennedy, former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi says people who doubt the Warren Commission report are “as kooky as a three dollar bill in their beliefs and paranoia.” Similarly, in his recently published book Among the Truthers (Harper's, 2011), Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay refers to 9/11 conspiracy theorists as “political paranoiacs” who have “lost their grip on the real world.” Making a similar point, if more colorfully, in his popular book Wingnuts, journalist John Avlon refers to conspiracy believers as “moonbats,” “Hatriots,” “wingnuts,” and the “Fright Wing.”

The same judgment is expressed in more measured terms by Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule in a 2009 journal article on the “causes and cures” of conspiracy theories. Sunstein is a Harvard law professor appointed by President Obama to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He and Vermeule claim that once a person buys into them, conspiracy theories are resistant to debunking because they are “self-sealing.” That is, because conspiracy theories attribute extraordinary powers to elites to orchestrate events, keep secrets, and avoid detection, the theories encourage their adherents to dismiss countervailing evidence as fabricated or planted.

In a book on technology and public opinion, Sunstein argues further that conspiracy-theory groups and networks are proliferating because the highly decentralized form of mass communication made possible by the Internet is altering the character of public discourse. Whereas television and radio provide platforms for debating competing viewpoints on matters of widely shared interest, the Internet tends to segment discussion into a multitude of small groups, each focusing on a separate and distinct topic. Sunstein argues that this splintering of discourse encourages extremism because it allows proponents of false or one-sided beliefs to locate others with similar views while at the same time avoiding interaction with competing perspectives. In Sunstein’s words, “The Internet produces a process of spontaneous creation of groups of like-minded types, fueling group polarization. People who would otherwise be loners, or isolated in their objections and concerns, congregate into social networks.” Sunstein acknowledges that this consequence of the Internet is unavoidable, but he says polarization can and should be mitigated by a combination of government action and voluntarily adopted norms. The objective, he says, should be to ensure that those who hold conspiracy theories “are exposed to credible counterarguments and are not living in an echo chamber of their own design”.

In their law review article, Sunstein and Vermeule expand this idea and propose covert government action reminiscent of the FBI’s efforts against the civil rights and antiwar movements in the 1960s. They consider a number of options for countering the influence of conspiracy theories, including public information campaigns, censorship, and fines for Internet service providers hosting conspiracy-theory websites. Ultimately rejecting those options as impractical because they would attract attention and reinforce antigovernment suspicions, they call for a program of “cognitive infiltration” in which groups and networks popularizing conspiracy theories would be infiltrated and “disrupted.”

A Flawed and Un-American Label

As these examples illustrate, conspiracy deniers assume that what qualifies as a conspiracy theory is self-evident. In their view, the phrase “conspiracy theory” as it is conventionally understood simply names this objectively identifiable phenomenon. Conspiracy theories are easy to spot because they posit secret plots that are too wacky to be taken seriously. Indeed, the theories are deemed so far-fetched they require no reply or rejoinder; they are objects of derision, not ideas for discussion. In short, while analyzing the psychological appeal of conspiracy beliefs and bemoaning their corrosive effects on public trust, conspiracy deniers have taken the conspiracy-theory concept itself for granted.

This is remarkable, not to say shocking, because the concept is both fundamentally flawed and in direct conflict with American legal and political traditions. As a label for irrational political suspicions about secret plots by powerful people, the concept is obviously defective because political conspiracies in high office do, in fact, happen. Officials in the Nixon administration did conspire to steal the 1972 presidential election. Officials in the Reagan White House did participate in a criminal scheme to sell arms to Iran and channel profits to the Contras, a rebel army in Nicaragua. The Bush-Cheney administration did collude to mislead Congress and the public about the strength of its evidence for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. If some conspiracy theories are true, then it is nonsensical to dismiss all unsubstantiated suspicions of elite intrigue as false by definition.

