Conspiracy theories

David Aaronovitch decided to write a book on conspiracy theories (Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History) after he met a cameraman in Tunisia while filming a BBC program who told him that the moon landings had been faked. Aaronovitch’s book is very interesting and describes many conspiracy theories such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the assassinations of Kennedy, Monroe and Diana etc. The internet of course is a hotbed of conspiracy theories – I wish those people peddling such nonsense tried to understand Ockham’s Razor. Some people clearly think that the whole world is one big conspiracy.

Let me make a prediction for a new conspiracy theory. That there was a gigantic cover up of the nuclear disaster in Japan and tens of thousands of people died as a result. Yes, they will forget the earthquake and tsunami and blame the deaths on a nuclear catastrophe. Because people like to blame someone for an accident: it must be someone’s fault (a conspiracy) rather than a natural disaster (hence claims that AGW will lead to more disasters so that we can blame people for opposing action on climate change for the deaths resulting from the natural disasters).

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154 Responses to Conspiracy theories

  1. C.L.

    The grassy knoll brigade’s take on the Giffords shooting surely constitutes the Protocols of our time.

    It’s a busy field, though, with Bob Brown claiming coal companies caused the floods, Al Gore blaming Hurricane Katrina on Bush and Dr Pachauri now insisting that Big Oil SPECTRE Blofelds caused the Japanese earthquake.

  2. Capitalist Piggy

    How about that silly “World Govt” conspiracy?

    Except:
    “It should be forbidden for euro zone countries to have the possibility of failing, to default or restructure their debt,” Bini Smaghi, one of the ECB’s most influential policymakers, said in the text of a speech to be given at Lucca’s Institute of Advanced Studies…

    “A way to ensure discipline is effectively binding consists of devolving, to a euro zone supranational body, the power to issue bonds for the member countries.”

  3. rog

    And then there is the one about the UN be a cover for global socialism and another one about how all the climate scientists have conspired to falsify evidence to get bigger grants and on it goes.

  4. Myrddin Seren

    Hah !

    Trying to throw the interwebbie Searchers-for-Truth off the Japan Nuclear Conspiracy with the old Double Reverse Conspiracy Trick, eh Samuel J ?

    Or is that ‘Agent J’ ??

    Right – where’s Steve when you need him ???

  5. Steve Edney

    I’m sure Bird said once that occam’s razor doesn’t work for human conspiracies, but he would say that wouldn’t he.

  6. C.L.

    …the UN… a cover for global socialism and another one about how all the climate scientists have conspired to falsify evidence to get bigger grants and on it goes.

    That’s actually accepted history, Rog. Except that the UN doesn’t bother with “cover” and not all ‘climate scientists’ falsified evidence. Some of them, like Tim Flannery, are motivated by purely religious impulses and genuinely believe what they espouse.

  7. Aqualung

    Note to self:

    That Samuel J knows too much.

  8. Everyone knows Elvis left the building in a black helicopter piloted by aliens.

  9. Rococo Liberal

    There’s also “climate deniers are in the pay of big oil” conspiracy theory.

    The problem with Rog’s suggestion is that those who say that a clique of corrupt scientists have railroaded willing governments into a belief in AGW are telling the truth. The Climategate emails demonstrate that truth beyond a reasonable probability.

  10. C.L.

    John Kwiggin’s big on tobacconist conspiracies. Not sure on the details. Benson & Hedges back climate ‘scepticism’ so as to cash in on the frazzled nerves of a doomed populace. Something like that.

  11. rog

    See, truth is just another conspiracy theory.

  12. rog

    The theory that the fail safe design of the reactor failed to keep safe is just another conspiracy theory, people need to man up and accept that some of us aren’t going to live as long as we would wish for. It was just an accident.

  13. Annabelle

    “the climate scientists have conspired to falsify evidence to get bigger grants and on it goes”

    You have read the ClimateGate emails, haven’t you?

  14. rog

    You guys just don’t get irony.

