Saturday, 18 August 2018

Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Facts — The Q “Conspiracies”

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In the 1997 movie Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts, Mel Gibson’s character Jerry is an ardent believer in conspiracies. As it turns out, Jerry stumbles onto a real conspiracy — and the real conspirators did not like it one bit.

There have been so many conspiracy “theories” used to explain the “real story” behind a real-world event, such as the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations (e.g., everyone but Lee Harvey Oswald was taking shots at Kennedy in Dealey Plaza, according to the multiplicity of conspiracy theories of that event), that the very term “conspiracy theory” has come to mean, to many people, something that is believed in by either a small group or even by a large group, but is not true, and is somehow “silly.”

The recent Q-anon Theory, known for the name of the anonymous poster “Q,” seems almost designed to promote the view that all conspiracy theories are just totally fabricated.

It was November of 2017 on the 4chan website (a message board known for its daring statements) when the Q Conspiracy Theory made its debut. The overall theory promoted on various Internet message boards is that President Donald Trump is conducting a secret war against a criminal cabal directed by Hillary Clinton and her Hollywood allies.

Exactly who originated Q is shrouded in mystery. It is known that Tracy Diaz, who once hosted her own talk show on Liberty Movement Radio (found on YouTube), began to promote Q. Diaz had gained some fame because of her promotion of the “pizzagate conspiracy,” which included allegations that a child sex ring was being conducted out of a pizza establishment in Washington, D.C.

Her video on the Q thesis, complete with her analysis, has been viewed over a quarter of a million times. Critics note that she asks for donations through links to accounts such as Pay Pal, insinuating that she is simply making money off allegedly half-baked conspiracy theories. In fact, Diaz admits that these donations are her sole source of income.

The Q Theory soon moved to the popular Reddit message board site, apparently at Diaz’s suggestion. As NBC News put it in a recent article, “subscribers soon gathered to talk all things Q.” This enabled the Q Theory to reach a larger audience of conspiracy theorists. Finally, the Q Theory made the jump to Facebook, where it found an even larger audience.

Conspiracy theorist Dr. Jerome Corsi, an editor of Infowars (run by Alex Jones), a prolific author of books that challenge conventional viewpoints on current and historical events (for example, his book Hunting Hitler makes the strong case that Adolf Hitler did not die in the bunker at the end of World War II, but rather escaped to South America), initially bought into Q. Since then, Corsi has vacillated on the subject, calling Q a “fraud,” but conceding there has been some “excellent research” done by Q.

Some of the predictions made in Q posts have failed to develop, however, such as the post that Hillary Clinton was facing imminent arrest. Among the more famous Q posts was in February 2018, accusing former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of paying MS-13, the infamous El Salvadoran gang, to murder DNC staffer Seth Rich. The supposed motive behind this allegation was that Rich was the person who turned over DNC e-mails to WikiLeaks.

The problem with so many conspiracy theories is that it is clear that some are true or substantially correct, while others are devoid of hard evidence, or in some cases, totally fabricated. Which ones are correct?

Perhaps the most serious difficulty in sorting out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to conspiracy theories is that it has been demonstrated that high-ranking government officials are quite willing to lie about certain events. For example, the U.S. Congress adopted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing President Lyndon Johnson to use military force in Vietnam, based upon a purely fictional second attack in the Gulf of Tonkin by the North Vietnamese.

It has been over 50 years since the Kennedy assassination, and there are still some documents kept from the American public. This breeds understandable suspicion about the “official” story that Oswald, acting alone, murdered President Kennedy.

The proliferation of conspiracy theories about events such as Pearl Harbor, aliens in New Mexico, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, and dozens more similar “alternative” scenarios clearly leads one to one of two conclusions: All conspiracy theories are just made up, or they are all correct.

The more likely truth is that some are true and some are not. What the careful researcher must do is search for actual evidence, and keep an open mind. Follow the evidence to its logical conclusion, rather than simply fitting new evidence into an existing belief. As Gary Allen said in his 1971 multimillion-book best-seller None Dare Call It Conspiracy, a person must avoid conspiracy theories that are the result of racial or religious bigotry. “These people do not help to expose the [true] conspiracy, but, sadly play into the hands of those who want the public to believe that all conspiratorialists are screwballs.”

All conspiracy theories cannot be true, but they cannot all be false, either. As President Franklin Roosevelt said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

Gary Allen put it quite well. When government leaders make the same “mistake” over and over, we cannot just chalk it up to stupidity. If they were just stupid, then they would occasionally make a mistake in our favor.

Photo: BackyardProduction/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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