Conspiracy Classification



I’ve spent a lot of time trying to devise a conspiracy classification scheme. I found it very difficult, though merely making the effort was educational.

We can classify conspiracies by conspirators, distinguishing between government and corporate conspiracies, for example. (Bear in mind, however, that it’s very common for diverse organizations to conspire together. The media typically work hand in hand with the government and corporate sector, for example.)

We can classify conspiracies according to the people they target (the conspiratees). For example, there are conspiracies that target a government’s citizens and conspiracies that target people in other countries.

We can also classify conspiracies by their nature or purpose. Watergate was a “quiet” conspiracy involving wire-tapping and a series of cover-ups, while 9/11 was an explosive conspiracy.

Some conspiracies are designed to hurt or destroy people, organizations, or countries. Others are designed to mislead or intimidate, while still others may be employed to prevent a conquered or exploited group of people from organizing and fighting back.

Conspiracy Theories ˆ

Conspiracy theories vary wildly in quality. They can be credible, absurd, or somewhere in between. I like to call the ones in between fringe theories. One of my favorite examples is the alleged moon landing hoax. It’s hard to believe the moon landing was faked, but there is some fairly powerful evidence that points in that direction.

  • Credible Theory—9/11 was a false attack plotted by the U.S. government and the Jews.
  • Fringe Theory—The first moon landing was faked.
  • Bogus Theory—Giant reptilians from a distant planet are conspiring with the U.S. government.

People who are more knowledgeable about particular aspects of the moon landing hoax theory may disagree. They may either think the moon landing was authentic or it was faked. Based on my knowledge of the moon landing, combined with evidence and logic, all I can presently do is shrug my shoulders.

The JFK assassination and the 9/11 terrorist attacks are both slam dunks. They were complex, well organized conspiracies involving numerous conspirators who covered their trails by making up false narratives. Though Lee Harvey Oswald was probably involved with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it’s hard to believe that he acted alone. And 9/11 was not plotted in a cave in Afghanistan. It was an inside job (aka false flag attack), with “Jew” written all over it.

Bogus Theories ˆ

Some conspiracy theories are so crazy, most people intuitively know they’re nonsense. Conspiracy theories involving flying saucers or giant reptilians that look like people are popular examples. But take a closer look.

It’s possible that intelligent life exists on other planets. It’s also possible that there are extraterrestrial life forms that look like reptilian people. They may travel in spacecraft that resemble flying saucers. So should we really dismiss such theories?

Let’s take a closer look . . .

Science & Technology ˆ

Conspiracy theories that violate the laws of science or current technology are clearly bogus. One familiar example is the claim that HAARP (a former Air Force facility in Alaska) causes earthquakes around the world.

Most earthquakes occur deep (as in many miles) beneath the surface of the earth. In addition, they expend energy equivalent to hundreds or thousands of nuclear weapons.

So, if the reptile people hiding out at HAARP wanted to cause an earthquake in Iran or off the coast of Thailand, they would have to bore a hole deep into Earth’s crust. It would be the deepest hole ever drilled, and it would have to be big enough to drop nuclear explosives into. Bear in mind that the first explosion would probably damage the hole, making it impossible to drop additional nuclear explosives down it.

If that isn’t ridiculous enough, how could anyone hope to do such a thing without being detected?

I’ve talked to people who claim Obama, Donald Trump, or other sleazy leaders are clones. I have no doubt that people can be cloned, but was the technology available when Obama and Donald Trump were born? (The first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell was Dolly the sheep, who was cloned in 1996.)

Even if the technology is available now, it’s unlikely than any government would dare try it. Most people consider it so ethically disturbing, they would likely blow the whistle on such an activity if they knew about it.

No Conspiracy ˆ

Some of the most popular conspiracy theories ironically aren’t conspiratorial. Take those UFO tales, for example. If space aliens really did journey across deep space to Earth, that would obviously be an amazing thing, but where’s the conspiracy?

For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think we’re alone. I believe that life probably exists on countless planets scattered across the universe. However, there are some logical reasons to believe that extraterrestrials have never visited Earth. Even if they did, do you really think they would head straight for Washington, D.C. and conspire with members of Congress?

Another familiar example is conspiracies involving cryptds—typically sensational animals believed to exist though there is no proof of their existence. Familiar examples include the yeti (aka “abominable snowman”), Bigfoot or Sasquatch, and the Loch Ness monster.

As a lifelong naturalist, I would love to believe such creatures exist. Unfortunately, the evidence for their existence is just too sketchy to be credible. But suppose someone proved me wrong by catching a living Loch Ness monster and transporting it to Marine World?

That would be an amazing event, but where’s the conspiracy?

A third example is crazy beliefs that are described as conspiracy theories. Take the flat earthers—please. If there are really people stupid enough to believe that Earth is flat, that would be almost as amazing as discovering reptilian humans cavorting with Congress. But, again, where’s the conspiracy? Millions of Americans believed in Santa Claus when they were children. Did that make them conspiracy theorists?

Lack of Evidence or Logic ˆ

I’m an expert at predicting conspiracy. For example, I predict that, on January 1, 2030, the Seattle Times will publish a paper that is filled with conspiracy. In fact, I would bet money on it, because that’s exactly what the Seattle Times has been doing for decades. My evidence consists primarily of past issues of the Seattle Times.

Of course, I’m talking about a serial conspiracy that follows a predictable pattern. Making up a conspiracy theory out of thin air is trickier. Imagine if someone said they think the CIA is going to try to topple Brazil’s government in two weeks. That would not be hard to believe. Indeed, it sounds quite logical to me. However, believing in a specific conspiracy scheduled to play out in two weeks would be quite a stretch without some evidence or convincing logic.

Questionable Sources ˆ

Tracking a conspiracy theory to its original source can be virtually impossible. However, even an intermediate source might help you evaluate its credibility.

Disreputable sources include the government, most media, and conspiracy kooks like Alex Jones and David Icke. It can be confusing because even the most deranged conspiracy kooks may sometimes talking about credible conspiracy theories. For example, I like some of the things Icke says about the Jews, but I cringe when he starts talking about those reptile people, or whatever he calls them.

Sometimes the source is clear as day. For example, politicians and media whores alike demonized conspiracy theorists who described 9/11 as a false flag attack. That actually makes the false flag theory more believable.

As always, one must be ever cautious, however. Clever propagandists sometimes ridicule ridiculous conspiracy theories in the hope that their ridicule might persuade people to believe them.

Catch-22 ˆ

Having debunked literally thousands of the most familiar conspiracy theories, I now need to backtrack and mention some exceptions.

If people say they think a UFO that was sighted by thousands of people a few nights ago was a flying saucer, and the media deride them as conspiracy kooks, I’m going to call a double foul. First, I’m aware of no credible evidence that space aliens have visited Earth. Ever. Second, where’s the conspiracy? I would simply characterize this as a foolish or ignorant belief.

However, if propagandists are spouting kooky conspiracy theories with the intention of ridiculing more credible conspiracy theorists, then we have a conspiracy. If the media similarly publicize UFOs with the intention of maligning conspiracy theory, then that would also be a conspiracy, even if there’s nothing conspiratorial about the UFOs themselves.

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