Conspiracy Theory Generator 1

The Structured Genre of Conspiracism

Are Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Part of a Vast Conspiracy of Subversion Involving Jews and Russians and Israel?

This story is over 100 years old old and you got it wrong.
But wait! Now you can create your own conspiracy theory here!


It is entirely possible that Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and others in the Trump Administration and the Republican campaign broke laws.

But the Internet is flooding with antisemitic conspiracy theories like the one that opens up on the conspiracy theory generator below which is based on the antisemitic hoax and forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

So click on the drop down boxes and make your own conspiracy theory to see how they all are based on the same narrative structure of baseless blame.

And enough with the antisemitic click bait fantasies.


What’s Really Going On?

In order to understand 
you need to realize that everything is controlled by a  run by the 
under the direction of the sinister 

Working through 
the conspirators are Their conspiracy began
In fact, the conspirators have been responsible for many events throughout history, including Today, members of the conspiracy
are everywhere. They can be identified only by

The conspirators have help from powerful elite 

The conspirators want to 
all  
and round up resisters in 

Even now they are infiltrating our groups using !

Their conspiracy benefits undeserving 
at the expense of  .
to establish 

In order to prepare for this, we all must

All of this was revealed years ago

Since the media is controlled by
 
you should get your
information only from 

 


Apologies for what may appear as too glib, but this page
offers a way to explore how conspiracism as a genre is a structured
combination of a stylistic meta-frame of tragic apocalyptic
dualism
merged with narratives built around the components of
demonization and scapegoating.

While some of the resulting stories may be absurd, often
the result (or a very similar result) can be found in texts on
contemporary internet websites.

=Chip Berlet

Prepared for the conference “Reconsidering The Protocols
of the Elders of Zion: 100 Years after the Forgery.” This conference
was held at Boston, University  to re-examine the infamous
Protocols of the Elders of Zion published in 1905 in Russia.

This conspiracy theory generator adapted from Turn Left.

Hard Right Conspiracism & Apocalyptic Millennialism

Hard Right Conspiracism & Apocalyptic Millennialism

The armed militia movement formed as the militant wing of the patriot movement following the government’s excessive use of force against the Weaver family in Idaho and the Branch Davidians in Texas. Patriots and militia members have an anti-government agenda laced with paranoid-sounding conspiracist theories, many of which echo apocalyptic millenialism of Christian fundamentalists. Endnote1 Persons in the patriot movement fear impending attack by government or UN troops and the establishment of a dictatorship as part of the New World Order. They distrust all mainstream media. The patriot movement made aggressive use of alternative electronic media such as fax networks, radio talk shows, shortwave radio, and online computer telecommunications. Endnote2Much of the information circulated in this sector of the hard right is undocumented rumor and irrational conspiracist theory, some of it merely paranoid lunacy, some based on classic white supremacist and segregationist legal arguments or allegations of secret plots by international Jewish bankers traced back to the hoax text, The Protocols of the Secret Elders of Zion. Endnote3 Print sources frequently cited as having “proof” of the conspiracy include the New American magazine from the reactionary John Birch Society, the Spotlight newspaper from the antisemitic Liberty Lobby, and Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) and The New Federalist from the neofascist Lyndon LaRouche movement. Most of the contemporary conspiracist allegations in the US are variations on the themes propounded in the late 1700’s by John Robison, Proofs of a Conspiracy and Abbe Augustin Barruel, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, which claimed that the Illuminati society had subverted the Freemasons into a conspiracy to undermine church and state and create a one-world government. Endnote4

One of the earliest examples of the use of online computer networks for mass organizing occurred during the 1992 presidential campaign of independent Ross Perot. Libertarians and populist conservatives, who appear to have strongly influenced the politics of early cyber-culture and the Internet, helped circulate organizing documents and position papers for the Perot campaign, quickly reaching a large audience. Endnote5 Perot’s anti-government themes also attracted support from some persons in the hard right who later went on to promote the patriot and armed militia movements. These pre-exisiting online relationships were a factor in the use of computer networks by the patriot and militia movements, which was apparently the first major US social movement organized extensively via horizontal telecommunications networks. Endnote6

A voluminous amount of information and numerous discussions about tactics and strategy for the armed militia and patriot movements moved across the Internet, appearing in Usenet newsgroup conferences such as <alt.conspiracy>, <talk.politics.guns>, <alt.sovereignty>, <misc.survivalism> and <alt.politics.usa.constitution>. Eventually a militia conference was established at <misc.activism.militia>. Information also appeared online at individual BBS’s set up by patriot and militia technophiles, tossed to multiple BBS’s through FidoNet and other messaging and echoing networks, and appeared in commercial online system discussion groups. Endnote7

Not all scapegoating conspiracist theories originate on the right. Alternative analysts who merge the rhetoric of the right and the left in their conspiracist diatribes include Linda Thompson, Mark Koernke, Sherman Skolnick, Dan Brandt, David Emory, Bob Fletcher, John Judge, and Ace Hayes. In a lengthy article on snowballing conspiracism in The New Yorker, Michael Kelly called this “fusion paranoia.” Endnote8 With the rise of “info-tainment” news programs and talk shows, hard right conspiracism, especially about alleged government misconduct, jumps into the corporate media with increasing regularity. Endnote9 As Kelly observes, “It is not remarkable that accusations of abuse of power should be leveled against Presidents–particularly in light of Vietnam, Watergate, and Iran-Contra. But now, in the age of fusion paranoia, there is no longer any distinction made between credible charges and utterly unfounded slanders.”

