Category: Paranoia

The Hermeneutic of Conspiracy

caricature_ego_sum_papa
An Historical anti-papal rendering of the Pope of the Catholic Church with inscription reading “I am the Pope.”

In October, 2015, the Catholic Church conducted a synod (or doctrinal council) on the family (more specifically, the Catholic Church’s stance on issues relating to the family). In the wake of conspirative discussion leading up to the synod, Pope Francis warned synod fathers against “the hermeneutic of conspiracy” which he stated as “sociologically weak and spiritually unhelpful.”

Though this statement was apparently a momentary caution against rumors that the Pope was attempting to subvert the church’s stance of issues related to the family, the statement (and the larger subject) is one that resonates if not in every aspect of modern life, at least in contemporary American political and social life.

 

Hermeneutics in Social Life.

Hermeneutics originally referred to the ways of interpreting religious and philosophical texts, specifically to interpretation of scripture. In the sense that hermeneutics is now a wider used ‘theory of understanding’, it has effected how almost every social science discipline is conducted (though, not always welcome). As a study, Hermeneutics has focused on interpretation of texts; Sociology being an exception as it is used to understand the meaning of social events.

To understand the meaning of an event, so the theory goes, it is important to comprehend both the historical and social context in which that event occurs.

 

Hermeneutic of Conspiracy.

The singular, hermeneutic, refers to a specific mode of understanding and interpretation. When considering the political and social mindset of Americans at large, a hermeneutic of conspiracy reveals itself.

One year after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as if aware that this would appear to some in the future as the genesis of some new American ‘conspiracism’, Richard Hofstadter wrote a lengthy refresher course on the long history of the Paranoid Style in American Politics.

The long history in America of anti-Intellectualism, Nativist Populism, fear and distrust of ethnic, religious, and political outsiders (the various anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-Communist, anti-Masonic, anti-Asian movements) and their associated laws restricting or removing access to Life, Liberty, and Property all come with a built-in conspiracy narrative.

The Hermeneutic of Conspiracy, at least in America, is as follows:

  1. An alien ‘out group’ wishes to infiltrate America and attain dominance.
  2. This alien force is willing to use deceit to achieve these aims.
  3. The alien interlopers have uncanny skill in deceit and trickery.
  4. Some within the proper ‘in group’ have already been deceived, any alliance with the interlopers is proof of treason.
  5. The only valid recourse is the removal or subjugation of the ‘out group’ by any means necessary.

This hermeneutic was applied to Catholics in the anti-Papist Movement in the 1840s and 1850s, to Communists after WWII, to Jewish people before WWII, and to Americans of Japanese descent, most notably, during WWII.

 

The Current Revolt in the Hermeneutic.

The simplistic, linear American conspiracy hermeneutic is currently metastasizing. The end of the Cold War, the growth of Globalization as a social and economic trend, the advent and subsequent advancements of the Internet and Social Media have made it possible (almost inevitable) that a multiplicity of conspiracy theories simultaneously exist, overlap, seemingly contradict yet remain apparently coalesce.

The following is one very recent example.

The perceived threat of religiously inspired persecution of Christians in America is at the center of some of the most vociferous and unhinged conspiracy theories today. In them, non-Denominational and Evangelical Christians claim that the Catholic Pope Francis is attempting a syncretism between Christianity and Islam to create the One Religion of the Book of Revelations; this new religion, called ‘Chrislam‘, will be mandatory forcing Christians to choose between conversion or Death.

If the implication of a union between the Catholic Church and Islam seems far-fetched, consider suggestion by prominent Evangelicals that Muslims and Homosexuals are somehow in league. This particular nonsense, spread by Pat Robertson and others, came to light in the wake of the Orlando Massacre at the Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016 but had been floated recently in Christian conspiracy theory groups as an explanation for the existence of transgender peoples, gay marriage, and the apparent dissolution of traditional gender roles and heteronormativity in America. In effect, the Right Wing Christian hermeneutic of conspiracy places blame on a coalition between Catholics, Muslims, & the LGBT Community for all issues that they believe are unnatural and undesirable social events.

It is claims such as these that make it hard to not accuse the believers of playing a morbid prank. From a sociological perspective, however, this is just one more reason that a hermeneutic of conspiracy need be further investigated.

