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Thread: Why Conspiracy Theories?

  1. #31

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    Thanks!

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by droid
    In fact, if you were conspiratorially minded you might put forward the theory that conspiracy theories are themselves creations of the US Government designed to distract serious investigation [...] OMG! I think I've just discovered the ultimate conspiracy theory! Now if I can just make all the facts fit somehow...
    Oh, that's easy - the US Government actively encouraged alien abduction / UFO / 'visitors' etc from the 1950s onwards to help conceal the development of secret plane technology (U2 / Blackbird / Stealth thru to crazy saucer-shaped aircraft).

    Also, and this is a total aside: I read the other week about some guys who decided to actually test the theory that wearing foil helmets protects the brain from ultra low frequency transmissions (because these wavelengths are reserved for use by govenment bodies and commerical interests, it has been suggested that they are used by the military industrial complex to brainwash the masses).

    Anyway, it turns out that wearing foil helmets actually amplifies these frequencies. So (of course!), the same people that previously advocated the use of foil helmets as a form of protection are now claiming that the whole idea must have been seeded by [insert cabal of choice here] to encourage people to wear them to increase their susceptibility to the frequencies in question.

    Genius!

  3. #33
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    "Conspiracies are by their nature 'outside' the system, so reducing everything down to a conspiracy of some sort or another lets the system off the hook - if events like 9/11 are the result of secret planning by a cadre of individuals, and not the predictable (and horrible) response to years of foreign policy, then the system has no need to change - its the individuals that are to blame"
    All good and true but I think that individuals act within a system and they too can be guilty.
    Abhu Ghraib (not sure about the spelling I'm afraid) is a good example of this I think - the system from top to bottom may be at fault but there were individuals who tortured people and their bosses who ordered them to do it and their bosses who allowed that specific system to be set up in Iraq etc even if they were working within an overall system that tends to allow this kind of thing to happen. The big picture is important but details can be important too is what I'm saying.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich
    All good and true but I think that individuals act within a system and they too can be guilty.
    Abhu Ghraib (not sure about the spelling I'm afraid) is a good example of this I think - the system from top to bottom may be at fault but there were individuals who tortured people and their bosses who ordered them to do it and their bosses who allowed that specific system to be set up in Iraq etc even if they were working within an overall system that tends to allow this kind of thing to happen. The big picture is important but details can be important too is what I'm saying.
    I agree - but I dont think that 'institutional thinking' precludes the role (or guilt) of the individual, it just places them inside the context of the larger system. Conspiracy thinking on the other hand places ALL the emphasis on the role of the individual, or on a small group of individuals...

    My veiw of Abu Ghraib is that torture has been unoffiical policy of the US since WW2, that they have used, encouraged the use, and actually TAUGHT the use of torture worldwide, and that Iraq presents almost no deviation from the norm - which is why I reject the idea that the system 'allowed these things to happen', or that as the US military has done, placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of 6 men and women who acts were coordinated by military intelligence officers and CIA agents... thats the reflexive reaction of most power systems - to scapegoat and distance itself from public criticism...

    Torture is US policy, pure and simple, its not a tendency or a slip up, its the default position. (sorry to go off topic btw )

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by blunt
    Oh, that's easy - the US Government actively encouraged alien abduction / UFO / 'visitors' etc from the 1950s onwards to help conceal the development of secret plane technology (U2 / Blackbird / Stealth thru to crazy saucer-shaped aircraft).

    Also, and this is a total aside: I read the other week about some guys who decided to actually test the theory that wearing foil helmets protects the brain from ultra low frequency transmissions (because these wavelengths are reserved for use by govenment bodies and commerical interests, it has been suggested that they are used by the military industrial complex to brainwash the masses).

    Anyway, it turns out that wearing foil helmets actually amplifies these frequencies. So (of course!), the same people that previously advocated the use of foil helmets as a form of protection are now claiming that the whole idea must have been seeded by [insert cabal of choice here] to encourage people to wear them to increase their susceptibility to the frequencies in question.

    Genius!

    Im very excited by this! its our duty to start a website so we can inform the world of this shocking discovery!