A-albionic Research describes itself as “A private network of researchers dedicated to identifying the nature of the ruling class/Conspiracy(ies).” A-albionic and the New Paradigms Project web page, <http:a-albionic.com>, are run by James H. Daugherty, a mail-order distributor of printed matter who believes the Vatican and British Empire are locked in a mortal battle for world control. Endnote10 Daugherty’s anti-Catholic bigotry tracks back to earlier allegations that the Pope was the antichrist. Endnote11

Conspiracist information circulates in online newsletters such as “Conspiracy Nation” by Brian Francis Redman, and “The People’s Spellbreaker” by John DiNardo. Glenda Stocks runs a computer information network pushing even more exotic theories. DiNardo’s The People’s Spellbreaker carries the flag motto “News They Never Told You…News They’ll Never Tell You.” The People’s Spellbreaker sometimes consists of transcripts of radio programs. In the following excerpt, the text is transcribed from “A World of Prophecy,” a conspiracist radio program hosted by Texe Marrs. The title was “New Currency: The Banksters’ Way To Rob Us Of Our Life Earnings.” Endnote12

TEXE MARRS:You know, most investment advisors don’t understand how the money system works. They don’t know of the problems being concocted by the New World Order. They don’t know the Illuminati conspiracies. And they simply cannot address these things. But I’ve got a gentleman on the line, and I’ll bet he has got some exciting information to give you. And keep in mind God’s prophetic word, and see how these things are working out. David Dennis, I’m so glad to have you on A WORLD OF PROPHECY.

DAVID DENNIS:

Well, I’m certainly glad to be on your show, Tex, and I bring the greetings of Lawrence Paterson. He asked me to say hello.

TEXE MARRS:

Well, good. I’m glad to hear from Lawrence Paterson. I get CRIMINAL POLITICS Magazine every month. I love to open that envelope and read that magazine. It’s one of the first things I grab ahold of when it comes in the mail. David, you’re the resident editor there.

One subject of interest is the new currency. You’re sort of ahead of your time. You’ve been warning us about a “two-tier dollar.” I’d like to get into that a little bit later. But what is this new money, this new currency?

DAVID DENNIS:

The new money actually was introduced not long ago. However, it might come as a surprise to all your listeners that the new money was NOT introduced here in the United States to our public. Rather, it was introduced in Moscow, [Russia] by the United States Treasury Department. And the idea was to have it serve as sort of a trial run, if you will. And, also, to let the Russian People know that the United States currency, which they depend so much on for value, will continue to be of value, even after this new currency comes on-line. So, it’s quite interesting that our new currency would not be discussed [or introduced] here in the U.S. first. Instead, it was introduced in Moscow to the Russian People.

TEXE MARRS:

That is just INCREDIBLE!

[rest of text deleted]

The information in this posting certainly is “INCREDIBLE!,” but is typical of the genre. Note the plug for Paterson’s conspiracist Criminal Politics newsletter and the mention of the Illuminati variation of the longstanding freemason conspiracist theory. Marrs is the author of a book on the Illuminati titled Dark Majesty: The Secret Brotherhood and the Magic of A Thousand Points of Light, described in an ad in the John Birch Society magazine as revealing “a secret society of grotesque rituals…whose symbol is the death’s head–the skull and bones…their plot has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.” Endnote13This apocalyptic tone is typical. Consider John DiNardo’s tag line to his posting:

I urge you to post the episodes of this ongoing series to other newsgroups, networks, computer bulletin boards and mailing lists. It is also important to post hardcopies on the bulletin boards in campus halls, churches, supermarkets, laundromats, etc.–any place where concerned citizens can read this vital information. Our people’s need for Paul Reveres and Ben Franklins is as urgent today as it was 220 years ago.

The most zealous sector of the hard right is the far right or ultra-right, which mixes scapegoating conspiracism with open race hate, fascism, and neonazism. Even in this sector their is a vigorous debate over policy.Endnote14 One online skinhead conference is dominated by neonazi skins, but attacked by anti-racist skins.Endnote15 The screed of Holocaust revisionists can be found posted in <alt.revisionism> where they are isolated by the majority of Internet netizens (citizens of cyber space) who wish to preserve intellectual freedom but refuse to allow Holocaust deniers even the smallest space to spread their views on other conferences. In <alt.revisionism> you can find the rebuttals to the deniers posted by online human rights activists such as Ken McVay, Jamie McCarthy, Danny Keren, and others. Ted Frank posted scores of carefully-researched rebuttals to hard right legal arguments on <alt.conspiracy>. Endnote16A few ultra-right participants manage to post messages in discussion groups on the commercial services such as America Online (AOL), sometimes suggesting the purchase by mail-order of specific anti-government books and pamphlets with innocuous-sounding titles. When the material arrives in the mail it is often accompanied with a list of other materials with white supremacist or antisemitic themes. This attempt to hide or encode overt race hate and antisemitism is a common tactic of the ultra-right. The following excerpt from the Pennsylvania-based Christian Posse Comitatus newsletter The Watchman was found on the home page of Stormfront: Endnote17

“Meet the torch with the torch; pillage with pillage; subjugation with extermination.”–Colonel William C. Quantrill

As we enter the fall season, which is incidentally the best time of the year to recruit new people, I feel it necessary to comment briefly on new developments nationally. I received a phone call this morning from an acquaintance who asked me if I would like to receive an interesting fax. I did and it regarded a newspaper article about a “Klanwatch” report. Joe Roy of Klan Watch alleges that more than thirty right-wing extremist groups are gathering information about governmental agencies and so-called civil rights groups. He fears that this intelligence will be used in a future terrorist campaign against these same agencies. This is also evidently the fear of many law enforcement agencies as I have been contacted by such officials who expressed their concern. My answer to them was that public servants are supposed to be afraid of the people, do…us no further harm and all will be well.

