Re: Are Conspiracies Stronger Than Truth?

Eric Watt Forste (
Mon, 23 Sep 1996 21:04:25 -0700

Sarah Marr wrote:
>Can you give examples of conspiracy theories which have turned out true?

Offhand, I can't think of any really large-scale conspiracy theories which
have turned out true, but then on the other hand there certainly have been
a number of authoritarian conspiracies among highly-placed figures which
have turned out true, even though these have been small-scale. The Nixon
circle's Watergate conspiracy. The Nazi conspiracy to destroy the Weimar
constitution (this was not the platform that they were elected on,
exactly). The currently debated Whitewater conspiracy. And then there was
the Guy Fawkes conspiracy, just to show that those who are out of power can
cook up some sophisticated cabals as well.

The "grand-scale" conspiracy theorists often point to the fact that these
smaller conspiracies are usually not traced to their roots... they are only
traced a certain distance before the conspirators' efforts to destroy
evidence (and witnesses) succeed in foiling the detectives. And from this
they surmise that there really are grand-scale conspiracies operating
throughout history, of which these smaller-scale authoritarian conspiracies
are mere outcroppings.

The point James Daugherty just made about how people operating in their
ordinary unquestioned modes of thinking can often be participating in a
conspiracy without even being aware that they are conspiring is a good one.
I have lately been amazed by how little people are aware of what they are
doing, since I've just recently become aware of a few things that I've been
working hard toward all my life without being aware of doing so until now.
I'm sure more such revelations await me in the future, as I become able to
devote a few more leisure hours to introspection than I used to.

I used to think that conspiracy theories were a bunch of hooey, and I'd
still be suspicious about (a) those who swallow them hook, line, and sinker
and (b) those who seek to convince young and gullible people of their
truth. But since I've managed to deal with the "harsher realities" of
carving out a comfortable living for myself in the world, I feel that I can
now be little more "soft in the head", and after investigating some of the
conspiracy theories myself, I think they are worth investigating by some

If I ever get rich and take care of most of my personal goals and don't see
any more pressing problems on my horizon (like industrializing the Jovian
moons or writing a choral ballet that Ravel would be envious of), then I
might take up keeping an eye on the Trilateral Commission as an interesting
hobby which might be potentially far more valuable than, say, watching
football. And since I'm not the type to take football fans to task for
their vices, I don't think I'd be interested in arguing against conspiracy
theorists either. I'm glad they're keeping an eye on things... just in

The only caution that remains, of course, is that the Nazis did their
damage, in part, by exploiting the fears of anti-Semitic conspiracy
theorists. And this may be the main reason why I'm not interested in taking
up the abovementioned hobby for myself at this point in history.

Eric Watt Forste <>