This fatal defect in the conspiracy-theory concept makes it all the more surprising that most scholars and journalists have failed to notice that their use of the term to ridicule suspicions of elite political criminality betrays the civic ethos inherited from the nation’s Founders. From the nation’s beginning, Americans were fearful of secret plots by political insiders to subvert constitutional governance. Those who now dismiss conspiracy theories as groundless paranoia have apparently forgotten that the United States was founded on a conspiracy theory. The Declaration of Independence claimed that “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations” by King George proved the king was plotting to establish “an absolute tyranny over these states.” Today, most Americans are familiar only with the Declaration’s opening paragraphs about self-evident truths and inalienable rights, but if they were to read the rest of the document, they would see that it is devoted to detailing the abuses evincing the king’s tyrannical design. Among the complaints listed are onerous taxation, fomenting slave rebellions and Indian uprisings, taxation without representation, and indifference to the colonies’ complaints. The document’s signers claimed it was this “design to reduce them under absolute despotism,” not any or all of the abuses themselves, that gave them the right and the duty “to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

The Founders considered political power a corrupting influence that makes political conspiracies against the people’s interests and liberties almost inevitable. They repeatedly and explicitly called for popular vigilance against antidemocratic schemes in high office. Educated in classical political philosophy, they understood that one of the most important questions in Western political thought is how to prevent top leaders from abusing their powers to impose arbitrary rule, which the Founders referred to, appropriately, as “tyranny.” Whereas Great Britain relied on common law to define the powers and procedures of its government, the generation that established the American republic developed a written constitution to set clear limits on public officials. Nevertheless, they understood that all constitutions are vulnerable to subversion because ultimately they are interpreted and administered by public officials themselves. The Founders would view today’s norms against conspiratorial suspicion as not only arrogant, but also dangerous and un-American.

The Founders would also be shocked that conspiracy deniers attack and ridicule individuals who voice conspiracy beliefs and yet ignore institutional purveyors of conspiratorial ideas even though the latter are the ideas that have proven truly dangerous in modern American history. Since at least the end of World War II, the citadel of theories alleging nefarious political conspiracies has been, not amateur investigators of the Kennedy assassination and other political crimes and tragedies, but the United States government. In the first three decades of the post–World War II era, U.S. officials asserted that communists were conspiring to take over the world, that the U.S. bureaucracy was riddled with Soviet spies, and that the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s were creatures of Soviet influence. More recently, they have claimed that Iraq was complicit in 9/11, failed to dispose of its biological weapons, and attempted to purchase uranium in Niger so it could construct nuclear bombs. Although these ideas were untrue, they influenced millions of Americans, fomented social panic, fueled wars, and resulted in massive loss of life and destruction of property. If conspiracy deniers are so concerned about the dangers of conspiratorial suspicions in American politics and civic culture, why have they ignored the conspiracism of U.S. politicians?

Finally, there is something very hypocritical about those who want to fix people who do not share their opinions. Sunstein and Vermeule say conspiracy believers need to have their discussions disrupted, because they are dangerous. But what could be more dangerous than thinking it is acceptable to mess with someone else’s thoughts? Sunstein and Vermeule’s hypocrisy is breathtaking. They would have government conspiring against citizens who voice suspicions about government conspiracies, which is to say they would have government do precisely what they want citizens to stop saying the government does. How do Harvard law professors become snared in such Orwellian logic? One can only assume that there must be something bedeviling about the idea of conspiracy theory.
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby Joao » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:05 pm

See also elfismiles' 2010 thread: 911 and American Behavioral Scientist SCAD series. I think I have the articles at home. I can post them later if there's interest, and if they're not on my currently broken external hard drive.

Also MacCruiskeen's recent post here, which links to deHaven-Smith's new book and this article: Beyond Conspiracy Theory: Patterns of High Crime in American Government.

Finally, deHaven-Smith made an appearance on Black Op Radio sometime this year. A quick google doesn't turn up a direct link but it should be easy enough to run down. I recall finding the interview boring as hell, but it may be interesting to others.
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby conniption » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:29 am

conniption » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:06 pm wrote:
elfismiles » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:21 am wrote:
SEE ALSO: [why do so many of these come out / get posted in July?]

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?
http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/view ... =8&t=12508
Jul 18, 2007

In Defense Of Conspiracy Theories
http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/view ... =8&t=35111
Jul 16, 2012

So, you believe in conspiracy theories, do you?
http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/view ... =8&t=19272
Jul 16, 2008

The Lure of the Conspiracy Theory
http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/view ... =8&t=12831
Aug 15, 2007



*

SEE ALSO:

The subculture of Conspiracy Theory
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=36157&hilit=conspiracy+theory
Mar 10, 2013


~

Came across another:

Warning: This Site Contains Conspiracy Theories
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=33940&p=444676&hilit=Vaccine#p444676
Post by slomo » Mon Jan 23, 2012
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby slimmouse » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:30 am

I think the problem the control system currently has with "conspiracy theories", is that its becoming increasingly clear that a whole new generation of people , (through an increasing free flow of information,) are beginning to understand exactly who is supplying the conspiracy theories, and it isnt the alternative media.

