on Conspiracy of Conspiracies by THOMAS MILAN KONDA

Leafing through this book, and I’m humstrung in argument.

First, conspiracism exaggerates the “otherness” of one’s opponents.  This is fully in keeping with the Manicheanism of so much conspiracy thinking but can also show up in smaller ways.  Chris Mercer, who killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in 2015, distanced himself from the type of person who would become his victims in a blog post.  “Most people,” Mercer wrote, “will spend hours standing in front of stores just to buy a new phone…. I used to be like that.”  — 317- 318

He’s Holden Caulfield complaining about phoneys, most probably.  Or he might be Herbert Marcuse on the one dimensional man.  Or Daniel Boorstein observing the pseudo-event.  Gus Debord and the society of the spectacle.  Everyone needs to be an elitist of some sort to survive our consumer culture.  It did, apparently, never occur to the killer how easy it is to “opt out” of small bits of the culture — no, for heaven’s sake, you don’t need to buy the latest i-phone or need to buy it immediately.

I suppose the examples cited for the next killers are more off-kilter than this one’s standard garden variety societal (late adolescent?)  angst.  Most people learn to just roll their eyes at the sight.  (Though, there I’m stuck on competing “most people”s.)  Maybe the problem confronted with “conspiracism” is lack of perspective encroaching into persecution complex?

And in partial defense of Alan West and his “Sharia Law” threat from Wal-Mart.  (291-292)

This vignette makes sense only in the context of two conspiratorial ideas:  first, that the government is engaged in a campaign to “crush” (as West puts it) the rights of Christians and, second, that there is a conspiracy trying to establish Sharia Law in the United States.  Both of these are manifestations of a conspiracist belief system in a larger effort to destroy America.  The issue died when Walmart explained that, under state law, minors, such as the clerk in question, were not allowed to sell tobacco or alcohol.  West had reacted to a “conspiracy” that existed only in his mind.  Unlike Carson’s sermon, West’s post was conspiratorial, but the press tended to treat it as a slip rather than a conspiracy theory.  — 291-292

Nay.  The Sharia Law conspiracy theory need not apply to make sense of Alan West’s (ignorant and persecution complex laden) tirade.  The vignette makes sense in  a culture clash being sensitive to minorities at the expense of the majority — some truth lies about and it doesn’t need to be driven to the “government” engaged in “crushing” the good Christians — whether or not Alan West thinks that is the source of his ire.  The Sharia Law motif is not necessarily meant literally to make sense of his anti-political correctness complaint.

All in all, left conspiracism is at best a pale shadow of its right-wing counterpart.  It takes up only a small part of the conspiracist stage, it has never cumulated into a sprawling theory, and it is much more in touch with reality.  — 231

The last comment perhaps ends up a showing of bias.  The “October Surprise” continues to be a bedrock feature of some “left”ists’ history, and we wait for another plane crash to momentarily distract us.  Various sects of the “Weather Underground” variety of the 1970s may beg to differ as well.

Paul deParrie, a pro-life activist, accused the government, “drunk on the blood of the innocent” of formenting “a pogram against all who subscribe to a Judeo-Christian belief system.”  Citing the government’s assaults on Randy Weaver and David Koresh, deParrie claimed that the government considered “anyone who doesn’t bow down to Pax Americana and the New World Order a subversive.”

Funny thing about that guy.  I recall he once published (or the online feature that published a column from him) some perfectly innocuous list of musings, which happened to be identical to some from George Carlin.  I had to ask him “So… you stealing your act from George Carlin now?”  I guess it may have surprised him, and scared him straight from ever considering for even a moment averting from his regular routine of speculating what punishments should be meted out to abortion doctors — and seeing too much wiggle room in the Constitution Party to allow for some mercy in states’ rights doctrines for states dominated by Mormon populations that don’t want as severe a punishment.

Orly Taitz, a California lawyer who filed a similar suit on behalf of Alan Keyes’s American Independent Party — 277

Can’t claim it as owned by Alan Keyes.

I don’t think he’s right about how FEMA camps came into the conspiratorial picture — they’ve… been around.  Are they suddenly clustered in after Hurricane Katrina?  Maybe, but… they surface and resurface.

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