Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jan. 11: my own conspiracy theory....

(my pologies for nissing a day. I had computer problems. But I spoke sharply to it, so it is now working properly.)

Since, once again, the Moncton Times and Tribune has no serious news worth discussing, let's take a close look at a  minor item because it takes up a lot of space on p.C1; and it tells us a lot about, well, about conspiracies. It's called "Conspiracy theories bad for democracy". It's a report on a book by a U. of Windsor Political Science prof.

Essentially, according to the report, the book says that conspiracy theories are bad for democracy because they can encourage violent ideologies as people become so caught up in conspiracy generated fears that they abandon democracy for violence. Conspiracy theories, according to the book, go back to the beginning of the twentieth century.

Now, I have not read the book. I don't know whether this is a really silly book or a biased report (Postmedia is notorious, even by North American standards, for its biased reporting.)

Some very doubtful points in the book probably can't be blamed on the reporting. Hiere are three examples. It says.....

 1. that conspiracies theories go back to the early twentieth century

2.that a conspiracty theory is being cirulated that  North American union is being negotiated by politicians, one in which all national identities will be destroyed

3. that the conspiracy theory that secret forces manipulate our politicians discourages democracy,  Well,....

1. I have never heard of any period or region in world history in which conspiracy theories have not circulated. The idea that they began only a century ago is just plain silly. As well, they have often proven quite correct.

  .  My Scottish ancestors were right to believe that England was conspiring to conquer them. Native peoples were right to believe that Europeans were conspiring to take their lands. In 1812, Canadians were right to believe that Americans were conspiring to invade Canada. History of full of conspiracies that we usually call diplomacy. There was a British/American conspiracy to invade Iraq. The excuse for it was that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. When nobody could find them, Bush and Blair developed a new conspiracy theory that he had hidden them in another country. Pharoah believed that Jews were conspiring to flee slavery in Egypt. Pharaoh was dead right. There is nothing recent about conspiracy theories. They are sometimes wrong and even invented. But they are also often qute right.

2. The conspiracy to create one country of all of North America existed long before the twentieth century - and it's not only true, but public knowledge. In the nineteenth century, it was a common political stance in the US that its "manifest destiny" was to control North American right to the North Pole. The US did invade Canada in 1812, and threatened to for most of the nineteenth century.

So far as Mexico is concerned the US long ago pushed its border way south to get to the Rio Grande. Ever wonder why so many places in Texas, Nevada, California and Arizona have names like Los Angeles and Las Vegas? That's because the US took one third of Mexico to create those states.

And some people are so silly as to believe there is a conspiracy to remove all borders and to create one, unified North America? Now where would they get such a silly idea? I know. Maybe it's by following the news - you know- stuff like US and Canadian police being allowed to operate in both countries, having unified border regulations and border patrols, Canadian and American troops being free to operate in either country... stuff like that.

3. Secret forces manipulate our politicians? What silly idea! Everybody knows that Jim Irving gives all his support to the Green Party and the NDP. The only reason he accepts tax rebates and cheap electricity is because the Green Party forces him to. Otherwise, he makes it a point never to interfere with government at all.

 It's true that both major parties in the US get elected on donations of the extremely wealthy and from large corporations. But that's just because they love democracy, and want to see it work. Corporations also spend billions lobbying congressmen. But that's not a conspiracy. They do it because they're soft-hearted and want to protect the poor (now half of the US population) from the evils of medicare and lower taxes.

I have not read the book. I don't know whether this report from Postmedia is accurate. But I do know this.

If the book is really as reported, it is silly.

If the book had been about how conspiracies of the wealthy and influential are quite common - and are often quite true, Ppostmedia would never have circulated the story - and the Moncton Times and Tribune would never have printed it.

If the report is at all accurate,though, it raises a more chilling possibility - a conspiracy theory the book doesn't seem to mention.

As the universities become desperately short of money, they increasingly rely on donations from the very, very rich. But there's a price for all that money. The very, very rich want control over the universities. They want to make sure the "right" sort of professors get hired, professors who don't ever criticize the very, very rich, professors who do research useful to the very, very rich, and professors who give opinions for media that are the sort of opinions the very, very rich like to hear.

If you were to do that with politicians and universities, it would be called buying them and corrupting them. When the very, very rich do it, news media like Postmedia and The Moncton TandT call it philanthropy; and the universities give them honorary degrees. (The politicians just give them tax breaks and cheap electricty, stuff like that...)

This is a news story worth reading. It hints a lot about the mendacity of the Moncton TandT - and possibly about the moral decline of our universities.

1 comment:

  1. Graeme. I have come to haunt you. You are complaining about a small newspaper in a small town in a small province dominated by a single family. What do you expect? Why did you move there to retire? Surely you find somewhere more congenial.

    It would much more interesting if you took on a big paper. What wasn't in the New York Times or the Global and Mail. Or you could take aim at the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

    I know you can do better than this.