    First thing we need is a catchy name... how about: http://www.wakeupyounaivefools.com

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by blunt
    I've never seen anything that has made me seriously consider the idea that 9/11 was planned and executed by Bush & co. The guy's a self-serving fucking idiot, and he's surrounded by kindred spirits - but in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I simply don't believe that the US is that far gone yet. Tho that time may come...

    Sorry, I don't mean to sound harsh or unduly dismissive, not least because I suspect there's a large amount on which we totally agree. But this kind of lazy logic doesn't do anyone any good.

    Yours, without prejudice...
    Blunt - No offence taken, I think we do agree on a lot of things here. But it is well documented that the US government has planned to go that far in times gone by - Project Northwoods is one example, there are countless other examples of underhand tactics used by the US throughout the developing world to control everything from natural resources to the Panama Canal in which many civillians have died. Check out PNAC's website and the Wolfowitz Doctrine for a great motive, written in the Neo-con's own words.

    There are loads of unanswered questions surrounding Flight 77. The lack of airplane debris at the site, the only engine found at the site being from a much smaller plane than a 757 (according to Rolls Royce who manufactured both the engine found and the 757 engines), the immaculate lawn in front of the crash site that should be ripped to shreds, the hole in the pentagon being half the size of a 757's wingspan, the fact that someone shut down the whole air defense system over Washington that day. But this isn't a 9/11 conspiracy thread.

    I have no idea what happened. But I know there are a lot of unanswered questions. My point is these questions should be investigated (the 9/11 comission report fails to answer any of the above, and a whole lot more besides). It's not enough to just look at the macro picture. If someone is shot
    dead, people don't just get upset about how easy it is to get hold of a gun or how sick society has become or whatever, they want to see whoever is responsible for pulling the trigger brought to justice.


    The bigger picture stuff here, I agree, is the most important thing. Imperialism, greed, capitalism and our most basic values as a society are all to blame for the sorry state of affairs we are in, and if we could fix that, we would hopefully find ourselves in a much better place. But in the meantime, if terrorists, governments or hamburglars commit crimes, they should be investigated thouroughly and those responsible should be held accountable.

    It just struck me that given McDonald's vapid nature, Hamburglar is actually the good guy. He's kind of like Agent V, but more cute and lovable...

    Freedom Fries! Forever!

  7. #37
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    Institutional, structural, and ideological causes are the most important factors I think. We have to insist on the universality of our political demands. On the one hand (and this is relatively less important) by focusing blame on one group/organization/institution, even if we can "prove" anything, the trail ends there. Look at how easily the Bush administration (one among a large cadre of awful world leaders) has managed to succesively shift blame for any one horrible debacle onto a small group of individuals. I don't care, nor should you, who caused this and who decided on that. I know, as do we all, what the real problems are. "Accountability" is merely the shuffling of blame or its diversion elsewhere. We need to confront the bigger picture always.

    Be realistic, ask the impossible!

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    once the situationists appear i shut down the computer - see you all again tomorrow

  9. #39
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    I might owe an apology for that slogan...But well worth it!

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherief

    Why bother entertaining 'conspiracy theories'

    ... I'm asking this because on the front page of this forum, I see one 9/11 conspiracy theory, one about AIDS, and another rather active post about a nuclear attack against Iran. What good comes of these musings or microanalyses, in terms of a real politics or political stance? Isn't the conspiracy theory simply the consolation of the defeated, who takes comfort in the fact that she knows what 'really happened' or that however horrid a situation is, it's even worse because there's a devious set of masterminds controlling the whole thing?
    ...
    Zizek has a similar bit in one of his lectures, if I recall, where he says that the moment that you get into a debate with a holocaust denier, you've already lost. You've conceded something at the moment you consider his pathology (pathological even if he's 'right') worth rational debate. This seems to be the difference between 'facts' and truth. What the former may give us is only further ground to argue, more fuel for our fire. However, the important thing would seem to be asserting a truth which explains the situation with regard to its consequences, what now is to be asserted, to be done, so that this sort of thing cannot happen again or so that we can approach the more serious, deeper rooted injustices, no?
    Well, I think the difficulty here is with the gratuitous labelling of some stance, any stance [political or otherwise] that is outside the dominant ideology and its media outlets as "conspiracy theory", for it presupposes some irrefutable, established knowledge [factual or analytic] on the part of the one doing the labelling, so conflating issues of paranoia with those of conspiracy. [For instance, is the claim that 19 members of Al-Kaida flew planes into the WTC itself not a "conspiracy theory"? If you refute this, upon what do you base your refutation? ie. conspiracy works both ways ... is inescapable, unless one is a smug gliberal post-modernist, who somehow always-already simply "knows"]

