Are conspiracy theories destroying democracy?

Conspirator
Posts: 2146
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:35 pm

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 3:51 am » by Icarus1


The more information we have about what governments and corporations are up to the less we seem to trust them. Will conspiracy theories eventually destroy democracy?

What if I told you I had conclusive proof that the moon landings were faked, but I had been told to keep it under wraps by my BBC bosses acting under orders from the CIA, NSA and MI6. Most of you would think I had finally lost my mind.

But, for some, that scenario - a journalist working for a mainstream media organisation being manipulated by shadowy forces to keep vital information from the public - would seem entirely plausible, or even likely.

We live in a golden age for conspiracy theories. There is a growing assumption that everything we are told by the authorities is wrong, or not quite as it seems. That the truth is being manipulated or obscured by powerful vested interests.

And, in some cases, it is.

'Inside job'
"The reason we have conspiracy theories is that sometimes governments and organisations do conspire," says Observer columnist and academic John Naughton.

It would be wrong to write off all conspiracy theorists as "swivel-eyed loons," with "poor personal hygiene and halitosis," he told a Cambridge University Festival of Ideas debate.

They are not all "crazy". The difficult part, for those of us trying to make sense of a complex world, is working out which parts of the conspiracy theory to keep and which to throw away

Mr Naughton is one of three lead investigators in a major new Cambridge University project to investigate the impact of conspiracy theories on democracy.

The internet is generally assumed to be the main driving force behind the growth in conspiracy theories but, says Mr Naughton, there has been little research into whether that is really the case.

He plans to compare internet theories on 9/11 with pre-internet theories about John F Kennedy's assassination.

Like the other researchers, he is wary, or perhaps that should be weary, of delving into the darker recesses of the conspiracy world.

"The minute you get into the JFK stuff, and the minute you sniff at the 9/11 stuff, you begin to lose the will to live," he told the audience in Cambridge.

Like Sir Richard Evans, who heads the five-year Conspiracy and Democracy project, he is at pains to stress that the aim is not to prove or disprove particular theories, simply to study their impact on culture and society.

Why are we so fascinated by them? Are they undermining trust in democratic institutions?

David Runciman, professor of politics at Cambridge University, the third principal investigator, is keen to explode the idea that most conspiracies are actually "cock-ups".

"The line between cock-up, conspiracy and conspiracy theory are much more blurred than the conventional view that you have got to choose between them," he told the Festival of Ideas.

"There's a conventional view that you get these conspirators, who are these kind of sinister, malign people who know what they are doing, and the conspiracy theorists, who occasionally stumble upon the truth but who are on the whole paranoid and crazy.

"Actually the conspirators are often the paranoid and crazy conspiracy theorists, because in their attempt to cover up the cock-up they get drawn into a web in which their self-justification posits some giant conspiracy trying to expose their conspiracy.

"And I think that's consistently true through a lot of political scandals, Watergate included."

'Curry house plot'
It may also be true, he argues, of the "vicious" in-fighting and plotting that characterised New Labour's years in power, as recently exposed in the memoirs of Gordon Brown's former spin doctor Damian McBride.

The Brownite conspiracies to remove Tony Blair were "pathetically ineffectual" - with the exception of the 2006 "curry house" plot that forced Blair to name a departure date - but the picture painted by Mr McBride of a "paranoid" and "chaotic" inner circle has the ring of truth about it, he claims.

And Mr Brown - said to be a keen student of the JFK assassination - knew a conspiracy when he saw one.

"You feel he sees conspiracies out there because he has a mindset that is not dissimilar to the conspiracy theorists," said Prof Runciman.

He is also examining whether the push for greater openness and transparency in public life will fuel, rather than kill off, conspiracy theories.

"It may be that one of the things conspiracy theories feed on as well as silence, is a surfeit of information. And when there is a mass of information out there, it becomes easier for people to find their way through to come to the conclusion they want to come to.

"Plus, you don't have to be an especial cynic to believe that, in the age of open government, governments will be even more careful to keep secret the things they want to keep secret.

"The demand for openness always produces, as well as more openness, more secrecy."

