>:Personally I think the appeal of conspiracy theories is that it makes our
>enemes seem more evil if they are supposed to know that they are doing wrong
>and still gleefully agree to do it. But this is a deeply anti-materialist
>perspective. Materialism tells us to look for structures that constrain
>interests, not for bad people. The system is an awful one, to be sure. But it
>is not awful because the Czar is advised by corrupt ministers. It is awful
>because of the sort of system it is.
I agree with Justin. Conspiracy theorists massively overrate the extent to which the ruling class rules. For the most part capitalism is a spontaneously reproducing system.
The rise in conspiracy theories is proportionate to the decline in political engagement. The less control we feel over our own lives the more willing we are to believe that someone more powerful is pulling the strings.
The scene in Apocalypse Now where Martin Sheen asks 'who's in charge?' and the GI replies 'I thought you were' is a more accurate picture of how most government runs.
OF course government's do promote all kinds of absurd and vicious intrusions into people's lives, but generally on the basis of trying to deal with a society they have no idea of how to control.
An example is the UK government's response to the Princess Diana grieving. Having all had a weekend seminar by psychologist Oliver James on public grief, the govt. were fast off the starting line when it came to associating themselves with this outbreak of mawkishness. But they are no more in control of it than anyone else.
-- Jim heartfield