When you consider which came first, the chicken or the egg, everyone fails to consider the farmer that makes money off of both the work of the chicken and the value of the egg.
Your conspiracy theory, for lack of a better phrase, is boring. It’s an exhausted trope. Well-worn, entirely too traveled, and wholly predictable. In fact, your conspiracy theory in some cases can actually lead to more damage than the subject of the conspiracy itself. By submerging the truth under yet another lie is the think tank equivalent of throwing a dead dog a few feet above the soil of a missing corpse; only throwing those actually looking for real answers off the trail. Most perilously of all, it can lead to the greatest enemies of the truth and action: tribalism, and soon thereafter, apathy.
Still, the beauty and concurrent grotesqueness of humanity is that we are nearly impossible to control in too large of a group for any ultimately meaningful period of time before some power structure is toppled in favor of another- for better or worse. Why is this? Because we deify those that come to power, forgetting the whole time that what defines power is ever changing, and that those who are deified are made of the same flesh and blood as you and I. No matter who their father was, no matter what schools they went to, and no matter how many formerly deep-rooted principles they allowed to be fed to the dogs along their ascent. Hanlon’s Razor, which has been pushed to the sidelines for years in favor of Occam’s much more palatable aphorism, clearly warns us, “never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.” This means that they, whoever this mysterious and foreboding nonentity that ‘they’ are, are just as subject to the same shambling, foolhardy, deeply tragic flaws as any one of us. Most importantly, the bulk of the unnamed other are too stupid to be this malicious, and certainly too stupid to do so on their own.
The most grandiose of your conspiracy often appears to be rooted in a small group of shadowy puppet masters with an overwhelmingly complicated plan to subjugate and enslave humanity, when in reality there is only one prevailing truth therein: people with an unfathomable amount of money want to keep making more of it while giving you less of it and are willing to sacrifice your life and the very earth itself to sustain their ever expanding wealth. These people are also in love with your conspiracy theory. It’s the dead dog in the grave just a few feet above the hidden body of their intent.
When distilled down to its purest form, the secret to power is three pronged: desperation or the perception thereof, ignorance combined with self-assurance, and lastly, all ills being made manifest at the hands of a false oppressor that the leader promises to rid you of once and for all. It’s what Trump does for his base, what Bush did for his, what both liberal and conservative entities alike did during the cold war for decades, and so on and so forth.
Though this playbook has countless examples throughout human history: I’ll only use the two most major events in social and geopolitical American history as my examples in this review of your shitty conspiracy theories. All I ask is that you never forget the farmer before inquiring about the chicken or the egg.
On September 11th, 2001, as I’m sure you all remember, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in Manhattan’s financial district. Taking with them in the process some three thousand souls in the immediate and leading to wholesale slaughter in the middle east, all done under the banner of freedom and forever changing Americas trajectory and relationship to the rest of the world.
After the initial flag rallying in the months that followed, which most Americans were guilty of (Bush enjoyed an 88% approval rating for some time after the attacks), it didn’t take long before a wealth of conspiracy theories started making the rounds of our then fledgling internet and into the minds of our compatriots. It makes sense, really.
We were attacked and needed answers. As such, we were desperate, so the first stage of power acquisition is complete. We were certainly ignorant to what the actual answers were, so stage two was under way. This left us perfectly susceptible to anything that would follow. Namely, a completely illegal war with the Iraqi’s and a seemingly endless military presence around the Persian Gulf. Thus, the third prong of power is forged. “Terror” was our enemy now. We’re not just fighting people anymore. We’re now fighting a concept as defined by the people in charge.
It seemed so baffling to us that people assumed there had to be someone orchestrating the calamity. And there was- but only after the calamity had started.
Hanlon has already instructed us never to attribute to malice that which can be explained by ignorance. Some of us forget in light of our recent leadership that George W. Bush, though he looks like the paragon of statesmanship compared to our current president, was a notoriously terrible leader. A bumbling toddler in far over his head whose ignorance seems affable in retrospect only due to his boundless naiveté. Could he have protected us from such an attack? Possibly. However, I don’t tend to expect too much from men who declared an annual holiday of “Jesus Day” in their home state that they once governed. (Yes. It’s true. Google it.)