Which brings us back to the moon landings. I should state, for the avoidance of any doubt, and to kill off any internet speculation, that I am not in possession of any classified information about whether they were faked or not. My contacts at Nasa are not that good.

But then I would say that wouldn't I?


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24650841



Conspiracy theories through the ages

Benjamin Disraeli
'Secret societies': Paranoia was rife in the 19th Century in the wake of the French revolution. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (pictured) warned of "secret societies which have everywhere their unscrupulous agents, and can at the last moment upset all the governments' plans"

Freemasons: A secret society tracing its roots back to the 14th century, freemasonry has been accused of everything from controlling the judiciary to faking the moon landings

Illuminati: Initially referred to the Bavarian Illumaniti, a secret society founded in 1776 to oppose religious influence over public life. Outlawed in 1785 but name now linked to alleged conspiracies to create New World Order

Dreyfus affair: A young artillery officer of Jewish extraction, Alfred Dreyfus, was wrongly convicted in 1894 of treason and sent to Devil's Island in a case that divided France. Nationalists believed there was a Jewish conspiracy against Catholicism

Protocols of the elders of Zion: An anti-semitic hoax supposedly describing Jewish plans for world domination. Publicised by the Nazis despite already being exposed as fraudulent
McCarthyism: Named after Senator Joseph McCarthy who led a witch-hunt against suspected communists in American public life in the first half of the 1950s



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24650841
We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.

Conspirator
User avatar
Posts: 3330
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:43 pm
Location: Dark side of the spoon

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 3:59 am » by Phoenix rising


To be honest Icarus the term conspiracy is over used and is often used as a derogatory term by those who are stone walled into a tunnel vision view of things, if i can re-phase the title how i'd like to have put it, critical thinkers are exposing corruption within the democratic system, that sits much better with me :flop:
“If you cannot find a good companion to walk with, walk alone, like an elephant roaming the jungle. It is better to be alone than to be with those who will hinder your progress.”
~BUDDHA (DHAMMAPADA)~

Conspirator
Posts: 2146
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:35 pm

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 4:02 am » by Icarus1


i havent changed 1 word of the artical bro , but i know what you mean :cheers:
We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.

Conspirator
User avatar
Posts: 2169
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:23 pm

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 4:45 am » by Rich316


Phoenix rising wrote:To be honest Icarus the term conspiracy is over used and is often used as a derogatory term by those who are stone walled into a tunnel vision view of things, if i can re-phase the title how i'd like to have put it, critical thinkers are exposing corruption within the democratic system, that sits much better with me :flop:



Yeah I've noticed the media have really latched onto the term 'conspiracy theorist' over the past few years and they certainly use it in a derogatory way at every given opportunity. They do their best to find strange looking people that don't hold themselves all that well on camera, who would be deemed at the extreme end of conspiracy theories and then pretend to 'interview' them and listen to them, only to use them for their own agenda. play 'adams family' music in the background or simply have a narrator to ridicule them over the top, all after the interview is done to get it ready for 'showtime'... Then they dump ALL 'conspiracy theorists' into that very same bucket. Very cowardly and very pathetic is our media. I've love to slap them upside the head!

We've even got some little smart asses here in oz. Karl Stefanovic http://today.ninemsn.com.au/section.aspx?sectionid=3095 Needs a good bitch slap. They did a story on UFO's in the outback in the Northern Territory just the other week. My god these hosts are brain dead imbeciles. Not only did they laugh and ridicule and pretend to show interest, they kept the story as 'coming up' for the entire length of the show. I gave up and walked away. I figured it would have been like my above analogy anyway. So for ratings, because they knew most people would want to see it, they kept everyone hanging on so we had to endure their hour of brainless entertainment. So they used the very topic they don't understand and ridicule so they can feel all warm and fuzzy in the presence of their imbecile collegues to get people to watch their show... Such pathetic people.

Initiate
User avatar
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:04 am

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 5:04 am » by flsts1


Rich316 wrote:
Yeah I've noticed the media have really latched onto the term 'conspiracy theorist' over the past few years and they certainly use it in a derogatory way at every given opportunity..