    You refer to Zizek: he makes the same argument about the Bush Admin's claims regarding WNDs in Iraq as he does about the Holocaust deniers [as well as marital jealousy, Nazi anti-semitism, Islamophobia], the WMDs as a - paranoid - displacement of the underlying problem [unaccountable US power], and therefore irrelevant [ie. even if Saddam did have WMDs, the Bush Admin's claim was still based on prejudice, the later possible "fact" of it serving simply to reinforce their pathology].

    Along the same lines, isn't it unwise [Dissensus translation: downright irresponsible?] to dismiss the - widely documented - US-planned invasion of Iran as "conspiracy theory"? This is essentially simple ignorance of the actual underlying geo-politics [and ironically, Zizek has also properly expressed concern about US designs on Iran ... Give Iranian Nukes A Chance] taking refuge [Dissensus translation: recklessly resorting?] to the conspiracy theory trope as justification for such continued ignorance. Prejudice by other means.

    Yes, we know that the problems are inherently structural [the interpellated symbolic network of Big Other Kapital], but this does not mean that we should pay no attention to its Agents, or fail to continue to report on their behaviour.

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    Why conspiracy theories? Because, believe it or not, governments do things that they'd rather nobody knew about, and do other things for reasons they won't admit to. For example, putting key-loggers in laptops at the factory.

    http://www.infowars.com/articles/big..._manufa_1.html

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by HMGovt
    Why conspiracy theories? Because, believe it or not, governments do things that they'd rather nobody knew about, and do other things for reasons they won't admit to. For example, putting key-loggers in laptops at the factory.

    http://www.infowars.com/articles/big..._manufa_1.html
    I am not certain how long this information will be permitted to remain online for all the world to see before the government takes some type of action to attempt to have it removed from public view. I URGE you to take copy of this page immediately and spread this information to everyone you know immediately!
    Hmm... seems a little sensationalised and hardly incontravertible... Alex Jones is a serious freak as well...

    Anything you find on his site needs to be triple checked - you cant take it at face value IMO.

  13. #43
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    It's very attractive to see conspiracy theories as positions held by conservatives which actually reinforce the status quo - attractive because it's funny and takes a rise out of some wild-eyed idiots - but I don't really see how it stack up. Although most conspiracy theories are nonsense the truth of them does matter. I think it really would mean something if the CIA killed JFK or Dick Cheney organised 9/11 or whatever, the thing is, they didn't.
    It's simply not true to say that anything that doesn't somehow criticise everything implicitly condones the system as it is which I think is at the nub of Sherief's point.

  14. #44
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    I do think that there is a balance to be struck between arguments over what happened here or there and recognizing the truth of a situation. I don't want to seem like I'm saying "oh just blame it on the structures." I think that's a vulgar position that only promotes inaction (system's too big, etc.) So I think this places me fairly within the idea of the properly political being that which we can engage in in the context of a discrete situation; in any such case of course we have to know "what's going on" in terms of raw data etc. But information doesn't contain truth per se--for every bit of evidence on one side there are one two or three bits on the other side--and then you get into a MAD (Mutually Assured Derangement) type-scenario. It comes to a point...

    I think however I'm discouraged in general from pontification on things like "what really happened on 9/11" and "Did the CIA kill Kennedy" (this last one amounts to fuckall in my opinion). On the one hand, because this is government, and government != politics as I see it. Should I send a packet of information to my senator full of website printouts about the possibility of war in Iran asking him to realize what's going on and help stop it? Come now... You have to ask yourself what you can do with the information you may have been able to wrangle out of the internet or wherever else for that matter.

    This viewpoint is either very pessimistic, ignorant, or localized. I like to think the latter.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherief
    I might owe an apology for that slogan...But well worth it!
    be realistic- demand an apology?

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