General uncertainty in the information jungle: Black utopias and the new order on the abyss of chaos.
It cannot be a coincidence. Last winter, two young scientists wrote a book on conspiracy theories that were published just now, last week. The week when all the media suddenly spoke about the topic. Obviously they knew more.
It is no coincidence that exactly in March, the most important book of the Tübingen-based Americanist Michael Butter, who heads an EU research project on conspiracy theories, was out of print. Apparently we shouldn’t read what it says.
Indication of a connection
These examples show how conspiratorial rhetoric works at the factual level: banalities that have nothing to do with each other, sometimes even contradict each other, are combined and provided with whispering comments to indicate a connection: it seems that a book on the subject is coming out to confirm this on the surface as well as the fact that one is currently unavailable. Conclusion: it cannot be a coincidence.
This “knowledge” is then provided with a justification structure that is also far-fetched and is claimed to be the cause. As a rule, it concerns people to whom a certain power and “a larger plan” are attributed: statesmen or super-rich. Or groups to which closed action is concealed: bankers, Jews, Freemasons, secret societies like the Illuminati.
It does not have to be the case that the group is actually so powerful or that it exists at all. In extreme cases, aliens are even held responsible.
The Queen, “a Jewish Freemason”
One of the most famous conspiracy theories is about alien landings in the Nevada desert and UFO sightings near Roswell, New Mexico between 1947 and the mid-1950s, which the CIA allegedly suppressed. The Bermuda Triangle is a “window” for time travel and other worlds in which fishing boats and occasionally airplanes are carried away.
Countless other such conspiracy theories and myths can be told: The moon landing never took place; 9/11 was an “inside job” of the US secret service or Mossad; Kennedy was murdered by the CIA or by Lyndon B. Johnson or the mafia, at least not by Oswald; Hitler, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and Lady Di are still alive; Obama is a Muslim, Obama was not born in the United States – and the Queen is “a Jewish Freemason”.
Serious historians have theorized that around 200 years of the Middle Ages never took place and that Charlemagne never existed. 6 percent, or almost five million Germans, believe that the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015 was a secret operation by the French secret service.
A representative poll in France showed that eight out of ten of those surveyed believed in one of the largest conspiracy stories, such as the moon landing fake or that Princess Diana did not die in an accident.
The most popular conspiracy theories include a particular claim that the French Ministry of Health allegedly conspired with pharmaceutical companies to cover up the alleged health risks of vaccination.
The secrecy policy of some governments promotes such ideas. Political framing is added: Around 60 percent of US Republican voters consider climate change to be a conspiracy, and 80% of Democratic voters disagree with this statement.
Many things are also more complex and abstract: leftists and rightists like to believe in a conspiracy of “capital,” “Wall Street,” or the “military-industrial complex”. Genuinely right-wing conspiracy theories are the Auschwitz lie, the anti-liberal belief in the “downfall of the West” or the decline due to too much freedom and the – optionally elitist – fear of the “uprising of the masses” (Ortega y Gasset) or vice versa the populist fear of ” the liberal elites “.
Fear and fear are the keywords for the other side of the conspiracy theory, paranoia, ie the diffuse fear of “something” – or in a pathological form of the delusion of persecution – from which the answer in the form of a conspiracy claim arises. Such fears are more common than one might think.
Skepticism about “chemtrails” (contrails), the effects of cell phone radiation and the side effects of vaccinations is also widespread among good citizens, as well as the worldwide interdependencies of the Vatican, the Jesuits and Catholic secret organizations such as the “Opus Dei”. But also to the “lies press”, the “mainstream media” and the “media obedience” of the stupid majority, always the others – that’s what people who pull every clip by Ken Jebsen say.
The mistrust of “the state” seems to be well-founded, as well as the interconnections of the “atomic mafia”, and the difficult to understand the Internet, especially its less obvious part, the “Dark Web”.
No less the fear of the power of organized crime and its connections to “higher circles” and of the activities of the secret services with their V-men, surveillance projects, and occasional spectacular operations, flanked by no less spectacular revelations. The fear of terrorists and the associated ideologies as the destructive enemies of our way of life seems understandable.
Skepticism, mistrust, fear, fear – at the end of these escalating feelings is the certainty of your own powerlessness. The diffuse and the invisible are all in common – terrorist networks and secret services are secret, cell phone rays are as invisible as nuclear fallout, the dark web remains dark, and since those responsible are almost never identified and the questions mentioned can be clarified, the impression of the shimmering remains. Diverse, confusing, and unbelievable. However, the chaos of the impressions wants to be ordered, the complexity reduced.
This is where the conspiracy theory comes into play – it cuts through the jungle of information. It provides comparatively simple, clear explanations for the previously inexplicable.