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Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:07 AM

"Conspiracy theory" is a way overused term.

Calling something--anything--a "conspiracy theory" has become a one-second method of discrediting that thing. If you believe everything is exactly as government and politicians and their surrogates describe it, I think you are either lying or far too naive to be taken seriously.

No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up.
Lily Tomli

Can distrust be taken to a ridiciulous extreme? Yes. Duh. Almost anything can be taken to a ridiculous extreme (good gelato being one of very few exceptions). When it gets to the point at which people find it necessary to prove they exist, cynicism and doubt just may have gone too far. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito_ergo_sum

This post does not attempt to draw a line between healthy cynicism and paralyzing doubt, but to attempt a definition of a conspiracy because I have recently been seeing the term misused here over and over.

First, let's get this straight: a conspiracy requires more than one person or entity. If I believe that a single corporation has covered up or denied some danger created by its products, I may have a theory. That theory may be correct or off the wall. Either way, it simply cannot be a conspiracy theory. I simply suspect a single corporation of wrongdoing.

It's also not a "conspiracy theory" if the theory does not include conspiring. Sometimes, several people or companies simply decide to do something quite independently of each other.

We don't usually accuse people of conspiring to do good deeds, but people absolutely do conspire to do good deeds all the time. Is the last part of that sentence a conspiracy theory on my part? No, it's fact, not theory.


After that, the definition of a conspiracy gets murky (for me, anyway).


conspiracy
Also found in: Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
con·spir·a·cy (kən-spîr′ə-sē )
n. pl. con·spir·a·cies

1. An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.

2. A group of conspirators.

3. Law An agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.

4. A joining or acting together, as if by sinister design: a conspiracy of wind and tide that devastated coastal areas
.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/conspiracy


The third definition is clear enough, but the first is not. Our society seeks to outlaw most things that are significantly wrongful and/or subversive. So, why isn't "illegal" enough?

So many things can be deemed "wrongful." For example, if I happen to know something signifcant, negative or positive, about a politician and I decide to keep that information to myself, I have a hard time believing a criminal case would exist against me, even if the information is likely to swing an election. Does it become more "wrongful" because two people know the information and agree with each other to keep silent? And, if I suspect those two people of having information they agreed not to disclose, is that a conspiracy theory? If so, why?

How about insignificant things, like conspiring to throw someone a surprise party? How about if the conspirators know the guest of honor hates surprise parties?

I don't know the answers to all the questions, but I do know that conspiracies do exist. Maybe not as many as some people think, but they exist. And maybe we should not be so quick to dismiss the idea that conspiracies exist or, for that matter, to whip out Occam's Razor. But, let's save the term conspiracy for something more significant and malevolent than, say, a surprise party.

Oh, and labeling something a "conspiracy theory" does not disprove it, even if you are using the term correctly.

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Arrow 47 replies Author Time Post
Reply "Conspiracy theory" is a way overused term. (Original post)
merrily Sep 2015 OP
orpupilofnature57 Sep 2015 #1
merrily Sep 2015 #2
orpupilofnature57 Sep 2015 #13
merrily Oct 2015 #41
orpupilofnature57 Oct 2015 #46
TexasProgresive Sep 2015 #3
merrily Sep 2015 #5
TexasProgresive Sep 2015 #11
merrily Sep 2015 #12
TexasProgresive Sep 2015 #16
merrily Sep 2015 #17
rhett o rick Oct 2015 #25
merrily Oct 2015 #37
rhett o rick Oct 2015 #42
merrily Oct 2015 #43
rhett o rick Oct 2015 #44
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Sep 2015 #4
merrily Sep 2015 #7
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Sep 2015 #9
merrily Sep 2015 #10
rhett o rick Oct 2015 #27
robertpaulsen Oct 2015 #22
newfie11 Sep 2015 #6
merrily Sep 2015 #8
Jim Lane Sep 2015 #14
merrily Sep 2015 #15
Jim Lane Sep 2015 #19
orpupilofnature57 Sep 2015 #18
historylovr Oct 2015 #20
Ichingcarpenter Oct 2015 #21
rhett o rick Oct 2015 #24
zeemike May 2016 #47
rhett o rick Oct 2015 #23
still_one Oct 2015 #26
merrily Oct 2015 #31
still_one Oct 2015 #34
merrily Oct 2015 #35
PatrickforO Oct 2015 #28
emulatorloo Oct 2015 #29
merrily Oct 2015 #32
emulatorloo Oct 2015 #36
merrily Oct 2015 #38
emulatorloo Oct 2015 #39
merrily Oct 2015 #40
emulatorloo Oct 2015 #45
Doubledee Oct 2015 #30
merrily Oct 2015 #33

