The Consequences of Conspiracy Theories and How They Get Started

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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24 July 2021 20:22
 

Since the news is presently awash in conspiracy theories and their consequences I put this topic in the Politics and Otherwise category

Let’s begin in the early 1800’s with Joseph Smith’s ‘golden plates’ story:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_plates

quote from this article:  “Smith said that he found the plates on September 22, 1823, on a hill near his home in Manchester, New York, after the angel Moroni directed him to a buried stone box. He said that the angel prevented him from taking the plates but instructed him to return to the same location in a year. He returned to that site every year, but it was not until September 1827 that he recovered the plates on his fourth annual attempt to retrieve them. He returned home with a heavy object wrapped in a frock, which he then put in a box. He allowed others to heft the box but said that the angel had forbidden him to show the plates to anyone until they had been translated from their original “reformed Egyptian” language.”  (read more in article)

Several thousand years before Smith and the golden plates there was another big one:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_tomb

quote from this one:  “The empty tomb is the Christian tradition that women coming to the tomb of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion found it empty. The story is found in all four gospels, but beyond this basic outline they agree on little. However, the whole death, burial, and resurrection narrative predates the gospels and Paul’s letters via oral traditions. The gospel authors’ usage of standard literary, historical, and biographical compositional practices of their day along with their use of multiple sources account for much of the differences, which were usually over peripheral details. Mark’s Gospel, in its original ending, the women who discover the tomb flee, telling no one, after meeting a young man who he tells them that Jesus will meet the disciples in Galilee; Matthew introduces guards and a curious doublet whereby the women are told twice, by angels and then by Jesus, that he will meet the disciples in Galilee; Luke changes Mark’s one “young man” to two, adds Peter’s inspection of the tomb,  and deletes the promise that Jesus would meet his disciples in Galilee; John reduces the women to the solitary Mary Magdalene and introduces the “beloved disciple” who visits the tomb with Peter and is the first to understand its significance.”  (end quote)

I have a feeling that when Pilate got wind of this one he wanted to nip it in the bud before it hit social media and got out of hand.  He summoned some of the ‘witnesses’ to explain exactly what they saw.  Pilate found that one of the women who was spreading the story about the holy man coming our of his tomb (3 days after he was executed) was a soothsayer who made a living by selling amulets made from small patches of cloth she claimed were from Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors (Genesis 37.3).  This woman also told Pilate that she was in possession of a robe that had been worn by Jesus, and offered to sell him a fragment of this cloth for 50 denarius.  (about 50 days wages) 

For more on the lucrative trade in holy relics see novel ‘The Relic Master’ by Christopher Buckley - https://www.amazon.com/Relic-Master-Novel-Christopher-Buckley/dp/1501125761 

Do you have a favorite conspiracy theory?  https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2020/11/30/trump-renews-ballot-dump-conspiracy-theory-claim-heres-why-its-bogus/?sh=5e19ef301dca

Luckily, most Americans get their information from reliable sources;  https://www.carbonbrief.org/americans-get-the-most-information-about-climate-models-from-rush-limbaugh

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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25 July 2021 05:05
 

Kurt Anderson: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire
https://youtu.be/XirnEfkdQJM

 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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25 July 2021 06:11
 

The vast majority of people that Rome crucified were left to rot on the crucifix and then dumped in a mass grave.  There’s no reason to assume that someone preaching political resistance to Rome (the Romans wouldn’t have cared about internal Jewish religious division) would have given someone preferential treatment of EITHER being let down early or an individual burial, let alone both.

I find it much more plausible that the Empty Tomb was initially created as a memorial, that then through the magic of the telephone-game, became less metaphorical and more real.  It wasn’t intended as a conspiracy or fabrication, but as an act of mourning.  To me, this seems much more human and entirely plausible (every part of it is something that we can demonstrate can actually happen).

My personal favorite conspiracy theory is about the death of JFK.  Based on the limited evidence, it is possible that Kennedy was struck by two different kinds of bullets.  A full-metal jacket bullet is much more likely to pierce and travel through the body.  The “magic bullet” with it’s erratic path is entirely consistent with a FMJ round.  In contrast, the bullet that hit his skull could be a FMJ, but it could also be a hollow-point.  Hollow-points split apart on impact and cause significantly more damage, often resulting in large, gaping wounds.  Due to the precision nature of shooting with a rifle, marksmen essentially never load two kinds of bullets.  Both bullets travel differently, and so in order to maintain accuracy, you would load all of your rounds with the same kind of bullet.  So, if there were both kinds, that means there does indeed have to be a second gunman.  This leads me to the second part of who that gunman might be.

