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In Defense of Conspiracy Theories

Hey, this isn't called the Swamp for nothing!

by James Leroy Wilson
May 20, 2004

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I confess that as time has gone by, I have become more and more receptive to conspiracy theories. By their very nature, conspiracy theories are not credible - because the theorists do not have clear evidence of who the conspirators are or there motives. But nevertheless, when government-induced horrors and mistakes take the form of a pattern, it is reasonable to at least wonder.

One part of the pattern is that politicians - even Presidents - can be, and have been, thwarted. It is unlikely for an election to see one party sweep in with the Presidency and two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress. But even in such a dream scenario, "events," foreign or domestic, would get in the way of the legislative agenda.

I have written for a long time that government just doesn't work. The dreams of the idealists wanting to make the world a better place, are confronted with the somewhat rigid laws of human action. No matter how charismatic you are, how persuasive your argument is, morally compelling your example, or how much force you use, you just can't bend another person to your will, or recreate society based on the premise that human nature can be changed. Individuals simply can not be controlled.

For that reason, I have been a libertarian, believing that, since government can not work, then the less of it, the better. I believe the best thing is to elect people who will repeal laws, lower taxes, and abolish government programs.

But there's another side to it. The ambitions and policy goals of many an honest politician have been thwarted by forces beyond their control. One example Jim Marrs reports on page 8 of his strange book Rule By Secrecy: Webster Hubbell, a Clinton Justice appointee, was asked by Clinton to find out two things: who killed JFK, and are there UFO's. Hubbell couldn't find satisfactory answers to either question.

Those two causes might actually make a splash politically. A political party whose platform consists solely of opening the JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King assassination files, and UFO files, would garner far more third party votes than they are now getting. But, ultimately, to what end? Just like the fate of the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, what will actually be achieved?

Anyone in the United States who becomes President - anyone - would ask the same questions Clinton reportedly asked. You would, I would. Any patriot would, because these questions are too important. Yet, no matter who was President, all investigations, publicized or not, will result in non-answers and even more questions. We all know this, intuitively. Which is to say, either Oswald acted alone and there are no UFO's, or there are indeed conspiracies, groups of people who agree to not reveal knowledge. Which is to say, there are secret societies.

Do secret organizations exist? We all know that they do, from the Freemasons, which for many members is largely a social and service club, to the CIA. What we don't know is the importance of the secrecy: if they are merely male bonding confessions, or if they promote a World Government political agenda, or contain the solutions to the mysteries of our past and of religion. It is well-known since the American Revolution, which was led by Freemasons, that many movers and shakers in international diplomacy and banking are also members of many overlapping clubs, secret societies,and corporate boards.

Do they conspire in an effort to accomplish something?

I don't know, but here's the pattern of history. A crisis emerges, such as the 9-11 attacks, and the government responds with hysterical over-reaction such as the Patriot Act and a permanent, and by definition unwinnable, War on Terror (just as the War on Drugs and War on Poverty are inherently unwinnable). The President is given a blank check for absolute power and authority. Even so, it isn't the President issuing the combat orders or running the POW camps. It isn't the President collecting the intelligence. It isn't the President rounding up suspected terrorists. And it isn't the President sitting in all of our foreign embassies at once. It isn't the President running the Federal Reserve Board, or profiling African-Americans driving nice cars.

The President's "job performance" is vulnerable to any one of hundreds of his politically appointed staff (Cabinet Secretaries and under-secretaries) and permanent staff (such as the military staff, and FBI and CIA agents,). The more power given to the President in reality trickles down to greater discretion for his staff - a staff he can't control. The President only knows, and acts, on information given to him by others. It might be the truth, but it might not be the whole truth. And, just like genocide in Kosovo and WMD's in Iraq, both reported to two different Presidents by CIA director George Tenet, it might not be true at all.

My conspiratorial intuition tells me that John Kerry will be the next President of the United States. If Kerry's personal campaigning isn't doing the job, then more publicized disasters will befall President Bush. There are operatives who are sabotaging the administration, seeing Bush as a less-than-effective ignorant figurehead for their machinations. Install another figurehead. I'm not saying that they fix elections, but they can sway the voters by stacking the deck for or against the incumbent.