Response to merrily (Original post)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:24 AM

1. The assassination of JFK was the only time the term was used most of my life, it is a symbol of the

 

esoteric conversations, agendas, and desires of the people running the government no matter what Department or level, like in a war zone ten people on the same page can defeat a hundred. As soon as we Abandon the system of Check & Balance, under the guise of homeland security, advisor's, contractors, and experts know better so trust us, or for what ever reason, a Conspiracy Theory is no longer necessary .

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Response to orpupilofnature57 (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:27 AM

2. The only time? I've seen it used on DU alone in all kinds of contexts other than the assassination.

Often misused, though.

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Response to merrily (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 07:22 AM

13. Oh I agree, and what gets lost is identifying the implements of Usurping by author ty in Bail-outs,

 

attacks on our citizens, Elections ans assignations .True, it's a verbal shortcut the media uses to conjure up images to scare with supposed information about plots and WMD's or terrorist bombings, and to dub people who don't believe the cover story as "Conspiracy Nuts " , so not only overused but also ambiguous .

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Response to orpupilofnature57 (Reply #13)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 06:51 PM

41. Ichingcarpenter's Reply 21 is very interesting.

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Response to merrily (Reply #41)

Sun Oct 25, 2015, 12:50 PM

46. Thanks, Your so right, it's fascinating info .

 

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:32 AM

3. One of the arguements against c.t. is

that a group of people can't keep their mouths shut. I am the child of parents who had life long security clearances and they never spoke of anything that was classified except to someone with the necessary clearance and the NEED TO KNOW.

Now congresscritters, their staff and other political flunkies are famous for leaking classified material for whatever self serving reason in their small minds.

So as long as the conspiracy is made up of people like my parents no one will ever find out the truth. I know Mom and Dad went to their graves with secrets untold.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:40 AM

5. Depends on the theory. As few as two people can be co-conspirators.

Every conspiracy theory does not involve as many people as 911 or the Kennedy assassination.

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Response to merrily (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 07:06 AM

11. My point is if you had a group of people-not just 2

that wished i.e. to kill Kennedy who were like my parents; they would organize in cells with only certain people with full knowledge. I'm trying to say that a conspiracy can be keep secret and be effective.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #11)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 07:11 AM

12. Got it, thanks. I don't have a lot to say about the Kennedy assassination.

I have seen various programs that seek to de-bunk any conspiracy theory connected to the assassination. I don't know enough to say I believe them or that I disbelieve them.

However, I do know that at least some members of the Warren Commission were recruited with the idea that the national security depended on coming up with an explanation fast. (Not exact words, obviously.) If members of the Warren Commission thought that putting the thing "neatly" to bed ASAP was their duty to the nation, I can see how they would keep their mouths shut.

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Response to merrily (Reply #12)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 01:28 PM

16. Yeah, I don't have any hard and fast theories about JFK's death

I just have never felt comfortable with the official story. My Dad did not have any inside info but he felt it there was a connection to the New Orleans mob or to Cuba, but he also thought those could be false trails to hide the real truth.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #16)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 01:33 PM

17. I don't think we'll ever know--and, at this point, does it matter?

All I know is JFK, RFK, MLK, Jr. were all supposedly assassinated by lone wolfs acting alone and that is one heck of a coincidence. John Kennedy, Jr., too, not long after he started publishing George. Accidental.