I regret that it does not appear that government learned this lesson in Oklahoma City. There is currently legislation pending that will effectively outlaw free speech and classify such organizations as Aryan Nations, militias and the Posse as terrorist organizations.

Prepare for the men and boys to be separated! I personally believe the militia movement to be a bunch of well-intentioned persons who have a bit to learn. It is all well and good to prepare for another Ruby Ridge or Waco but the belief that hundreds or even thousands of conventional soldiers will be able to stand down the United States Army is ludicrous. It also stands to reason that the feds are infiltrating the militias as they did the Klans in the 1960s. Use the militia movement as a place to spread the truth and to meet people but beware the agent provocateur. The militias are also filled with the ridiculous rhetoric about “black helicopters” and even “space aliens” controlling the government from a secret base in the desert and so on. The helicopters were green at Randy Weavers and at Waco and they were sent and operators by White traitors.

While there is yet a little time arm yourselves and prepare to face some very difficult decisions. Knowledge is power, go to the Gun shows and buy the how-to books and learn the art of war. Live free or die!

FOURTEEN WORDS!

An average reader might miss the neonazi subtext of this posting. The “Aryan Nations, militias and the Posse” are lumped together and portrayed only as victims of demonization whose free speech rights are threatened. The Aryan Nations and the Posse Comitatus promote Christian Identity, a vicious antisemitic religious philosophy that often overlaps with neonazi beliefs. The phrase “fourteen words” is a coded pro-Hitlerian reference to the phrase “To secure the existence of the white race and a future for our children.”Endnote18 Notice how the author derides the “ridiculous rhetoric” of conspiracism in the militias, but points out a real example of government infiltration. Endnote19The networking through alternative media implied in this text is as interesting as the ideological assumptions. A phone call leads to the receipt of a fax containing a facsimile of a text article. This in turn leads to an article in a print newsletter that is then posted on the Internet, and ends up on the Web home page of a sympathetic group in another state.

The gun shows mentioned are a major meeting place for patriot and revolutionary right activists, and while most attendees and display tables focus on weapons, a handful provide books, magazines, pamphlets, audiotapes, and videotapes servicing the armed hard right. Endnote20 At gun shows different tables have different selections based on ideological loyalty with tables featuring The New American magazine from the John Birch Society, videotapes of militia stars Linda Thompson and Mark Koernke, copies of the Spotlightnewspaper, and overt White supremacist and neonazi books. Endnote21

Radio is another vehicle for education and recruitment into various sectors of the hard right. Generic right-wing scapegoating theories are broadcast daily on mainstream commercial AM and FM, with programs featuring Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North, and G. Gordon Liddy, and scores of similar hosts. Much anti-government rhetoric flows back and forth on right-wing radio, and it helped create the mindset that led to the growth of the patriot and armed militia movements. Endnote22 Sometimes there is crossover, such as Colorado Springs AM radio host Chuck Baker interviewing Linda Thompson in August of 1994 about her plans for an armed march on Washington, DC to remove the “traitors” in Congress. Thompson later canceled the march and lost much credibility in the militia movement, but one Baker listener, Francisco Martin Duran, drove to the capital city in October and shot-up the White House. Endnote23

Major purveyors of right-wing conspiracist scapegoating in recent years have included radio personalities Tom Valentine, Chuck Harder, Craig Hulet, Mark Koernke, John Stadtmiller, Norm Resnick, William Cooper, Linda Thompson, Jack McLamb, Tom Donahue, and Bo Gritz. Sometimes right-wing populist radio shows introduce hard right ideologues as innocuous experts. On his “For The People” syndicated program, Chuck Harder once used notorious antisemite Eustace Mullins as an expert on the Federal Reserve. Harder’s newspaper, tied to the radio program, sold several Mullins’ books––including one claiming a Rothschild family Jewish banking conspiracy––for over a year. Yet Mullins did not sound antisemitic on the radio program. Harder stopped promoting Mullins after a listener documented Mullin’s beliefs. Endnote24

Many programs are part of elaborate information networks. For example, Paul Valentine hosts a daily talk show called “Radio Free America” (RFA), that is originally broadcast from WBDN 760 AM in Tampa, Florida. RFA is also broadcast on the shortwave band operated by World Wide Christian Radio (WWCR). Endnote25The RFA program is also carried by satellite into homes with receiving dishes. Endnote26 Most people are unaware that audio programs can arrive through a home satellite dish simply by turning off the video and tuning in a specific audio frequency. Audiotapes of RFA are sold through the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight newspaper which carries capsule descriptions of recent RFA programs in every issue accompanied with an order blank. Valentine is affiliated with the southern regional bureau of the Spotlight newspaper, but his on-air demeanor avoids hateful rhetoric.

