Definition of the term "Conspiracy Theory"

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Postby water » Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:03 am

Its a dilemma that has spread
They've given up, they're eyes are closed, their minds are dead
I myself dont know to deal
with those who say that facts aren't real

And they can have it all
Their empire of dirt

It isnt poetic it isnt funny
Its the saddest thing Ive yet been dealt
to see this nations freedom melt

ah fuckit
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Postby wintler2 » Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:39 am

Jeff wrote:
MacCruiskeen wrote:Jamey Hecht:

THE TERM ‘CONSPIRACY THEORY’

This phrase is among the tireless workhorses of establishment discourse. Without it, disinformation would be much harder than it is. “Conspiracy theory” is a trigger phrase, saturated with intellectual contempt and deeply anti-intellectual resentment. It makes little sense on its own, and while it’s a priceless tool of propaganda, it is worse than useless as an explanatory category.

http://www.911inquiry.org/Presentations/JameyHecht.htm


Hecht's paper is brilliant. It was the highlight for me of the conference.

Conspiracy is a hypothesis, not a theory. The theory is Deep Politics.


Excellent, the pair answers the question for me.

When i get the CT ridicule i talk about older 'silly' conspiracies: lead in petrol causing brain damage; smoking causing cancer; tranqs like Valium being addictive; DDT being persistant biocide; agent orange causing illness and birth deformities; thalidomide causing deformities; P2 & Bolongna Station bombing...
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Postby MASONIC PLOT » Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:49 am

I used to think there was this vast international conspiracy, that politicians were corrupt and didnt tell the truth, that the masses were manipulated and exploited by corporations, that the media didnt tell the truth. Finally, I came to my senses and realized that this was just all a delusion and in fact international organizations like the UN are good, politicans really do have our best interest in mind, they care about you and I and serve with honor, the masses are free and the media is there for us, always watching those in power who might slip up so that they can expose them and bring their crimes to light.

I feel so much better now that I finally realized how delusional my thinking once was. It took me a long, long time, but after getting the help I needed I came to see that I had a problem and the internet was feeding my sickness and killing my mind.

Now that I am well I can see just how bad you people are. Bad, bad, bad. You bad people are making others sick and delusional. You should be ashamed. Stop telling people their leaders are bad, especially the American President George Bush, a wonderful man who wants to protect us from those who hate our freedom and wish to do us harm!


Image Conspiracy theorists.
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Postby MacCruiskeen » Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:52 pm

Here, from a poster at DU called 'dick steele', is an example of how the term is used. In this case, it's particularly striking how the author of the MSNBC article takes care to distance himself from the ballsachingly obvious implication of what he himself has just reported:

dicksteele (1000+ posts) Fri Aug-10-07 12:03 PM

USA quietly withdraws from international study comparing math and science students.

MSNBC: The United States has quietly withdrawn from an international study comparing math and science students.

SNIP>
The study, called TIMSS (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study)
Advanced 2008, measures how high-school seniors are doing in algebra,
geometry, calculus and physics with students taking similar subjects
around the globe. In the past, the American results have been shockingly poor.
In the last survey, taken in 1995, students from only two countries—
Cyprus and South Africa—scored lower than U.S. school kids.

Conspiracy theorists suggest that the U.S. government withdrew
from the study without making any announcement because it anticipated
another poor showing. “Maybe they don’t want to hear more bad news,”
says John Ewing, executive director of the American Mathematical Society.

More at link:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20205125/site/newsweek /

(Personal note- I just LOVE the way anyone who questions
the reason for this is a called a "conspiracy theorist".
Getting more Fair & Balanced by the day, NBC!)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/di ... 89x1558810


So, the executive director of the American Mathematical Society is a "conspiracy theorist" because he suggests a highly plausible motive for his government's undisputed action. At the top of this thread, I defined "conspiracy theory" as "Any suspicion of serious ruling-class wrongdoing not yet vindicated in a court of law." But it would be an exaggeration to call this serious wrongdoing. Nowadays, having the temerity to suggest that politicians engage in politics is enough to earn you the label "conspiracy theorist".
Last edited by MacCruiskeen on Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MacCruiskeen » Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:23 pm

This is one of my favourite examples, from Anthony Blair Q.C. in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq:

Blair: Iraq oil claim is 'conspiracy theory'

Matthew Tempest, political correspondent
Wednesday January 15, 2003

Guardian Unlimited

Tony Blair today derided as "conspiracy theories" accusations that a war on Iraq would be in pursuit of oil, as he faced down growing discontent in parliament at a meeting of Labour backbenchers and at PMQs. ...

