I for one am not the biggest fan of “conspiracy theories”, at least in the traditional use of the term. I don’t doubt that many conspiracies exist. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have stealth bombers, nuclear weapons or most of this continent. However, having spent my time with many from the 9/11 crowd, I can say that there are many that I personally never wish to see again. That doesn’t mean that I think I know for sure what happened that day (none of us do). But there’s a point where questions and criticism just give way to fantasy (I knew I had to get away the first time I had a serious conversation about reptile-aliens).
Did Bush allow 9/11 to happen? Maybe. Are there aliens? Have they been here? I honestly don’t know. But while I’d like answers to these questions, there are far more important issues. And that’s where people like Alex Jones start really scaring me. The more you look at the world through a lens like this the more you start seeing everything as some part of the conspiracy. That’s because everything is connected, and that’s why radical philosophies exist. But to say that things are connected, is one thing, to say that they’re all a part of the same Illuminati or Reptillian (not to be confused with Reptoids) plot is a stretch.
This is an issue of cause and effect. Things can be related without one directly causing the other. And while conspiracies are certainly an important part of everything from banking to party politics, that doesn’t mean that conspiracies are responsible for them. The same patterns of colonization, exploitation and oppression have been playing themselves out for centuries, from the Conquistadors to the British Enclosure movement to modern day China. This could mean that Replitllians have been in control all along, ever since Babylon perhaps. But it could also mean that the social structures (which in many important ways haven’t changed a lot since then) tend to produce the same effects.
And while you can debate these two theories, when it comes to taking action, the two are an entirely different story. For the first, the assumption is that everything would be ok if we just got rid of the “bad guys”. But if we question these institutions, it becomes clear that it doesn’t matter who’s in charge. If our civilization still runs on much of the same model as Ancient Rome, aliens, satanic cults or time-travelling robots from the future might as well be running the show.
There is a New World Order. George Bush announced it. The mechanisms and institutions aren’t hidden, they’re studied at nearly every university. The WTO, IMF, World Bank, G8, WEF and others rule the world with every aspect of cartoonish supervillians. The damage they do is documented everywhere you look. And tens of thousands of people regularly turn out in the streets on their doorsteps spoiling for a rumble.
The thing that just about anybody from Raging Grannies to Black Bloc rioters will tell you, though, is that we need to fundamentally rethink all of it – the government, economy, corporations etc. Alex Jones, Zeitgeist and their ilk won’t tell you that. Instead, all too often we’re told everything will be ok if we get rid of the Federal Reserve and get back to “constitutional values”. Hiding behind that is a deeply flawed and frightening (lack of) analysis about governments and the economy.
What’s even more frightening is that hiding behind many of the conspiracy theorists are some even more frightening ideas about redesigning society. Fascists like Lyndon LaRouche regularly blame the world’s problems on everything from “the Jews” to “the Queen of England”, and much of their work all too often makes it into the work of people like Michael Rupert. Fascists love conspiracy theories, going back to Hitler and Mussolini’s fictions about secret banking conspiracies holding back “the people” (while they, in fact, conspired with these interests themselves). I certainly wouldn’t state, as some do, that the entire “conspiracy” movement is a front for neo-fascists, but they’re certainly there.
I agree with a hell of a lot of what the “conspiracy movement” says, and I think there’s a lot to be said about the massive number of people who’re interested in it. The world is run by a small “power elite”, and has been for a long time now. Banking is usury and extortion. And even if Osama flew all of those planes himself on 9/11, the American government has a hell of a lot of explaining to do about the way it’s exploited the tragedy.
What’s different with anarchist analysis (like most radical analysis), is that it doesn’t require a conspircy. Capitalism gives people every reason to do all of these things without ever speaking to each other. Whether it’s Monsanto, Enron or Halliburton, they clearly do influence governments, and much of what they do is clearly immoral, illegal, and evil (if anything ever is). It’s public knowledge, on public record, and nobody’s paying the price – except us. So where’s the outcry? The pitchforks and torches? These criminals, inside and outside of government, continue to make millions from their crimes and the best we can hope for protesting them is not getting arrested.
If Obama revealed tomorrow that 9/11 was, in fact, a CIA plot, what would change? At least, under Bush, a government would have fallen, but now it would just be another on a large stack of atrocities for which one or two people went on trial, and the matter was forgotten about. The CIA has killed tens or hundreds of thousands of people at a time in countries like Indonesia, Chile, Guatemala and Haiti. This is public record. So where, I ask again, are the pitchforks and torches?
Revolutions aren’t single-issue things. They’re every-issue things. And as far too many people learned from “revolutions” in France, Russia or Haiti, throwing out a part of the old regieme does not guarantee a glorious and benevolent new one. I encourage people to question the government on every issue, even conspiracies (or as more mainstream people call it, corruption). Just don’t limit yourselves to them.