When Inferring to a Conspiracy might be the Best Explanation - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14953779
In this episode of Here's a conspiracy, we explore price fixing

Price fixing is an agreement (written, verbal, or inferred from conduct) among competitors that raises, lowers, or stabilizes prices or competitive terms. Generally, the antitrust laws require that each company establish prices and other terms on its own, without agreeing with a competitor.



Can you spot price fixing in the wild?

@Sivad A conspiracy usually involves a small number of people influencing a large number of people. That's the nature of hierarchical organization. Propaganda follows conspiracy. Or as Patrick A. Kelley (National Defense Intelligence College) states in Imperial Secrets: Remapping the Mind of Empire,

All narratives, including histories, are told by someone, for someone else, for a purpose, and not necessarily, or even frequently, is that purpose strictly to inform. There is a caveat commonly applied to intelligence report-writing which notes that a given source may have intended to "influence as well as inform." This formulation suggests there may be sources that intend purely to inform. I consider this contingency unlikely, as virtually every communication, particularly in the intelligence world, but in academic writing as well, intends to influence. Informing is more or less incidental to this purpose.

:excited:
#14954343
Pants-of-dog wrote:So we agree that a large number of people, with conflicting agendas, will not be able to keep a secret because some of them will profit from betraying the conspiracy.

And it is in these situations that we can dismiss conspiracy theories.


Which specific conspiracy theory do you dismiss on that consideration? I bet you can't name one.
#14954349
Pants-of-dog wrote:The first one that leaps to mind is the conspiracy theory claiming that anthropogenic climate change is a myth concocted by climatologists, academics, the media, politicians, and technocrats in order to raise taxes and control us.


That conspiracy theory is a figment of your imagination, it's a dogmatic psuedo-skeptic's idea of what a conspiracy theory is.

What's going on in reality doesn't require a large number of people with conflicting interests to actively conspire, just a few powerful people and some simple sociology.
#14954353
RhetoricThug wrote:
@Sivad A conspiracy usually involves a small number of people influencing a large number of people.



There are systemic conspiracies where you have a large number of people who haven't orchestrated the conspiracy and haven't been formally initiated into it but are consciously and willfully complicit in it. The establishment news media is a good example of that kind of conspiracy, the owners and the top journalists and editors are deliberately manipulating news and information in the interest of a corrupt establishment and everybody else in the industry is just going along to get along. They know what's expected of them and they play their part in the rigged system in exchange for the sweet status and the filthy filthy lucre.

The system didn't rig itself, the world is a dastardly plan conceived by villains and carried out by whores.
#14954355
Sivad wrote:That conspiracy theory is a figment of your imagination, it's a dogmatic psuedo-skeptic's idea of what a conspiracy theory is.

What's going on in reality doesn't require a large number of people with conflicting interests to actively conspire, just a few powerful people and some simple sociology.


I have read the conspiracy theory I cited on this very forum. So, no, I did not imagine it.

If you want another one that has been mentioned in the climate chnage thread, there is also the conspiracy theory that the clmategate inquiries were all secretly in a conspiracy with the UEA and that the inquiries deliberately lied in order to protect the UEA.
#14954357
Pants-of-dog wrote:I have read the conspiracy theory I cited on this very forum. So, no, I did not imagine it.

If you want another one that has been mentioned in the climate chnage thread, there is also the conspiracy theory that the clmategate inquiries were all secretly in a conspiracy with the UEA and that the inquiries deliberately lied in order to protect the UEA.



Link?
#14954359
Pants-of-dog wrote:https://www.politicsforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=174394&start=260#p14952589



That's not even close to how you characterized it :lol: Why is everything always so ridiculous with this guy?
#14954362
Sivad wrote:That's not even close to how you characterized it :lol: Why is everything always so ridiculous with this guy?


That is your opinion.

I am not going to have a debate about whether or not you disagree with my wording of the argument.

My actual claim was that any conspiracy that requires a large number of people, and these people have different and competing agendas, it will be very difficult to keep the conspiracy secret.

In the case of the climategate inquiries and the supposed collusion with the people they investigated, it would require not only secret collusion by a large number of climatologists, but also secret collusion between all the investigators and the people investigated, as well as secret collusion between these two groups and the administrators who chose the investigators.

All these people have different ideologies, get paid by different people, often compete with each other for things like jobs, grants, funding, et cetera, and are often courted by the fossil fuel industry.

So, this seems to fit the criteria in terms of being unlikely.
#14954363
Pants-of-dog wrote:That is your opinion.

I am not going to have a debate about whether or not you disagree with my wording of the argument.

My actual claim was that any conspiracy that requires a large number of people, and these people have different and competing agendas, it will be very difficult to keep the conspiracy secret.

In the case of the climategate inquiries and the supposed collusion with the people they investigated, it would require not only secret collusion by a large number of climatologists, but also secret collusion between all the investigators and the people investigated, as well as secret collusion between these two groups and the administrators who chose the investigators.

All these people have different ideologies, get paid by different people, often compete with each other for things like jobs, grants, funding, et cetera, and are often courted by the fossil fuel industry.