Lurking behind at least a few reader's heads is probably Skull and Bones, the same secret society at Yale University that both Bush and Kerry belong to. Do I believe that the innermost secrets of Skull and Bones are integral to any sensible conspiracy theory? Yes, I do. There is an awful lot of interconnection between CIA and its fore-runner, the OSS, with the Bones - and connections of the Bones to other, long-established secret societies. And I am convinced that, once CIA, always CIA.

William F. Buckley, Bones and CIA, jump-started the American Right in the mid-1950's with his National Review magazine. He also severely perverted the movement, turning what once was a haven for America Firsters into a cult of military worship, which characterizes the conservative movement to this day. The "low tax, free enterprise, more war, deficits don't matter" definition of conservatism is beyond nonsense and ventures into the province of the ridiculous. Those who defend this policy are subscribing to the very same Keynesian "government monetary and fiscal policy fixes everything" belief that conservatives ridicule when Democrats suggest it. That's the intention: the conservative movement, just like liberalism, calls for more government. Which means more power to senior bureaucrats and advisers. People come into government from elite universities or large corporations, and then go back. It's a revolving door, depending on the President's party. But government gets bigger no matter who's in power.

George H. W. Bush, the President's father, was also Bones and CIA, at one point directing the agency. William and McGeorge Bundy were both Bones, William was CIA, McGeorge was National Security Adviser to both JFK and LBJ, and both were architects of the Vietnam War.

All that said, the nature of a secret society is that not all members of the society know all the secrets. Some knew more than others. I suspect that the elder Bush knows far more than either his son or Kerry does. For many, a society or lodge is a place of fellowship and networking, and I suspect that is what Bones was for the younger Bush and Kerry. For others, like the elder Bush, I suspect the CIA and other influences influenced or directed their life course.

One notable thing is that, both the elder Bush and Kerry faced enemy combat fire, whereas the younger Bush did not. That probably carries greater credibility within the Bones.

But, just as Bush's father was defeated in 1992, one can not say that The Conspiracy, whatever it is, can control or dictate events. Rather, The Conspiracy more or less manages affairs. Perhaps they can create an event, using dupes working for another cause, but they can not entirely control the effects of the event.

The role of the Conspiracy is to narrow the course of action in the wake of a crisis to two and only two acceptable options. And these options will always limit individual freedom and increase America's commitments overseas. That's why both major parties have adopted positions of more government at home, and more intervention abroad. The tone and tactics may be different, but the strategic vision is the same.

Think about it. "Liberalism" once meant individual freedom, but now it means more government intervention into the economy and no personal responsibility. "Conservatism" is, and always has been, un-American and reflects a British imperial mentality of international military commitments and social control. Both serve the interests of government, and neither serve the interests of liberty.

And that vision goes against what most people would call the national interest. Less liberty and prosperity at home, further war and over-extension abroad. Cover it up with phony rhetoric about "American jobs" or "gay marriage." In November, 2004, at least one hundred million people will cast a vote for someone, Bush or Kerry, who is hostile to the people's liberty, security, and welfare.

The question is, to what end? I don't know, because I don't know the secrets. Jim Marrs' book mentioned above draws a coherent history and theory that is a real page-turner, but which contains glaring factual errors (such as historical dates) and which does not bother to footnote controversial assertions of fact. The book was almost made to be discredited. That said, it provided a lot of provocative ideas and information.

It doesn't appear to me that political events happen just so. American politics, as the relationship between politicians, voters, journalists, and businessmen, all essentially agreeing to the greatness of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, could not have evolved into what it is today, unless outside forces weighed in.

I wrote above that I'm a libertarian because I don't believe that the use of force can control another person's energy or will; it can only enforce compliance. That said, I would also admit that most people are followers, not leaders. People are inclined to follow and believe the authority figures that exist in their society. It's as if they do not have enough confidence in themselves to think and act independently, that they would be better off by exchanging their liberty for comfort and security, as if we all want to go back into our mother's womb and stay there forever.