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Response to merrily (Reply #17)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 10:54 AM

25. There are a lot of mysterous "coincidences" in politics and the more people try to

 

shut down discussion, the more suspicious and/or skeptical I get. The JFK assassination has been examined numerous times with a lot of different theories, but what about 9/11? The government has chosen a hands-off approach. Both Parties. The answer can't be because they all agree with the story presented. More time and money has been spent on investigating the Clintons for Monica and Benghazi. I think an inquiring person would at least wonder why, if not speculate as to why.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #25)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 05:14 PM

37. I understand your position. For me, fresher stuff would be the priority for actual investigation.

If it's only shooting the breeze or posting, anything goes. But, if people are going to get serious about something, I'd like to know more about what is going on right now. For instance, governments have been propagandizing their own citizens since forever, especially during wartime--and we are in perpetual war now. That being the case, why did the US government pass a law not so long ago authorizing itself to propagandize us? What the hell is up with that?

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Response to merrily (Reply #37)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 07:40 PM

42. In my opinion there is a conspiracy by the 1% to neutralize our Constitutional powers. It's not

 

personal, it's just that they need more and more power.

"The 1% don't openly want us in the 99% to die. They just don't care if we do."

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #42)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 09:14 PM

43. "Openly" may be the key word.

The fewer "useless eaters," the better for the environment.

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Response to merrily (Reply #43)

Sun Oct 25, 2015, 08:22 AM

44. That may be true but I am going a different direction. IMO the main point when people refer to

 

the mythical "let them eat cake", is that there was no sarcasm in that statement. It showed a true disconnection between the aristocrats and the People. Granted there are many aristocrats that abhor the masses but there are more that are indifferent. They view us as cattle. They don't wish us ill will, they just won't do anything to help us if it costs them. In fact, if they need to harm us to make gains in wealth (power), it isn't personal, it's just business. I think the Third Way ideology includes this. They may honestly wish us well in gaining some social justice (good for their consciences) but not if it takes away from their primary goal in life, gain wealth. Wealth can be made, esp if there is an abundance of free resources or labor, but in today's world, it's much easier to steal it. The Wealthy have been stealing the wealth of the lower classes for decades now. When the oligarchy says, "Let them have same-sex marriage," I hear, "Let them eat cake."

I believe that candidate running with the backing of the oligarchy will follow the Third Way ideology. They might help us with some social justice but only if it doesn't interfere with their plans to steal our wealth.

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:33 AM

4. Yup. 'conspiracy' can be as simple as a news organization sitting on a story that will affect the

outcome of an election until after the election. Was it 2000 or 2004 (I'm thinking 2004) when some really bad for W story came out right after he was reinstalled in the White House, because one of the news orgs had decided they should 'sit on it' so as not to affect the election? Barring that 'conspiracy' by the reporter(s) and the editors, the punlic would have been reminded of Bush's sleaziness right when it could have actually saved the country from another 4 years of incompetence and criminality.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:44 AM

7. Your post is worded correctly, but your subject line is not.

One news organization does not a conspiracy make. The NYT making a publishing decision is not a conspiracy. And I am not sure if failure to speak is "wrongful" if one has no specific duty to speak.

We do have a First Amendment right to STFU when we want to. Sometimes, a Fifth Amendment right as well.

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Response to merrily (Reply #7)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:50 AM

9. 'one news organization' is not 'one person'.

Note that I specifically pointed out there were more than one human actors involved. If the reporters had not agreed with the editors, they could have shopped the story around elsewhere to make sure voters were informed.

And I would suggest that the 'failure to speak' is a breech of duty for the 4th estate. Indeed, it's the centrepiece of their existence. We may have become blase to the rise of infotainment and the decline of actual journalism, but it is at least on paper why they supposedly exist. If the news does not have a 'specific duty to speak' then who does?

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:53 AM

10. Tell it to Scalia.

jk.


One news organization is a single entity. Yes, it is comprised of more than one person, but saying " a news organization conspired" is a problem. Saying "a number of employees of a new organization conspired" could be correct, though, if true.

And I would suggest that the 'failure to speak' is a breach of duty for the 4th estate.


Duty in what sense? Not a legal duty. Maybe a moral duty as to a Presidential candidate, but agreement to breach a moral duty may not be a conspiracy.


Indeed, it's the centerpiece of their existence.


