Within the subterranean depths of the Internet, there exists a vast subculture of conspiracy theory, and conspiracy theorists.
As a example of this, in what I call “Boxcar Bullshit“, there is a persistent story of “human cattle cars” being built and shipped around the country, complete with multiple levels and shackles.
Years ago, I personally investigated the claims of human boxcars, and came away with the knowledge that this, like many other conspiracies of this kind, is complete bullshit.
Allegedly, these human boxcars are being stored off in out of the way places, but have been “discovered” by hunters and fisherman, sleuth reporters and frightened housewives quivering in their slippers:
NO AIR CONDITIONING, NO HEAT, SOME REPORTEDLY WITH SHACKLES
It takes about 3 minutes to completely disprove this story as yet another asinine conspiracy theory making its round yet again (for the 10,000th time) on the StupidNet.
Human cattle cars? Really? Why would anybody EVEN BOTHER?
I can think of plenty of reasons why this is an incredibly dumb, non-workable idea, including: too expensive, easily targeted and derailed / attacked, no need (plenty of local human labor / storage points for prisoners), too hard to hide, labor intensive requiring a huge number of people to operate and provide security, lack of secure facilities to load and unload, and on and on.
So what is it? These trains are claimed to be multi-level car carriers by other more knowledgeable people, which do indeed lack “air conditioning and heat”. So which is it? Car trains or human boxcars complete with shackles? Which is more likely, lacking any physical evidence?
Yet despite the easy disprovable claims made (no actual evidence beyond hearsay exists) — this story and many, many others like it continue to persist.
Many website like shtfplan, godlikeproductions, fromthetreches, stevequayle, rense and many others are very guilty of shoveling seemingly endless (and dangerous) conspiracy theories upon their readership.
Why are there so many conspiracy theories?
The reasons are several:
1) To get you to buy something. This is probably the #1 reason. Fear sells products. No real need to expand on this, except to say it accounts for billions in sales.
2) Audience. Increased audience means more advertising revenue. Ridiculous rates for banner ads at thousands per month (which are dirt cheap to place on a websites) are the norm. Being a webmaster myself, the claims of how “expensive bandwidth is” as justification for high rates is simply a complete lie. Bandwidth is dirt cheap. Page views are used to misrepresent actual unique readers. This site receives over 300,000 page views per month on average. But it doesn’t have that many actual readers and even fewer commentators.
3) Popularity. Most conspiracy websites are very egotistical, self-centered around their cult-like personalities and the desire for fame and notoriety. The more outlandish they are, the more they perceive their stardom (and self-importance). It’s pretty easy to identify the “cults”, replete with heavy self-promotion, ridiculous claims and super-ego’s.
4) Attraction. People are attracted to the weird, odd, bizarre and strange. You won’t find these stories on your “run of the mill” news websites after all. They’re the boring website, dealing with every day news and events (real life in other words). The attraction of reading about secret meetings, strange occurrences, and hidden news has a wide appeal among many conspiracy people. They’re convinced that the real truth “is out there” and is being suppressed.
While some of this is true (U.S. news is very tightly controlled), it doesn’t mean that a conspiracy, found on one of these alternative website is true.
5) Most conspiracies fail the litmus test of actual facts and evidence.
Leaked information, “insider” testimony, bits and pieces strung together as conjecture, straw arguments and logical fallacies abound.
Pieced information is simply that – neither true or untrue (until proven). The conclusions drawn and promoted however, cannot be relied upon as “proof” of anything, or even be considered accurate. Missing information is often assumed to “be there”, somewhere, just hidden.
Common sense dictates that some information would be easily and readily available. A current example is the Department of Homeland Security and the large ammunition purchases they’ve made. This is alleged to mean a “takeover” of America is imminent. Yet no other information is actually available (or has been found). No preparations have been identified that would indicate that any such actions are imminent or even planned to take place. The obvious truth that ammunition must be replaced (rotated by regulation), personnel must maintain training standards, and new personnel are being added to various branches of the DHS is simply ignored.
The conspiracy crowd desperately grasps at empty straws as lifelines for their fear. Usually, nothing ever materializes “proving” them right, but this fact is consistently and conveniently ignored year after year. This leads to even more desperation with even more outlandish theories and unsubstantiated stories, which will one day is expected to exonerate and vindicate them all.