It is what must be called a slave mentality. I know Christians who cringe and make excuses when St. Paul writes, "slaves, obey your masters," yet venerate "obey the civil authorities" as practically the 11th Commandment. Ignoring the humility and love Paul preaches in both passages, they instead pretend that Christianity endorses warfare and crusades of "liberation" and the wholesale destruction of established societies for the sake of what can only be called the secular values of civil authorities. It is an incoherent mess that is continually discrediting American Christianity, and it's all because most Christians, like anyone else, will believe and trust their own masters who run The State.

Democracy exploits the slave mentality, giving the individual slave - the individual who is inclined to follow others - a sense of freedom and empowerment with the right to vote. It also exploits his prejudices against free thinkers, ethnic and religious minorities, and the wealthy.

It is by exploiting the "follower" or "slave" masses, that the Conspiracy can narrow the options between the two major parties. Emphasize the cultural differences (homosexual tolerance, obscenity, abortion, God on public property) between Left and Right as a cynical ruse, to hide the fact that the crackdown on civil liberties, continued warfare, and economic stagnation will continue no matter who's in power.

It is not really the manipulation of patriotism, jingoistic nationalism, or even economic envy, that stirs the democracy. It is rather that most people tend to believe and trust those whom they vote for. They think politicians as a whole are a bunch of cynical creeps, but tend to trust their own Congressman, Senators, and President, if they voted for them.

Americans have now been conditioned into thinking that, if you have the right to vote for either Democrat or Republican masters, than you are free. With chattel slavery, the slave can't choose his master. With political slavery in a democratic republic, the slave still can't choose a master, but is allowed to cast a vote for one or another group of masters, and can hope and pray that other slaves voted as he did, for the least-bad masters. This "right to vote" is considered sacred, but it is about as insignificant and arbitrary a "right" that a person can have.

But because the right to vote is considered sacred, it creates a void - the void between choosing how one really wants to live, and the options forced upon him by the rules of the ballot-access laws. Aside from the elder Bush, who is CIA, I don't think our Presidents have been in on the Conspiracy. Maybe a few Senators and House members. More importantly, I suspect that some of their chief advisers - legislative assistants and administrative assistants, are in on it. And senior staff in the Executive Branch. They are the ones who wrote the PATRIOT Act; not one member of Congress who voted for it actually read it. Not one.

Why is this so? The answer is fairly simple: once elected to Congress, who do you get as assistants, if not the "best and the brightest?" You get those who excelled at Ivy League and other elite schools. You believe you are hiring people committed to the same values you share. You are not aware that they are pursuing another agenda and that they are subtly influencing your own thoughts and votes.

Many people believe that politicians are beholden to "special interests" and corporate contributions, although each individual, PAC, or corporate donation is actually too small to make too much of a difference. Congressmen, just like Presidents, depend more on poll numbers and their advisers.
Politicians want to be successful, which means to simultaneously do what is right for the United States and their standing in history, and to please their constituents for re-election. The wishes of donors are at the periphery of their calculations. It is here that they are ripe for the influence of Conspirators,who always seem to recommend more government at home and more intervention abroad in the tradition of the "great" Presidents of the 20th century. Just like the President, most Congressmen are figureheads, manipulated by events rather than dictating them.

An agenda, probably formulated by secret international societies with prominent and powerful American members in politics and the media, indoctrinated several generations of Americans into believing things and adopting ideals inimical to the common sense of the American promise of liberty and limited government. I suspect that there are more leaders in politics, the military, high finance, big business, and the media who are really CIA agents than we imagine. And I suspect that the CIA, although established by the United States government with the National Security Act, is actually the primary mover of the Conspiracy in which American security and sovereignty are concerns only for political cover, but do not reflect the actual purpose of the CIA. I suspect the CIA is an international house of cooperation to unify civilized nations of the world to one agenda.

If there indeed is a Conspiracy behind the world's events, I suspect it has one of these three goals.

