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As this article goes to press there is much talk about conspiracy. Certain liberals are in the headlines, speaking darkly of their persecution by a "vast right-wing conspiracy." Conservatives answer that theyre busy fending off an "arrogant left-wing power grab."
It is difficult to be up-to-date in this monthly forum, but we can certainly speak of wider trends and topics. Now and throughout history, few topics run deeper than conspiracies, real or imagined.
For decades the American Left has decried a wealthy "military-industrial complex." Recently, the Right has warned of a cozy "government-media complex." Both are alleged to be marching together toward diabolical goals.
It is said that "some people make things happen, others watch what happens, and some wonder what happened." The more informed and involved we are, the harder we try to understand why things happen. Then we begin to realize just how many factors shape the course of events. In addition, there may well be seemingly random factors, or influences unknown to most of us.
Conspiracies are often tied to events like the JFK assassination, which is the subject of numerous books. Many of these books can and do make mincemeat of the governments "case," and raise disturbing, unanswered questions. Unfortunately, the answers the books try to provide are often contradictory at best. (Similar books are now being written about the controversial deaths of two high government officials.)
Conspiracy theories abound, and in Talk Radio and the Internet these have found a vast new forum. But are they true? Are any of them based in reality?
Let us examine what an actual Conspiracy would have to consist of.
1) A powerful, clandestine organization, whether large or small, covert or partially known, ancient or relatively new. (In such matters, anything less would be ineffective.)
2) Selfless people, at least on an intellectual level, acting beyond their own narrow interests. (As opposed to seeking individual wealth or power.)
3) A self-perceived elite, acting boldly and outside the law. Regarding themselves as divinely, or satanically -or otherwise- appointed. (Otherwise theyd be as bland as other people.)
4) Non-democratic, even amongst themselves. No serious dissent would be allowed. (Few public dissenters have ever appeared.)
5) Long-term plans and determination. (Otherwise the projects focus would die with its founders.)
6) A large-scale program and goal. (Small ones are simply uninteresting, and likely to be overwhelmed.)
7) Regard themselves as hidden-what? Guardians of society? Long-term opponents of . . . who or what? Shepherds of the masses? Rulers to be?
The sheer variety of alleged conspiracies is impressive.
Some patently false ones supposedly involve: Jewish Elders, bankers (as a class), British royalty, space aliens, etc.
Many real organizations have been tagged as "more than they appear."
Amongst the spiritual: The Vatican, Masons, Rosecrucians, etc. And from the secular: the Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderbergers, etc.
There are historic entities alleged to continue in existence: The Knights Templar, Illuminati, Ninjas, etc. Also, remnants of annihilated groups such as the Sect of the Assassins, and Nazi holdouts in South America.
Some conspirators allegedly pull strings from within the centers of power, as dramatized in the "X-Files." One author posits an overarching "Committee of 300."
There are persistent rumors of generations-old, plain-folk-appearing satanic cults. This author has heard sincere reports of such in Las Vegas (from a liberal minister), Oklahoma (first-hand, from a local Unificationist), the Deep South (from various authors) and in Petaluma, CA (on local talk shows).
These latter were scoffed at, even by this author. Then they got eclipsed by news of the Polly Klass kidnapping. Next, by the capture and murder trial of the contemptuous, utterly depraved Richard Allen Davis. He had been observed hanging around town for quite some time . . .
Sometimes the theories themselves are evil, and have lead to terrible violence. The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" hoax has been around for decades. The new "the IRS is a really private British corporation" hoax has proven quite resilient.
On the other hand, some true theories have had great difficulty gaining acceptance. Recently unsealed KGB records vindicate Joseph McCarthy-and this has hardly been reported. (However, there was only a communist agent behind every other bush.)
Someday, historians will catalog a shocking panoply of ugly (and perhaps even deadly) goings-on related to various present State and Federal officials.
Truth or fiction
Fiction writers have done much to popularize conspiracies. Anton Wilson writes extreme, mocking novels. Umberto Eco pens intricate European tales. David Morrells thrillers often top the charts. Jon Land and many others follow suit.
Many of these works are based in actual history, carried forward into a modern, James Bond-ish world. The fictional bad guys often include secret religious orders; holders of some talisman: ancient scrolls, the Grail, the Tomb of Jesus, etc.
Both conspiracists and fiction writers commonly trace such movements to ancient roots: Egypts Dar al Hikmat (House of Knowledge), Solomons Temple, or legendary ancient China.
Riding the growing wave of New Age movements and "pop spirituality," many pseudo-leaders are claiming these plots for themselves, giving them an ersatz reality. These include "Egyptian" and "Hebrew" priests, "Goddess" worshipers, "Aztec" revivalists, "doomsday" prophets, and so on. They range from merely foolish to quite dangerous.
Could any such Conspiracy really pull it off? Probably not.
To do so, their children and heirs must carry on the secret plan. But in reality children seldom do such things, whether theyre the offspring of activists, plutocrats or dictators. Without the support of a commonly accepted culture, it would be especially difficult.
Also, many unpredictable factors influence society and its development. Various disasters ruin companies and nations, and fads sweep the popular culture. With the advance of technology this is now doubly true.
Further, the leading ideology changes over time, and with it, the goals of the current "elite." In America, over the course of a century, racial slavery/segregation and unbridled industrialization have given way to egalitarianism and environmental rhetoric. (The bondage is now more subtle and the pollution has been moved to the Third World.)
In reality, most Captains of Industry seek to build "empires of service." Some view their customers as sheep to be sheared.
A few politicians are statesmen, seeking their peoples long-term gain over short-term popularity. Most try to wrest all the control they can . . .
If potent Conspiracies do exist, they will be encountered as Gods Providence expands. Its going to be hard enough dealing with known power centers! (See Into the Mainstream, July 1996 UNews.) Hopefully, any hidden powers will see the wisdom of Gods Principle.
Vast, long-term undertakings assuredly do exist, but they have spiritual, not human, roots. God and Satan are the real conspirators. They are masterminds with very different styles, not to mention goals.
In the past, few providential figures understood their true place in this great effort. Certainly, no mortal ever explained it to them. Even so, some knew they were following the past masters. For example, it is said that Charlemagnes son Pepin the Short felt a close affinity with King David.
Just like known leaders, any and all conspirators (no matter how powerful) will ultimately be judged by their support of, or opposition to, Gods Providence.
The deepest trends of history are guided by regular people, men and women of good will. People empowered by their closeness to God. Parents, heroes, patriots, saints-and beyond.
About changing ideologies: The Tempting of America by Judge Robert Bork.
An alleged real conspiracy: The Naked Capitalist by W. Cleon Skousen.
A fictional conspiracy: The Delta Decision by Wilbur Smith.
Some current worries: The Strange Death of Vincent Foster by Christopher Ruddy.
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