Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Frank Furedi ~ On the Hunt for a Conspiracy Theory

From ChristianScienceMonitor.com

Conspiracy theory has captured the public imagination. Often we are less interested in what politicians say or do than in attempting to decipher the hidden agenda that motivates their behavior.

Every Supreme Court nomination turns into a search for the skeleton in the closet or a trace of a conspiracy. No sooner was Harriet Miers nominated before rumors suggested that President Bush used her as a fall guy whose failed nomination would make it more difficult for liberals to discredit her more conservative replacement. The president may have more than one conspiracy up his sleeve. It has been suggested that the avian flu scare is promoted by the White House to distract the nation from a messy war in Iraq. Others hint that the pharmaceutical industry is behind it to profit from an explosion of demand for flu vaccines.

Conspiracy theories are now so influential that the US State Department's website desperately tries to contain the damage these theories cause to the reputation of the United States. It recognizes that conspiracy theories have "a great appeal and are often widely believed." Indeed, the theory that American foreign policy is the outcome of a carefully elaborated secret plot concocted by a cabal of neoconservatives is widely believed both inside and outside the US. Preoccupation with conspiracies is no longer confined to the margins. Virtually every unexpected event provokes a climate of suspicion that breeds rumors and conspiracies.

More here


P E double G Y said...

pretty interesting stuff... i must admit... i'm a believer ;)

eugene ionesco said...

Why are Americans so predisposed towards conspiracy theories? Maybe fallacious assumptions concerning the omnipotence and omniscience of their nation and it's executive are to blame? It's difficult enough for us Brits to buy into the idea that our government is competent, let alone omnipotent.

Soldada, Aphrodite's kiss. said...

I am from Los Angeles, & crazy to think that this nation wasn't built of Conspiracies, every professional, legit corner stone here leads to "CIA" or "FBI", a warp in the modern man's work. BUT WHATEVER, cheat on your taxes & it's all good.

aguy said...

I think that conspiracy theories overestimate the intelligence and capabilities of our Inteligence services and governments.I aggree with iONESCO.That goes for my country too: Israel. Spy agencies may be good at operations of limited scope but they dont understsnd the big picture better than anyone else.

eugene ionesco said...

Yeah, I particularly enjoyed those conspiracy theories which alleged that 9/11 was an "inside job" and that Mossad were in on it: those theories combined paranoia of a malignant, omnipotent government, xenophobia and anti-semitism in roughly equal proportions. Easier for some people to blame Bush, an evil Neocon cabal, The New World Order and/or the Israelis, I guess, than to accept that a bunch of "primitive cave-dwellers from a third world country" could outwit the US intelligence agencies & stage such an audacious attack on the Twin Towers.
Similarly, conspiracy theories have proliferated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: it seems we'd rather believe in the myth of a malign, omnipotent US government than settle for the more prosaic reality of a merely incompetent/negligent/myopic administration.