Depending on just what side of the fence you personally sit on, you’re expecting to be proven right eventually — in a “broken clock is right twice a day” sort of thinking.
6) Conspiracy theory represents billions of dollars in sales to their promoters. Endless reams of products are constantly being offered to you at “special discounts” for members and subscribers. This one really rankles me, because it’s clearly not true. You’re almost always paying a premium to buy this stuff. Most of the excess money you’ve paid is being used for their heavy advertising campaigns and lavish lifestyles. Apparently, this is ok with many of their followers who continue their financial support. Either they are ignorant of the real facts or they simply don’t care.
7) Being a part of something may “feel” important or valuable to you. To most people, it is, especially if it reveals supposedly “secret” information. This attraction is found in all walks of life, from sorority memberships to the cliches you were part of when you grew up (or still are). People like to “belong” to something. Belonging to a forum, chat group or Internet website makes people feel connected. The danger isn’t apparent at first, but can become evident later on when your thinking process becomes impaired and accepts hearsay and rumor as “evidence”.
8) Conspiracy theory acceptance is promoted as being “essential”. Non-believers are ridiculed, denigrated, “sheeple”, who are too stupid to understand what is going on. You must participate, most often disguised as “preparations for the bad times ahead”. This is a very common theme found in almost all conspiracies. What lies ahead will be worse then what we have today. This theme finds wide appeal among most people anyway, who already intuitively understand that there are in fact failing systems found throughout all parts of our society. Either they have personally experienced their effects or witnessed them with people they know — but the “bad times ahead” is widely accepted and understood as being an axiom of truth.
This awareness is easily exploited, and often is, by unscrupulous authors and websites, talk show hosts, Internet personalities and charlatans of all flavors and stripes. They insert a wedge of fear in this general awareness by bringing to the table their “conspiracy” which is almost always lacking in actual facts and evidence.
9) Not all conspiracies are false however. Some are in fact, quite true. They can be researched out and found to be established in actual facts with real evidence, yet are still not part of the general awareness of the population or considered anything but “conspiracy”.
These are the conspiracies that are being hidden from modern history, under-reported or even ridiculed by the main stream press. The events surrounding 9/11 and the collapse of the World Trade Center is definitely one of them. The main stream media won’t touch this, but the alternative press will, heavily engaging in endless debates and discussions, yet much of this has now been supported by scientific evidence, actual facts, eyewitness testimony and much, much more. Even so, the official position of the U.S. government and lap dog press is that the World Trade Center towers collapsed due to impacts by two airliners. The collapse of WTC 7 is ignored, and so is all the melted cars blocks away (where there were no fires) and forensic evidence.
10) Conspiracy theory gains its “legs” so to speak by claiming the “unknowable”. Secret information is either leaked or revealed, or discovered in some fashion, and then woven together in a tapestry of deceit (most often) to convince believers that this is actually “the truth”. In some rare cases — it is, and happens exactly like that. Information IS leaked and / or discovered. In many other cases however, it’s not true at all, yet has already gained a life of its own and gone on to give birth to even more conspiracy bastards.
11) The easy authoring of the Internet makes this incredibly simple to do. It was a bit harder to do in the “old days” of printed media (but still happened). It’s also very easy for agent provocateurs to infiltrate any website, forum, discussion board or even submit their own stories, fabricating up any necessary “evidence” at will. Intelligent readers can quickly identify most of these stories as complete bullshit, but savvy operators will weave together bits and piece of real truth with fabricated lies, and these are harder to detect. Some websites are replete with certain authors well known to be shoveling nothing but absolute bullshit, yet they still gain large followings and many readers and supporters. In effect, they almost take on a life of their own, due in part to wide readership and a lot of reader promotion.
The Internet also has “memory”, where archived material can be easily dug back up and recirculated as “truth” (or reshoveled as shit) to the undiscerning audience. This historical record keeping also allows for fabrication — creating a entire false history through the careful manipulation and publication of material — even if it’s later abandoned and discarded. Everything on the Internet is archived (and I mean virtually every keystroke). Savvy users can easily dig up the total history of a story and reuse the material in anyway that they want. What then passes for “evidence” is nothing more then a rehashing of long-disproven conjecture.