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreigna ... 73,00.html


Note that he didn't have to say anything bad about those 'conspiracy theories' in order to achieve that 'derision'. If he had said 'nonsensical conspiracy theories' or 'ridiculous conspiracy theories', for example, then he would have been uttering an oxymoron. The term itself is derision enough. And note that he only used it when under strong pressure. It's a blunt but trusty weapon, like a baseball bat; a dependable thoughtstopper.

-- Jeff and Wombaticus, I agree with you about Hecht's paper. It's brilliant, and I've quoted that short passage from it more times than I can remember. Also, Jeff wrote:

Conspiracy is a hypothesis, not a theory. The theory is Deep Politics.


Exactly. One of the most annoying things about Thoughtstopper No. 1 is this chronic and casual misuse of the term 'theory', even and especially by members of the [broadly] intellectual class (what Chabert calls "the clerks"). The distinction between a hypothesis and a theory is not a trivial one. Hecht again:

“Conspiracy theory” is a trigger phrase, saturated with intellectual contempt and deeply anti-intellectual resentment. It makes little sense on its own, and while it’s a priceless tool of propaganda, it is worse than useless as an explanatory category.


And it's precisely this worse-than-uselessness as an explanatory category that makes it so attractive to politicians, powerworshippers and salaried clerks.

Does anyone know what became of Jamey Hecht, by the way? He seems to have gone silent, at least online, since Michael Ruppert's collapse.
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Postby MASONIC PLOT » Fri Aug 10, 2007 3:09 pm

The distinction between a hypothesis and a theory is not a trivial one.



A distinction that a lot of people, even many who should know better, fail to make.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing those, Mac.
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definitions

Postby thrulookingglass » Fri Aug 10, 2007 3:56 pm

"Conspiracy is a hypothesis, not a theory"

Isn't this a contextual definition of conspiracy? What troubles me is the ambiguity of "hypothesis" in this case. This also seems to imply that there is a level of dubiousness or lack of clarity regarding a given conspiracy/conspiracy theory/conspiracy hypothesis (?). As seen here, conspiracies can be positively abject and tangible. This quote hit the target I was looking for:
"Philip Berg: Conspiracy is among the most common legal categories of crime – conspiracy to commit murder; conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist act, and on and on. -International Citizen’s Inquiry Into 9-11, Phase One: San Francisco presentation, 2004"

Conspiracy is a crime. They exist. Whether people deny there existence or not, they can be found. Does the use of the modifier "theory" or "hypothesis" need to be used? I the case of 9/11, I could accept the term "conspiracy theory". Other cases, such as the JFK assignation, RFK, MLK, Arbenz, etc. just conspiracy will do. In the modern sense "conspiracy theory" is used to immediately deride credibility. In examining the term hypothesis "highly probable in the light of established facts" - I find this acceptable. I guess it always comes down what the viewer wants to see. Everyone’s lens has a tint to it...
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Re: definitions

Postby wintler2 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:29 am

Nice point thrulookingglass, the modifiers theory & hypothesis are not necessary and bring no walls to a case.

I'm interested in the different forms conspiracy can take: spoken and explicit like Iran-Contra-coke or Petrodollars, or fairly silent, like phthalates-are-good-for-you, and all shades in between. Not all monsters are the same colour, and its worth knowing your beasties. Some readers may have been unfortunate enough to read me labouring this point elsewhere but will here anyway: i don't think a single conspiracy rules all, or even a single type of conspiracy. There are far more likely to be numerous competing conspiracies of greater and lesser power, greater and lesser concious definition.

Am i alone is seeing different kinds of conspiracy?
What about the sexualisation of children in movies, tv and advertising: Is it just an unfortunate unforseen consequence of MTV, single mums and moral degeneracy, or of a deliberate pandering to the unhealthy interests of pivotal men in countless 'creative' decisions? Would the latter count as a conspiracy, or as a social pathology?