  15. jtfsoon

    quodge
    being smart doesn’t become you

  16. Rodney

    There are 2 theories of everything the conspiracy theory and the stuff-up theory.
    Of course the stuff-ups simply demonstate how devious the conspiracy really is.

  17. Infidel Tiger

    Catallaxy has it’s very own mystery/conspiracy theory: The overnight change in commenter “rog”. One day a Howard worshiping, anti-green, whale hunter with a job. The next day a whining, unemployed socialist bed-wetter.

  18. Myrddin Seren

    Proto-rog was obviously abducted by Greys, probed mercilessly and returned in order to undermine the Catalliaxian Resistance.

    Fess up Pseudo-rog !

  19. Jc

    That’s no theory IT

    He met geoff on thursday had his sex change on friday and came out as full on doctors wife on Monday . Thats proven fact.

    Quodge show IT your implants please

  20. rog

    You could do well to get your own house in order, Jason.

  21. jtfsoon

    not in need of your building services, quodge. oh wait, i forgot, you folded during the boom

  22. Peter Patton

    All that Protocols anti-Joo stuff is actually taught in schools right throughout the Arab world, probably beyond as well.

  23. daddy dave

    the one about the UN be a cover for global socialism

    I don’t think it’s ‘socialist’ but it’s certainly corrupt.

  24. Mmmmm… seems to me if you take Ockham’s Razor to the Kennedy assassination or the collapse of the Twin Towers the official findings seem to be left a bit wanting.

    They both depend on freak physics. 🙂

  25. C.L.

    Bolt quotes a conspiracy as fresh as today.

    It’s from a GetUp! mail-out:

    As a climate champion, you know what we’re up against. Ultra-rightwing politicians, millionaire radio shock-jocks and corporate polluter lobbyists are trying to engineer a dangerous lie – that Australians are mobilised against climate action.

  26. C.L.

    I agree re Kennedy, Adrien. Ockham’s Razor must slice and dice the idea that this bloke who defected to Russia and then came back and shot the President was ‘acting alone.’

  27. daddy dave

    They both depend on freak physics.

    So crashing an airliner into a high rise building, which then both explode, wouldn’t cause much damage or loss of life. I see.

  28. DD – I didn’t say that. And I”ve had this argument before. I won;t go into it again except to reiterate my objection. If you crash an airliner into a skyscraper with over 200 steel pylons it won’t fall straight into its footprint. It shouldn’t effect the struggle at all.

  29. CL – And if you add in Cuba and take note of all the parties that lost out big when Jack chickened out at the Bay of Pigs it’s pretty bloody obvious. A Dallas strip-joint owner in hock to the wise guys bumped Oswald fer Chrissake.

    Bobby Kennedy knew it, that’s why he stopped kicking his Daddy old drinking buddies.

  30. It shouldn’t effect the struggle at all.

    Um that’s It shouldn’t effect the structure at all.

    It’s a Trotskyite slip.

  31. Gabrielle

    If you crash an airliner into a skyscraper with over 200 steel pylons it won’t fall straight into its footprint.

    Really? Is there a precedent to justify that assertion?

  32. rog

    You surprise me Jason, not only do you swallow JCs twaddle you recycle it.

  33. Really? Is there a precedent to justify that assertion?

    I’m sure planes have flown into steel skyscrapers before. But the Twin Towers were unique and it’s this unique structure that underpins the official explanation: That the steel buckled because of intense fire and, when the impact point buckled sufficiently, the section above crashed downward.

    But in my opinion the freefall was too quick and smooth for that. Also, if it buckled why didn’t fall away? And why straight down into a relatively neat footprint? These questions are significant and none of the explanations explain this freefall very well.

    Considering that the metal from Ground Zero was shipped smartly off to China for manufacturing before it could be forensically tested (for what reason I shouldn’t wonder) it’s impossible to verify any alternative.

