Wallowing in their feelings of superiority over the tinfoil-helmet brigade, the enlightened establishment enjoys tittering over right-wing bumpkins who supposedly believe in conspiracy theories.
With apologies to Richard Hofstadter, I don’t think the right has a monopoly on conspiracy theories.
In fact, conspiracy theories are the very basis of the modern left-wing Weltanschauung. Your average liberal believes in their conspiracy theories with such religious fervor, he’ll think you a moral reprobate merely for expressing doubt in his wacky ideas. You can’t be a modern liberal without believing in such conspiracy theories. Not believing in them makes you an evil reactionary conservative who doesn’t deserve employment or a place in polite society. Liberal conspiracy theories are so all-pervasive, they’re not only enshrined in law; people have stopped noticing that they are actual conspiracy theories.
I figure the smug chuckling among the Puffington Host crowd is an exotic manifestation of projection analogous to the way cheating housewives are always first to suspect their husbands are up to no good. Whatever the source, a taxonomy of their crazy ideas is in order.
Liberals believe that a male conspiracy prevents women from excelling in mathematics and the hard sciences. The reason that no woman in all of human history has invented the transistor radio or the C compiler (we can blame a chick for COBOL) is attributed to sexist conspiracies. The fact that there are fewer lady physicists than man physicists is attributed to sexism by people with Ph.D.s in physics. People who are presumably familiar with the concept of standard deviation and mean can’t understand why a sample population with a larger observed standard deviation in intelligence has more outliers. They consider an invisible and pervasive sexist conspiracy to be a more reasonable explanation.
There are very serious penalties for even expressing mild acknowledgement of biological facts about the sexes in the modern workplace. How is the sexist cabal supposed to conspire to keep the dames from excelling at mathematics and computer nerdery? Though I am an awful sexist man-pig for noticing these things, I’ve happily worked with the woman physics and computer nerds I’ve come across, and I’ve even tried my best to pump up their self-esteem and help them in any way I can. No group of fellow man-pigs has ever so much as hinted of the conspiracy’s existence to me, let alone given me the directives for how to keep chicks down. Yet we are all required to believe in the conspiracy’s existence to the extent that speech codes and campus witch hunts are the norm. If they get their way, the liberals will insist on equal outcomes in higher scientific education, which will be the end of American science.
According to liberals, sexual continence occurs in virtually all urban civilizations because the patriarchal conspiracy has a malignant wish to make everyone sad and sexually frustrated. The idea that common venereal diseases were lethal before the invention of antibiotics seems to me a pertinent fact that’s more obvious than patriarchal conspiracies. I always thought that culture was a machine for transmitting survival tactics to its members. This probably makes me a bad person.
There is the “creationism of the left,” the blind leftist belief that human evolution and cultural development rendered all people from all points of the compass with identical abilities. The observed differences between races and cultures are believed to be the result of conspiracy on the part of the allegedly dominant tribe, viz., white people. These very same white people have in recent years passed fearsome laws which dictate that one must discriminate against white people. These same white people have elected politicians who seem hell-bent on making them a minority within their own country. The racist conspiracy is so all-fired powerful that it manages to keep everyone else down, despite voting for the laws which discriminate against…white people.
Why did the racist conspiracy of white people do these things? How does it manage these things? Who is in charge, and where do I sign up for my white privileges? What is the all-powerful racist conspirators’ ultimate plan, and why do they want these things? To believe in an all-powerful modern racist conspiracy, you’d have to believe in a cabal that actually wants to humiliate other tribes by making itself a small, oppressed, demoralized, self-flagellating minority which still manages to do better than other tribes, barring Asians and Jews. This seems peculiar behavior from the racist white people conspiracy.
Then there’s the idea that basic social customs are some kind of conspiracy. According to this trope, the nationalism that seems to spontaneously occur in almost all cultures is a form of mass psychosis. The idea that sticking with your fellows keeps you from being invaded and slaughtered seems a more parsimonious explanation to me.
The list is long. From the Koch brothers conspiracy to the big-oil conspiracy to the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” your average leftist lives in a truly paranoid Manichean world of sinister cabals.
There are conspiracies in the world. But if you want me to believe in sinister cabals, you must point to real people and concrete actions. Nebulous and all-pervasive conspiracies to explain unpleasant facts seem a lot crazier than people who worry about fluoridated water.
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