I just hope more people are catching on.
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby 8bitagent » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:39 pm

On the flipside, what happens when people continue to peddle debunked theories(ie: Flight 77 didnt hit the Pentagon) OR they willingly push completely baseless and harmful disinfo like the "fake families/crisis actor/x or x tragedy is staged" bullshit?
"Do you know who I am? I am the arm, and I sound like this..."-man from another place, twin peaks fire walk with me
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby Nordic » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:08 am

8bitagent » Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:39 pm wrote:On the flipside, what happens when people continue to peddle debunked theories(ie: Flight 77 didnt hit the Pentagon) OR they willingly push completely baseless and harmful disinfo like the "fake families/crisis actor/x or x tragedy is staged" bullshit?



Well, my new conspiracy theory is that those theories are promulgated for the very purpose of discrediting the real research into real conspiracies.

"Those people believe "__________________" they're just like those other people who think the planes that hit the towers were holograms, or that all the parents at Sandy Hook were "crisis actors"."

In fact, Sandy Hook seemed truly orchestrated to do exactly this, to discredit "conspiracy theorists". I really don't think it's a conspiracy theory to say this, considering how ubiquitous the media saturation was regarding this.

It's annoying, but it's part of the psyops, in their war against the truth against us. They're damn good at it, and so far it seems they're winning.

Although the truth seems to be chipping away at their monolithic power. Is time on their side, or ours? I go back and forth on that one.
"He who wounds the ecosphere literally wounds God" -- Philip K. Dick
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:16 pm

Nordic » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:08 am wrote:Is time on their side, or ours? I go back and forth on that one.


Rest assured, time is not on anyone's side. The inexorable maw of entropy just wants to devour the fucking Universe, period.

Who fears time more than little Ozymandias? We plebians can make peace with death; our rulers cannot.
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby divideandconquer » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:31 pm

I think this article and articles like this demonstrate the fear of the predatory tyrannical elite ...that we-- the 99.9%, seen, merely, as units of energy in their artificially constructed closed system, or cogs within the machinery of the state--will finally figure out that conspiracy is the modus operandi of rulers everywhere, yes, even in the USA, or especially in the USA.. Conspiracy is the story of history

Étienne De la Boetie wrote a discourse on voluntary servitude http://www.constitution.org/la_boetie/serv_vol.htm that showed that everything Machiavelli taught the elite can be undone with knowledge down to the nuts and bolts level of understanding, therefore, they must do everything in their power to debunk conspiracy theorists, not to mention, thoroughly contaminating the pursuit of any historical truth..
'I see clearly that man in this world deceives himself by admiring and esteeming things which are not, and neither sees nor esteems the things which are.' — St. Catherine of Genoa
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby coffin_dodger » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:42 am

Pssst! Everything's a Conspiracy
Cass R. Sunstein Bloomberg 18 Mar 2014

Conspiracy theories surround us. Witness the reactions on the Internet to the tragic and mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Perhaps North Korea hijacked the plane. Perhaps the Chinese are responsible. Maybe aliens did it.

Or, as an influential legislator in Iran contended to the New York Times, perhaps the U.S. "kidnapped" the lost plane in an effort to “sabotage the relationship between Iran and China and South East Asia.”

Pick your topic: Ukraine, the National Security Agency, assassinations of national leaders, recent economic crises, the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays -- it's child’s play to assemble a host of apparent clues, and to connect a bunch of dots, to support a relevant conspiracy theory. In recent years, for example, many Americans have become convinced that the U.S. (or Israel) was responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, that the U.S. government concocted HIV/AIDS, and that federal agencies have conspired to hide the association between vaccines and autism.

Why do people accept such theories?

The first explanation points to people’s predispositions. Some of us count as “conspiracists” in the sense that we have a strong inclination to accept such theories. Not surprisingly, conspiracists tend to have a sense of personal powerlessness; they are also more likely to conspire themselves.

cont - http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2 ... conspiracy
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby elfismiles » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:22 am

Sunstein Publishes Conspiracy Book - #NewWorldNextWeek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgb5Zbto4ws

coffin_dodger » 22 Mar 2014 09:42 wrote:
Pssst! Everything's a Conspiracy
Cass R. Sunstein Bloomberg 18 Mar 2014
cont - http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2 ... conspiracy
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby NeonLX » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:17 am