    There’s a theoretical model that says that what the official reports says happened could happen but the odds are quite steep against. And it happened twice. I don’t know and don’t much care anymore but it’s not exactly sound. In my opinion.

  34. Infidel Tiger

    Dear God, you’re hiatus hasn’t been good for your mental health, Adrien.

  35. Gabrielle

    Okay. So that’s a ‘no’ then.

  36. daddy dave

    I won;t go into it again except to reiterate my objection.

    Fine, but it’s all based on false precision, Adrien. As far as I know, it’s a unique event – that kind of physical event hasn’t happened before or since.
    Any models that fail to predict exactly how the explosion happen really means the model was imperfect. Keep in mind also that the fuel tanks exploded, adding a whole new set of unpredictable variables beyond the newtonian physics.

    The main problem with the conspiracy accounts of the explosion is that they presume to be able to predict how such a huge, messy, random, high-energy event would work.

  37. The main problem with the conspiracy accounts of the explosion is that they presume to be able to predict how such a huge, messy, random, high-energy event would work.

    As far as I’m aware all accounts of the event, including the official one, involve a conspiracy theory. The trouble with the phrase conspricay theory is that it connotes all sorts of batshittery. A conspiracy theory is simply a theory that supposes a group of people got together and planned some kind of dodginess. If there’s evidence for it, it’s not batshit.

    An alternative theory, that of controlled demolition, is more plausible according to Ockham’s Razor, but we can’t verify it. Whenever this is brought up and I express my views I always get the kind of response given by IT above. What I don’t get is a sensible answer to my basic question. It’s only a question. I don’t support any conspiracy theory.

    Tho’ I suspect Elvis was involved somehow.

  38. daddy dave

    An alternative theory, that of controlled demolition, is more plausible according to Ockham’s Razor

    um, no. The simplest theory is that a bunch of whackos hijacked some planes and flew them into the twin towers.

  39. DD -Did it ever occur to you that said whackos had allies which walk the Earth this day whilst the 9/11 victims go unrevenged?

    Again – neither you nor anyone else has an answer to the freefall question. I know how this goes so I’m quitting now.

  40. squawkbox

    Quite. Wiring up several buildings for controlled demolition with nobody noticing and nobody spilling the beans for ten years and counting is anything but simple.

  41. daddy dave

    what freefall question? In case it helps, I refer you again to the false-precision argument, which can be summarised as “messy explosive accidents behave unpredictably”.

    I’m sure they had probably had some accomplices who didn’t get busted – but what help did they need anyway? they went to the US, got flying lessons, then boarded planes and hijacked them. it’s quite simple.

  42. Gabrielle

    Okay I understand now. Sammy Bin Laden’s minions flew the planes into the TT’s with the backing of the US government because…..

    But then to assist the cause, the CIA, or another agency, rigged up the TT’s with explosives (which didn’t explode when the planes hit the towers, like wow) to complete the mission because…..

    Aha! All this was orchestrated so that a mosque could be built close to the site. The TT’s obscured the view to Mecca so had to go. Eureka! It all fits.

  43. daddy dave

    oh okay I see where you asked that question. My answer still stands.

  44. Okay I understand now. Sammy Bin Laden’s minions flew the planes into the TT’s with the backing of the US government because…..

    Gabrielle please do me the courtesy of dealing only with what I’ve said. I haven’t mentioned the CIA or the US government.

    PS If people within the US government were involved the motivation would be a license to go to war.


    Wiring up several buildings for controlled demolition with nobody noticing and nobody spilling the beans for ten years and counting is anything but simple.

    Difficult but not impossible. Thousands of strangers entered the Twin Towers every day. New Yorkers are famous for minding their own business.

    what freefall question?

    Sigh, please see above.

    What I find interesting about this is not the possible sinister connotations but the sheer bloody-minded resistance to discussing it at all.

