Ken Eckert Essays

That’s What They Want You to Believe
The Touching, Romantic Innocence Of The Conspiracy Theorist

By Ken Eckert

April 10, 2015

Living in Korea, I meet the occasional person who will tell me that ex-President Roh’s suicide in 2009 was really a murder, and that the submarine sinking by North Korea in 2010 was really done by South Korea for insidious reasons. I would really like to tell these people that these small Korean apartments may have really caused them to breathe too many paint fumes, but it’s a culture of politeness. Besides it being a hard word to render in Korean, the English word sheeple doesn’t seem to have made inroads here. Here it just sounds like a smartphone game with cute giant-eyed farm animals.

In most countries I’ve visited there are conspiracy theories (e.g. Lady Diana was murdered, in England), but no one does them like Americans. Not even close. A Canadian conspiracy would inevitably be about donuts, it would be so unthreatening no one would care, and the conspirators would spend all their time apologizing anyway. If there were a conspiracy Olympics it would be gold for the U.S. all the way, except that no one would show up for the games (Oh, that’s what they’d like, for all of us who know the truth to be in one place at one time!).

What is it about Americans that they have more conspiracy theories than anywhere else on earth, squared? A brief list: aliens first brought humans to populate earth; Christ was married to Mary Magdalene; the Knights Templar and Jews founded world banking; there was no Shakespeare; aliens returned to Area 51; innumerable people arranged JFK’s death; Marilyn Monroe was murdered; Paul McCartney died and was replaced in the Beatles by a lookalike; the moon landing was faked; Elvis went into hiding; the super-mileage car was suppressed by Big Oil; 9/11 was faked; Obama isn’t American; vaccines make us sick but enrich Big Pharma; we are monitored and will soon be forced to wear chips; black helicopters! Every last proof of these events, of course, has been covered up by them.

In fairness, these claims form a spectrum from “possible but unproven” to “extremely unlikely” to “batshiat insane.” No, there’s no public evidence for any of these theories. Which is why we know that they’re true, because they have been so diabolically skillful at hiding all evidence. Thus the fact there is no proof is proof. What could possibly go wrong with this reasoning?

So who are they? We don’t know. They are Freemasons, Illuminati, Opus Dei, Zionists, Skull and Bones, the Mafia, and the World Bankers. Really, a surprisingly large cohort. I’m a little disappointed, actually, that they isn’t a little more choosy about screening out people who obviously don’t belong. Any riff-raff 1%-er gets in nowadays. They just isn’t what they used to be! All are Jews, of course. Except that they are simultaneously Catholics and Protestants. It is amazing how there can be so many subgroups of them, and yet they all are perfectly coordinated in maintaining flawless secrecy and a consistent plan of evil action over twenty centuries. 2000 years ago!–back when the Stones were still starting out. Perhaps this is why Germans don’t seem to have many conspiracy theories. They would tend to say, sign me up for being run by any group this efficient! In Korea as well, I’d say please: can they be persuaded to apply this stellar organization to the road system? I’ll be happy to let them continue to deny their existence all they like.

Thus I’m not going to try to disprove any of this flatulence, because for those who do believe in conspiracy theories, I’ve already been written off as either blind or possibly in cahoots with them (BTW, at them headquarters in Denver the café serves a spiced mint latte and pumpkin cobbler to die for!), and for those reading this who do not believe in them, you already know that these theories are, to use a highly technical term, stupid. Instead, because I am feeling a little German myself, and naturally, the German part of me wants to take over the rest, I will offer a most unusual wish: compared to the alternative, bring on them! An outfit, albeit evil, with that much long-term competence, willing to stop kibitzing around in the shadows and take charge? That sounds great. What’s the catch?

How did I come to this opinion? In January 2013, American politician Rick Santorum said: “If you go to our schools and particularly our colleges and universities, they are indoctrinated in a sea of relativism and a sea of antagonism towards Christianity.” As an academic at first I rolled my eyes and was annoyed. Then I thought, gee, it would be nice to have that sort of power. Such a pleasant fantasy, really. I can’t get my students to look away from their cellphones or to do the readings, and people think I can get them to change their religious or political beliefs to the ones I like? How awesome it would be to have that kind of sway. How freakin’ cool it would be to use my sexy professorial attitude-changing magic eyes on hot graduate co-eds. (You see, thoughts like this are partly why I can’t get tenure.)