Ideally, perhaps. In reality, many news organizations have become something very different.

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Response to merrily (Reply #10)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 11:05 AM

27. Speaking of "many news organizations" and conspiring is a good place for the following opinion.

 

I believe that it's possible to have a conspiracy without the various partners specifically conspiring. That may sound confusing but bear with me. If a majority of news organizations all choose to promote a certain candidate or issue, over others, I see that as a conspiracy. The conspiracy is an unspoken agreement for a common agenda. Can there be a 1% "class conspiracy" to place restrictions on the lower classes?

If this doesn't make sense, help me out.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 22, 2015, 02:43 PM

22. I remember that. It was the NY Times over warrantless wiretapping.

Russell Tice, long before Snowden stole the headlines, spilled the beans on the NSA and how the government in the wake of the passage of the Patriot Act ran roughshod over every Americans' civil liberties. He did that in 2004, but the NY Times waited to publish it in 2005 because they didn't want to affect the election.

So every time I hear some wingnut gripe about the "liberal" NY Times, this is my response:

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:41 AM

6. I think this term is used to discredit what might actually be the truth

As years go by and more information comes out some conspiracy theories are not so far fetched.

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Response to newfie11 (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 06:46 AM

8. It's certainly used in attempts to dismiss and discredit.

Some seem to think that simply labeling something CT ends the discussion definitively. It doesn't. Begins it, maybe.

The idea that no conspiracies exist is flat out bizarre. Drawing lines is difficult for me, though.

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 07:58 AM

14. I don't like the term because of its connotation of fringe

 

The heart of the issue isn't whether a news organization is a single entity. The real problem is that the term is not applied neutrally. "One or more people conspiring" takes a back seat to "This is not only false, but is so ridiculous that only a crackpot would believe it."

From the Wikipedia article about the term:

Originally a neutral term, since the mid-1960s in the aftermath of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, it has acquired a derogatory meaning, implying a paranoid tendency to see the influence of some malign covert agency in events.[17] The term is often used to dismiss claims that the critic deems ridiculous, misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish, or irrational.[18] A conspiracy theory that is proven to be correct, such as the notion that United States President Richard Nixon and his aides conspired to cover up Watergate, is usually referred to as something else, such as investigative journalism or historical analysis.[19]


The 9/11 attacks provide another good example. "Various actors conspired to fake the attacks, including bringing down one or more buildings through controlled demolition" is called a conspiracy theory. "Various actors, including the 19 hijackers and a large supporting team headed by bin Laden, conspired to bring about the attacks" is not called a conspiracy theory because it's more respectable, having the government's imprimatur.

You say that it's "way overused", implying that it has some acceptable (albeit lower) level of use. I say it shouldn't be used at all. It adds nothing. As you note, the mere label doesn't disprove a theory. Just say "Smith believes a ridiculous and unsupportable charge about Western elites deliberately spreading AIDS in Africa" or whatever.

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Response to Jim Lane (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 08:10 AM

15. Good points

except I didn't even imply that whether a news organization is a single entity is the crux of this thread.

Just say "Smith believes a ridiculous and unsupportable charge about Western elites deliberately spreading AIDS in Africa" or whatever.


That does not disprove what Smith believes, either, though. You've only substituted one set of pejorative words for another.

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Response to merrily (Reply #15)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 02:38 PM

19. The news organization came up in a sub-thread

 

I know you don't see it as the crux. My point is that it's an error for anyone to get hung up on whether there's a technical "conspiracy" by being distracted about whether there are multiple actors. No one denies that the official explanation of 9/11 involved multiple actors, but you just won't see that explanation derided as a conspiracy theory.

You're right that "ridiculous and unsupportable charge" and "conspiracy theory" are both sets of pejorative words. I prefer the former, however, because it's clearer. If you believe, as I do, that the controlled-demolition explanation for 9/11 is false, but you criticize it as a conspiracy theory, what do you say when the 9/11 truthers respond that the official explanation is also a conspiracy theory? The term adds nothing to the discussion and threatens to sidetrack it.

