Sunday, March 21, 2010

Anyone?

In Friday's chats with Jesse Ventura and Gary Fielder (a Colorado lawyer who refused to submit to a courthouse body scan), Jones did something that I've heard many conspiranoids doing lately: He tried to prop up his own conspiracy theories (the world depopulation agenda, UN Communist world takeover, etc.) by listing actual, historical conspiracies. I've already written about this phenomenon at Swallowing the Camel, but I mention it again because I would really, really like to know if anyone can point to an example of conspiracy theorizing successfully predicting or uncovering a real conspiracy. I don't count the Jones/Bill Cooper "predictions" of 9/11, because they were far too vague to be of any use. It seems to me that the vast majority of conspiracy theories, past and present, turn out to be not just inaccurate, but mega-crazy inaccurate.

4 comments:

Terry said...

The Bavarian Illuminati - the real story.

Begun in 1776; totally secret in name and purpose; a secret society in every sense of the term.

By 1779, the rumour in Masonic circles was that there was a conspiratorial group called either the Minervals or the Society of the Illuminati, whose ambition, among other things, was the domination of Freemasonry from within. The speculation continued throughout the early 1780s, and was ratcheted up by the conservative ex-Jesuits and the Rosicrucians to the point of espionage. There was likewise intrigue from the camp of the liberal Illuminati themselves, against their antagonists, until war was declared by both sides (secretly and openly). It turns out the obscurantists won: the Illuminati was proven real, powerhungry, conspiratorial, and shown to have had varying degrees of success. Its internal documents were published, and its members were banished and/or persecuted.

Archival documents from the conservative faction - mostly correspondences and Lodge records - prove that their theory of a conspiracy was warranted (excusing, of course, the occasional exaggeration now and then). And the correspondences of the Illuminati are entirely corroborative.

The full story, however, is that the conspiracy went both ways, no matter who was initially doing the theorizing. But this does meet your criteria.

S.M. Elliott said...

That's actually a pretty good example, Terry. If theorists wouldn't habitually bundle the Bavarian Illuminati with other, less credible theories ("Illuminati Satanists", "Illuminati Rothschilds", etc.), this could be a score for conspiracy theorists.

Terry said...

Ya, I know. It's because the Illuminati marks the beginning of modern conspiracy theory proper and serves as a meta-template. Everyone with their own particular monolithic master-thesis have tried tried to incorporate this ultimate bogey. So, for the Jesuits-rule-them-all crowd, Weishaupt et al. were nothing but a Jesuit front; likewise, for the Jews-run-the-world wanks, it's equally essential that the founding Rothschild is written into "the script", etc., etc.

They fail to realize that the real story of the Illuminati is intriguing and instructive enough already that conflation is wholly unnecessary. Even if one were to take out some of the exaggeration and speculation of Robison and Barruel, the core of the story is a thriller. It's an example of a real conspiracy, through and through, replete with political and social subversion and grandiose conspiratorial scheming. There are also many dramatic episodes that on the surface seem made up - like Weishaupt's friend having been struck dead by lighting while carrying out a secret mission - but that are actually true. Hollywood would have a hit - I have no doubt - if they were to take it on and only stick to the facts.

SME said...

"the real story of the Illuminati is intriguing and instructive enough already that conflation is wholly unnecessary"

Quite true.

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