Conspiracies generally fall into two camps: the secret sort, (which require that people be competent at organizing and not blabbing about what they’re doing) and the right out in the open sort (which only require that you not think of them as conspiracies). 

The secret sort are favored by garden-variety conspiracy theorists, and more easily dismissed because they require actually competent behavior from people with no one defecting and spilling the beans. In real life, large-scale conspiracies are rarely kept secret for long because people either mess up, or because they get in a power struggle and go tell others in order screw over their opponents. People are messy. 

The second sort of “conspiracy” isn’t really a conspiracy at all: it’s just people being people, acting in organized ways to accomplish their goals. They work completely out in the open and are totally honest about what they are doing because they do not think of themselves as part of a conspiracy. (Of course, many organizations–like corporations–take some pains to keep some of their activities private, but we don’t consider this a conspiracy because the organization’s overall goals are publicly stated.) 

Man is a political animal–that is, a social one. Social organization is an instinctual and spontaneous feature of human communities, from remote hunter gatherers to quilting bees. 

But since people generally have trouble keeping up with everything everyone else is doing (most people are busy just trying to keep up with their own affairs) the behavior of other organized groups of people can look to outsiders a lot like a conspiracy. 

Additionally, if you try to explain the organized behavior of other groups of people, it can sound like you are claiming there is a conspiracy simply because the person you are talking to is unaware that there is any organized group behavior going on at all. “Yes,” you try to explain, “They really are doing this–no, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s all out in the open, look I can get you a book about this–wait come back …” 

I’ve seen a lot of people debating whether or not the riots/protests are “organic” or “organized,” but the two categories are not necessarily opposed. Various antifa-type organizations have been around for decades (at least) and most of the people in them joined because they agree with antifa’s aims and want to be there–they aren’t being paid. Antifa makes no secret of its aims: anything you want to know about their objectives is easily found on the internet (if anything, they’re actively trying to convince people that their ideas and goals are good so people will join them). 

That doesn’t mean antifa does everything out in the open. If some antifa cell decides they’re going to lob molotovs into a building, they certainly might not post that publicly.  (By the same token, Apple keeps its plans for the next smartphone under lock and key.) But their goals are public. 

Should a big protest break out, like the one currently rocking the nation, antifa is already organized and ready to go. Whether one calls this a “conspiracy” or not depends, I suppose, on what one considers a conspiracy. 

Of course, antifa are only one sort of organization. Humans organize through churches and schools, social media and gossip chains. They organize when they need to get something done, like clean up a park or sell drugs, and disband when the need no longer exists. 

I heard this morning that certain Mexican gangs have taken to patrolling their neighborhoods in California, protecting local businesses from looters. This is not because gangs are good, but because it is in the nature of people. This is the critical flaw in anarchist, abolish-the-police thought: abolish the police, and you will just end up with something else that does the same thing as the police–but I guarantee you that gangs will not be nearly as polite about it as the police. If one form of order breaks down, another will take its place. Even Somalia, a nation that has endured a long period of almost no national governance, still has local systems of law enforced by feud, complicated feud insurance systems, and judges. You cannot escape the polis.

Of course, all of this does not preclude the possibility of actual conspiracies. 


Stay safe out there.

4 thoughts on “Conspiracies

  1. If you are proposing a conspiracy theory, you also need to have evidence which meets basic criteria for credibility, causality etc. Also that you have assessed all the evidence, not cherry picked only that evidence or testimony which “confirms” your hypothesis. And if the conspiracy theory relates to organized efforts by large groups of experts to suppress scientific findings (eg. the earth is flat, vaccines don’t work and are dangerous, 5G causes coronavirus, global warming is a hoax), then the first step must be to show that your alternate scientific truth provides a better explanation of reality (otherwise all you can assert is that you don’t believe the evidence or the current best understanding of the science explaining that evidence, not that the scientific community is conspiring to hide something). At minimum, you must consider ALL the evidence relating to the science, not rely on cherry-picked expert opinion, and most importantly your alternate hypothesis must explain all the known facts as well as showing that there are some for which the current best scientific theory give false predictions.


  2. They are organized and ready to go; but they also get their money from somewhere, and I don’t think Antifa enjoys such broad-based grass-roots support in the US as its resources seem to suggest.

    I don’t like the “ahhh County X is the fault of ___[problem we’re the primary cause of]” (e.g., blaming Russia), but these countries do in fact engage in subversion tactics against the West and the US to amplify their chaos and dysfunction. Russia in particular has done it since the time of the Cold War and they’re good at it. (Tactics like funding left-wing political movements, staging or drumming up protests for left-wing causes, training leaders of left-wing parties and Popular Liberation Fronts, etc.)

    And now is a particularly vulnerable time; moreover, for me the fact that protests have materialized not only in first-world countries – Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland – but also in Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe…. suggests coordinated efforts, not something purely organic.


  3. Gangs will just be more draconian. If anyone do anything wrong or violates the gangs rule in any other way they will simply be shot dead.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s