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L. Neil Smith's
Number 819, April 26, 2015

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Consider ''Conspiracy Theory''
by Richard Bartucci

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I've been doing some whack-a-mole against the Watermelons on the subject of anthropogenic ("man-made") global warming / climate change / climate "fragility," and when I mention the collusion particularly well-demonstrated in the e-mails among the charlatan Climatic Research Unit correspondents dumped to the net in the Climategate tranches, I've gotten from these scrabbling little cockroaches endless "Godwin's Law"-style efforts at blanking out, chiefly by way of the expression conspiracy theory".

Now, I don't recall "conspiracy theory" being in use at all during my younger years, so—hey, there's the World Wide Web out there, right?—I pulled up Ixquick and started searching. Some stuff I got, and you might be interested:

The use of "conspiracy theory" to deter citizens from investigating historic events is paradoxical, to be sure. It suggests that those who commit criminal conspiracies can only be relatively powerless people who happen to live on the most strategically important lands, and conspiracies among rich, powerful people are impossible or absurd.

Basically, our entire legal system is based on the idea of conspiracy. Despite this fact we have been conditioned by the government and the media to blindly accept the official reports and to treat any questioning of those reports as "conspiracy theorizing." That is, you are a conspiracy theorist if you don't believe the government's conspiracy theory.

This cultural phenomenon goes back to 1967. At that time, in response to questions about the Warren Commission Report (which President Ford helped create), the CIA issued a memorandum calling for mainstream media sources to begin countering "conspiracy theorists."[13] In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase "conspiracy theory" appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week.

Before the CIA memo came out, the Washington Post and New York Times had never used the phrase "conspiracy theorist." After the CIA memo came out, these two newspapers have used that phrase 1,118 times. Of course, in these uses the phrase is always delivered in a context in which "conspiracy theorists" were made to seem less intelligent and less rationale than people who uncritically accept official explanations for major events.

—Kevin R. Ryan, "Do we need another 9/11 conspiracy theory?" (10 September 2012)


DeHaven-Smith ... offers an intriguing take on the origins and implications of conspiracy theories and the paranoid mindset itself in this accessible academic study. The author, a professor of public administration and policy at Florida State University, provocatively argues that conspiracy theories, far from being merely the stuff of outlier fantasy, have played a major role in the formation of U.S. history; the Founding Fathers, he insists, developed a kind of protoconspiracy theory as a means to justify revolution, citing the abuses of King George as "proof he was plotting to subject the colonies to 'an absolute tyranny.' " And of course no talk of conspiracy theories would be complete without mention of the J.F.K. assassination. Indeed, DeHaven-Smith shows that it was in the aftermath of the killing that the phrase "conspiracy theory" entered American parlance, a phenomenon he chalks up to government efforts to discredit skeptics of the Warren Commission's findings (which scheme he dubs "the Conspiracy-Theory Conspiracy"). DeHaven-Smith ultimately suggests that we "apply the same forensic protocols to elite crimes" (i.e. crimes involving political figures and celebrities) as are used in solving "ordinary cases" involving citizens. Confronted with these compelling arguments, even the most incredulous readers will find themselves questioning their own preconceived notions of paranoia, governmental transparency, and conspiracy theoris

—Review of Conspiracy Theory in America (2013, Lance deHaven-Smith, Author), Publishers Weekly (28 January 2013)


"Conspiracy theory" is a term that at once strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. Especially in the United States raising legitimate questions about dubious official narratives destined to inform public opinion (and thereby public policy) is a major thought crime that must be cauterized from the public psyche at all costs.

Conspiracy theory's acutely negative connotations may be traced to liberal historian Richard Hofstadter's well-known fusillades against the "New Right." Yet it was the Central Intelligence Agency that likely played the greatest role in effectively "weaponizing" the term. In the groundswell of public skepticism toward the Warren Commission's findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA sent a detailed directive to all of its bureaus. Titled "Countering Criticism of the Warren Commission Report," the dispatch played a definitive role in making the "conspiracy theory" term a weapon to be wielded against almost any individual or group calling the government's increasingly clandestine programs and activities into question.

This important memorandum and its broad implications for American politics and public discourse are detailed in a forthcoming book by Florida State University political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America. [] Dr. deHaven-Smith devised the state crimes against democracy concept to interpret and explain potential government complicity in events such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the major political assassinations of the 1960s, and 9/11.

"CIA Document 1035-960" was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times. The directive is especially significant because it outlines the CIA's concern regarding "the whole reputation of the American government" vis-à-vis the Warren Commission Report. The agency was especially interested in maintaining its own image and role as it "contributed information to the [Warren] investigation."

—James F. Tracy, "Conspiracy Theory": Foundations of a Weaponized Term, Subtle and Deceptive Tactics to Discredit Truth in Media and Research (22 January 2013)

Curious, ain't it? The use of the expression "conspiracy theory" seems most frequent among the leftards, and yet they don't seem to be realizing not only that they're proving themselves to be tools, but C.I.A. tools in the bargain.

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