World Wide Christian Radio (WWCR) carries more mainstream evangelical programs along with hard right programs broadcast on several shortwave frequencies. WWCR played a key role in networking and assisting the growth of the patriot and armed militia movements in 1994 and 1995, airing a program by Linda Thompson and the show “The Intelligence Report” hosted by Mark Koernke and John Stadtmiller, which was pulled off the air after the Oklahoma City bombing. A number of conspiracist radio programs are sponsored by precious metals commodities dealers and those selling gold and silver coins. The pitch is that precious metal is a secure investment to hedge against possible financial chaos and economic collapse that might deflate paper currency or cause bank failures. Endnote27 Shortwave listeners can also hear conspiracism and scapegoating from WRNO based in Louisiana, WINB from Pennsylvania, and several other stations.Endnote28 There are so many right-wing shortwave radio programs that a progressive shortwave radio station broadcasting out of Costa Rica, Radio for Peace International, has a radio program called “Far Right Radio Review” devoted exclusively to monitoring and discussing the rightwing broadcasts.

Another emerging alternative media, fax networks and fax trees, were used extensively by the armed militia movement in its formative stages and continue to be utilized by the hard right including the far right. The Spotlight featured a cover story on how rightwing populists in New Jersey had distributed fliers and faxes opposing a proposed state environmental law. According to The Spotlight, “Virtually overnight hundreds of thousands of copies of the flier appeared as if by magic on bulletin boards, store windows and fax machines throughout the state.” The flier was circulated in part through a fax hotline operated by northern New Jersey resident Franklin Reich. Endnote29


Endnote1

Daniel Junas, “Rise of the Citizen Militias: Angry White Guys with Guns,” CovertAction Quarterly, spring 1995; Chip Berlet & Matthew N. Lyons; “Militia Nation,” The Progressive, June 1995, pp. 22-25; Kenneth S. Stern, A Force Upon the Plain: The American Militia Movement and the Politics of Hate, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Endnote2

See Brian E. Albrecht, “Hate Speech,” The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), June 11, 1995, pp. 1, 16-17.

Endnote3

Eric Ward, ed., Conspiracies: Real Greivances, Paranoia, and Mass Movements, (Seattle: Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment [Peanut Butter Publishing], 1996). On Protocols, see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide, (New York: Harper & Row, 1969).

Endnote4

On nativist roots, Ray Allen Billington, The Origins of Nativism in the United States 1800-1844 (New York: Arno Press Inc., 1974); John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism 1860-1925 (New York: Atheneum, 1972).; David H. Bennett, The Party of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement, (New York: Vintage Books, 1995, (1988)). Richard Hofstadter, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” in The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965); David Brion Davis, “Some Themes of Counter-Subversion: An Analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic, and Anti-Mormon Literature,” in Davis, ed., The Fear of Conspiracy, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1971), pp. 9-22.

Endnote5

On Perot’s online support, author’s monitoring of political postings on the Internet and various BBS conferences. On libertarian influence on cyber-culture, conversation with Paulina Borsook 11/96 based on her forthcoming book.

Endnote6

Some of my research into the right online was to prepare for an interview by Grant Kester that appeared as “Net Profits: Chip Berlet Tracks Computer Networks of the Religious Right,” in Afterimage, Feb./March 1995, pp. 8-10.

Endnote7

A BBS in its simplest form is a single computer hooked to a phone line through a modem that allows offsite computer users with a modem to connect through a phone line to a menu-driven list of information and messages. More elaborate BBS’s can handle multiple phone lines, and some are networked through systems such as FidoNet or linked into the Internet.

Endnote8

Michael Kelly, “The Road to Paranoia,” The New Yorker, June 19, 1995, pp. 60-70.

Endnote9

Kelly, in his New Yorker article, writes of this seepage phenomenon from alternative to mainstream in terms of conspiracist anti-government allegations.

Endnote10

David McHugh “Conspiracy Theories Grow,”Detroit Free Press, 4/29/95, p. 1A.

Endnote11

Davis, The Fear of Conspiracy, pp. 9-22.

Endnote12

From “A World of Prophecy,” hosted by Texe Marrs, broadcast over WWCR, 5.065 Megahertz shortwave, December 23, 1995, 8:00 P.M. EST. Downloaded in late 1995 from <alt.conspiracy> and posted to private e-mail list of persons studying far right. Original posting by John DiNardo. Spelling corrected as a courtesy.

Endnote13

Ad for Texe Marrs, Dark Majesty: The Secret Brotherhood and the Magic of A Thousand Points of Light in The New American, 10/5/92, p. 41.

Endnote14

Betty A. Dobratz and Stephanie Shanks-Meile, “Conflict in the White Supremacist/Racialist Movement in the United States, International Journal of Group Tensions, Vol. 25, No. 1, 1995, pp. 57-75.

Endnote15

In the US many skinheads are culturally identified youth rebels who are not explicilty racist, and in some cases are actively anti-racist.

Endnote16

Rebuttals to Holocaust deniers is collected globally at <http://www.nizkor.org>.

Endnote17

Newsletter from fall 1995, located and downloaded in early 1996 and posted on private e-mail list for persons studying the far right. Stormfront homepage was at the time: <http://www2.stormfront.org/watchman/watch-on.html>.

Endnote18

According to the Coalition for Human Dignity, the phrase “fourteen words” is a coded white supremacist greeting that originated with David Lane, a member of the neonazi Order. Another coded phrase is “88,” representing the eighth letter in the alphabet as in “HH” for “Heil Hitler.”