The towers have fallen. The chicken has laid the egg, or the egg appeared in front of the chicken miraculously- it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that now the farmer comes to sell them both off in the form of Dick Cheney and various military and oil interests at home. Where America saw chaos, the aforementioned saw a golden set of circumstances to both enrich themselves and their friends behind the wizard’s curtain. Thus, in the wake of the chaos, and the plumes of ash and soot polluting the ground, these men saw only blue skies above. Military contractors, oil lobbyists, tech security firms, all of their subsequent shareholders and the like. The farmers. All of whom were absolutely thrilled with us bickering about patriotism, persecuting innocent and peaceful Muslims at home, questioning each other’s loyalty to the United States, sharing conspiracies, further dividing into tribalized camps of thought, and left without a clear course of action, doing little to nothing productive about it, and anyone speaking to the truth of the matter was labeled a traitor or worse.
The farmer has a bountiful harvest, indeed.
This leads us to now. Nineteen years after the attacks. An entirely different world. One unrecognizable to the discourse of even two short decades prior.
An irretrievably stupid charlatan, game show host, and serial rapist whose only value system is calculated in personal wealth is now president. A virus ravages the world, and particularly the United States, thanks in large part to the scourge of anti-intellectualists that have always held a firm foothold in our body politic that reject science entirely, for whom duty bound care has a reach only so far as their perception of oppression and their misunderstanding of freedom. For whom cruelty is the prize in and of itself, and, still following their leader, see anger, oppression, and even the deaths of those who look different than them as victory enough; no matter how little their champion has done for them. A prophecy long warned about by all competent thinkers in the United States’ deeply problematic but theoretically noble history has now been realized: the morons, now, at long last, are finally being led by the moron god. Servile to his every command, no matter how insane the decree may be shouted as it is from the mountain top of a social media app.
However, this isn’t 2001. We all have computers in our pockets now. We have access to all types of information ranging from accurate to absolutely baseless and lethal.
So, in times of abject chaos, it makes sense that a host of conspiracy theories emerge. After all, we’re now desperate. The first step is complete. Self-assured ignorance is the natural next step, because our access to information has now utterly backfired. Instead of leading to the betterment of humankind, it has for many devolved into a choose-your-own-adventure reality, allowing anyone to simply pick what they believe and put back what they would rather not acknowledge as if it were selecting produce at a supermarket. Everyone is assured. Right or wrong. Then, the moron god begins spewing accusations of who is to blame so that you can distill your confusion into an easily sipped liquor. It’s the Chinese. The Democrats. The Blacks. The Mexicans. The Jews. The RINO’s. Take your pick, says the moron god. Then, the conspiracies emerge.
George Soros is behind this, cry some. Bill Gates is using this to get us microchipped, say others. The Clintons. The Obamas. The illuminati.
All of these ideas please the farmer so much that you forget that he is running off with all of the chickens and all of the eggs.
The fact is, an event, a catastrophe, an instance, mirroring the randomness of the universe at large, just simply happens. It is then that the opportunists rise.
While we argue, the treasury announced that 500 billion dollars of our money will not be accounted for to further line the pockets of their rich friends. Your owners. Your farmers.
While we argue, tax cuts and relief funds are dispersed to millionaires and billionaires so that they don’t lose their bottom line. Not just maintaining wealth, but actually sending it soaring. Profiting from the fruits of our chaos and suffering.
While we argue, we still have only been given a measly $1200 to tide us over since April.
The farmers saw this immediately. A fantastic opportunity to profit out of fear and turmoil.
This isn’t a conspiracy theory. This is a list of factual events. These people could easily be toppled were we for once as a people united against our greedy masters, but no. The farmer is counting on us to bicker about who is REALLY responsible for the missing chickens and eggs.
Your conspiracy theory is all of the aforementioned things: misguided, predictable, well-worn, boring, and ultimately destructive. But there’s another thing, a much more somber facet of your conspiracy theory that we have yet to mention: it is cowardly.
Alan Moore, legendary author, put it best, “The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory, is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic. The truth is that it is not the illuminati, or the Jewish banking conspiracy, or the grey alien theory. The truth is far more frightening. Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.”
It is cowardly to simply attribute all of the ills of the universe to a fictitious other, and then proclaim victory over their attempts at remaining clandestine. Thanks to conspiracy theorists, the farmer doesn’t even need to be clandestine anymore. He can say it. Flaunt it. The moron god and the high priests of the moron god’s pulpit can say the quiet part out loud now.
That is, unless, we see this grim, half rehearsed sideshow for what it is.
Never mind which came first between the chicken or the egg. That is the conspiracy.
Keep your eyes locked on the farmer.