12) Most people will swallow the whole lie, whatever it is, parroting the material as a “new truth”, and help promote it through other sites, which is easier to do then simply pick out the parts that are actually true and proven to be true, and reject the parts that are not. Yet in both cases, the conclusions reached (or assumed) are probably wrong, since only part (or none) of the information can be considered accurate. This makes the “conspiracy” a worthy reject as being meaningful or actionable.
I’ve personally been involved some years ago with some of these so-called “conspiracies”. What I discovered was that critical thinking skills were almost always entirely absent. No evidence was considered “proof” in many cases. This sort of thinking alleges that since the “evidence cannot be found (or is unknown)”, then this is “proof that it must exist”. The “proof” is based upon it’s supposed secrecy.
This is a pretty warped reality, but one held by many conspiracy theorists, who using this sort of standard, can be easily led to believe almost anything (and often do).
Some of my savvy readers will recognize that this technique is actually widely used by most religions. Conspiracy theories, like religion, rely heavily upon what is claimed (ie., “faith”) that what is alleged must be true. Scientific or even common sense standards of evidence are not required and even considered unnecessary (“seeds of doubt”). Like a popular show heavily promoted, “the truth is out there”, all you have to do is “believe” and therefore, “it must be true”.
This leads to dangerous assumptions and a lot of erroneous conclusions. Second guessing can lead you astray — and oftentimes the goal is to have the unwary open up their pocketbook and buy whatever is being offered to help perpetuate and support the conspiracy. Books, videos, tapes (in the old days), magazines, subscriptions, endless reams of “stuff” that you absolutely must have — are heavily promoted. Alex Jones and many like him are very guilty of this sort of hyper-marketing, preying upon your fear of the unknown, claiming to be the bastion of truth and lacking any evidence standards. You’re a fool if you don’t buy into this –literally and figuratively — and help support what they’re promoting (at premium prices of course).
I’ve oft wondered if even half of what these clowns claim is actually true — then why are they so busy trying to make tons of money?
This is a question that everyone should be asking their favorite Internet / media personality. If everything you say is true — then what are THEY actually doing about it (besides trying to surreptitiously sell stuff).
Have they quit their jobs and changed their lives? Have they engaged in training and personnel preparedness? Have they joined their local militia (if they’re patriot oriented)? Did they go to war and try to stop what they claim is happening? Or are they still sitting on their asses in their multi-million dollar Texas mansion, endlessly spewing forth more and more endless reams of fear and propaganda?
13) It didn’t take long for me to realize that none of these people actually believe what they’re saying. They’re only saying it to get you to believe. They’re not “living the life”, nor willing to make the personal sacrifices that this means. In truth, they’re actually complete fakes, pretenders every one, hoping only to convince you to buy their products or support their cult-personalities. There are a LOT of fakes and pretenders out there, but very few real “doers” who are living what they’re claiming.
Ask yourself — if all that they say is true — then why are they still sitting on their asses? I’ve long said that you only need to watch what people do to demonstrate who they really are and what they really believe in. This is a simple “standard” — a litmus test for words versus actions. Words are cheap, tossed around with abandon — but actions are not. Actions will cost you something. Hiding behind a radio microphone isn’t costing you anything, but giving up your corporate life will.
It is no longer surprising to me to witness so many people that fall for their deceptions. I’ve seen it first-hand, it’s a strong, strong reason why I continue to categorically reject any sort of “following”. People that seek followers have weak egos, are very insecure about their place in the world, and need the constant gratification of attention (and your money). Their need is YOU and what you represent to them (security and support for their worldview, ie., “validation”).
Pay attention to what happens to their super-egos when negative press is published about them. This applies to main stream media personalities as well as obscure Internet or shortwave personalities. They feel “attacked” and will often lash back exposing their real feelings (and who they really are).
When this happens, know this: you (or whoever is involved) are attacking THEIR pocketbook. It’s always about money in the end and their super-inflated ego’s.
People worth “following” (paying attention to) do not exhibit this sort of behavior. They’re self-confident and do not require your support. You’re approval isn’t even necessary, nor do you need to be constantly engaged with them as one of their “disciples”.
Years ago, there was a well-known shortwave personality who interviewed me. He learned from a mutual acquaintance that we were traveling through the area — and requested our “presence”. After our bizarre first meeting, where he showed us a very fancy house, and exactly where we could sit and where we could not, he felt confident enough to “show us his personal preparations”, which consisted of about 6 buckets of grain in a gigantic, but empty basement. This, he whispered, was his “preparations”.