Endnote19

Although the FBI infiltrated some ultra-right groups during the 1960’s and ’70’s, it also formed alliances with the paramilitary right to infiltrate left and people-of-color groups which sometimes faced extralegal and sometimes lethal repression not experienced by the right until the 1980’s. See for example: Frank J. Donner, The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America’s Political Intelligence System (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980); Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall. Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement, (Boston: South End Press, 1988); Kenneth O’Reilly, “Racial Matters:” The FBI’s Secret File on Black America, 1960–1972, (New York: Free Press, 1988); Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall. COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States, (Boston: South End Press, 1989); Brian Glick, War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It, (Boston: South End Press, 1989).

Endnote20

Kristen Rand, “Gun Shows in America: Tupperware® Parties for Criminals,” Violence Policy Center, 1996.

Endnote21

Author’s visit to gun shows in Ohio and Massachusetts.

Endnote22

Leslie Jorgensen, “AM Armies,” pp. 20-22 and Larry Smith, “Hate Talk,” p. 23, Extra! March/April 1995. Ed Vulliamy, “Clinton Tackles the Mighty Right,” The Observer (London) April 30, 1995, p. 16. Steve Lipsher, “The Radical Right,” The Denver Post, January 22, 1995, p. 1.

Endnote23

Jorgensen, Ibid.

Endnote24

Marc Cooper, “The Paranoid Style,”The Nation, April 10, 1995, pp. 486-492. William H. Freivogel, “Talking Tough On 300 Radio Stations, Chuck Harder’s Show Airs Conspiracy Theories,” St. Louis Post Dispatch, May 10, 1995, p. 5B.

Endnote25

Through 1996 at shortwave band 5.065 kHz .

Endnote26

Satcom1, transponder 15, audio channel 7.56.

Endnote27

David McHugh and Nancy Costello, “Radio host off the air; militia chief may be out,” Detroit Free Press, 4/29/95, p. 6A.

Endnote28

The author monitors far-right shortwave broadcasts on a Radio Shack DX-390. See also James Latham, “The Rise of Far-Right/Hate Programming on the Shortwave Bands,” Vista (Radio for Peace International), Oct. 1994, pp. 2-4. Contact RFPI, POB 20728, Portland, OR 97220.

Endnote29

The Spotlight, 12/11/95, p. 1.

David Horowitz’s New Incendiary Campaign Targeting US Campuses

Political provocateur David Horowitz is bottom feeding off the tropes of the Trump campaign about liberal “political correctness” in the latest desperate attempt by Horowitz to raise funds for his loathsome foundation. As in the past Horowitz is taking the serious issue of bigotry on US college campuses and using right-wing incendiary language to focus on the issue in a one-sided way. The campaign is part of the “David Horowitz Freedom Center,” an Orwellian self-aggrandizing name for a group that dispenses right-wing propaganda and is supporting the Trump campaign.

Horowitz has announced a fall campaign to expose and shame the “Hamas-loving Jew haters at American universities” who Horowitz says “defy the rules of political correctness.” This latter reference parasitizes a major theme of the Republican Right in the current election campaign—although it is unclear what Horowitz actually means with this rhetorical bait. (Read more about so-called “Political Correctness” as used by candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence here)

According to Horowitz, it is “liberal academics” who cheer on the “Hamas-loving Jew haters,” “Jew-hating anti-Israel students,” and “liberal progressive allies in academia” who want to “end free speech and humiliate and harass Jewish students.”

The solution is to send money to Horowitz’s Freedom Center, according to a mid-August 2016 fundraising letter signed by Horowitz, who claims “…Jews face hatred like no other group on campus, with anti-Semitic student groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) that torture and humiliate students for their Jewish faith and support for Israel.”

There is antisemitism on US college campuses, just as there is Islamophobia, White racism, and bigotry against the LGBTQ community. Many college administrators are attempting to intervene in acts of bigotry that step outside the bounds of the open debate encouraged on US campuses. It’s a precarious situation balancing free speech and protection for all students.

One national group, The Justus and Karin Rosenberg Foundation, provides model program information to combat antisemitism while defending civil liberties. The foundation explains itself in this paragraph on its home page:

==The Justus and Karin Rosenberg Foundation works to combat – and to increase the serious study of – hatred and antisemitism. We emphasize projects that impact high school and college age students. We also help students engage difficult issues like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and learn how strong passions may influence thinking. Our projects must be consistent with, and ideally should promote, academic freedom.

Compare this calm rhetoric guarding free speech with that of Horowitz:

===Jew-hating professors across the country shut down debate in classrooms, demonize Israel, and push pro-Hamas propaganda in the classrooms. And last year it seemed to reach a fever pitch….We will find out who the student and faculty supporters of these Jew hating, pro-Hamas student groups are on a dozen hand-picked campuses across America – and put their names on posters that we will circulate when classes start in September….Our goal is to force the press to cover our efforts, exposing cowardly university administrators and forcing universities to stop funding hateful anti-Semitic and pro-jihadi groups.

The endless inflammatory and one-sided rhetoric of Horowitz is one reason he was singled out as not a constructive voice in confronting antisemitism and Islamophobia on US college campuses in the report I edited for Political Research Associates.