  45. daddy dave

    On a more technical note, it’s quite easy to explain. The structure may have withstood the impact until a breaking point (kinda like the ‘tipping point’ that climate scientists are so fond of) after which it suffered catastrophic collapse. The stress of one wall shearing added to the stress in the other walls, causing them to sheer at the same time.

  46. Gabrielle

    sheer bloody-minded resistance to discussing it at all

    But, but you said a few times that you would not discuss. And then kept returning to discuss. Dame Nellie is proud.

  47. squawkbox

    No Adrien, flat-out impossible. Wiring up buildings the size of the WTC for demolition requires thousands of man-hours of labour, several kilometers of wiring, and tens if not hundreds of tonnes of explosives. It can’t be done by a few guys wandering in the day before and pretending to fix the gas meter. You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

  48. Tillman

    Also, if it buckled why didn’t fall away? And why straight down into a relatively neat footprint? These questions are significant and none of the explanations explain this freefall very well.

    But the towers didn’t fall straight into their footprint. There was quite a spread of damage, including enough damage to take out WTC 7 across the road.

  49. jtfsoon

    daddy dave, you now have Graeme on your case

    http://graemebird.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/einsteins-legacymr-elliots-uncle/#comment-34932

    It appears that Daddy Dave is so dimwitted that he never even expected FOREIGN regime intelligence …

    Here I’m pretty glad that Dave is anonymous. Because he’s a sensitive soul and he’s making such a dick of himself

  50. Infidel Tiger

    A thread about conspiracies without Graeme is like Christmas without a drunk uncle.

  51. JC

    Yea dad, if you want to be in graeme’s good books you have to agree with him that it was a controlled demolition. The reason is that Birdie applied the scientific method to scooping it all out.

    He watched a video on the collapse, heard a huge banging sound like the crack of steel and then decided the sound was that of an explosion.

    It’s a convergent paradigm.

  52. Infidel Tiger

    It’s all on Youtube. You don’t even have to leave your study to crack conspiracies these days.

  53. daddy dave

    I’m pretty glad that Dave is anonymous.

    I’m anonymous because I don’t want google results polluted with all my opinions and blatherings on various topics.

    “Real name” online discussions can be sudden death to careers, unless your job is to opine; or unless your employer, business partners, colleagues and friends all agree with you and you have no intention of going on the job market.

  54. Annabelle

    Given how much trouble governments have when it comes to leaks, I find conspiracy theories ridiculous. Consider 9/11 conspiracies. There would have to be so many people in on it keeping mum that it becomes implausible. Group-think such as we saw in the climate-gate emails, is a different matter. Humans are naturally tribal. Indeed,

    Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one
    –Charles McKay

  55. Real name” online discussions can be sudden death to careers,

    True, employers are fascists in that regard. There are even employment contracts which specify that you must not speak ill of your employer in your own free time.

  56. THR

    I thought the Protocols were a hoax, not a conspiracy theory. Like the idea that AGW is a scheme to get a world-communist government.

  57. daddy dave

    There would have to be so many people in on it keeping mum that it becomes implausible.

    For the moon landings to be faked, a quarter of a million people, all up, would have to be involved – and be silent. I know a guy whose father worked on it, building some component. He fucking hates moon-landing deniers.

  58. Quentin George

    No THR, Protocols is not a hoax or conspiracy, it is in fact a forgery. There’s a difference between all three.

    A hoax is done to catch people out and usually attributed to a fictional author. (ala Arlene Composta) A forgery is done deliberately to produce a desired outcome (in the case of the Tsarist secret police, get rid of Jews) and usually attributed to a author the real author wishes to discredit.

  59. Are you an Alene Comoposta Denier ?

  60. Peter Patton

    THR

    I think I now get why you have so much trouble communicating. English is not your mother tongue, is it? From my general reader’s encounters of these types of situations, I would wager that you are not Asian, but some sort of non-Anglo European.

    So, come on. Tell us. Where are you from? How longk haf you been here, darlingk?

    I thought the Protocols were a hoax, not a conspiracy theory.

