On Conspiriority

Revelations of wrongful official secrecy and its abuse by powerful political and economic organizations can have as a byproduct a politically debilitating effect that is contrary to the effect one would expect to occur when secret, unsavory official acts are divulged. Instead of using the new knowledge to become more effectively politically engaged, one may become liable to the perpetual surmise that while each new layer of exposed reality may provide a more complete picture of reality than what came before it, the picture is still not as real as it would be if another layer of reality were peeled away.

This frame of mind obviously can be psychologically exhausting, and it is wasteful for other reasons that may be imagined, but it is at least logically justified. If, for example, one discovers that the CIA used the Contras to bring cocaine into the United States during the 1980s in order to finance the Central American war then being fought illegally by the Reagan administration, it might be paranoid, but it is not unnatural, to think: “If they kept that hidden successfully until now, what else could they be hiding?” The danger is that one may never be able to accept any evidence of reality as definitive enough to be able to believe in it or act upon it: something else, always hidden, and probably important, must still be taking place out of view. Thus real political conspiracies beget conspiracy theorizing.


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