The Conspiracy Theorist on the Clapham Omnibus
This whole money thing is certainly very hard to penetrate for our man on the Clapham omnibus. It can look all kinds of crazy ways at times. Is it that the banks are part of the state? Or the state is a partner of the banks? Or is the state actually an arm of the banking system, like the human resources department, say? (Before maybe the 1980s, human resources departments in companies were called personnel. This gave managers the wrong focus; it was as if the department was there for the benefit and welfare of the employees rather than the company.)
We’ve had to digest a big chunk of off-the-beaten-track history and it may have produced some flatulence. But banking and the workings of the whole money thing is a mysterious thing for us and for most people, definitely including our political leaders; by now, maybe it is even for bankers. Maybe it is really so, governments are now merely local managers on behalf of international capital in a grand scam. It’s what it looks like to non-experts.
Maybe the whole financial crisis that we’re in is the latest edition of a long-running saga. It’s not even an elaborate scam, it’s a simple scam that’s been working really well for a long time now: cause economic chaos, increase share of pie. All conditions work well for fleecing the flock, on the way up and on the way down. The condition of turbulence seems to be the key to opening opportunities for profit.
Our efforts to understand what’s going on have led us at times into the murky level of conspiracy theory. But we can’t quite believe in grand conspiracy theories, for the very reason that they are conspiracy theories, we’ve had that automatic reaction, we’ve picked that up from the culture we come from. And here’s a huge example of meanings morphing, that even the term conspiracy theory was once a neutral term, but now serves very effectively to ridicule and kill stone dead any theories about secret power and plans. The use of the term has come to imply that conspiracy theories come from nuts; irrational, obsessive, unhinged fantasists. Conspiracy theories can be easily laughed away. The term can instantly discredit all kinds of enquiries, especially within people’s minds, strangle thoughts at birth.
Watergate was a conspiracy theory, but because it was all found to be true, nobody called it that. Nobody called it that because conspiracy theories must be things that are not true, just the products of deranged minds. And when the far-fetched suggestion was made that the motivation for invading Iraq was oil, the British Prime Minister quickly referred to the idea as a conspiracy theory.
Is it part of a grand bank-funded academic conspiracy to subtly slide these insinuations into the use of the term conspiracy theory? We can readily imagine how this idea could have been identified and propagated. And now we have a conspiracy theory about the term conspiracy theory. And these are the paranoid questions you can start to ask yourself if you start delving about and enquiring into the world a little. It is all very disturbing; we’re just ordinary people, we don’t know what to believe sometimes, and nearly all the time feel foolish and out of our depth.
And there is helpful, and perhaps condescending, psychological research about why people readily believe conspiracy theories. This article was a good reflection on it, and makes the point that one of the reasons people believe in conspiracy theory is because conspiracies do happen.
But what do we mean by conspiracy? If it means any occasion that there’s a group that in a position of power and influence that executes a necessarily secret plan that serves their interests at the expense of others, then these happen all the time, of course, and are frequently revealed. As G Edward Griffin has commented, in a piece defending his work:
Very few major events of the past have occurred in the absence of conspiracies. To think that our modern age must be an exception is not rational.
There’s so many odd, unexplained things in the world, of course people have theories. Just what is that weird pyramid with a blazing eye added to the dollar bill in 1935? Obviously, things like that are going to drive people mad and they’ll find answers, one way or another. Only a short time ago, suspicions about extraordinary renditions were treated as conspiracy theorising. Things definitely do happen in the dark, and, at the same time, most conspiracy theories are florid rubbish. It’s natural that there’s confidentiality in business, and when the ownership of just about everything in the world seems to be leading back to an opaque centre, it’s natural to wonder about that.
We’ve certainly had some differences in opinion in the band about conspiracy theories. In the end, we came to agree what’s written here.
Mired in conspiracy thinking as we were for a while, we found ourselves reading James McConnachie and Robin Tudge’s excellent Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories which had the effect both of giving us a sense of proportion about it all and also stirring fresh waves of intrigue and paranoia. We’ve used a couple of the same quotes they used.
Perhaps, anyway, what we can be sure about is bad enough. Tomasz Pierscionek says here to Forget Conspiracy Theories, The Truth Is Often More Shocking
Of course, a conspiracy doesn’t have to be a formal or a conscious conspiracy, there’s just a natural symbiosis at work. Money and power will always tend to fuse, and always seek to increase, which is why both need to be widely dispersed. It’s a natural attraction, rather than a conspiracy, and natural symbioses and opportunities. Maybe not a secret control room in Atlantis, or in Basel, where the world is really run from, monitoring events, injecting credit here, draining some credit from there.
Then again . . .
There certainly have been famous geniuses of banking history that have worked towards creating a system that served their expansion and control, but by now it’s a system that is self-sustaining, and which relentlessly follows its own logic. It’s a money meme, it’s what banking can’t help being. So intertwined is the ownership of different banking entities, seeming to all own each other, that it’s difficult not to see it all as a single power, remote and unfeeling. It’s unfeeling because it isn’t humans driving it, it’s just the eventual destiny of a system set in motion. So, maybe it is a single power, and that power is abstract.
It’s as if we’re all in the thrall of a system devised centuries ago by a genius old banker, who saw how the weaknesses of humanity could be used to gain control over their societies.