Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Lately, I’ve been thinking about conspiracy theories. Remember the one that the Clintons thought up and promulgated? That was all about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” that was operating in the country, intent on thwarting everything they wanted to accomplish. That one was derided by most of the right wing as being a bit, well, nuts. Sort of like the wing-nut theorists who asserted that the moon landing was a Hollywood stunt, or, worse yet, the one being discussed by that right-wing loonie-bird, Sarah Palin, about the Rapture.
Now, mostly, when I observe terrible things occurring, I always go to that standard axiom of common sense—Occam’s Razor. Occam's (or Ockham's) razor is a principle attributed to the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. Ockham was the village in the English county of Surrey where he was born. The principle states that "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” The most useful statement of the principle for scientists is, "when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better." So what does Occam have to do with conspiracy theories. Well, when I observe people or organizations doing evil things, I am drawn to two possible explanations:
1. The Machiavellian – the people are evil-doers and in league with other evil people, i.e. a conspiracy of evil people.
2. Stupidity – or the George Bush explanation, i.e., they are stupid people who are simply incompetent to carry out whatever task they are attempting to accomplish (like running the country).
Generally, I believe, and Occam’s Razor would urge, the second explanation, mainly because it is the simplest.
But lately, I find myself drifting back to the first explanation—a vast conspiracy abroad in the land. What is it that I am observing in this connection? Mainly, I see a robotic adherence to a single message—defeat anything President Obama wants to do. Republicans are now in the minority in Congress, ever since their performance over an eight year period under the Shrub was so cataclysmic that our nation was very nearly destroyed, and the damage continues in abundance. Their record was so destructive that the population voted them out of office in large numbers. Two wars, one of which was completely unnecessary and apparently illegal under the UN charter, the appointment of both hostile and incompetent political leadership throughout the government, to the point that most agencies concerned with protecting the public from external threats became dysfunctional, and an economic policy approach that produced the worst financial system disaster since the Great Depression, and may yet sink us (think National Bankruptcy) financially.
Now, I always associated that record with the first of the two explanations—incompetence. George Bush practically screamed incompetence. He has never actually succeeded at anything he has ever attempted, but rather he has been propelled forward by his father and his father’s connections. He’s like Sarah Palin in that regard.
But, ever since the nation threw the rascals out of office, they have come back with even greater strength, and with much greater vitriol, only this time they are intent on destroying the Obama presidency. So from whence comes this great power, given their minority status in government?
Part of it comes from their PR machine, Mr. Murdoch and his Fox News (henceforth known as the FauxNews) Network. No other politician of any stripe has ever had a PR machine to equal the FauxNews network. For the most part, the nation’s news networks have been relatively honest and fairly straightforward in delivering news to the public. Newspapers have traditionally leaned left or right, depending on ownership. But TV news was generally somewhere in the middle, “fair and balanced” as it were. Now along comes Mr. Murdoch and his right wing PR machine. I think without exception, every “news” program on the FauxNews network is so far to the right that they have become a national disgrace, and even a threat to the very freedoms we have enjoyed as Americans.
Almost without exception, and on every issue that arises, Republican officialdom adopts the FauxNews talking points, almost word for word. It is as though one person writes all the talking points and all the speeches—uncanny really. Republicans did not used to act this way. Among the republican literati there used to be strains of independent thought. No longer it would seem. And that is precisely what draws me to this second explanation—a conspiracy of fools, strung together by some oligarchy of rich people who want control back. To be fair, the oligarchy that largely runs the nation’s affairs (bankers and other financial system managers) continues to control most of what passes for commerce in the country. That control now extends to government actions, in the form of republican counterpunching whenever government actions are proposed that threaten any part of the oligarchical money network.
Exactly where ragtag groups like the Tea-baggers and the Wasilla Barbie fit into this conspiracy is not clear. It is clear that they began life as a fake ground-root movement, inspired and financed by right wing money groups. But they have acquired something of a life of their own, with their own Palinesque leadership. Palin, it is clear, is aligned with this group to promote her own personal interests and finances. Whether she actually entertains thoughts of becoming president (a truly scary thought) is unclear, but irrelevant. She stands to benefit financially and already has from their attention. Currently, the Teabaggers are a splinter group.
Whether the republican machine is in fact being directed and managed by a single entity is also unclear, probably not. Oligarchies can in fact run very large entities, like nations without a single head. They have common interests and, with the help of modern communications processes, can operate as though a single head is present.
I continue to await a coordinated strategy coming from the Democrats to counter this right wing attack machine. In this regard, the Wasilla-Barbie may be correct. The nation is at war, but in this case the war is internal (I think), a sort of civil war, begun and continued by the Republican party, and its money-masters. The outcome is unclear, but the nation’s future security is at stake. Should the Republican attack machine succeed, we may begin to see the end of the American era—and it could end quickly and very unpleasantly.
Take heed President Obama, take heed.
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