We’re now at the point were there is essentially one person from that day still living, Clint Hill.  Hill is the agent who ran up to the car and used his body to shield the president and first lady, though I am not presenting evidence against him.  My main point being that no is left alive to embarrass directly.  Many presidents, FBI directors, and Attorney’s General have had the opportunity to declassify documents and potentially clear up some information.  Why has this not happened?  In my theory, I do not posit that there was a second hidden gunman, but rather they were in plain view the entire time.  The Secret Service carried handguns that fired hollow-point rounds.  It is my theory that an accidental discharge as the gun was drawn in a panic struck and killed the president.  This explanation accounts for several facts.

First, in the immediate aftermath the body and medical examinations were largely kept secret.  Forensic evidence was mostly controlled by the Secret Service.  If Kennedy was killed by accident by an agent, they would have a vested interest in covering that up.  Second, many future individuals have had access to this secret without revealing it.  A president would have no interest in embarrassing the Secret Service since he has to rely on them to protect his life.  At this point, the individual responsible is most likely dead, and there is no “justice” to be gained by releasing the information.  As such, I don’t believe there was a conspiracy to kill the president, but only to cover up what happened in the aftermath.  Everyone involved then and since has a vested interest in maintaining the secrecy, which is one of the hardest things to accomplish in a conspiracy, but as the number is relatively small and the interests in maintaining it high, this has been possible.

It’s still unlikely to be true, but it’s my favorite “theory” of a conspiracy.

[ Edited: 25 July 2021 06:22 by weird buffalo]
 
Jefe
 
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25 July 2021 12:26
 
mapadofu - 25 July 2021 05:05 AM

Kurt Anderson: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire
https://youtu.be/XirnEfkdQJM

I think there is a lot of merit to Anderson’s contention that credulity plays a big role in some of the ‘problems’ with the US.

a) you must believe my preferred mysticism to ‘belong’ to my tribe.  From creationism to the prosperity gospel, to PoMo being equated with marxism and communism, to the misunderstandings and misattributions of social programs to blatant socialism an communism, etc…

b) you must believe my lies about figures of authority - i.e. the previous prez as a ‘devout christian’, while the current prez is being denied communion by his life-long religious leaders

b+) our tendency to believe the lies of our preferred media/authority figures, even when those lies are documented and debunked for the untruths that they are…

c) you must believe my anti-science, anti-authority, ‘don’t shove anything down our throats’ attitudes toward the ‘elite/educated/experts’

d) a propensity for believing crazy-talk from easily debunked propaganda outlets like fox, newsmax, OAN, crowder, shapiro, jones, Q et al…  And further the propensity to ‘dig-in and double-down’ when contrary evidence, fact-finding, and debunking happens…

e) latching onto the ‘fake-news’ lies…

f) getting our backs-up when faced with an illusion of power-mad manipulation, even if that illusion comes from power-hungry manipulators…

g) the ‘shining city on a hill’ built from exploitation and discrimination…

Humans’ thought processes and the english language allow a lot of ambiguity and misdirection/disemblement/confusion when we think and talk about stuff, and our brains are bias-engines that drag us along by our emotional responses and visceral attitudes.  We rarely reason, and we’re bad at it when we do it individually, and sometimes even as groups.  And, to top that off, we’re bad at numbers and predictions, and easily swayed by a pretty looking graph or an easy sound-bite that seems to be in harmony with our own strongly held or socially manufactured preferences…

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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25 July 2021 12:58
 

Good points.  Christians reject governmental and scientific authority but latch on to religious authority.  All of them can be fallible, but I get along just fine as a Christian by giving appropriate consideration (and at times rejection) to all of them.  It requires independent thinking and objective reasoning, with the capability to use subtlety in the reasoning process.  It requires constructing a world view that allows space for autonomous action and thought.

 
unsmoked
 
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25 July 2021 13:22
 
mapadofu - 25 July 2021 05:05 AM

Kurt Anderson: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire
https://youtu.be/XirnEfkdQJM

Thanks for the link.  I watched it.

Notice how conspiracy theorists can scorn and dismiss evidence.  For his 2024 campaign, Trump could adopt one of Groucho’s lines - “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”  Most Republicans will chose to believe Trump no matter what their own eyes tell them.

 
 
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25 July 2021 13:25
unsmoked
 
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26 July 2021 10:54
 
mapadofu - 25 July 2021 01:25 PM

July 24 2018

https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/donald-trump-vfw-speech-kansas-city-what-youre-seeing-reading-not-whats-happening-20180724.html

The LTL (loyalty to lies) of Trump’s ‘civilian’ base is one thing (importance of white supremacy etc.) but the loyalty to his lies among Republican politicians reflects their desire to keep in the good graces of their constituents - keep themselves in office; keep their income; keep the ‘dark money’ coming to support their re-election. 

question:  Where is the ‘dark money’ coming from?