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Response to Jim Lane (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 28, 2015, 02:06 PM

18. Well put .

 

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun Oct 11, 2015, 10:18 AM

20. K & R

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Mon Oct 12, 2015, 02:42 AM

21. “Conspiracy Theory”: Foundations of a Weaponized Term


Subtle and Deceptive Tactics to Discredit Truth in Media and Research


“Conspiracy theory” is a term that at once strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. Especially in the United States raising legitimate questions about dubious official narratives destined to inform public opinion (and thereby public policy) is a major thought crime that must be cauterized from the public psyche at all costs.

Conspiracy theory’s acutely negative connotations may be traced to liberal historian Richard Hofstadter’s well-known fusillades against the “New Right.” Yet it was the Central Intelligence Agency that likely played the greatest role in effectively “weaponizing” the term. In the groundswell of public skepticism toward the Warren Commission’s findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA sent a detailed directive to all of its bureaus. Titled “Countering Criticism of the Warren Commission Report,” the dispatch played a definitive role in making the “conspiracy theory” term a weapon to be wielded against almost any individual or group calling the government’s increasingly clandestine programs and activities into question.


The CIA Coined the Term Conspiracy Theorist In 1967


Specifically, in April 1967, the CIA wrote a dispatch which coined the term “conspiracy theories” … and recommended methods for discrediting such theories. The dispatch was marked “psych” – short for “psychological operations” or disinformation – and “CS” for the CIA’s “Clandestine Services” unit.

The dispatch was produced in responses to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times in 1976.




“CIA Document 1035-960” was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times. The directive is especially significant because it outlines the CIA’s concern regarding “the whole reputation of the American government” vis-à-vis the Warren Commission Report. The agency was especially interested in maintaining its own image and role as it “contributed information to the [Warren] investigation.”

The memorandum lays out a detailed series of actions and techniques for “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.” For example, approaching “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” to remind them of the Warren Commission’s integrity and soundness should be prioritized. “[T]he charges of the critics are without serious foundation,” the document reads, and “further speculative discussion only plays in to the hands of the [Communist] opposition.”

The agency also directed its members “[t]o employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.”

1035-960 further delineates specific techniques for countering “conspiratorial” arguments centering on the Warren Commission’s findings. Such responses and their coupling with the pejorative label have been routinely wheeled out in various guises by corporate media outlets, commentators and political leaders to this day against those demanding truth and accountability about momentous public events.




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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #21)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 08:59 AM

24. Thanks for the great post. Conservative authoritarianism abhors Conspiracy Theories

 

and Progressive speculation regarding the authoritarian control.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #21)

Sat May 28, 2016, 08:32 AM

47. Thanks for that.

This whole thread has been great

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 08:48 AM

23. What a great OP. This is exactly what I think this Group is for. This is an important subject

 

right here in River City DU. It's so easy to push people around (bully) people when one is anonymous. Some like to push others around or control others because they like it, and others do it to push their world view when they don't have a decent argument. Mostly it's conservatives that want to control others.

The prohibition of CT in GD is a great tool for those that like to see threads locked that they don't like. For example, when Snowden emerged, it was ok to the conservatives to speculate that he worked for the Chinese and Russians to harm the US. But if one tried to say that the government was trying to subvert our freedoms, the CT card was apt to come out. It's a tool to lock or hide discussion that one has no good argument against.

Let's talk about CT. Your discussion in the OP was great. But I would go a little farther in that CT is all around us. In our jobs, in our schools, in our organizations, etc. Everywhere small groups (or big) get together to "conspire" or to "plan or plot secretly". All conspiring isn't evil. Let's say at the PTA you and a group of others decide that Person A isn't the best president and you conspire to vote them out. Same at work. A group gets together to convince the boss that they should get the project instead of the other group. Conspiring happens all the time, for good or evil. And in politics conspiring is a way of life. Think Tanks should really be called "Conspiracy Tanks", although it's not all evil.

IMO the prohibition of CT here in DU is to prevent rehash of old conspiracy data in GD. But I believe that new data is fair game or if Jeb makes a statement about 9/11, it's fair game. The CT card is too often used to shut off discussions for political reasons.