    Not only is this False Dichotomy 101, but Protocols stuff is both hoax and conspiracy theory. Hullo?

    Like the idea that AGW is a scheme to get a world-communist government.

    Please explain how this is an analogy in your country.

  61. procrustes

    They say that nine times out of ten it is cock-up over conspiracy.

    But take this old saying one round further- of the one out of ten times something is a conspiracy, nine times out of ten that conspiracy will be cocked-up. So, only 1 out of every 100 events is a successful conspiracy.

  62. .

    Yes, the Protocols are a hoax. To which Nilus and the Tsar quite evilly conspired to fuck over world Jewry with bizzare fabrications.

    Evil bastards.

    rog – $79 bn has been spent on climate science through global warming research grants etc…

    No money in climate science?

  63. But, but you said a few times that you would not discuss. And then kept returning to discuss.

    Touché.

    I thought the Protocols were a hoax, not a conspiracy theory.

    It’s a hoax that suggests Jews are conspiring to take over the world. This is a nefarious slander. Especially as everyone knows it’s actually the Welsh who’re to blame.

  64. daddy dave

    But, but you said a few times that you would not discuss. And then kept returning to discuss.

    The Cat has that effect.

    Adrien, the reason you gave for not discussing was because you didn’t expect serious responses, in particular to the freefall question. But we’ve exceeded your expectations. I gave two responses and Tillman and squawkbox provided good responses as well.

  65. Gabrielle

    Okay, Daddy Dave. I have been rebuked by omission. I get the point.

  66. Gabrielle

    lol PP.
    and that applies to more than just Adrien and DD.

  67. Peter Patton

    I know Gab, which is why it is such a powerful cartoon! 🙂

  68. papachango

    Just curious. Can anyone think of any really elaborate conspiracy theories that ultimately proven correct?

    To qualify they have to be as elaborate as 9/11 inside job, fake moon landing or JFK assasination by a foreign government, they must have had a widely-belived offficial explanation, that was subsequently shown to be a fabrication.

    I’ve heard Iran Contra and Watergate as examples of real-life conspiracy theories, but I’m not sure there was such an elaborately fabricated alternative theory that was widely believed, these were just examples of the government doing dodgy things in secret.

  69. C.L.

    Can anyone think of any really elaborate conspiracy theories that ultimately proven correct?

    Joseph McCarthy was proved 100 percent correct.

  70. papachango

    The left would argue otherwise about McCarthy – he’s considered one of the US’ greatest villians

  71. .

    C.L.,

    They were wild guesses. He was completely wrong on the details.

    I think there is strong evidence to show JFK was offed by the mafia.

  72. papachango

    I have no idea about JFK and whether it was a lone nutter or some shadowy organisation behind the scences.

    However, the theory is at least plausible, compared to a staged 9/11 and a fake moon landing. The latter would requires hundred if not thousands of people to keep quiet and not send anything to Wikileaks nor make a deathbed confession. Same goes for the masons, illuminati and all that other crap.

  73. C.L.

    Stop being silly, Dot. McCarthy was right.

    The End.

  74. daddy dave

    I have been rebuked by omission.

    sorry Gab. Rhetorical questions are easy to miss.

  75. .

    Stop being silly, Dot. McCarthy was right.

    The End.

    No. He accused the wrong people. He was shooting blanks into the darkness of night.

  76. daddy dave

    Ouch!

    Seems that in apologising I inadvertantly stepped on your toe. For which I also apologise.

  77. sdfc

    CL doesn’t agree with freedom of political association. Yet the “libertarians” are strangely silent.

  78. .

    WTF are you on about?

    What do you think my duelling with C.L is about?

  79. Quentin George

    sdfc – I think you’ll find CL is alone in his pro-McCarthy stance.

  80. sdfc

    Dot

    If you don’t understand the basis of his support for MacCarthy then that is your problem not mine.

