Talk:Conspiracy theory

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This conspiracy theories related article has been awarded SILVER status for quality. We like it, and you should too! See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

Editorial notes
  • Main article on a subject. This should balance thorough explanations of the properties of conspiracy theories while remaining brief enough to count as an overview of all of them.

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Back The Official Narrative...[edit]

Rational Wiki backs any given official narrative - that's the impression I get from this article. OK then. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

What narrative should we be backing, BoN? Twodots (talk) 20:22, 24 December 2020 (UTC)

Donald Trump and conspiracies[edit]

Given how many 'ideas at an angle (which are obtuse rather than acute) to reality' he has come up with - including [1] and his actions (eg [2]), should he have his own section or page? Anna Livia (talk) 12:21, 5 January 2021 (UTC)

The dirty secret behind conspiracy theories[edit]

Competent people who have means other than secretive conspiracies to achieve their objectives do not resort to theories. Conspiracies are themselves extremely risky, and success in business, the professions, politics, and the arts do not need conspiracies to bring success to marginal performers. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers explains that stellar achievement in fields from athleticism to creative activities to law and medicine take about 10,000 hors of early preparation, which often means that one is missing out on something else. As is well known, classical musicians are infamously incompetent at anything not part of their basic education and their highly-honed musical skills. They aren't tinkering with cars or getting involved in teen dating. It takes about 10,000 hours to achieve a PhD or either a law degree or a medical degree -- and the 'clerking' or internship.

Conspiracies typically break down under police scrutiny, as the participants lose their cohesion as a group and start getting concerned about getting caught. He who squeals first may save his skin, and fear leads to panic. The most common conspiracies are by cliques of losers who try to pull off an insurance fraud. Think of the movie Double Indemnity, a 1944 cinematic masterpiece in which the fictional Phyllis Diedrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) induces insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) to sell a high-value insurance policy on a husband that she would like to be rid of, but not at the cost of giving up a Good Life (financially, if not otherwise). Claims examiner Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) has it figured out -- well enough that Phyllis and Walter are headed to the electric chair after he unravels the plot. "My husband is worth more dead than alive" indicates the objective of plot.

Something always goes wrong. It is safer, if typically more difficult, to achieve one's objectives without a criminal conspiracy or wiser to abandon the scheme before one does any wrongdoing.

Also risky are plots to overthrow a government through a coup... and even the selfless July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler involved intelligent, decent, competent people who could no longer accept its mad and destructive regime. This plot came close to succeeding except for some bad luck and at least one glitch (failing to cut the telephone wires to the office of Josef Goebbels). Unlike some plot to eliminate a spouse for proceeds of an insurance policy or to do a heist, this plot looks selfless and honorable, and can be faulted only for its failure. The world would be a better place had the plot succeeded, would it not? — Unsigned, by: Pbrower2a / talk / contribs

"The world would be a better place had the plot succeeded, would it not?" Given the Wehrmacht wasn't exactly a bastion of human rights at the time, no. Let's be clear about the July 20th plot. They weren't angry because Hitler was an antisemite, or a genocidal monster, or any of that. They were mad at him because he was a shit commander. That's it. The perpetrators look noble because we romanticize them and act as if they were much better (they weren't). ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 22:49, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

At the least they recognized

(1) that Nazi brutality, including but not only the Holocaust, had contributed to sure defeat of Germany, (2) that they recognized that Germany was in full-blown military collapse and that defeat was a certainty, and (3) many well knew of the criminality of the Nazi regime and participated in the plot because of their discovery of Nazi criminality, especially in the occupied parts of the Soviet Union.

This was a diverse lot of people, including people from throughout the political spectrum of Germany from socialists to the semi-fascist German Nationalist People's Party.

For the world being better: this clique would have been able to give the Allies all of their stated demands. As an example, the Polish Home Army would have taken over in Poland. The results might have been messy, with the Wehrmacht and the Polish Home Army turning against the Nazi SS in the camps... Stalin would have been able to take back only what was Soviet territory in 1938, perhaps with some border adjustments.

That is speculation about alternative history. The Holocaust ending earlier, and the inability of pro-Stalin regimes to take power in central and Balkan Europe, would have been good things. But that too is opinion. We will never know. Pbrower2a (talk) 02:08, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

It's an incorrect opinion built on romantization. The Wehrmacht were willing collaborators with the Nazis after the night of the long knives (and before to some degree) and were guilty of war crimes, especially on the eastern front where they were critical in the extermination of ethnic Slavs, which if you hadn't noticed was part of the bloody fucking Holocaust. They didn't want to overthrow Hitler on moral grounds, which we know because they fucking left diaries and other records we can fucking check, so we know they thought Hitler was an incompetent commander and wanted to save what they could of the Reich, so as to prevent its abolition and a repeat of the humiliation the German military received during WW1. Jesus fucking Christ, these people were no where near the noble heroes you're making them out to be. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 02:20, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
Ah, I see the "clean Wehrmacht" myth has reared its ugly head again...-Flandres (talk) 02:23, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Parts of the Wehrmacht were extremely dirty. That obviously includes Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl. The amazing thing is that so many of the Wehrmacht turned against Hitler. The German Army certainly knew as few other Germans not in the SS knew about the massacres and plunder. On behalf of Hitler, Keitel and Jodl gave orders to the German Army to not interfere with atrocities.