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 11:03 AM

26. It certainly is an interesting topic. There are tons of conspiracy theories on 9/11 for example.

My personal criteria is that irrefutable evidence can determine the validity of a conspiracy theory, but the so-called irrefutable evidence must itself be valid

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Response to still_one (Reply #26)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 04:12 PM

31. Good luck finding irrefutable evidence of something your government is trying to keep secret,

unless there is an "whistleblower" willing to step outside the law. And if you look at what happens to those people, there is a huge disincentive.

Even without the massive resources of government, you don't get irrefutable evidence of much wrongdoing in this world. Take even an ordinary murder conviction, after a supposedly fair trial and proof beyond a reasonable doubt, with no one but the perp trying to keep the truth secret. If you always had irrefutable evidence of things that actually happened, you'd never have a hung jury, or a jury that deliberates for days, or evidence that shows up later that proves the person convicted did not do it.

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Response to merrily (Reply #31)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 04:22 PM

34. I have a more optimistic assessment. If more than one person is aware of something, the truth will

eventually come out

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Response to still_one (Reply #34)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 04:28 PM

35. I don't agree. However, until it does come out, the idea that it happened is not a whacko

conspiracy theory, is it? It's merely a suspicion of wrongdoing.

How or why would anyone even begin to seek "irrefutable proof" of something if every suspicion for which there is not yet irrefutable proof gets dismissed as a "conspiracy theory" and everyone decides no "conspiracy theory" can possibly be true? Do you not see the Catch 22?

BTW, if there really is irrefutable proof of something, it's no longer a theory. It's just fact.

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 11:09 AM

28. I think the corporate-owned news media propaganda organs are the ones who

try hardest to ridicule so-called 'conspiracy theories.'

Out in the real world, I'm not surprised to find that quite a number of people think:
1. 9/11 was an inside job
2. The international bankers had a hand in killing the Kennedys
3. The international bankers had a hand in killing Lincoln
4. The international bankers had a hand in killing McKinley
5. Wall Street bankers had a 'come to Jesus' meeting with Obama upon him taking office so he'd be clear on what they would and would not allow him to do
6. Marijuana's a Schedule 1 substance not because anyone actually believes that, but because there's lots of money to be made in private prisons and the drug war in general
7. The invasion of Iraq was because we wanted their oil
8. The DOJ didn't prosecute Wall Street bankers because money changed hands, and threats were issued (by the bankers) in the right places
9. Big oil has funded a few spurious 'studies' on global warming with the goal of sowing just a little doubt; they all know global warming exists and we're causing it
10. The NRA called up radio hate show hosts and gave them talking points about how Obama will take your guns, thus dramatically raising gun sales

Oh, and let's not forget the REAL biggie:

11. So-called 'free trade' agreements are part of an agenda whereby international bankers plan to effectively take away the sovereign power of nation states and replace that power with an oligarchic new world order. Bush (HW) even used the term 'new world order' once. The media downplayed it, but...

In the minds of many people I've met, these aren't conspiracy 'theories,' but are considered quite real conspiracies.

Kinda strange DU has banned CT. BTW, I've seen some threads that I would lump into the 'conspiracy theory' pot stand up here without anyone saying anything. Maybe it's only certain ones...

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 11:18 AM

29. The burden of proof is on the conspiracy theorist

"Oh, and labeling something a "conspiracy theory" does not disprove it."

Merrily, you are an very intelligent person, I do not understand your attempt here to "mainstream" woo woo and conspiracy theory as serious political discourse. That is the province of the Alec Jones and the Glenn Becks of this world.

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Response to emulatorloo (Reply #29)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 04:15 PM

32. Kindly point out which woo woo being pushed by Jones or Beck I attempted to mainstream.

And please see Reply 31.

Instead of attempting to ridicule what you imagined I said that I never said, why don't you simply state your own position?

Also, I think your comment about burden of proof conflates a court case with everything else.

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Response to merrily (Reply #32)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 05:04 PM

36. Kindly re-read my post, as I said no such thing. I just have a different opinion than you

This was not an 'attack' on you. I respect you and enjoy your posts.