I was sort of stunned, still learning about the cult personalities I was running into. This man was a total fake, a true pretender who claimed he was a “prepper” living in a 4,000 sq. ft. rented house, paid for by donations from his followers.
He “gifted” me $100, with the solemnity of bestowing upon us the Crown Jewels — a sum that didn’t even match the gas I’d spent to arrive. His followers had bought him a private plane, which he’d insisted he “needed” (which I didn’t learn about until much later).
I never went back. It wasn’t a first lesson, but it was an important one. I also learned that none of these people (not a single one) deserves my “following”. Either they were dead wrong about all of their assumptions, or so full of themselves that they had to be rejected as the super-egos that they were. Most only understood a little, after which they simply “quit” trying to self-educate and started parroting lies. Most found a “niche” in which to create their own subgroups (followers) and ALL were focused on how much money they could make from the effort.
Nobody should be telling “you” what to do. I often do in my own way right here on this blog — but you DO need to make up your OWN mind. I am not and never will be the least bit responsible for you. You’re going to know things that I don’t. See things differently, be aware of things that affect only you. The lesson here is “make up your own mind”. It’s up to you to decide. I often get people who insist I should tell them what food to buy – which I categorically refuse to do. If you’re not smart enough to know what you like to eat — then I’m simply not going to help you. You have to decide for yourself what you need to eat — and what you need to buy — and where you should live — and what is “truth” in this life — and what is false — and what path you should take.
This is how I “teach” self-reliance, self-sufficiency and personal responsibility. YOU are responsible for all of these things. Those that create “followers” are trying to take this away from you, creating legions of cash-machine zombies, incapable of independent thought and critical thinking, inflating their own self-importance in a direct relationship to their paid subscribers.
14) Conspiracy theorist actually rely upon “dumbed-down sheep” to help support their endeavors. This of course, contradicts their claim that it is “everyone else who is dumbed down, but not us”. If you challenge their theory, claiming conjecture, lack of evidence, or missing proof — you’re labeled a “troll” or “agent provocateur”. Most often, your comments will never even appear in their comment section. Mine almost always never are — because I challenge the claims and conjecture made in the original article. I’m one of the most censored authors / writers on the Internet, at least, from my limited perspective. I’ve given up trying to point out the fallacies embraced anywhere else, it never gets published anyway and the authors are simply too egotistical to admit any wrongdoing.
This is how they control the consensus and self-promote. What you see is only what is vetted and approved by the site administrator. Don’t for a second believe that the number of comments you see are representative of anything, they’re not. This also will often appear to mean a “consensus” to the unwarned. There is no census, there is only censorship. America on every issue is heavily divided. Most people are working from an entire set of assumptions that lead them to divided opinions about virtually everything. This is no accident — it’s a very effective tool to keep people from realizing just how manipulated they are. Vast segments of our population is controlled through this technique, making them very ineffectual. Millions of votes will be gathered in by this manipulation.
Of course, the main stream media does this sort of manipulation too — you could probably say that both have learned from each other, while each claims to hold the only banner of “the real truth”.
15) If you’ve found the similarity in all of this to how religion works — you’d be right. Controlling information, ridiculing “non-believers”, promoting self-interest (and ignorance), creating exclusive groups of “followers”, encircling and attacking detractors, endless self-promotion, always about money, a selected and (self) approved hierarchy of approved “leaders”, acceptable “doctrines” and beliefs, these are the “practices” and techniques used to control millions even billions of minds. The result is the world as you see it today, manipulated, divided, distracted, mislead, lied to and deceived, every single day.
Conspiracy theory is in other words, a religious-like experience, daily practiced by millions and millions of people around the world, sharing in common the same techniques and low-standards as religion.
Of course, they’re not all wrong — but many of them are provably wrong, failing the litmus test of facts and evidence, acceptable to any thinking person.
16) Believing in conspiracy is simply easier then accepting actual reality. Many conspiracy theorists (and non-theorists) reject climate change / global warming out of hand, yet this factual reality can be easily proven with actual evidence (versus endless conjecture and false reporting). The actual reality of what is happening on Earth isn’t entirely pleasant, leading to cognitive dissonance, driving many people to seek out an alternative explanation that is more comfortable to them and their current worldview.
