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History

Paranoid Style, Alive and Well

In his Empire of Liberty, Gordon Wood claims that:

Educated and reflective observers found it increasingly difficult to hold to the eighteenth-century conspiratorial notion that particular individuals were directly responsible for all that happened.... [W]ith the spread of scientific thinking about society many of these sorts of conspiratorial interpretations began to seem increasingly primitive and quaint.

But as Noemie Emery notes, such "conspiratorial notions" are alive and well, among our credentialed elites no less than anyone else, for "Some think their beliefs are so true and self-evident that principled and/or informed opposition to them is simply impossible, and that their opponents must be fools and/or villains. They also feel themselves under permanent siege, from the press, from the establishment, and most of all from the centrists in their parties."

Human nature 1, historicism 0.

Categories > History

Discussions - 3 Comments

Sometimes there really are conspiracies. American patriots believed that the British government was engaged in one in the 1760s and 1770s, and Abraham Lincoln spotted one among Democrats in 1854-57.

P.S. Would you consider a more readable Captcha, such as simple arithmetic problem?

Old saying: even paranoid's have enemies.
Actually, that's a related point. Modern historians are committed to the idea that men cannot make history.

Conspiracies are useful, Krugman wants us take a page from Orson Welles. That is gobal preparation for an alien invasion, would do so much to stimulate aggregate demand, increase inflation and resolve unemployment that it would be beneficial, even if 10 years from now everyone said, oops we were wrong, no aliens.

Of course if NASA actually came into contact with aliens, and Obama had to act, a lot of folks would point to statements by Krugman and exclaim that this was just a conspiracy.

An interesting question would be just how much alien contact/evidence there would have to be to extinguish the conspiracy.

If the advance party of Aliens touches down its flying saucer in the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas, walks in and trades its tazers for versace and rolex at the Forum shops and gets markers against its spacecraft which they apply to a high stakes craps table, would the youtube videos uploaded facebook pictures, tweets and general buzz be credulous, or would folks believe this a publicity stunt/conspiracy?

Immagine that shortly after speaking with the owner, they get in the craft hover over the Bellagio and shrink/beam it up, fountain and all so that there is a massive empty space at 3600 Las Vegas Blvd, and then vanish.

In return the owner gets a device that is the opposite of a microwave, essentially a micro freeze that also generates electricity from taking heat out of objects placed inside.

The Obama administration seizes the device, and pays the owner eminent domain costs for the Bellagio. It then reverse engineers it and liscenses the Micro-Freeze(TM) to GE(after some more questionable campaign donations). Obama goes to the UN, and the world prepares itself for alien encounters, world peace is temporarily achieved as riots in London come to a halt. Stimulus that makes Krugman a deficit hawk occurs, Obama is re-ellected and wins a second nobel peace prize. Some of the alien technology is liscensed to Ford and GM which use it to replace radiators and cool engine blocks while producing energy that becomes the next leg up in Hybrid technology. Giant tubes are placed into the gulf of mexico which create energy while cooling the water, thus making hurricanes a distant memory.

There are subsequent alien encounters but almost all are rulled copycat and discounted, 20 years latter most folks have never seen aliens. NASA stays quiet at the time but was embarassed that it was not able to detect the bellagio alien encounter in the first place, classified documents showing this surface, when Julian Assange Jr.(living in China) makes a massive data dump. The Bellagio has been rebuilt as an alien themed Casino, popular opinion turns back to the Deficit which is at 200 trillion, but only 130% of GDP.

Popular opinion on the Obama Alien Conspiracy of 2012, and its aftermath shapes the ideology of the 2032 elections...

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