 

Facts, Fear, and Walmart: Understanding the Jade Helm 15 Conpiracy Theories

A recent Washington Post article, “Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is freaking out the Internet – and why it shouldn’t be,” attempted to address takes a stab at addressing some of what makes this particular conspiracy theory happen. If you read the article, however, it becomes clear that they don’t really answer either of the questions posed in its headline. No offense to the Washington Post, but, as this blog has generally argued, a major news outlet trying to convince people that a conspiracy is not happening is a great way to convince people that there is, in fact, a conspiracy happening.

Facts About Jade Helm 15

Jade Helm 15 is a Special Op training exercise running from July 15 to September 15. The exercises will occur over several states. The scope of this specific training exercise is larger than previous training exercises that the U.S. military has undertaken, something SOC acknowledges in their press release on the exercise. Using private and public land, SOC warns that increased noise and military vehicle presence is the only expected negative outcome as a result of the exercise.

Map of Jade Helm 15 high activity exercise area.

A Little Bit About Military Training Exercises.

As mentioned earlier, military training exercises are nothing new, Jade Helm 15 just happens to be one of the most expansive in scope. Here we can discuss some of the reasons why conspiracy theorists may be on high alert. The Washington Post explains that such drills occur regularly and site as an example the Navy’s 2014 Bold Alligator exercises. To anyone familiar with the 9/11 Truth Movement the subject of large-scale military exercises immediately sounds a conspiracy dog whistle. When “9/11 Truthers” first discovered that NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) was conducting the training exercise Vigilant Guardian during the 9/11 attacks, suspicions seemed to be confirmed. The suspicions were further reinforced by reports that the White House situation room, and New York Pier exercises all being conducted during the time of the 9/11 terror attacks. “Smoking Gun!” says the 9/11 Truth community (which, by the way, still exists and has become a relevant social force), but strategic defense exercises are not rare. A group calling itself the Military Analysis Network explains that the Air Force runs “Red flag/Green flag” drills annually at Nellis AFB in Nevada, run an annual “Maple flag” joint exercise with Canada. Marine Corps. run 10 to 12 drills a year. The Navy runs 175 annual unit exercises. The Army is constantly running exercises (there is no number provided, but if you meet anyone who was in the Army ask them how many simulations and military exercises they participated in: my guess is double digits). American military forces have run joint branch exercises of various kinds, and run International Cooperative drills on (and over) American, Russian, German, Japanese, and South Korean soil. The fact is, if a military training exercise is not running at any given time, it should be considered a rarity. Furthermore, with ISIS expanding into Northern Africa, the Ebola outbreak still ongoing, Russia bristling, Yemen crumbling, the ever-fractious Sunni-Shi’ite conflict playing into all Middle Eastern security dynamics, and no sign that any of these global risks will do anything but get worse; there is nothing short of an absolute need for a fully functional, well-trained, and capable Special Operations Force team leading, facilitating, or (here’s hoping) preventing conflict through force of presence.

Listing Texas as “hostile” has some state residents up in arms.

Fear.

If the worry surrounding Jade Helm 15 were logical, I have already posed an argument significant enough to assuage most fears. This, however, is not what is going on: although there is a certain logic at work here. The 9/11 Truth movement never died, in fact it strengthened as years went on, made countless books, opinion documentaries, and websites that serve to promote and legitimate their viewpoints. With the election of Barack Obama, a virulent anti-Obama right-wing mentality, a strong 9/11 Truth movement, and various other ideological groups began to morph and interbreed ideologies, theories, fears, and expectations. Distrust of the government (whether it is because of Obama, Bush, The Illuminati, or Satan) may be all it takes for a person to adopt a belief in a willingness of said government to round up Americans and intern them into F.E.M.A. Camps, suspect a global conspiracy to keep an entire planet secret, or enlist Walmart in hiding subterranean entrances leading to thousands of miles of underground railways and secret cities.

Five Walmarts disappear, under mysterious circumstances.

What? Walmart?

Yeah. This part was unexpected. I am used to Aliens, and Nibiru, and the Illuminati. This time, it’s Walmart that comes out of left field. In recent weeks, a few Walmart stores closed due to plumbing problems. This did not go unquestioned and those who questioned why “plumbing problems” would shut down their local Walmart noted the same reasoning for five such closures, all in states that are in Jade Helm territory. The possible implications began being enumerated across the internet conspiracy hive mind and what developed was D.U.M.B.S.

D.U.M.B.s: Deep Underground Military Bases.