Soldiers, unless mercenaries, do not choose the countries that they serve. Do I think that the military participants in the July 20 plot were entirely pure? Hardly. They had participated in the criminal invasions of countries from Poland to Norway to Greece... and of course the Soviet Union.

The amazing thing was how long the German Army kept some distance from the Nazi Party and its ideology. The 'apolitical Armed Forces' is a norm in the United States, too. German officers were long exempt from the obligation to give the Nazi salute.

,,,but this section is on conspiracies. Almost all conspiracies fail, and so did this one, even if the participants were very different from the people who off someone for insurance proceeds or plan some robbery of an armored car. This one failed because of some bad luck and some errors -- and because once the Nazi law-enforcement system was able to start torturing evidence out of people it could expose almost everyone. This was one of the most competent conspiracies ever to exist. The death of Hitler and the death or arrests of his toadies would have solved lots of problems for Germany, surviving victims of Nazi persecution, and even the Allies.

Fore an even more hair-brained conspiracy, then look at the clique that achieved only one objective -- the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Pbrower2a (talk) 00:16, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

The above is more properly defined as 'describing a conspiracy' than 'conspiracy theory': and there are somewhat fluid borders to both aspects. (Does an election campaign, the preparation behind a newspaper/TV and radio etc scoop, a surprise birthday party, or a criminal investigation etc count as a conspiracy?) Or even 'loose arrangements between various parties to minimise problems'?
What about the 'conspiracy' by Boris Yeltsin et al in late 1991 to wind up the Soviet Union - and phoning the US President before telling Mikhail Gorbachev?
The boundary between 'conspiracy' and 'conspiracy theory' will involve Occam's Razor (but making allowances for co-operation, activities which require thorough research to distinguish between 'patterns of activity etc which may have other causes' and 'concatenations of coincidences' etc which give the appearance of a conspiracy). Anna Livia (talk) 09:22, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

Is the external link section too large?[edit]

At most wikis of the wikis I visited, the external link sections are smaller.

Wouldn't it be better if the most important external links were incorporated into the article as sources and the lesser important links removed?

Over time, many of the least important links will wind up to be dead links anyways.MarnetteB (talk) 07:33, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

Confirmed conspiracies and Theories of conspiracy[edit]

Here is a short list of confirmed conspiracies and Theories of conspiracy (the ones in bold) from an earlier version of the article :

  • Al-Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks
  • Burr conspiracy (Former vice president Aaron Burr's idiotic plan to set up a nation for himself by claiming land in the Southwest and possibly stealing land from Mexico)[1]
  • Business Plot (ie. a plot by fascist sympathizers to overthrow FDR in 1933)[2]
  • Al Capone was behind the Saint Valentine's Day massacre
  • CIA drug trafficking[3]
  • The Dreyfus affair[4]
  • General Motors streetcar conspiracy[5]
  • Jimmy Hoffa was killed by the Mob and buried in an unknown location[6]
  • Iran-Contra affair[7]
  • The Nazis started the Reichstag fire [8]
  • Carter's efforts to release the Iranian hostages was delayed so it would negatively effect his efforts at reelection[9]
  • Operation Condor[10]
  • Operation Damocles[11]
  • Operation Gladio[12]
  • Operation Mockingbird[13]
  • Operation Northwoods[14]
  • Project MKULTRA[15]
  • Sicilian Mafia[16]
  • Tuskegee syphilis experiment[17]
  • Watergate[18]

Puts conspiracy theory in a different light doesn't it?--BruceGrubb (talk) 21:41, 6 July 2022 (UTC)

Webb of deception[edit]

Didn't take long [3]

Do the astronomy woo lot ever pick up on the fact that the pictures can have colour added to make them clearer? Anna Livia (talk) 15:13, 13 July 2022 (UTC)

  2. Knight, pg 625
  3. Knight, pg 237
  4. Zernike, Kate (April 30, 2011). The Persistence of Conspiracy Theories, The New York Times
  5. Keeley pg 109-126
  6. Knight, pg 319
  7. Knight pg 349
  8. Davidson, Eugene (2004) The Unmaking of Adolf Hitler University of Missouri Press pg 457
  9. See the Wikipedia article on October Surprise conspiracy theory.
  10. See the Wikipedia article on Operation Condor.
  11. See the Wikipedia article on Operation Damocles.
  12. Knight, pg 231
  13. Knight, pg 486
  14. Knight, pg 117
  15. Knight, pg 490
  16. Knight pg 451
  17. Knight, pg 38, 45, 538
  18. Knight pg 725)