Jim Fedako (who wrote this piece; send him email) is a business analyst and homeschooling father of seven who lives in Lewis Center, OH.
The disappearance of a plane in Southeast Asia shakes conspiracy nuts to the ground. These quickly germinate wild—and I mean wild—explanations of the event. You know what I am talking about: all sorts of Hollywood-like tales of air pirates, hidden airstrips, remote islands, and such.
Words and their meanings are potent. And whoever controls those definitions holds tremendous power.
Consider the phrase free market. Many will claim the US economy, in spite of its myriad laws and regulations—at least 1,000 times more than the 613 Rabbinical Laws recorded in the Old Testament, is a free market. And once they have strawmanized the phrase, so to speak, they will then argue against it. “See, just look at the failures of the US economy. It is certain proof that a free market is inefficient and unfair.”
OK. Let’s skip that tangent since the meaning of the term “fair” has morphed from an ethic to egalitarianism, a rat hole for another day. Back to the disappearance of a plane.
A conspiracy occurs when two or more act undercover and in concert to achieve (usually) an evil end. So we can assume the disappearance of the plane is the result of some sort of conspiracy—two or more committed a covert act to change its course. And each explanation of the disappearance is a theory of what occurred. Put the two terms together and you have conspiracy theory. And those who submit or support any given theory are correctly termed conspiracy theorists.
So everyone one of us—those who have any cognition of current events—are conspiracy theorists. We each have our own explanation of what occurred. Nothing here. Right?
As time moves on, certain theories will come in or out of vogue. And, in the end, there will be a coalescing of the theories on what will become the official concatenation and sequence of events. This will be the explanation that is considered by government agencies as the one and only acceptable tale. Those who still believe an alternate tale will be branded conspiracy theorists—as if the official tale itself is not a conspiracy theory and those in government agencies are not, by definition, conspiracy theorists.
You claim, “Wait, the tale told by the state is based on facts.” Maybe, but probably not. Likely its explanation will be murky at best. And other theories will remain plausible as well.
When events rattle us, we search for an explanation. If those events are the product of human action, we assume some sort of conspiracy occurred. So we quickly become conspiracy theorists. However, when our explanation differs from the one espoused by government, we become conspiracy theorists—dangerous nut cases. A truly powerful redefinition of terms.
Nevertheless, to believe that pirates captured a plane in order to land it unseen, à la James Bond, on (say) a Southeast Asian island is really off-the-wall lunacy. And it might just be true.
Editor’s note For a conspiracy theory loved by government and media which has been falsified, take the dark forces which fund global warming skepticism.