“Yes, there is a conspiracy, in fact there are a great number of conspiracies that are all tripping each other up. And all of those conspiracies are run by paranoid fantasists and ham fisted clowns.”
“The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the effects of fake news, howit spreads, and why we should know better than to believe it. The two above quotes by Alan Moore speak to the detrimental effects of conspiracy theories. And while fake news and conspiracy theories are two different things individually, together they supplement each other. Fake News supports conspiracies and conspiracy theories beget Fake News.
The two quotes, read in the order presented, could very well be one statement, but I believe that they were uttered on two different occasions. The latter idea is more credible because Alan Moore, while believing in wild and esoteric things, is also strangely rooted in the traditions of Modern Skepticism. He’ll satirize power structures and lampoon the uptight, puritanical sensibilities of Jacobean England and be just as willing to promote, at length, hermetic traditions which, just like any political party or established religions authority, have their own standards and practices, orthodoxy and orthopraxy. He’s an odd bird, but very pragmatic in presenting his schismatic ideas.
The first quote presents conspiracy theorists, very plainly, as idiots. One may only need to read the twitter feed for the Flat Earth Society to gain an appreciation for their dedication to believing lies and fables as old as recorded human history. The idea also that there are competing theories, that there are many in the running is interesting. How we see the world (aka, our worldview) defines every detail and contour of our experiences, from tactile to emotional. They mean a lot to us, and we have defended them historically, even killing other human beings to preserve the purity of our worldview. A conspiracy theory is like a worldview, except that the phrase “conspiracy theory,” without any additional context, is typically pejorative. “Conspiracy theory” could also be interpreted with a slight bias invoking edginess such as books like “The Divine Conspiracy,” by Dallas Willard which is a title that invokes how Christianity has been under-appreciated / misunderstood, and that traditional viewpoints on Orthopraxy and Orthodoxy are not what they seem. Still, Willard wants to spread the gospel and be a good servant for Jesus, which leads me to believe that he wants the exact opposite what a conspiracy theorist wants, which is mainstream acceptance. Part of what makes conspiracy theories so great (to the adherent) is that they enjoy the taboo aspects of conspiracy theories. It is the hidden knowledge that is only privy to a select few. It is the weightiness of the knowledge that, if accepted, would invert society and cause chaos. It is almost power over someone else that doesn’t know. Which brings me to my next point…
“The world is rudderless,” in Moore’s words is the dissembling assessment for a conspiracy theorist. People desire, innately, to control others through knowledge. (I feel the same way sometimes.) But what people also desire are explanations for the things in their lives that aren’t capable of being understood. It is a psychosis that infects the mind and allows a conspiracy theorist to look into every minute detail of the world and link it to an underlying cause, sinister or otherwise. Alex Jones is a popular example of this. His positions and beliefs on certain issues are dumbfounding. And whether or not he truly believes what he says, the content he presents consistently malevolent. His opinions and positions become the salve of those who are already afraid, who now have their explanations for their inexplicable fears. That I have met people who think that JFK was ordered to be killed by the CIA (or Deep State, or whatever), that reality is a comfort to them, more so than the reality: that he was shot by a disturbed individual, or a spy for the Russian Government. That there are people who believe Barack Obama is a Muslim and from Africa, that is a better explanation to them of reality than the real one: that it is possible for an African American to rise the ranks of society to a plateau of great intellectual capacity and statesmanship. The key ingredient in conspiracy theories is fear. Everything else follows after: anger, hatred for the Other, confusion, desperation, and self-alienation.
Now the irony is not lost on me that, after saying all these things, I would assert, still, that I am a Christian, despite that many Christians around the world are the chief offenders at succumbing to conspiracy theories, or the fears that predicate them. The best I can say is that the orthopraxy and orthodoxy of Christianity is firmly laid out in the example of Jesus, and to differ is folly. And those that would twist His words to satisfy their unjustified fears and prejudices are more willing to fabricate an accommodating false reality than adhere to the very things they claim to believe. We believe that the world is directed by the sovereignty of God and not “rudderless” as Moore asserts. However, if I’m wrong and there is no god, then the world is indeed without direction. Hopefully, however, that direction is toward progress instead of toward the erosion of everything we've achieved.
That this is coming out on September 11th, a day that will live in infamy, is coincidental. I'm aware of dozens of conspiracies asserting the twin towers attack was a work of mischief. All of them are bullshit. And anyone who believes them should be revoked of their citizenship.