 
 
Jefe
 
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26 July 2021 12:27
 
unsmoked - 26 July 2021 10:54 AM

question:  Where is the ‘dark money’ coming from?

- to quote icehorse: Oligarchs.

- to quote Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: special interest groups with ties back to libertarian koch-friendly and koch-sponsored organizations - but not solely the kochs.  Right-wing ultra conservative orgs with ties to other mega-wealthy folks, religious organizations with excess funding and such are also part of the puzzle.

there appears to be a concerted effort to purchase politics in the US, and there are a lot of congressfolks in the US who accept dark-money contributions, and many judges who respond to amici from dark-money funded think tanks and quasi-judicial groups.  This is part of the reason for the rapid confirmation of Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett and the blocking of Garland, who subsequently was appointed US Attorney General.

Per Sen. Whitehouse’s info series entitled ‘The Scheme’ the appointments of right-leaning justices has resulting in judicial decisions to allow anonymous donations to remain anonymous - which is good for the dark money folks.  ‘They’ have been pumping millions and millions of dollars into a long-running campaign to swing the judiciary rightward in a more koch-esque friendly direction.

If Sen. Whitehouse’s investigations are to be believed.  Search for Sen. Whitehouse + amicus curiae on youtube if you’re interested in his series.

 
 
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29 July 2021 11:37
 
Jefe - 26 July 2021 12:27 PM
unsmoked - 26 July 2021 10:54 AM

question:  Where is the ‘dark money’ coming from?

- to quote icehorse: Oligarchs.

- to quote Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: special interest groups with ties back to libertarian koch-friendly and koch-sponsored organizations - but not solely the kochs.  Right-wing ultra conservative orgs with ties to other mega-wealthy folks, religious organizations with excess funding and such are also part of the puzzle.

there appears to be a concerted effort to purchase politics in the US, and there are a lot of congressfolks in the US who accept dark-money contributions, and many judges who respond to amici from dark-money funded think tanks and quasi-judicial groups.  This is part of the reason for the rapid confirmation of Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett and the blocking of Garland, who subsequently was appointed US Attorney General.

Per Sen. Whitehouse’s info series entitled ‘The Scheme’ the appointments of right-leaning justices has resulting in judicial decisions to allow anonymous donations to remain anonymous - which is good for the dark money folks.  ‘They’ have been pumping millions and millions of dollars into a long-running campaign to swing the judiciary rightward in a more koch-esque friendly direction.

If Sen. Whitehouse’s investigations are to be believed.  Search for Sen. Whitehouse + amicus curiae on youtube if you’re interested in his series.

Are ‘koch-friendly’ and ‘koch-sponsored organizations’ euphemisms for the fossil fuel industry?  This is my own guess re. the major source of dark money that is supporting anti-science candidates and judges. 

euphemism  noun

a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.

https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-04-26/epa-california-emissions-waiver-reversing-trump

 

 
 
Jefe
 
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29 July 2021 12:05
 
unsmoked - 29 July 2021 11:37 AM
Jefe - 26 July 2021 12:27 PM
unsmoked - 26 July 2021 10:54 AM

question:  Where is the ‘dark money’ coming from?

- to quote icehorse: Oligarchs.

- to quote Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: special interest groups with ties back to libertarian koch-friendly and koch-sponsored organizations - but not solely the kochs.  Right-wing ultra conservative orgs with ties to other mega-wealthy folks, religious organizations with excess funding and such are also part of the puzzle.

there appears to be a concerted effort to purchase politics in the US, and there are a lot of congressfolks in the US who accept dark-money contributions, and many judges who respond to amici from dark-money funded think tanks and quasi-judicial groups.  This is part of the reason for the rapid confirmation of Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett and the blocking of Garland, who subsequently was appointed US Attorney General.

Per Sen. Whitehouse’s info series entitled ‘The Scheme’ the appointments of right-leaning justices has resulting in judicial decisions to allow anonymous donations to remain anonymous - which is good for the dark money folks.  ‘They’ have been pumping millions and millions of dollars into a long-running campaign to swing the judiciary rightward in a more koch-esque friendly direction.

If Sen. Whitehouse’s investigations are to be believed.  Search for Sen. Whitehouse + amicus curiae on youtube if you’re interested in his series.

Are ‘koch-friendly’ and ‘koch-sponsored organizations’ euphemisms for the fossil fuel industry?  This is my own guess re. the major source of dark money that is supporting anti-science candidates and judges. 

euphemism  noun

a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.

https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-04-26/epa-california-emissions-waiver-reversing-trump

 

Not exclusively.  But a Venn diagram would have considerable overlap.