I remember sitting in my college dormitory cubicle as a Freshman at The Ohio State University many years ago, drinking more beer than any one 18 year old idiot should ever have been allowed to imbibe. As with all drunks, and various other people who altered their thought processes through better living via modern or in this case, ancient chemistry, I came up with, and went along with some real gems. Our drunken discussions included the Kennedy assassination, The Loch Ness Monster, UFO’s, Bigfoot, the Face on Mars, and what ever else the world of crazies tried to convince us was real. In that drunken stupor you see, (which my Freshman and Sophomore years in college pretty much were, in their entirety,) I still found it impossible to believe that anyone could fall for those particular pieces of nonsense. The thing about conspiracy theories is this, while they may be fun to kick around, there is also a certain amount of malevolence to most of them. (The gems we came up with usually involved idiotic pranks, spray paint, mild explosives, more beer, swimming in nearby rivers, or any other thing a parent may worry about their foolish unsupervised teen kids doing.)
There is a certain amount of narcissism that is necessary for these things to be believed. The thought that, “I might know something that the majority of my fellow humans are clueless about,” lends a feeling of unearned gravitas to the fraternity of believers. Each theory itself becomes a sort of cult, an us versus them club in which the non believers are viewed as some sort of brainwashed group of lemmings.
Another aspect of the phenomenon is that it is difficult for people to believe that life itself would have the unmitigated gall to allow the universe to be in any way, shape, or form, chaotic. The thought that an American President, one as beloved as much as JFK was at the time, could be brought down by such an unimportant, and until then extremely insignificant little punk that Lee Harvey Oswald was, seemed anathema to the inherent order of the cosmos that each human by his nature expects. Great men and great institutions you see must only be brought down by other great men or great institutions. This may shock some of you, but the single most dangerous animal on planet Earth is a mosquito. Mosquito’s account for more human deaths each year than any other cause, (not combined, but individually.)
Another aspect of this phenomenon is every person’s need to be necessary. Knowing the hidden truth behind disastrous events that few people know of is something that lends the purveyor of these theories instant self importance, and espousing that truth to the brainwashed masses so that they might awaken, is certainly a valuable part of the gravitas earned. The self promotional delusion that all of man kind is benefiting from the police action of spilling the beans, elevates the conspiracy theorist to the head of the class of all importance.
Here is a fairly funny compilation of some of the more popular candidates for what I like to call the soup pot hall of fame.
Those things in themselves are not really harmful. I can even understand the fun that some might find in participating in the discussion. Are both of the Presidents Bush actually descendants of reptilian aliens seeking to take over the Earth? Admit it, if you don’t believe it, (and it would take years of abusing hallucinogenic drugs to believe it,) then the smallest hint of a smile formed on your lips, or at least a smirk. For about three and one half seconds, pondering these insane meanderings of the human mind seeking to form an alternate reality can be a fun way to pass the time when you just want to shut your brain down for some deserved vacation from the reality that is there every day.
There is a down side to all of this however, and that comes with a fourth aspect to those theories. They require a healthy dose of paranoia. Each of these theories requires a bogey man to be the locus of the conflict. And as some other groups in our world learned via rather harsh lessons, being the bogey man is not much fun at all. With the Presidents Bush being space aliens theory, the bogey man are the Bush men, and of course the non existent reptilian space aliens. I say go ahead and hate on those space aliens all you want, since they don’t exist in the real world, there’s no harm. Not all conspiracy theories however are quite so benign.
I’m going to let you in on a secret here, not a conspiracy, just a peek into where I’m coming from. My article a couple of days ago about Norman Borlaug brought out some interesting counterpoints. One person, and one only, accused me of being part of the Zionist conspiracy to control the world. Only an evil Zionist you see, or someone who was spoon fed his lessons in history from the Zionist effort to brainwash the masses would be willing to defend the evil Monsanto Corporation which is undoubtedly operating totally at the behest of those evil Zionists who wish to inflict their nefarious plans on the rest of man kind. I had to paraphrase his comments, as the administrators of that particular forum made it a point to delete his ramblings. So, I recommended that he wear a soup pot as a helmet complete with tin foil insulation and went about my day.
Then I decided to write about it all. There is a difference between conspiracy and conspiracy theory. That difference is called evidence. I once heard it said by a physicist that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That seems like sound advice for every aspect of my life. This is not a politically left or politically right kind of thing. I have seen these theories espoused from both sides of the aisle, but there is a sameness to all of them. Extraordinary claims are made, and a bogeyman is identified to be blamed for some perceived ill. While discussing my article which admittedly was written as a dagger meant for the, “organic farming,” crowd, I was hit with the following gem by the same fellow who accused me of being part of the Zionist entity who wished to control the world.
The Kosher industry has been extorting money from almost every consumer in America for decades, did you mind paying the kosher tax for putting their symbols on every food stuff? Where barely a couple percent of consumers actually buy Kosher?
