The pernicious, tired world of conspiracies

17 Dec 2010 by CST

There is an excellent article on the Morning Star website, called The pernicious, tired world of conspiracies, which explains the problems and weaknesses of attempts to explain the world through conspiracy theories.

The author, Colin Todhunter, writes:

Why bother having an informed understanding of the dynamics of the modern world based on rigorous research when current trends and events can simply be explained as being the result of some secret, manipulative elite or amphibians from outer space with an agenda to control the world?

Instead of trying to appreciate the logic and processes of capital accumulation and economic crises, for instance, or even the historical antecedents of modernity according to recognised scholarly analysis in an attempt to understand the world, it is much easier to assume that the members of some shadowy group have been in charge all this time - the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Grove, Babylonian paganism, all the world's Jewish people, or even giant green space lizards, the wonderful theory of Britain's David Icke.

[...]

Today's conspiracy theories often have a whiff of neoconservativism - and even anti-semitism - with their anti-government agendas. Better for some to have the distracting effects of a conspiracy theory that points the finger at government bureaucrats, green lizards and a "new world order" rather than the socialists of yesteryear howling at the gates of big business and capitalism.

Conspiracy theories are quick-fix explanations in a complex world, where the ordinary person feels powerless, confused and craves easily digestible answers. It thus becomes easy to regard certain events, like the September 11 2001 attacks in New York or the current economic crisis, as being the work of identifiable targets such as "the government" or some other group who are accused of deliberately controlling the situation behind the scenes.

[...]

Conspiracy theories provide limited insight into the dynamics of power, oppression and resistance in the 21st century.

There is no broad sociological analysis pointing to cultural, historical and economic factors and, therefore, no credible alternative agenda offered for change.

In the absence of this we are left with the crude assumptions of the conspiracy monger, who plays on the prejudices and fears of ordinary people, who in turn latch on to the explanation offered as a substitute for the underlying causes of their powerlessness and frustrations.

All of which brings me to today's post on the blog of Inayat Bunglawala, in which he contrasts some favourable quotes by David Cameron about Israel, with a less favourable one regarding Iran. And how does Bunglawala explain this difference?

Voila! The difference made by financial donations to our main political parties by shady operators who use their wealth to undermine and corrupt our democracy.

Whoever can he mean?


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