Imagine if tomorrow, a space ship descends to earth, hovering over some part of the United States. At some point, when the eyes of the world are fixed on the event, the ship lands and out pops a bunch of aliens. These aliens are able to speak to the people of earth in a way that everyone can understand them. They explain where they are from and that earth is just one of many planets with sentient life. Further, most of the people in charge of earth are aliens sent to run things while the talking monkeys get up to speed.
For a fuller presentation of this concept, you can watch the John Carpenter movie, They Live. One thing I liked about that movie, is that when people realized the truth, they were stunned and confused. Paranoia immediately set in as they tried to reorient themselves to the new reality. That’s what would happen in the above scenario. Suddenly confronted by the truth, everyone would know most of what they have been told was a lie. That would lead to questioning of everything else, then mass paranoia and fear.
Something like this happened in revolutionary France. Instead of space aliens, they got a collapse of the old order. Feudalism had been under great strain due to the new economics of the age. Trade and the beginning of the industrial age challenged the old economic system. There was also the rampant corruption in the French economic system that was slowing bankrupting the government. The King was not just broke. Massive borrowing to keep the system running had made the system insolvent.
The French Revolution was not just a money issue. Within one year, the King went from being god-like to merely a citizen. That was not a small thing. Symbolism is an important part of the normal rhythms of human society. The social order of France was built upon the King having a divine right to rule. Once the king became just another guy, the whole system stopped making sense. It was a short trip from there to conspiracies about the aristocrats plotting against the people. The result was the Great Fear.
That has been coming to mind often of late. My twitter feed is full of posts that can be charitably described as batshit crazy. Scan through the news and you see “reports” that range from the ridiculous to the deranged. I don’t have a Faceberg account, but I’m told that all sorts of crackpot stories are popping up there too. I’ve had to reconfigure my news reading in order to filter out the crazy rumors and made up nonsense. It feels like the wheels have come off the cart and we live in a world of nonsense.
The reason, I suspect, is the growing awareness that much of what we have taken for granted is, at the minimum, not what it appears to be. The open hostility of so-called conservatives toward the people they claim to represent, for example, has been quite an eye-opener for a lot of people. You don’t have to be a red-pilled conspiracy monger to think the whole conservative movement was just a money scam all along.
That also means the Republican Party was something other than a good faith attempt to counter the other party. When prominent leaders in the party appear to be backing the other party’s candidate, the system does look rigged. It’s not hard to imagine what these people are saying when the cameras and microphones are off. Throw in some leaked e-mails that seem to conform people’s worst fears and it is not surprising that the peasants are getting a bit paranoid about the ruling class.
The shenanigans in the news media has breached that wall in our minds that separates bias from conspiracy. When allegedly solid opinion polls swing by a dozen points in a few days, it is not unreasonable to wonder if they were fraudulent all along. The revelations in WikiLeaks has made clear that it is not just bias. It is an organized effort by our “news media” to fool people on behalf of the government party. Rigging the debates by feeding Clinton the questions is a pretty big deal.
Just this week we have learned that the FBI and the DOJ may very well be colluding in order to conceal very serious crimes by the Clinton Family from the public. Seeing that the current FBI director let the Clintons off the hook 15 years ago, when he was tasked with investigating them, naturally makes people think the whole system is rotten and corrupt. When people see e-mails from the Clinton campaign chair revealing that he is best buddies with the Feds, it tends to confirm and amplify their suspicions.
Probably the biggest blow to public trust has been the revelation regarding the Clinton Foundation and the shenanigans involved in covering up what looks like very serious crimes. Everyday we get new stories that make a Hollywood thriller sound pedestrian. All of a sudden, the conspiracy guys don’t sound so nutty as their theories are playing out in the news. If the Feds can accidentally find a laptop that brings down the Clinton Crime Family, name a cloak and dagger scenario that is still implausible?
We are in a period where no one takes anything in the news at face value, but lots of people are willing to accept all sorts of outlandish rumors. After all, the crackpots and conspiracy nuts have been right a lot lately. When every scandal starts with WikiLeaks or some anonymous tweet, it is not unreasonable to pay more attention to that stuff than the main stream media, which is often working to conceal these stories. You cannot blame people for being a bit paranoid, given what we see happening.