What Makes A Believeable Conspiracy Theory?
In my last post, I wrote about Conspiracy Theory Plots and how these are structured. But I also asked, “are Conspiracy Plots and Conspiracy Theories for real?” As a bit of a conspiracy theorist myself, I like to think they are – at least some of them anyhow. But I am also a realist and I know that there are many people who want to believe conspiracy theories just because they are conspiracies. I also know that Conspiracy Theories themselves, can be set up as ‘diversions’ to take our minds away from the real conspiracy.
So where do we go from here? Is there any way to tell whether a Conspiracy Theory is based on actual facts? And if so, are those ‘facts’ correct?
I tend to take a simple view – Motivation. I look for what our so-called ‘Villain’ wants to get out of his conspiracy. What does he want to achieve through his dastardly plans? What motivates the leader of a conspiracy?
- Religion: Many of the best conspiracy theories are based on the premise that a group of people with particular beliefs (and often particular needs…) insist that everyone in the world should follow their path. Look at one of the most popular conspiracy theories doing the rounds at the moment – Zeitgeist. The first part infuriated Christians by the thousands. Many of them were so incensed with the premise of Religious Conspiracy (in this case, that Christianity was a re-hash of earlier religions) they failed to look at the rest of the movie, and see it was also about…
- Greed: Karl Marx’s Das Kapital was considered by many to be an illusion of a Capitalist Conspiracy to take over the World. I wonder how many people feel the same way now…
- Self-Protection: It is not hard to imagine that a country, race, or social group who have experienced dreadful wrongs in the past would want to take power to protect themselves from further attack. When you look at how Jews and Arabs have suffered in their history, it is not hard to take this one step further and build up a conspiracy theory that these people (not together of course) would want to take control, to put right past wrongs. It could be argued that is this the basis of many false conspiracy theories, set up by a coalition of government and media moguls, to keep us all scared.
- Madness: Many claim Adolph Hitler was mad (although others do not agree). They argue that his plans to Rule The World were not based on reason, but on a psychological flaw in his character. Those who helped him with his goal followed out of greed or fear of reprisal if they did not. Others say that Hitler’s plan to take over the world was based on an extended definition of fascist politics and carried forward with such force because of his…
- Ego Mania: The Ego Maniac may not be mad, but it would not be hard to tip him that way. He or she has an unshakeable belief that they are right and others are wrong. Therefore they must take power, to ensure that ‘right wins out’. The ego maniac will fit into any of the above groups.
All of the above groups appear to have Motivation To Rule The World (or a large part of it). To Take Power.
But what happens if the motivations get mixed up?
Is Zeitgeist A Believable Conspiracy Theory?
I’m thinking particularly of the movie Zeitgeist. Moving forward from the debate on Religious Conspiracy, which I have no problem with, the remainder of the argument is based around taking power via financial, psychological and physical control. Shutting out whole communites from participating in society at large, controlling us all by taking over financial exchange, and, for good measure, microchipping us all to control our actions. And the conclusion is, that we will be so brainwashed with fear by this time, that whole populations will ask their governments to do this for them.
The way things are going in the developed World, it isn’t hard to believe any of this.
But I have to ask myself “What is the Point?” Who exactly is behind this massive conpiracy? What exactly is their motive?
Is it pure greed? Ego Mania? Madness? What Exactly Is Behind The Conspiracy That Is Outline In Zeitgeist?
The film producer has not come up with a coherent answer; just a mesh of other conspiracy theories. And, although many of these theories do make sense, the mix of them here does not. I wish it did, because the gut reaction I get from Zeitgeist is that it is more likely to be right than wrong, but this grand scheme to grab complete power and domination doesn’t, for me, show the real concise underlying motivation behind the conspiracy plot. It just throws different models into the mix.
And I have to know What Truly Motivates A Conspiracy in order to take the step towards believing it.
With Zeitgeist, I am more inclined to ask what was the motivation behind making the film itself? The producer claims it is just to make us ‘question the truth’.
But this applies to Zeitgeist too. Shouldn’t we be asking who produced the film and what their motive was? Could Zeitgeist, compelling as it is, be another false conspiracy to turn us off our tracks and hide a much better organised plot?