Ever since 911 my friend.
Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Albert Einstein

Writer
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:51 pm

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 5:13 am » by Santor


In order for democracy to be destroyed, it would need first to exist. What we have isn't democracy, but plutocracy in disguise. Any conspiracy that reveals this disguise and abuse is helping for the greater good.

Personally, I don't think democracy is a working concept. I prefer republic. But thats another topic...

Initiate
User avatar
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:04 am

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 5:17 am » by flsts1


Santor wrote:In order for democracy to be destroyed, it would need first to exist. What we have isn't democracy, but plutocracy in disguise. Any conspiracy that reveals this disguise and abuse is helping for the greater good.

Personally, I don't think democracy is a working concept. I prefer republic. But thats another topic...

The "Bully" system...(democracy)
Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Albert Einstein

Super Moderator
User avatar
Posts: 6270
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 8:03 am
Location: FEMA SECTOR V

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 5:38 am » by Seahawk


Spin.

Those at the root of most said "conspiracy theories," are what's ( or who's) destroying our version of "democracy" (some, in particular, with that specific end in mind ) not the ones trying to get at the truth.

Sure it's over used, but in some cases you could supplant that term with the word facts. They (those responsible- the agenda- driven psychopaths and the lamestream media) still manage to use the term for "conspiracies" that are obviously no longer theories, but fact. That's plainly evident in many cases, and it sure doesn't help. Also, the stupid conspiracy theories- that most of us know as ridiculous- do not hurt "democracy," but definitely hurt the truth movement- and help to support the label of "conspiracy theorists" as whack jobs and nut cases.

It's an included part of the propaganda now, and for some time- and will continue to be. It's like in some of the interviews we have seen, where the one speaking the truth, will call it what it is, and expose a lie for what it is, as the liar will just continue smiling a big fake, vacuous , superficial smile and repeat the lie over and over.... kinda like Jay Carney, for example, along with the support of the others with the same agendas.

All just imo.

Edit- to delete some of the heat-of-the-moment bitterness from the post.


Upload to Disclose.tv



We gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom. - William Bell

Conspirator
User avatar
Posts: 2119
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:15 am
Location: Cornwall U.K.

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 7:46 am » by Temps13


Agree with Seahawk..how can facts that are uncomfortable to criminal elements within corporations & government agencies damage anyone but those criminal elements..it's BS spin :hell:
How can critical thinking destroy democracy what democracy
Image Image
IRMENSUL13

Initiate
Posts: 258
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:22 pm

PostSun Oct 27, 2013 10:09 am » by Spikey


Phoenix rising wrote:To be honest Icarus the term conspiracy is over used and is often used as a derogatory term by those who are stone walled into a tunnel vision view of things, if i can re-phase the title how i'd like to have put it, critical thinkers are exposing corruption within the democratic system, that sits much better with me :flop:


Agreed. I like your title better.

Besides, if Government the ones in actual control of the democratic political systems in this country are never actively engaged in shady backroom shennanigans, that are not entirely in the public interest, even sometimes in direct conflict with it..then there would be NO 'critical thinking activists' (or conspiracy theorists) examining and discussing such shennanigans.

IOW, the conspiritors create the conspiracy theorists, ergo, in relation to Government and democracy, it's perfectly logical and appropriate to say it is the Government themselves who are endangering democracy by engaging in underhanded and shady practices, rather than those who work to expose those practices.

If we say 'conspiracy theorists and researchers' are a danger or threat to democracy simply for exposing wrongdoing in Governemnt and by those in positions of authority or responsibility, we may as well also say the police are the prime movers of crime and criminality, they are causing crime, simply by detecting and researching those that comit crime!

Neither of these hypothesese are true of course, it would be ridiculous to blame those who are detecting and researching criminality for the criminality itself.

That is what is being attempted here i feel.

I would argue that such five year investigations and research ought to have been directed at historical proven conspiracies and wrongdoings by those who actually perpetrated them, instead of directing the study at those who discuss and attempt to illuminate the shady workings of the perpetrators.


Next

  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post
Visit Disclose.tv on Facebook