I don't want to water down the glamous he/they-done-it cases, when it is trackable- great, publicly shame & prosecute the f$%^ers. I just don't think conspiracy is always so straightforward.

fyi's
shorter OED:
conspiracy: 1 a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. 2 the action of conspiring.
CONSPIRACY - 18 U.S.C. 371 makes it a separate Federal crime or offense for anyone to conspire or agree with someone else to do something which, if actually carried out, would amount to another Federal crime or offense. So, under this law, a 'conspiracy' is an agreement or a kind of 'partnership' in criminal purposes in which each member becomes the agent or partner of every other member.

In order to establish a conspiracy offense it is not necessary for the Government to prove that all of the people named in the indictment were members of the scheme; or that those who were members had entered into any formal type of agreement; or that the members had planned together all of the details of the scheme or the 'overt acts' that the indictment charges would be carried out in an effort to commit the intended crime.

Also, because the essence of a conspiracy offense is the making of the agreement itself (followed by the commission of any overt act), it is not necessary for the Government to prove that the conspirators actually succeeded in accomplishing their unlawful plan.

What the evidence in the case must show beyond a reasonable doubt is:

First: That two or more persons, in some way or manner, came to a mutual understanding to try to accomplish a common and unlawful plan, as charged in the indictment;

Second: That the person willfully became a member of such conspiracy;

Third: That one of the conspirators during the existence of the conspiracy knowingly committed at least one of the methods (or 'overt acts') described in the indictment; and

Fourth: That such 'overt act' was knowingly committed at or about the time alleged in an effort to carry out or accomplish some object of the conspiracy.
http://www.lectlaw.com/def/c103.htm

The legal definition doesn't cover all the types of conspiracy i am concerned about.
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Re: Definition of the term "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby MacCruiskeen » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:49 pm

It's been more than half a century since the CIA seeded this cant term in the culture, and now it's used incessantly and uncritically even here.

It's been seventeen years since the 9/11 scam, and now the CIA are being touted, successfully, even and especially among "liberals", as the saviours of the Homeland. (Robert Muller is a Good Guy.)

So it's Mission Accomplished, all down the line: Full Spectrum Spook Dominance, at least over the domestic populace.

"Good job, Dulles."
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Re: Definition of the term "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby Elvis » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:28 am

In July I bumped the "CT in Media" thread with Wikipedia's preposterous 'post-truth' definition of conspiracy theory (italics added):

A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes an unwarranted conspiracy

—Wikipedia in July, 2018


I just went there and they've changed it:

A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy—generally one involving an illegal or harmful act supposedly carried out by government or other powerful actors—without credible evidence.


When I have more time I may go read the editors "talk" page to see if there's any light on how these definitions came about.


Here again is the sensible Oxford English Dictionary definition, as cited by Wikipedia:

The Oxford English Dictionary defines conspiracy theory as "the theory that an event or phenomenon occurs as a result of a conspiracy between interested parties
"It seems to be what we have now is a political system which has essentially become, for the last thirty or forty years, a war on the human imagination."
(David Graeber)
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Re:

Postby MacCruiskeen » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:54 am

Yep, Hecht's words are every bit as true as they were in the aftermath of 9/11. This spook thoughtstopper is still the blunt weapon of choice for every thickwitted mercenary scrivener with a deadline to meet, an editor to suck up to, a soul to sell, and a state crime to cover up.

MacCruiskeen » Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:08 pm wrote:Jamey Hecht:

THE TERM ‘CONSPIRACY THEORY’

This phrase is among the tireless workhorses of establishment discourse. Without it, disinformation would be much harder than it is. “Conspiracy theory” is a trigger phrase, saturated with intellectual contempt and deeply anti-intellectual resentment. It makes little sense on its own, and while it’s a priceless tool of propaganda, it is worse than useless as an explanatory category.

http://www.911inquiry.org/Presentations/JameyHecht.htm
"Ich kann gar nicht so viel fressen, wie ich kotzen möchte." (Max Liebermann, Berlin, 1933)

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Re: Definition of the term "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby MacCruiskeen » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:56 pm

bump for current and typically crass use of the spook term by the spook team
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Re: Definition of the term "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby RocketMan » Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:46 pm

Yes, indeed, good job Dulles.

He's still got disciples working the graveyard shift at obscure internet forums...

Disgusting what is going in this place.
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