Before we move on, a special note on my problem with the, “Organic farming,” crowd:
I could care less about your personal choices regarding what you choose to eat or purchase. In fact, I applaud your choices and commitment to your principles. It is your infliction upon my personal freedom to choose for myself that I protest. For all of the protestations about the massive agricultural lobby and how it has corrupted our legislative process, I can not help but notice that it is the, “organic only,” lobby which seeks to outlaw the group who wishes to use scientific farming methods as a means to feed the world, and not the other way round. This group wishes to see all non approved methods of farming outlawed within the next fifty years, and that’s hardly something envisioned or attempted by a group of victims.
And now, back to my point:
Let’s look at this particular conspiracy from birth to what should be its abortion, just as an example. For years, Rabbis have been going into America’s food producing companies, at the request of their congregants, to help people of the Jewish faith determine which foods were safe to eat from their religious perspective. For those who are christian, (and yes I realize that there are non Judeo Christian people in America,) people who wish to live their lives according to Kashrut law, will avoid purchasing prepared foods in a grocery if they are not sure if that product was prepared accordingly. They may want to eat Doritos for example, but might not be certain that the fat that those addictively delicious chips were fried was not rendered from some verboten animal, like a pig. The corresponding food manufacturers invite the visits because they wish to sell to as large a market as they can. The Rabbis do it for free, and if the product passes muster, then the corresponding companies are allowed to put one of the Hebrew Union College’s kosher approved symbols on their product. All it says is this, this symbol certifies that those keeping kosher are allowed to eat this. The entire process has added nothing to the cost of the product.
By the way, the Muslims do the same thing with foods prepared according to their dietary restrictions, and yet somehow, I have heard nothing about the Islam Tax. A few years after this fairly recent innovation, CAIR, and we’ll discuss this fine group of people later on, invented and began disseminating a rumor that this symbol represented a hidden tax imposed by that vast Zionist Conspiracy, of which apparently I am now a member, despite having missed each and every one of the secret meetings.
CAIR, for those of you who do not know, is the public relations tentacle of the Muslim Brotherhood, which operate here in America. They are also unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation Terror Funding Plot. CAIR, amongst its many other activities, pays couch potatoes to sit in front of their computers and spread their anti-Semitic crap on various web based forums, such as the comment boards here. They publish material and push their bile through a slickly funded campaign, and have made some inroads on a few fronts. The Kosher tax and the USS Liberty are two examples of those efforts. (The Liberty is a different topic entirely, and please let’s not go down that road on this thread. Anyone who wishes would easily convince me to open that particular can of worms and give it the discussion it so richly deserves all to itself.)
As I said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In this, and every case of the conspiracy theory, evidence is absent. What these stories have are a few disparate facts, no evidence, and a story made up to fit those facts. There is a reason why our system of jurisprudence requires the person making an allegation to prove it. Proving the negative is damn near impossible. I can not prove that none of the male members of the Bush family are reptilian aliens. I can not prove that I am not a reptilian alien. Yes, there is a symbol designed by the Hebrew Union College on many of the food products that you buy. That is where the factual portion of this particular story’s legend ends. I can not prove that there is no Kosher Tax, only that I have never ever seen any portion of our tax code, or any tax code which alludes to such. I am not an expert on our tax code by any stretch of the imagination, and yes there are passages that I have never seen, but the burden of proof does not lie with me. I have never seen one of these imbeciles present anything even remotely resembling evidence to support their extraordinary claim. When pushed for such evidence, here are some of the responses that you’ll get.
Open your eyes man.
I’m just asking questions man.
You can’t prove it isn’t true.
Look at the facts, that’s my evidence.
Quit allowing yourself to be brainwashed.
Then there’s the fact that these stories are invariably a liable which smears an entire swath of our fellow citizens. The 9/11, “truthers,” merely ask you to accuse every member of the U.S. government of either murdering their very own friends and neighbors, or acting to cover up those murders. The same is true for the, “Chemtrail,” crowd. In each of these stories, we are asked to hate some random swath of society, and that’s evil. Full disclosure here, I’m Jewish. So, imagine my surprise to learn that I was involved in some sort of conspiracy to not only impose a tax upon the remainder of society, despite the fact that I am really against all taxation, but that I’m part of a cabal which seeks world domination. I have news for each and every person reading this. I have worries just like you do. I am fully caught up in that shit storm that is adult life, like working in order to feed self and family, keeping shelter over my head, and I just generally do not have time to take over the Earth, nor would I know what to do with it once such a takeover was complete.
UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. I heard from someone who used to be an industry insider, and here’s what he told me.
FYI – the rabbi’s that audited a food company I used to work for did charge a fee but it was not much in the big scheme of things. No more than you would pay an accountant to do a similar sized audit (probably less). Both provide a service. Here is the fee for minimal certification: The AKC mails a contract if it is determined that the plant can meet our requirements for kosher certification. The contract will include all kosher requirements and any applicable fees. Some certification fees are as low as $100 a month. The fee depends on the complexity of the facility, the number of products certified, location and travel costs, and the number of visits required. AKC certification fees are some of the lowest in the kashruth industry. They are typically 30% to 50% less than some of the other national certifications.