1. A World Government influenced by Anglo-American institutions, which is essentially the intention and legacy of the British Empire. The Bones-CIA-"neocon cabal" War on Terror is the transition between the British Empire and World Government. Even so, I doubt that the World Government would actually be recognized as such. It will, itself, be a kind of secret society.
2. A philosophical belief that struggle - warfare - is the natural state of humankind and, that being the case, it not only brings meaning to our lives and order to civilization, it also stimulates creativity and innovation. The Conspiracy thus tries to manufacture crises, to provoke war, so as to let civilization thrive.

If either of the above is true, then the Conspiracy is obviously a wicked enterprise which no thoughtful or moral person would follow. But, the conundrum of which came first, the war, or tradesmen who were free to invent and manufacture the weapon, might be the mystery of history. War and the State is nothing but the division of labor, maximizing the efficiency of violence. It is modeled on the efficiency of the division of labor in the market. The monopoly of force, which is The State, organizes the people. But how did that happen, if not that a single charismatic person inspired some followers to obey his demands? Civilization ultimately is based on cooperation between individuals. The question is, did it originate voluntarily or by force?

Praxeology, the term which Ludwig von Mises called the study of human action, suggests that voluntary cooperation is the beginning of the division of labor and productivity. And this makes sense. Someone must have an idea that sounds good, for people to produce tools in mass quantities. Dividing labor under far-sighted leadership requires insight and wisdom, not force. People must agree with the plan and work for it. No State, no monopoly of force, can exist unless a strongman convinces others willing to crush skulls with impunity, that this will be a successful and profitable enterprise. Since no strongman or thug can exist on his own - because the people would get rid of such a thug - it is more reasonable that the division of labor, whether to do something either constructive or violent, will be accomplished by those who agree with and will advance the project. The State, which is the division of labor to do violence against a person's life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness, and productivity, is but a product of, and the mirror image, of the world in which people operate in complete freedom. Freedom under the division of labor is the natural condition; the division of labor under the State is the un-natural condition.

But under either theory, civilization based on war, or civilization based on freedom, we are merely guessing based on logic. The Freedom argument is superior to the State argument, but even the Freedom argument isn't fully convincing. If we are to believe in both evolution and reason, civilization itself seems to defy explanation.

And that leaves one more option which is more intriguing:

3. That the Conspiracy is really about knowledge and control of, as Marrs puts it, "Ancient Mysteries." This knowledge is called "esoteric" - it is for the chosen few. The best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, which I have not read, apparently describes a good deal of speculations that Marrs, among others, had put forth previously.

The intriguing thing is whether the innermost secrets of secret societies are really true. And that, we don't know, and apparently will never know.

Why would such knowledge be kept secret? Perhaps because we can't handle the truth. Maybe there is something that elite Freemasons, or Bones, or others know, information they have which would, if revealed to the public, turn the world upside down. Maybe these secret societies rule, in finance, intelligence, diplomacy, and politics, as our "guardians" - keeping us from the real truth. Maybe this truth is so compelling that it is betrayal-proof; anyone confronted with the facts would also feel conscience-bound to suppress those very facts.

I would rather #3 be true rather than the Nazi-like beliefs of #'s 1 and 2. Maybe this is really about a cosmic and spiritual warfare.

But that's just speculation, and highly improbable. And so I still can't in good conscience support either Bush or Kerry.

In any case, if there is a Conspiracy, there is little I can say or do to oppose it, or undermine it.

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Mike Thomson from five miles south of the Kennedy Space Center writes:
May 21, 2004
James Leroy Wilson's article is worthy of being published in The New Yorker or similar magazines. It is well thought out, serious with a touch of levity, and creates a longing in the reader to learn more.

I've been somewhat obsessed over the past months with this Skull and Bones connection between Bush and Kerry. I've scanned several sites - some ridiculous and some very serious. Lately I've been focusing on the initiation process into that organization - some aspects involving sexual humiliation.

After reading some of the accounts of the S&B initiation rites, I understand why Bush's shock seems feigned and Kerry is practically mute on the subject of Iraqui prison abuse. Yes, I think I understand... JLW, you've helped bring about an ephiphanious moment for me - George and John have been there and don't want reminders of it!

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