I fairness to Horowitz, I present below a partial list of his various projects for your perusal, all of which can be inspected at this Freedom Center page:

Tools of Fear: Dynamics of Bigotry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conspiracism as a Form of Scapegoating

An Introduction Johnson’s Five Rules of Conspiracism

Scapegoating

    • Scapegoating as Ideological Weapon
    • Dehumanization and Demonization
    • The Scapegoat
    • Constructing the Enemy as Scapegoat
    • Social Psychology
    • Scapegoating in Society
    • Some Examples
    • The Role of the Demagogue
    • Totalitarianism

 

Conspiracism

    • The Dynamics of Conspiracism
    • Conspiracism as Scapegoating
    • Conspiracism and Apocalypticism
    • Conspiracism and Countersubversion
    • Conspiracism and Social Conflict
    • Conspiracism and “Secret Elites”
    • Conspiracism as Parody of Institutional Analysis
    • The Political Assumptions of Conspiracism
    • Conspiracism and Right-Wing Populism

 

Populism

    • Rethinking Populism
      • Agrarian populism:
      • Political populism:
    • Right-Wing Populism
    • Populism as Core Element of Fascism

 

Propaganda & Deception

      • Flaws of Logic, Fallacies of Debate
      • Techniques of the Propagandist

The Sucker Punch Series

Visit our other pages relating to conspiracism:

New Internationalist Background Research

New Internationalist

The Complete Interviews

  • Michael Barkun
  • Brenda E. Brasher
  • G. William Domhoff
  • Mark Fenster
  • Robert Alan Goldberg
  • Evan Harrington
  • Sonali Kolhatkar
  • Lee Quinby
  • Penny Rosenwasser
  • Holly Sklar

Books by G. William Domhoff

Other Resources

  • The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
  • Freemasons and the Illuminati
  • The Lyndon LaRouche Network
    • Justice for Jeremiah Duggan
  • Hate and Ethnoviolence
  • More on Antisemitism

Systems of Oppression

  • Understanding Systems of Oppression
  • Antisemitism
  • Christian Right & Theocracy
  • Government Misconduct
  • Hate and Ethnoviolence
  • Heterosexism & Homophobia
  • Racism & Xenophobia
  • Sexism & Reproductive Rights
  • Dynamics of Bigotry
    • Apocalyptic Dualism
    • Scapegoating & Conspiracism

What to Do!

  • Defending Democracy & Diversity
  • Building Equality
  • Get Involved

Conspiracism and Social Conflict

Conspiracism needs a conflict to flourish–some indigestion in the body politic for which the conspiracist seeks causation so that blame can be affixed. As Davis observes sympathetically, most countersubversives “were responding to highly disturbing events; their perceptions, even when wild distortions of reality, were not necessarily unreasonable interpretations of available information.”[1] The interpretations, however, were inaccurate, frequently hysterical, and created havoc.

Since conspiracist thinking flourishes during periods of political, economic, or cultural transformation, Davis observed that “[c]ollective beliefs in conspiracy have usually embodied or given expression to genuine social conflict.”[2] Davis identified four primary categories of persons who join conspiracist countersubversive movements:

  • Persons who are “defenders of threatened establishments;”
  • Persons being displaced, “put in new positions of dependency,” or facing oppression;
  • Persons with “anxieties over social or cultural change;” and,
  • Persons who see “foreign revolution or tyrannical reaction,” and who search for “domestic counterparts on the assumption that fires may be avoided if one looks for flying sparks.”

When people are mobilizing in defense of disproportionate privilege and power, they often devise rationalizations that divert attention from their underlying self interest. Scapegoating in the form of conspiracist scapegoating can provide the needed protective coloration. No matter what the form, Conspiracist rhetoric in mass movements emerges as a response to concrete power struggles.

Although the specific allegations about the plots and plans by the alleged conspirators frequently are complex–even Byzantine–the ultimate model is still simple: the good people must expose and stop the bad people, and then conflict will end, grievances will be resolved, and everything will be just fine. Conspiracist thinking is thus an action-oriented worldview which holds out to believers the possibility of change. As Kathleen M. Blee has observed through interviews with women in White racist groups, “Conspiracy theories not only teach that the world is divided into an empowered “them” and a less powerful “us” but also suggest a strategy by which the “us” (ordinary people, the non-conspirators) can challenge and even usurp the authority of the currently-powerful.”[3] Thus conspiracist scapegoating fills a need for explanations among the adherents by providing a simple model of good versus evil in which the victory over evil is at least possible.

[1] Ibid.

[2] Davis, Fear of Conspiracy, p. xiv.

[3] Kathleen M. Blee, “Engendering Conspiracy: Women in Rightist Theories and Movements,” in in Eric Ward, ed., Conspiracies: Real Greivances, Paranoia, and Mass Movements, (Seattle: Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment [Peanut Butter Publishing], 1996).

Conspiracism and Countersubversion

When conspiracism becomes a mass phenomenon, persons seeking to protect the nation from the alleged conspiracy of subversives gnawing away at the entrails of the society form counter movements—thus the term countersubversion.

David Brion Davis noted that movements to counter the “threat of conspiratorial subversion acquired new meaning in a nation born in revolution and based on the sovereignty of the people,” and that in the US,” crusades against subversion have never been the monopoly of a single social class or ideology, but have been readily appropriated by highly diverse groups.”[i]

Frank Donner perceived an institutionalized culture of countersubversion in the United States “marked by a distinct pathology: conspiracy theory, moralism, nativism, and suppressiveness.”[ii] This countersubversion hysteria is linked to government attempts to disrupt and crush dissident social movements in the United States.[iii] Conspiracists in the government and private sector periodically create a “countersubversive” apparatus as a response to dissent. The FBI’s counterintelligence program of illegally spying on and disrupting dissidents from the 1950s to the 1970s, dubbed COINTELPRO, is an example of an operational conspiracy ironically based on a conspiracist worldview that suspected widespread subversion by leftists.

