Sunday, December 18, 2005


Conspiracy theories would fade a bit if we started thinking of bad ideas as the expected results of a common human fallibility that will attend mankind through the ages, and stopped thinking of bad ideas as though they were living beings that exist and influence conduct without regard to human will.

If one thinks of bad ideas as mental lapses, then one can accept that a man can have 2 mental lapses and 6 mental successes. In that world, von Balthazar can take something from Hegel and not necessarily become identical with anything that is objectionable in Hegel's thought. But if one thinks of bad ideas as plague bacilli, then they infect everything. Just as someone who stands next to a plague carrier is "contaminated," so is someone who read an "infected" book. The presence of malice and stupidity in the human race therefore eventually places everyone inside the Grand Infection.

Hence the ever-shrinking circle of illuminati who can detect and understand the Infection -- people inevitably have something to do with each other -- literally, figuratively, and intellectually. It only requires time until the "infections" that are "proved" by proximity and rough similarity are discovered, and discovered again, and over and over again, until finally one "proves" that one's cat is a Rosicrucian agent.

One of the things that keeps the delirium alive is the continual provender of "fresh" proof by what is really a sort of obsessive-compulsive repetition of the same cycle in which the mind discovers proximity and similarity. One discovers that some of the Founding Fathers were Masons. One discovers that they helped write the Constitution of the United States. One then realizes that Masons and the American project profess a belief in similar things. Since ideas are living beings with an irreducible nature, human beings are powerless to judge, modify, repudiate, or accept them. They are either present or absent, and once a similarity exists their damning presence is proved beyond any doubt. And so the United States Constitution is a Masonic manifesto for the perversion of the world and we have to stop paying our taxes and move to Idaho. At the very least, we can't abide the United States, its Constitution, or any of the satanic devices which are eo ipso contained therein.

The result is that the conspiracist almost always concludes that there are more of "them" than there are of the righteous. This naturally produces anxiety, which in turn encourages the conspiracist to redouble his efforts at "uncovering" members of the evil party -- proximity and similarity are easy to prove, and so the conspiracist arrives at the conclusion that the "heresy" under consideration has an incredible power to "infect" by the slightest form of contact. The result is a series of choices by which one accepts, as proof of "infection," "similarities" which are more and more general in nature, which further fuels the cycle of fear and despair as the generalizations widen and embrace more of humanity. The Vatican, for example, accepts money from the Knights of Columbus, who are American and believe in Americanism; Americanism has already been proved part of a Masonic conspiracy for world apostasy; therefore the Vatican is part of the plan for world apostasy.

At the same time, the conspiracist's efforts to remain "uninfected" become increasingly logical and Procrustean. Convinced that the slightest breath, the merest proximity to an ever-expanding list of contaminated generalities, proves the presence of evil, the conspiracist must logically decide to sever contact with anyone who has been infected. Remember, the bad idea is an infection that exists independently of human will. It is simply impossible to have a relationship with an infected person and remain uninfected oneself. This is the logic which drives the ever-widening view of the conspiracy, and when it is turned inward its own logic compels the cessation of virtually any intercourse which might provide contrary information.

Eventually, the very presence of contrary information is taken as proof of infection. If a conspiracist were given enough time, he would cut off one of his legs before uttering an anathema against bipeds.

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