So, this seems to fit the criteria in terms of being unlikely.



So your claim is that it's impossible for the establishment to rig an inquiry and cover up a scandal? :knife: :lol:
#14954367
No, and I have no idea how you inferred that from what I posted.

Do you agree or disagree with the claim I made about how it would be very difficult to keep the secret in the situation I mentioned?

The supposed conspiracists would have no leverage on all the people involved that would force them to keep quiet.
#14954371
Pants-of-dog wrote:Do you agree or disagree with the claim I made about how it would be very difficult to keep the secret in the situation I mentioned?


No, it wouldn't be difficult to rig that inquiry. It's standard shit inside the establishment.

The supposed conspiracists would have no leverage on all the people involved that would force them to keep quiet.


Those people don't have conflicting interests or agendas, they're all part of the same establishment and they're all pulling in the same direction. But feel free to prove me wrong, show me a specific concrete example of an actual conflict. After reading that Atlantic article it looks like they all had a mutual interest in sweeping the whole affair under the rug.
#14954383
Pants-of-dog wrote:That is too vague to be useful.

It is obviously accurate.
Using that definition, some conspiracy theories are true and some are not, and there is no useful way of telling which are which.

That is very much the point. You think you can reliably discern which conspiracy theories are true. But you can't.
My defintion is “any theory that requires a large number of people to all work in collusion and to keep it secret, despite having differing agendas and no real reason to keep it quiet”.

That is an absurd definition that does not describe any actual conspiracy theory I am aware of.
If your theory requires large number of people to work against their own interest and keep quiet about it, then it is probably wrong.

As above.
The first one that leaps to mind is the conspiracy theory claiming that anthropogenic climate change is a myth concocted by climatologists, academics, the media, politicians, and technocrats in order to raise taxes and control us.

There is no such theory AFAIK. Such people may have been suborned by a conspiracy, but no one thinks they came up with the plan themselves. And few climate skeptics think the goal of the claimed conspiracy is to raise taxes or "control us." I suspect a more plausible goal is to reduce the revenues of major oil-exporting countries -- Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. -- whose governments are considered inimical to the interests of the USA by reducing global demand for oil, which is otherwise rather inelastic.
Pants-of-dog wrote:I have read the conspiracy theory I cited on this very forum.

No you haven't. Don't be absurd.
So, no, I did not imagine it.

You "imagined" it in the sense that you made it up.
If you want another one that has been mentioned in the climate chnage thread, there is also the conspiracy theory that the clmategate inquiries were all secretly in a conspiracy with the UEA and that the inquiries deliberately lied in order to protect the UEA.

Again, no such theory exists.
#14954392
Sivad wrote:Conspiracy theories on the basis of the evidence(full paper)
MR.X.Dentith
https://philarchive.org/archive/DENCTO-3


Reallly X. Dentith? (Ex dentist?) Therefore the th? Hilarious.
#14954394
Sivad wrote:No, it wouldn't be difficult to rig that inquiry. It's standard shit inside the establishment.


Who is the establishment in this case?

How do they have leverage over all the participants?

Those people don't have conflicting interests or agendas, they're all part of the same establishment and they're all pulling in the same direction.


What is their common agenda?

How do they all have common interests?

But feel free to prove me wrong, show me a specific concrete example of an actual conflict.


Again, they are all competing for the same awards, grants, positions, funding etc. if they are all climatologists.

Then there is also fossil fuel money for any climatologists who wish to claim that ACC is incorrect.

After reading that Atlantic article it looks like they all had a mutual interest in sweeping the whole affair under the rug.


I found it heavy on opinion and light on facts.
#14954395
Systemic-Conspiracy as Social Pathology

You can’t talk about conspiracy (theory) without understanding “systemic-conspiracy.” Yet most of the commentary on conspiracy theory skips over depth and reduces it to pointing out absurd speculation and ignoring the actual complexity. Late 2016, the NY Times lamented “The Paranoid Style in American Politics Is Back.” Wired magazine mocks, “To Make Your Conspiracy Theory Legit, Just Find an ‘Expert’.” Most recently, Conspiracy Theorists Have a Fundamental Cognitive Problem, Say Scientists.

A better mode of analysis is more relevant than ever, as The Guardian reports that we may be “entering a golden age of the conspiracy theory” because of the ‘post-truth’ era of Trump. The paradoxical and unprovable nature of these issues forces people to default to one side — paranoid or skeptic — without any real resolution. But debasing conspiracy theory to its most cartoonish form is a disservice to critical inquiry into systemic-conspiracy.

The typical critique goes that conspiracy theory is a delusion, a result of apophenia, the tendency to see connections in random patterns (think constellations or Rorschach tests). This is part of it, but to reduce it to simply debunking is a disservice to the truth that conspiracy theory attempts to represent. For a well-cited overview and discussion of conspiracy theory (and some ontology of real conspiracy), see Daniël Verhoeven’s “Conspiracy theories… a long history and a new trend.”