My own opinion is that I don't care for conspiracy theory and IMHO doesn't belong on mainstream DU. I am very happy with DU's current policy on CT. I don't want DU to become known as a CT site. It is one of the many positive things that sets this website apart and keeps it credible

Hope that clarifies.

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Response to emulatorloo (Reply #36)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 05:27 PM

38. Re read your own suggestion that I am attempting to mainstream woo woo ala Jones and Beck.

No, your statement does not clarify. My OP says nothing about what belongs on DU. I could care less what Skinner does or doesn't want on DU. But, also, before saying you don't care for conspiracy theory, you should offer your definition of conspiracy theory. You seem to think of every conspiracy theory as something both far fetched and false. That is not really the definition I was discussing in the OP. It's certainly not the criminal law definition of a criminal conspiracy. At some point, before those convictions of criminal conspiracy , someone had a theory that a conspiracy had occurred and investigated it, no? Isn't that a conspiracy theory?

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Response to merrily (Reply #38)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 05:51 PM

39. Merrily, I am just not interested in fighting with you

Never have been interested, never will be interested.

IMHO you misunderstood my comment about Beck and Jones. There is no comparison implicit or explicit being made to you.

I am sometimes inarticulate and unclear in my writing. This is probably one of those times I guess.

I simply want to leave CT to them, and not read CT here on DU. Unless I choose to visit Creative Speculation.

Have a great night.

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Response to emulatorloo (Reply #39)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 06:38 PM

40. Asking you to reread your own post after you told me to reread your post is fighting? Interesting.

"Oh, and labeling something a "conspiracy theory" does not disprove it."

Merrily, you are an very intelligent person, I do not understand your attempt here to "mainstream" woo woo and conspiracy theory as serious political discourse. That is the province of the Alec Jones and the Glenn Becks of this world.


I don't know what problem you had with my sentence? Does labeling a statement a conspiracy theory disprove the statement?

I'm also not sure why you keep bringing up DU. I expressly said I could care less about that.

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Response to merrily (Reply #40)

Sun Oct 25, 2015, 09:58 AM

45. No the labeling does not disprove it. But IMHO burden of proof is on the the one proposing it

I don't see anything controversial about that statement.

I have a few CT's that I've been invested in over the years - for example I beleive Bush's "Do Not Call List" was a way to troll for phone numbers.

As to caring about DU's credibility, it is one of my personal issues. So it is just a general statement I made. Been around so long I guess I am personally invested. So that's why I spoke of that.

I couldn't care less that you couldn't care less about DU's cred. That's your prerogative, and probably more healthy than me being personally invested in the site.

What concerns me is that you appear to conclude that I think you are a "bad person" and I am attacking you personally. When in fact I like you and admire/enjoy your posts.

I am afraid I read your reply to me as extremely aggressive and sensed a lot of anger in it. Hence the fighting reference. Am quite willing to concede I might have misinterepeted it.

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 11:20 AM

30. Well, hmmm

Did not Volkswagen conspire to falsify data on its diesel engines?
Does Industry not conspire to price fix, to lobby for legislation both contrary to the best interests of the nation as a whole? Are not corporations composed of many decision makers thus making conspiracy theory applicable?

There are many forms of conspiracies and conspiracy theories can encompass a wide range and can be taken to extremes. That does not suggest that those theories automatically do not hold water.

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Response to Doubledee (Reply #30)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 04:21 PM

33. With which person or entity not within Volkswagon did Volkswagon conspire?

It's one thing to say certain individuals within Volkswagon conspired to do something. That would be a correct use of the word. And then, you would charge them individually. But Volkswagon is a single entity or "corporate person." So Volkwagon itself, as a corporation, did not "conspire" unless someone outside the company participated.

Maybe what I said is easier to grasp if we leave corporations out of it for a second. If one person kills someone, it's murder, not conspiracy to murder. If five people plan togeth to kill someone, it's a criminal conspiracy, even if the murder never happens. See what I am trying to say?

I addressed the issue of a conspiracy having to involve more than one "person" because I had actually seen someone post "conspiracy theory" to something involving only one person. Doubting that something happened does not automatically make the accusation that it did happen a conspiracy theory if only one person is involved.

Also, if someone has been convicted of something, we usually drop the word "theory."

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