Sailer's amusing analysis of a paper on conspiracy theories

6 posts

Bob Dylan Roof

I was browsing Marginal Revolution when I came upon some entertaining commentary by Steve Sailer on conspiracy theories.

Apparently prospective Obama SCOTUS nominee Cass Sunstein and noted Schmittian Jurist Adrian Vermeule put together an analysis of conspiracy theories that included a humorous suggestion for combating them at the government level .

The paper is both a depressing demonstration of the misuse of the omnipresent wealth-maximization utilitarianism that has completely enveloped our political and legal systems, and a revealing insight into the profound disconnect between our elites and the majority of the population.
Niccolo and Donkey

Conspiracy theories, however foolish they may be, are usually proximately caused by the inherent confusion prompted by information overload (dramatically exascerbated by the advent of the 24 hour news cycle) and the tendency of government itself to engage in disinformation campaigns to manage opinion.

Chomsky and Lasch both made much of a few instances in 20th century history in which official information sources in government opted to omit the occurrence or non-occurrence of events in order to preserve credibility.

Lasch pointed out in The Culture of Naricissism that the War Dept. wouldn't publicize Soviet and Jewish claims about German ethnic cleansing b/c even though it might be accurate, it simply wasn't believable as a news item. It smacked of propaganda in other words. Now of course, Chomsky and Lasch aren't any kind of authority on this question because they believe in the Holocaust, but that isn't really important - what is important is what the Executive branch did during the war; they deliberately avoided discussing something during hostilities that they subsequently claimed was a primary causus belli due to concerns about the narrative in question was ''credible'' and ''saleable''.

The second big instance of disinformation in the 20th century was the Gulf of Tonkin incident - it was testified to by Samuel Adams (a career CIA functionary who turned clandestine documents over the United States Senate) that there was a big problem in the Pentagon with how exactly to sell the Vietnam War, especially for a weak President, when the people simply weren't smart enough or intuitive enough about history to discern why a direct challenge to the Communists was a strategic imperative in 1963-64. So it was decided to quite literally manufacture an ''incident'' so as to couch the war in simple terms of ''defensive war'' against a quasi-criminal Communist offensive of ''aggressive war''.

People overtime took notice of this kind of thing and developed bizarre ideas about the nature of the power elite and its management of information, but the elite did it to themselves.

Now of course, ''the truth'' can be discovered about any world historical event or current event by a diligent student who enjoys research and can apprehend history - the government isn't preventing people from acquiring information from non-elite sources; but most people aren't inclined to do that, and as Mearsheamer pointed out in his latest book, Western leaders literally lie constantly - they in all probability lie a lot more than Arabian despot-Kings, Gook communists, private sector crooks, and any number of other villans that occupy the liberal ethical mindset. So its not really surprising that paranoiacs and ignorant people craft their own ''conspiracy theories'' - they're basically doing what CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, and the White House press corps teach them to do. Elites present their own ''conspiracy theories'' and attempt to pass them off as fact. ''Iran is anti-Semitic and wants to annihilate Jews'', ''Al Qaeda wants to destroy American constitutional freedom'', ''The Syrian rebellion consists of people who are liberal democrats who are resisting tyranny'' etc. These ''official'' positions aren't any less ludicrous than Alex Jones' claims about ''controlled demolition'' or whatever.

niccolo and donkey Roland

Lone Wolf

If the government doesn't have any credibility, they only have themselves to blame.

Bob Dylan Roof
Sailer has a series of posts on this topic. One of them concerns the endearing theory, espoused by SCOTUS and Congress, that disparate impact is always indicative of a white/male/heterosexual conspiracy against a minority. I guess that's what happens when you don't have elite quants.

Conspiracies exist. Conspiracy theorists perform a service by writing about them.