Monday, April 16, 2007

Commentary - A system of structure and definitions for Conspiracy Theory - Part 2

In part 1 of this post I described a system that can be used to classify and categorize conspiracy theories. Part 1 can be found here:

In this part I give examples of using this system and how to expand and/or clarify existing theories. Far too often the scope of these theories can cause us to fail to see the forest for the trees, as the old saying goes. Larger connections can be made and insights gained if a method of organizing these theories is found.

There is great promise of using databases, social networking software and other forms of database analysis for CT research. The drawbacks to this approach are the time needed, money and the required skill sets to make this approach work. Creating the database would be the real devil of such a project unless several people teamed up for the effort. OCR software, scanners, a library of reference material and a quality control process would address part of the problem, but you would still need the time and dedication to scan and review tens if not hundreds of thousands of pages of books and magazines. Addressing NNTP, static web pages and dynamic forum data would be an entirely different project. The lone researcher or enthusiast is left to their own resources.

Lets begin with a subject which has received very little attention from conspiracy theorists but is beginning to make waves in the area of political science blogs. The subject being a conspiracy theory stating that an aspect of the religious right wing is attempting to take control of the US Government, more specifically, that the conspiracy is the fruition of Pat Robertson’s goal to change the world by using graduates of Regent University.

Using the system I described we can classify this as a Crossover Conspiracy Theory (CCT) as it has a foundation in two of the three social systems that must be present to become a conspiracy theory. This theory involves Theocracy and Politics. The main foundation is Theocratic and its secondary foundation is Polemic. The goal (a changed world that follows a specific religious belief) is attained after gaining and influencing political power surreptitiously. Therefore, we can call this a Theocratic Crossover Conspiracy Theory with a Polemic Secondary Foundation.

Using this description we can then overlay the theory with other theories which are classified and categorized in the same manner. From this overlay the researcher can then look for the common denominators of each and determine if there is a confluence between the two. The common denominators can be people, identical statements of “Groupthink” (propaganda), organizational structures, shared events and even geographical anomalies (two headquarters or centralized services situated on the same street or same location).

When a connection is made from an overlay the researcher can then focus on the vetting process to see if their theory is part of a much larger conspiracy or isolated. Isolated theories are not lesser in their importance; it simply removes the theory from a larger, more complex theory.

Let’s look at the Regent University theory again with this information. We have 150 graduates of Regent University serving under the Bush Administration. Quite an amazing fact considering it is a Tier-4 law school that has only been in existence for less than 30 years. Even more impressive is the fact that some Regent alumni have climbed to extremely high positions, most notably within the Justice Department.

Monica Goodling, the recently discussed Justice Department official who is among those at the center of the scandal involving the fired US Attorneys, was a 1999 graduate of Regent and her final position at Justice was Senior Liaison for the White House. For a 33 year old who only had 7 years experience in law, this is a stunning rate of advancement. Did she get this position of enormous responsibility from her own record as a trial, corporate or personal lawyer? No, she did not. After graduating from Regent and before joining the Justice Department she worked for the RNC at their DC headquarters in the Bush Opposition Research Team, who’s main claim to infamy was leading the faux outrage riot at a southern Florida elections office which was fully documented by the major media outlets during the election re-count controversy.

On the surface, Goodling was nothing more than an astute and talented social networker, an eager overachiever who nurtured relationships with mentors who placed her in higher and higher places of power. So how does she act as a common denominator in this scandal? Her very presence and that of the other 149 fellow alumni is a red flag for the researcher. Her exponential rate of promotion and her proximity to two Theocratic and Polemic conspiracy theories make her and her educational partners a serious common denominator.

The theory about Pat Robertson's goals overlays perfectly with the fired US Attorney scandal. The goals of the Moral Majority/Christian Coalition and Robertson’s stated goals of Regent University include numerous stated desires to change or overthrow many legal findings, not limited to but including the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. The censorship of media outlets that they declare to be “anti-family” and removing the recognition of homosexuality and the rights of homosexuals are also among theory stated legal goals.

These people, Goodling included, have been involved with the actual process of removing Attorneys who were not 100& “Pro-Bush” and in their place they would be hiring lawyers who did agree with every political and religious view of the far right wing religious extremists. The “Pro-Bush” platform can be seen as having many platforms. But anti-abortion, anti-homosexual and pro-family are a few of the main points of argument that they use. From those points they branch out into the far extreme ends of ideas.

From this exercise you can see how this system works and how it can help you make those connections. Try it yourself with a new theory you’ve had or with one of the classics like the JFK assassination or Freemasonry. You may find a few surprises, possibly a new connection that no one has seen before. Good luck!

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