In academia, the study of the conspiracy-tinted view of globalization even has its own subfield of ‘popular geopolitics.’ But neither pundits or tin-foil hat theorists are readily armed with the proper sociological theory, so I hope to inform about that here. Those closest to breaking the dark and inconvenient truths about our political world work at outlets like The Intercept or TruthDig. They cover the daily beat of what I call systemic-conspiracy. And it is with those audiences that I would think this concept will resonate the most deeply.

I must stress here that my purpose is not to prove conspiracy theories, or even indulge them necessarily, but to examine how “systemic-conspiracy” is the inherent ‘evil’ omnipresent in the system, manifesting intentional and systemic conspiracies, which we are all both victims and enablers of. This is relevant and convergent with Jordan Peterson’s oft-repeated warning that we all have the potential for totalitarian fascism in us; to participate in systems of violence. Systemic-conspiracy is sociologically latent, which is arguably the major lesson of the 20th century.

The term “systemic-conspiracy” is needed to function as a counterpoint to “conspiracy theory.” Rather than conspiracies being just anomalous events orchestrated by particular people, I wish to invert to way people think about them, to understand that history/society itself is a sort of conspiracy, depending on your perspective (ie. slave vs. master). My fundamental contention is that understanding the world through the lens of actual conspiracy and systems theory can be more true than false.

Time and whistleblowing has moved watershed cases out of the realm of conspiracy theory into historical fact (and political contest). When this happens the ‘truth conditions’ immediate change and consequently it breaks into public consciousness so people can process it openly. Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations represent a clear example, on a number of levels. Similarly, the JASTA legal initiative brings the complexity of terrorism and the fraudulence of the 9/11 Commission Report into clear focus. Andrew Cockburn wrote recently “Will the 9/11 case finally go to trial?” And the bulk of evidence, including documents released 75 years after the event, confirm that the Reichstag fire was most likely a false flag.

As if we need to go into specific cases though, especially to prove the existence of systemic-conspiracy, which is inherent in the system. The extensions of US foreign policy and operations of intelligence agencies are by definition institutional conspiracies, often directly contradicting the ‘official story’, international law, and the prerogatives of free and open democracy. But ironically, all of that is in the name of open society, so we have a deeper problem, and now it has a name: systemic-conspiracy.
Systemic-Conspiracy


What I call “systemic-conspiracy” refers to “the system” and the structural conditions that create incentives and pressures to participate — knowingly or unknowingly — in systems of power that have definite malicious intent, negative externalities, objectionable consequences, often illegal methods, and not to mention conspiratorial aspects and appearances. Our concern is with the path-dependence and social complexity that make war inevitable — or at least make it seem inevitable and justifiable, when it is actually an economic imperative (a business decision) for some people.

I coin the term “systemic-conspiracy” to describe the abstract and (ir-)rational nature of war, whether overt or covert, abstract or concrete, wherever it is present. Not only war, but the pathological tendencies of capitalism and markets to sponsor conflict and invest in social control, and then to hide and obscure the process. It is in part a function of the rules of the system and of human nature. The former we can and must change; the latter we must evolve.

Systemic-conspiracy can be viewed as a high-level abstraction based on a large set of devastating practices that ‘over-determine’ the problem, and institutionalize conspiracy. These concepts include tacit collusion, moral hazard, politicized issue, politicization of science, spin (propaganda), doublespeak, media manipulation, disinformation, manufactured controversy, manufacturing consent, noble lie, post-truth politics, electoral fraud, full-spectrum dominance, externality, war profiteering, militarism, white-collar crime, whitewashing, price fixing, perverse incentives, rent-seeking, dirty hands, cronyism, the iron law of oligarchy, covert operation, cover-up, and of course false flag, to name just a few.

The sum-total of these practices guarantee that not only will there be profit made off undesirable consequences but that the crimes will be covered and protected by effective corporate self-defense strategies. Systemic-conspiracy produces conspiratorial outcomes and sows the rational distrust of elites and institutions. But it is hard to see clearly, because we are not typically exposed directly to these confusing and terrifying anti-social practices, or the obscure concepts that explain them. Systemic-conspiracy is thus an abstract synthesis, compression, and simplification of these complex phenomena.

The war-on-drugs and the war-on-terror are blatant Orwellian manifestations of systemic-conspiracy, but also paradoxical because they purport to defend the peace and freedom that we enjoy. In truth the military and law enforcement serve vital functions, but under systemic-conspiracy they create more problems than they solve, and a minority profit from it. And yet, the system also employs the obedience of many decent well-intentioned people, so it is difficult to attribute malice and agency to the horrific effects.

Integral to this theory is Hannah Arendt’s concept of the ‘banality of evil’; the idea that ordinary people, following orders, can collectively commit the most atrocious acts. We do jobs for money, and it makes a lot of people do things they don’t want to. Employees are inclined to follow policies and not question them, and for the most part they are trusting the reasons for why things the way they are, but this is a large grey area where systemic-conspiracy precipitates.

Brent Cooper, Founder and Executive Director of The Abs-Tract Organization. B.A. in International Relations from UBC, MSc. in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics

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