D.U.M.B.s either exist or they don’t. I can’t say for sure, because, well, with $2.3 Trillion in military spending unaccounted for in recent years, I hope they at least spent the money on something good. The problem I have with the idea that there are D.U.M.B.s is a logically driven one, namely, who is staffing these places? If there are 31 dark sites underground in addition to all of the known top secret facilities there there must be thousands (if not tens of thousands) of workers with high level clearance. Alien conspiracy theories have long suggested the existence of deep underground military bases, such as the one suspected of being at Dulce, NM. There has also been suggestions for years that there exists, underground, a system of high-speed tube shuttles connecting D.U.M.B.s (as shown in the map above). The implication here is that the five recently closed Walmart stores are, in reality, to be used as portals for massive troop movement into and out of D.U.M.B.s facility shuttles. It is possible that Walmart has, in fact, partnered with SOC to provide large makeshift shelter for strategic command during the Jade Helm exercise: this is just not the type of logic that is being employed by the concerned citizens that have sounded significant internet alarmist response. To seal the whole deal, conspiracy theorists clear up my concern for who could possibly be building these “underground tunnels” being dug under Walmart: workers are being “red-listed,” or murdered to prevent their leaking the “top secret” mission.

A Special Note from a Former-“Truther.”

With conspiracy theories, the facts are irrelevant. Speculation becomes reality. People trust word of mouth, innuendo, and anything that ups the ante of an increasingly apocalyptic worldview. Lack of evidence to support these beliefs is no match for the constant integration of new conspiratorial conjecture. The world is a dangerous place, it’s true, but Americans who live in some of the safest regions in the world are convincing themselves that they live in some of the least safe conditions imaginable. It is by the mere fact that these things are imaginable that some people believe that they are true. The logical dilemma every conspiracy theorist must face is that, if there can be no disproving your theory, there can neither be any proof, and no closure. The only logical outcome is more: more fear of the government, more prepping, more worry. The bind that anyone who can be called a conspiracy theorist (whether they would call themselves that or not) is that they must never try to disprove their own theory, for if they try they may succeed. If the current-most logical step in the 9/11 Truth movement is to implicate Walmart in a potential false-flag operation, underground tube shuttles and F.E.M.A. camps, then perhaps it is time for a fundamental reassessment of worldview. Every institution from the government to big business may seem out to get us from time to time, I know I feel that way often enough, but it is important to remember that this is a feeling and not to try to convince yourself that there is some malevolent force making it so. One day you find that you spent your life shadowboxing an imaginary enemy, obsessing about the minutia and making it mean something it does not, and believing that it’s the only thing that’s real. If you are not convinced, by me or by the content of this blog, there is a compromise: accept that no one knows everything that is going on, that no one ever has or will, and that no matter what the situation seems to be we may all be wrong. The other option is much more simple, if Jade Helm 15 does not end in the disappearance of millions, the destruction of our civilization or the disclosure of any anticipated secret entities, then take stock of why you came to the beliefs that you came to and take the opportunity to reassess the world and your place within it.

Some updates listed below, for an exhaustive timeline, visit this link.

Update: April 28, 2015

Distrust of the Federal Government is getting some serious credibility in the State of Texas! Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15 exercises in Texas. Abbott cited growing concern among state residents as the reason for his unorthodox order.

http://gov.texas.gov/files/press-office/20150428125759.pdf

Update: April 30, 2015

As Jade Helm 15 approaches, “patriots,” and conspiracy theory “researchers” will up the level of paranoia. One article, posted by Dave Hodges at thecommonsenseshow.com suggests that ISIS is planning an invasion of Texas in time for JH 15. Why ISIS would want to make the jump to Texas at just that specific time is fairly hard to understand, but Hodges insists that Texans “in the know” are prepping for the event. Hodges explains that DHS will use the ISIS threat to declare Martial Law which, of course, is all part of a ploy for Barack Obama to become America’s first Emperor (the same plot that George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have been accused of attempting during their presidencies).

Update: May 4, 2015

CNN covers “the controversy” caused by Gov. Abbott’s use of the Texas Guard to observe JH 15 drills.

Update: May 5, 2015

Chuck Norris, formerly famous right-wing martial arts expert and start of Walker Texas Ranger, has gone on record as completely not believing the “official story” behind Jade Helm 15. His rationale being, well, who the hell knows. This comes the same day as Texas Senator and Presidential “hopeful” Ted Cruz asserts the same logical malfeasance, because, well, Cruz has never been one to think before he speaks.