Davis points out that:

===”genuine conspiracies have seldom been as dangerous or as powerful as have movements of countersubversion. The exposer of conspiracies necessarily adopts a victimized, self-righteous tone which masks his own meaner interests as well as his share of responsibility for a given conflict. Accusations of conspiracy conceal or justify one’s own provocative acts and thus contribute to individual or national self-deception. Still worse, they lead to overreactions, particularly to degrees of suppressive violence which normally would not be tolerated.”[iv]

The most influential conspiracist theory in the US during the twentieth century was the fear of the Red Menace. Donner argued that the unstated yet actual primary goal of surveillance and political intelligence gathering by state agencies and their countersubversive allies is not amassing evidence of illegal activity for criminal prosecutions, but punishing critics of the status quo or the state in order to undermine movements for social change.

A major tool used to justify the anti–democratic activities of the intelligence establishment is propaganda designed to create fear of a menace by an alien outsider. The timeless myth of the enemy “other” assuages ethnocentrist hungers with servings of fresh scapegoats. As Donner noted: “In a period of social and economic change during which traditional institutions are under the greatest strain, the need for the myth is especially strong as a means of transferring blame, an outlet for the despair [people] face when normal channels of protest and change are closed.”[v]

Conspiracism and Social

[i] Davis, Fear of Conspiracy, pp. xv–xvi.

[ii] Donner, Age, p. 10.

[iii] In addition to discussions of repression in Bennett, Levin, Donner, Higham, Preston, and Rogin, see also Robert J. Goldstein, Political Repression in Modern America, 1870 to Present, 2nd edition, (Rochester VT: Schenkman Books, Inc. , 1978); Athan Theoharis, Spying on Americans: Political Surveillance from Hoover to the Huston Plan, (Philadelphia, Pa: Temple University Press, 1978); Kenneth O’Reilly, Hoover and the Unamericans: The FBI, HUAC and the Red Menace, (Philadelphia, Pa: Temple University Press, 1983); Athan G. Theoharis and John Stuart Cox, The Boss: J. Edgar Hoover and the Great American Inquisition, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988); Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall. Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement, (Boston: South End Press, 1988); Kenneth O’Reilly, ‘Racial Matters:’ The FBI’s Secret File on Black America, 1960—1972, (New York: Free Press, 1988); Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall. COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States, (Boston: South End Press, 1989).

[iv] Davis, Fear of Conspiracy, p. 361.

[v] Donner, Age, p. 11.

How Conspiracism and Apocalypticism are Linked

In Western culture, conspiracist narratives are significantly  influenced by metaphors from Biblical apocalyptic prophesy. Stephen O’Leary in Arguing the Apocalypse contends that the process of demonization is central to all forms of conspiracist thinking.[i] Leonard Zeskind argues it is impossible to analyze the contemporary political right, without understanding the “all-powerful cosmology of diabolical evil.”[ii] To Zeskind, conspiracy theories are “essentially theologically constructed views of events. Conspiracy theories are renderings of a metaphysical devil which is trans-historical, omnipotent, and destructive of God’s will on earth. This is true even for conspiracy theories in which there is not an explicit religious target.”[iii]

  1. L. Gardner points out that many current “conspiracy theories directed against the government are part of a rhetorical strategy genuinely intended to undermine state power and government authority,” but this occurs in a “metaphysical context” in which “those in control are implicated in a Manichean struggle of absolute good against absolute evil. That they are the agents of the devil is proved by the very fact that they control a corrupt system.”[iv] The fear of a subversive conspiracy to create a collectivist “one world government” is rooted in this religious apocalyptic view, but now spans a continuum of beliefs from religious to secular.

The narrative of most conspiracist thinking is that the government is controlled by a relatively small secret elite. This fits the general paradigm of scapegoating because despite the actual size of the government and the power of the state, the conspiracists picture a handful of secret elites manipulating behind the scenes–a tiny cabal who would be no match for the sovereign “We The People” mobilized against them.

Conspiracism and countersubversion manifest themselves in degrees. “It might be possible, given sufficient time and patience,” writes David Brion Davis, “to rank movements of countersubversion on a scale of relative realism and fantasy,”[v] The distance from reality and logic the conspiracist analysis drifts can range from modest to maniacal.

[i] O’Leary, Arguing the Apocalypse, pp. 20-60.

[ii] Zeskind, “Some Ideas on Conspiracy Theories,” p. 16; see also, pp. 11, 13-15, 16-17.

[iii] Ibid., 13-14.

[iv] S. L. Gardiner, “Social Movements, Conspiracy Theories and Economic Determinism: A Response to Chip Berlet,” in Ward, Conspiracies, p. 83.

[v] Davis, Fear of Conspiracy, p. xiv.

What is Conspiracism?

There are conspiracies throughout history,
but history is not governed by conspiracies

Conspiracism is a way to view power relationships in the world that does not rely on verifiable facts or logic

Jump to the list of pages on conspiracism and conspiracy theories
(Conspiracy Theory Generator – Create your own)
See book covers of conspiracist books in English
See also: What is Antisemitism?