Wow. That Sunstein feller convinced me that I've been wrong to question all of the truth that the MSM have foisted upon me all these years. Damn, what was I thinking?
America is a fucked society because there is no room for essential human dignity. Its all about what you have, not who you are.--Joe Hillshoist
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby 82_28 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:46 pm

elfismiles » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:22 am wrote: Sunstein Publishes Conspiracy Book - #NewWorldNextWeek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgb5Zbto4ws

coffin_dodger » 22 Mar 2014 09:42 wrote:
Pssst! Everything's a Conspiracy
Cass R. Sunstein Bloomberg 18 Mar 2014
cont - http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2 ... conspiracy


Hahahaha! I mean that -- that article made me "LOL". Personally, I believe nothing. I am not inclined to believe one and then believe the one behind that and so on as Sunstein arrogantly posits. I simply have no idea, but am open to more interesting interperations as I do not believe the given narrative when given to me in all large media events like this. I have my own brain and will decide to believe what I want to believe. I believe both love and evil exist. I believe I currently am alive. However, I THINK, think, that there is always more to the story.

Could the moon landings have been hoaxed? Could be! Do I believe they were? Absolutely not. But they could have been and so forth. Do I ascribe to any of the stupid offered rationales for the missing plane? Nope. I go one further (and no, I never watched a bit of LOST) and say that it was enveloped into some unknown vortex that cannot be described. That "vortex" could just be crash--death. But it could be something more fascinating.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby Pushkarev » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:01 pm

"Remarkably, people who accept one conspiracy theory tend to accept another conspiracy theory that is logically inconsistent with it. People who believe that Princess Diana faked her own death are more likely to think that she was murdered. People who believe that Osama bin Laden was already dead when U.S. forces invaded his compound are more likely to believe that he is still alive."


Conspiracy theories aren't deductive arguments. They are inductive. So he has made a category error there to compare the two. Also, to say something is logically inconsistent is to say in the strict sense that some set of propositions cannot all be true on pain of logical contradiction. For this definition of logical contradiction to hold true, you need propositions that are true or false. Are conspiracy theories always working with propositions that are strictly true or false? Much of the time they are probabilistic (even though people aren't rigorously assigning probabilities to them). Also, if you have a set of evidence, and you generate several theories, some of which may be mutually exclusive, then it isn't being logically inconsistent. It is called generating multiple hypotheses that may or may not match the evidence. That's how fucking science does it. Is science being logically inconsistent when they posit severally mutually exclusive hypotheses? Of course not, because it isn't a fucking deductive enterprise, it is abductive and inductive.

"They also treat contradictory information as irrelevant or perhaps even as proof of conspiracy."


That's because contradictory information is actually used in deception operations, operational security, and counterintelligence. This is how they go about deceiving people. It is deception 101 to manufacture false signals while covering up true signals.

"To be sure, some conspiracy theories turn out to be true."


Notice the double think bullshit going on here as well. Before hand, Sunstein was saying that conspiracy theorists can't handle logical inconsistency. Here he asserts a phrase that comes out in predicate logic as:

(1) "there is at least one conspiracy theory x such that x turns out to be true."

But look at the preceding paragraphs and the heading of the article. Stuff like: "Pssst! Everything's a Conspiracy" and stating "conspiracy theories" without an existential quantifier. What he has done here is universally quantified over all conspiracy theories. To assert something like "everything is a conspiracy" is to say:

(2) For all x, if x is some event, then x is a conspiracy theory.

And to assert the phrase "conspiracy theories" is to implicitly assume all conspiracy theories without some quantifier modifying the phrase out the front (as he does once or twice in the article).

Again, there is an inconsistency here between (1) and (2). For someone who apparently likes to analyse other's logic, he is being pretty fucking imprecise in his language.

Also, the general psychologizing of the mind of the conspiracy theorist is some Orwellian, solipsist bullshit. In the world of Sunstein there is no ontological real-ness about a conspiracy. All it is is the mental state of certain individuals and groups of individuals. He even has the gall to mention the NSA (in the part about "child's play"), after the fucking Snowden leaks. In Sunstein's world the Snowden leaks are all in your head. The last sentence backs this up. He says, "Conspiracists like to say that the truth is out there. They’re right. The challenge is to persuade them to find their way toward it." Again, Sunstein doesn't actually give a shit about the ontology (what actually exists), he cares about whether he can persuade you, i.e. change your mental state. It is some solipsistic bullshit from a sack of shit spinning up a bunch of sophistry.
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Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby 82_28 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:09 pm

Nice synopsis and counter, Pushkarev. Totally thought the same thing, just didn't/couldn't write it like you did.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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