And like religion, this is ‘escapism’, seeking to avoid one’s actual reality by creating another. It doesn’t matter if there is any actual proof, all that matters is the creation and sustaining of another reality — a protective ‘veil’ that will encompass your involvement and existence in this world, and the “belief” in that reality.
For many, this is simply much more preferable then dealing in the real world, offering comfort in “knowing” why things happen as they do, having a ready explanation. Everything is perceived through this veil, seeing through a glass darkly, envisioning monsters and demons on the other side. There is comfort in the “knowing”, even if it isn’t actually true or if it lacks any evidence. In other words, taking this position is simply a mental exercise in self-delusion, something humans seem very prone to do.
Many will continue to find great comfort in such an existence, failing to apply any standards of proof or evidence that could challenge such a view. It really isn’t my intention to try to change that through this article — but if you really do intend to survive conspiracy theory, understand how it works, why it’s being fostered and promoted, who really benefits and the types of individuals that are behind it. They’re now cooperating together (in case you haven’t noticed) worldwide — essentially feeding off each other and trying to create even bigger followings.
Surviving Conspiracy Theory
Conspiracy theory isn’t harmless, but then again, neither is hiding the real truth. The danger comes from how it’s being used. Who is being promoted, who is being manipulated. That’s true for all “truth”, it must be used intelligently and wisely. Conspiracy theorists suppose that truth is being kept from them, and in some cases, it is, but not always. Sometimes the truth is exactly as it appears. Remember Occams Razor, “It is a principle stating that among competing hypotheses, the one which makes the fewest assumptions should be selected.”
Just don’t get caught up into any of it. Most of this stuff doesn’t have any direct relevance to you anyway. Keep your hand over your pocket book and prove to yourself first and foremost, what is true and what is not. Maintain a healthy balance in your mind and do not let fear-mongering persuade you to act foolishly or rashly. I personally know hundreds of families, if not thousands, that acted quite irrationally once caught up in conspiracy theory. They all found out how dangerous it actually was to them, costing them almost everything. Some “recovered”, some did not.
The promotion of conspiracy theory continues to this day. It’s not all wrong — but plenty of it is. Many people need to smarten up to how it’s being used to manipulate them, and how they can survive this unscathed (unfleeced). It’s not hard. Just use some common sense and require actual evidence. Ignore ALL the hype — if any of it is true, it will come to pass anyway. Don’t join anything. Be smart and protect yourself from being labeled a card-carrying “member”. Don’t get caught up into anything, again, if “true”, it will come to pass without your involvement.
Do be smart about what is going on (read everything). Don’t be caught unaware or even unprepared, you’ll still have to decide what is meaningful to you — and what you should “do”. Common sense should dictate your actions, not some hyper-alarmist website or blowhard radio personality. Don’t give them a dime of your money — most of these clowns need to die from starvation anyway. Advertisers will move on once they realize that they’re not getting what they thought.
Right now, you can probably (probably) ignore every “Red Alert” being shouted by some of these clowns. Most, if not all (my time is limited) lack all of the required evidence needed for any of it to be true. I read several just today. While anything COULD happen, anything probably won’t. You need to “vet” your sources of information as accurate, factual, true and timely.
Do NOT rely upon this blog as such a source, I’m too busy to bother myself (and have no interest in trying “save you”, that’s your responsibility, not mine). I’m just as likely to be “surprised” as anyone should something “big” come down one day, some day. But I’m not concerned about it because long ago I did everything I could to become self-sufficient and “prepared” for whatever might come my way. In truth –that is all you can really do anyway, but do not do this in “fear” or through the manipulation of someone(s) trying to scare you into it. Be prepared to take care of yourself because you should. Everyone is responsible for their own self. Nobody else is.
I’m certain that there is indeed “a place” for conspiracy theory — but it doesn’t belong in the realm of fear. Fear is usually based upon the unknown, the very place conspiracy theory (and hucksters) thrive. Uncovering the fear with facts is the “answer” to conspiracy theory — or failing to uncover conspiracy theory with actual evidence, which is just as important. The attempt will either lead to being convinced through knowledge (versus “belief” or “faith”), or unconvinced. Either way, you’re still far better off then living your life through fear or ignorance.
It’s not an easy exercise, but it is a necessary one in order to live a life that is not distracted and fleeced, a “cash-machine zombie” endlessly parroting the next Internet rumor as a slogan of truth.