It is very effective to mobilize mass support against a scapegoated enemy by claiming that the enemy is part of a vast insidious conspiracy against the common good. The conspiracist worldview sees secret plots by tiny cabals of evildoers as the major motor powering important historical events; makes irrational leaps of logic in analyzing factual evidence in order to “prove” connections, blames social conflicts on demonized scapegoats, and constructs a closed metaphysical worldview that is highly resistant to criticism.[i]

When conspiracist scapegoating occurs, the results can devastate a society, disrupting rational political discourse and creating targets who are harassed and even murdered. Dismissing the conspiracism often found in right-wing populism as irrational extremism, lunatic hysteria, or marginalized radicalism does little to challenge these movements, fails to deal with concrete conflicts and underlying institutional issues, invites government repression, and sacrifices the early targets of the scapegoaters on the altar of denial. An effective response requires a more complex analysis.

The Dynamics of Conspiracism

The dynamic of conspiracist scapegoating is remarkably predictable. Persons who claim special knowledge of a plot warn their fellow citizens about a treacherous subversive conspiracy to attack the common good. What’s more, the conspiracists announce, the plans are nearing completion, so that swift and decisive action is needed to foil the sinister plot. In different historical periods, the names of the scapegoated villains change, but the essentials of this conspiracist worldview remain the same.[ii]

George Johnson explained that “conspiratorial fantasies are not simply an expression of inchoate fear. There is a shape, an architecture, to the paranoia.” Johnson came up with five rules common to the conspiracist worldview in the United States:[iii]

“The conspirators are internationalist in their sympathies.

“[N]othing is ever discarded. Right-wing mail order bookstores still sell the Protocols of the Elders of Zion…[and] Proofs of a Conspiracy [from the late 1700’s].

“Seeming enemies are actually secret friends. Through the lens of the conspiracy theorists, capitalists and Communists work hand in hand.

“The takeover by the international godless government will be ignited by the collapse of the economic system.

“It’s all spelled out in the Bible. For those with a fundamentalist bent, the New World Order or One World Government is none other than the international kingdom of the Antichrist, described in the Book of Revelation.

Conspiracism can occur as a characteristic of mass movements, between sectors in an intra–elite power struggle, or as a justification for state agencies to engage in repressive actions. Conspiracist scapegoating is woven deeply into US culture and the process appears not just on the political right but in center and left constituencies as well.[iv] There is an entrenched network of conspiracy–mongering information outlets spreading dubious stories about public and private figures and institutions. They use media such as printed matter, the internet, fax trees, radio programs, videotapes and audiotapes.[v]

[i] Although they often disagree with my conclusions, my thinking on conspiracism has been shaped by comments and critiques from S. L. Gardiner, Loretta Ross, and Leonard Zeskind.

[ii] Higham, Strangers, pp. 3-11; Hofstadter, Paranoid Style, pp. 3-40; Davis, Fear of Conspiracy, pp. xv-xviii; Bennett, Party of Fear, pp. 1-16; George Johnson, Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics, (Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1983), pp. 17-30.

[iii] George Johnson, “The Conspiracy That Never Ends,” The New York Times, 4/30/95, Sec. 4; p. 5. The full text of Johnson’s rules is longer and far more erudite and entertaining.

[iv] On Christian right fears of a liberal secular humanist conspiracy, see Chip Berlet and Margaret Quigley, “Theocracy & White Supremacy: Behind the Culture War to Restore Traditional Values,” chapter in Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash, Chip Berlet, ed. (Boston, South End Press, 1995) p. 60–61; On growing right/left conspiracism, see Michael Kelly, “The Road to Paranoia,” The New Yorker, June 19, 1995, pp. 60–70; Janet Biehl, ”Militia Fever: The Fallacy of “Neither Left nor Right,” Green Perspectives, A Social Ecology Publication, Number 37, April 1996; Michael Albert, “Conspiracy?…Not!,” Venting Spleen column, Z Magazine, Jan., 1992, pp. 17–19; Michael Albert, “Conspiracy?…Not, Again,” Venting Spleen column, Z Magazine, May,. 1992, pp. 86–88.

[v] Kintz & Lesage, Culture, Media, and the Religious Right. Detailed articles on the general theme of right-wing media can be found in Afterimage (Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY), special issue on “Fundamentalist Media,” 22:7&8, Feb./March 1995; and Extra! (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), special issue on “The Right-Wing Media Machine,” March/April 1995. Jim Danky and John Cherney, “Beyond Limbaugh: The Hard Right’s Publishing Spectrum,” Reference Services Review, Spring 1996, pp. 43-56. For radio conspiracism, see Leslie Jorgensen, “AM Armies,” pp. 20–22 and Larry Smith, “Hate Talk,” p. 23, Extra! March/April 1995; Marc Cooper, “The Paranoid Style,” The Nation, April 10, 1995, pp. 486–492; William H. Freivogel, “Talking Tough On 300 Radio Stations, Chuck Harder’s Show Airs Conspiracy Theories,” St. Louis Post Dispatch, May 10, 1995, p. 5B; David McHugh and Nancy Costello, “Radio host off the air; militia chief may be out,” Detroit Free Press, 4/29/95, p. 6A; Far Right Radio Review online at <http://www.clark.net/pub/cwilkins/rfpi/frwr.html>. For Internet, see: Devin Burghardt, “Cyberh@te: A Reappraisal,” The Dignity Report (Coalition for Human Dignity), Fall, 1996, pp. 12–16;. A regularly updated list of links to web pages of various groups on the right is posted by Political Research Associates. at <http://www.publiceye.org/lnk_dem.html> and by Hatewatch at <http://hatewatch.org>.