Top Ten Tips for Conspiracy Theorists

Personally I have never had much time for conspiracy theories, seeing them as unrealistic, often paranoid and a substitute for real argument on the issues in question. And twice in recent issues on which we have posted, there have been allegations of conspiracies, even involving this blog: heaven forbid.

Nevertheless, I thought it might be fun to set out some tips to improve conspiracy theorists thinking:

  1. History generally works more on screw ups than conspiracies
  2. When you think that the other side are conspiring, have a look round: your own side might indeed be conspiring, and you are all simply projecting your own shenanigans onto the other side as we humans love to do. And yes we the other side are human too, mostly anyway.
  3. Try arguing the merits of the case first, and if you can’t actually come up with any decent arguments, or manage to refute the other sides’ I guess you have no choice, but to allege conspiracy by the other side
  4. Most people, especially academics, could not successfully organize a conspiracy to drink beer in a brewery (polite version of traditional English saying)
  5. Most real conspiracies don’t stay private for more than about ten minutes, but gossip about conspiracies has no factual guarantee attached.
  6. As a conspiracy theorist, you have some pretty awful companions like Hitler, and Stalin, who among other things blamed their scapegoats for their own massive incompetence, not to mention that they were totally morally bankrupt
  7. Conspiracy theories are particularly inviting for those who feel their very identity is at stake: maybe work a bit more on the robustness of who you are, instead of looking for a conspiracy that is undermining who you are.
  8. If you really think there is a conspiracy, go looking for contrary data that there in fact no conspiracy, just some folk with different views and interests i.e. try to disprove your own conspiracy theory
  9. Remember of course that just because you are in fact clinically paranoid, does not for one moment mean that no one is conspiring against you. And this blog posting may be part of the conspiracy to lull you into a sense of false security.
  10. And of course, sometimes you are right: there is a huge conspiracy, though typically it is run with big bucks, by professional lobbyists on behalf of people with billions and special interests to protect. Prima facie it is, for example, more likely that if there is a conspiracy on climate science, it is by oil companies and not by poorly resourced climate scientists.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict History, Conflict Humor, Conflict Processes, Environmental Conflict, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Top Ten Tips for Conspiracy Theorists

  1. Pingback: Conspiracy Theories and Reverse Engineering | Creativeconflictwisdom's Blog

  2. Hi There Creativeconflictwisdom,
    I was wondering on a similar note,, Obama goes to war without the congress go-ahead, because UN pass resolution. We care, but not enough caring, and I think it be because of conspiracy theorists talking about NWO all the time, we now accept a NWO as a reality we have to tolerate, and that why we are not fight against Obama working for UN and not the US.

    Conspiracy theorist have created a masterful scheme that be so big and powerful and almost supernatually evil, we feel helpless to stop Obama from confusing America with the UN.

    What you think?
    BTW great blogpost

    • @Kirk Middleton. Actually I doubt there is any sort of New World Order and Obama has never learned to box so I write off any idea he is conspiring to do anything,other than get us the hell out of Iraq (done) and Afghanistan (we’ll see). New World Disorder comes closer to describing reality. Even the Chinese government, who sometimes come close to acting in conspiratorial ways, actually, from the people I have met who know them, are acting out of fear of unrest that is accurate rather than paranoid. I think the counter to conspiracy thinking is systemic thinking. Uncovering the forces of demographics, environment, market place, political institutions, media, and ideology that couple in rather unpredictable ways to serve up history. History is very path dependent, and in my experience of studying it over the last few thousand years, random. Not much sign of pattern or conspiracy.

      Conspiracy theories are popular among the more extreme conservatives because something must explain market failure, other than markets often fail. And on the left they are popular because they lack a mechanism to tame markets anymore and so what to make market failure evil and conspiratorial rather than ‘stuff happens’ for systemic reasons. Both left and right are rather lazy about understanding the real economy.

      As for the Middle East, what is happening there correlates pretty well with the price of food. In fact riots world wide in many countries correlate well with food prices over the last 200 years. That is what is driving the riots and the UN, US or anyone else is relatively powerless to know what to do. A fleeting involvement in Libya is hardly a big deal in my scheme of things. The real interest is where the unrest leads: to democracy or something else

      As for the UN, having known many people who worked there in the last 40 years, the UN is as incapable of organizing a conspiracy as it is of organizing what in the UK they call a ‘piss up in a brewery’. So I don’t really think that NWO conspiracy theorists are distracting us from a smaller conspiracy. I think we are in the grip of our economic delusions that there is such a thing as a free lunch and free markets deliver it. Thanks for your comments.

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