And so on. I honestly think that most incarnations of them would be delighted at having so much evil power, or at least flattered to be credited with it. If we could go back in time and tell one of the worst medieval popes, “the Catholic church hates women and free thought and sex and cute puppies and just alters scripture whenever it wants to strengthen its insidious control!”, he might answer, “I wish! After four centuries we can’t get people to agree whether Christ is begotten or proceeds from the Father. Do you really think we have the power to change every Bible from Alexandria to Reykjavik if we wanted?”

If we could talk to the highest, most secret string-puller in the American CIA in a parking garage and tell him, “Alright, level with me. You people really did kill JFK, Marilyn Monroe, fake the moon landing, plan 9/11, and covered it up, right?” He would answer, “Good gravy, I wish. I wish we had that sort of organization, power, and discipline to do something of that scale, and without anyone knowing. We can’t even cover up the president getting a blow job. You don’t think we’d get people that good to write the next budget?”

Perhaps the Trans-Pacific Partnership which I keep hearing about, which like the killer bees is going to be here any day now after years, is another example. The TPP plans to effect the final takeover by the bankers and corporations who aren’t Apple, and to copyright and monetize the air, water, and everything that just happens to be made of atoms. And it’s secret. Secret, secret, oh, so secret. No one knows anything about it. Not even the people who are planning it, and certainly not the governments which want to pass it. In fact, it may not even exist in our sense; as we speak it is being created in a five-dimensional prism. But I imagine if we could speak to the people at the top about this world takeover, they would grouse, sure, every citizen and company will be smoothly oppressed by one effective and harmoniously run global organization, just like the U.N.!

Maybe. But the irony of ironies is—not Alanis Morisette’s song, most of which isn’t ironic, though the fact it isn’t ironic is ironic—and who planned this irony? The Jews!– that while conspiracy theorists congratulate themselves on being wiser and less naïve than the ignorant masses, and how they nobly suffer for the knowledge that Toyota has bugged their toothbrushes, they possess a touchingly innocent belief: In a vastly complex world with random and unexplainable events, everything can be explained by secret groups that simply make giant bad things happen. In my case, all of the English professors held an underground meeting in Kalamazoo where, after a spirited plenary discussing the difference between further and farther, we voted that we would corrupt all of our students into godless homosexual vegetarian Marxism. Easy and done! Shall we break for coffee?

I am religious but I’m going to use an argument lifted from atheism (why should the devil have the best tunes?): believing in something, even if it’s wrong, is more comforting than the frightening reality that there’s nothing there. How nice and how simple it is to believe that someone’s in charge, that there is a secret group of people who agree with each other on a coordinated plan to dominate the world. Even if we are the virtuous victims and they are the malevolent oppressors, what a neat answer to complexity and chaos to trust that events are predictable, and actions have meaning. No wonder conspiracy theorists will fight against arguments and evidence, partly because they risk losing the special feeling of importance from having secret knowledge, but understandably also because of the existential chaos lurking if there’s no them. No they pulling the strings means something horrific: That this life is one where bad things happen without reason; where one nut can kill a president; where billions of people careen along into the future with no agreement, plan, or predictability. This is what that Munch painting is about.

Thus I welcome and embrace the New World Order. My first order is for large fries. I will gladly accept the chip implant (with sufficient Wi-Fi) and will work placidly in the salt mines (for the fries) to satisfy the directives of the Jewish-Protestant-Catholic bankers in Zurich. They at least dress with style, and a well-tailored bespoke suit goes a long way, don’t you agree? A tiny claque of superrich elitists capable of reducing the world’s population to semi-slavery might also be farsighted enough in their business plans to anticipate that our labor will be more stable and revolution-free if, among other things, the environment isn’t cooking or drowning us, and if workers are reasonably well-fed. In other words, they are an improvement on most Republicans.

Even the Matrix robots get this. Really, to me Agent Smith is the hero of the movies. His speech labelling humans as a virus is as sublime as Shakespeare’s “band of brothers.” A less benevolent intelligence wouldn’t go to so much trouble to save our selfish, quarreling asses from ourselves, and we ought to be grateful. This is a much more practical and sensible position than the romantic idea of the conspiracy theorist that one day the people will stand up, throw off our blinders, and not take it. Then what? What happens after we don’t take it? (And what is it? The same it that Taylor Swift shakes off?) We can’t merge into two lanes without accidents or drivers trying to cheat, but supposedly we’ll be better people than the 1%. A day spent on Facebook tells me not to be any more trusting of us 99%.

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