  81. C.L.

    “freedom of political association”

    I must have missed the “freedom” to steal and pass on military secrets to the Soviets. Perhaps SDFC can point out to me where that’s outlined in the American constitution. or the Australian constitution. Or in British law – or, indeed, the law or constitutions of any Western democracy. Wht do you think Obama has Bradley Manning in solitary confinement? After all, he was just freely ‘associating’ with secrets entrepreneur, alleged rapist, anti-semitic lunatic and self-declared facilitator of mass murder, Julian Assange.

    What a childish, banal comment.

    We now know as an historical fact – and anyone who denies this is simply a weirdo – that Joseph McCarthy was right: the US government and its institutions were choc-a-block with communist filth at that time.

    Again, I would commend Jonah Goldberg’s piece on McCarthyism to all interested readers. A difficult subject, as he says, but he does a great job.

    Senator Joe McCarthy was a lout, generally speaking. But he was on the right side of history and, in a broad sense, of morality as well. If, in some sort of parallel-universe exercise, the same number of (now proven) Soviet-Communist spies, collaborators, sympathizers, and the like were somehow switched to Nazis, and McCarthy went after them with the same vehemence as he went after Reds, Joe McCarthy might well have universities and foundations named after him today. Just imagine if a ring of Nazi party members were found to be working in Hollywood, never mind the State Department, taking money from Berlin to advance the Nazi cause. Does anyone really think “McCarthyism” would still be denounced as an unmitigated evil, often put at the front of the parade of horribles alongside Hitlerism and Stalinism?

    […]

    Regardless, wherever you come down on McCarthyism, Communism, and the rest is a matter of opinion. What is a matter of fact — unmitigated, irrefutable, undeniable fact — is that there were hundreds of Communists working for Moscow, directly or indirectly, in the United States during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. The Rosenbergs were guilty and got what they deserved. Alger Hiss too. Victor Perlo, Judith Coplon, Morton Sobell, William Perl, Alfred Sarant, Joel Barr, and Harry Gold were all either pawns or lackeys of a foreign and evil foe. We know the Hollywood Ten were all Communists, but what else they were we can’t know for sure, because they believed taking the Fifth was more important than protecting the country (and if you think it’s unfair to cavalierly call people who devotedly followed the Moscow line for all their adult lives “Communists,” I sure hope you don’t ever call, say, President Bush a “fascist” on the basis of no evidence at all). The American Communist Party (CP-USA) was in fact a Soviet franchise.

    In other words, you are free to describe McCarthyism as a witchhunt if and only if you are willing to concede that actual witches existed in our midst. The evidence — from declassified Venona transcripts, Soviet archives, memoirs, etc. — is still mounting, but what we have so far is plenty in itself. In 1996, Nicholas Von Hoffman wrote an essay for the Washington Post that caused no small amount of hysteria on the American Left, which has been milking its myths and denial for decades…

    Yet, as Hoffman reluctantly conceded, these assessments were in turn lies, myths, and carefully constructed distortions. The reality was that “in a global sense McCarthy was on to something. McCarthy may have exaggerated the scope of the problem but not by much…

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/852521/posts

    Dot’s response – variations of nonsense featuring the word ‘turd’ – don’t constitute an argument.

    Jack and Bobby Kennedy were right: McCarthy was a hero.

  82. daddy dave

    CL doesn’t agree with freedom of political association. Yet the “libertarians” are strangely silent.

    I’m silent because I don’t know enough about it, but I’m interested in reading the back-and-forth.

    CL’s position seems to be, the communists were foreign agents and therefore it was proper to find them out and arrest them, just as it is right and proper to seek out spies, terrorist rings, and so forth.

    Well, if that’s true, then he’s got a point. As I said – my knowledge is limited.

    Dot’s position is, all that may be right, but McCarthy failed in his mission and generally made a balls-up of it.

    Dot may have a point too. I don’t know.

  83. sdfc

    Just what proportion of the people McCarthy persecuted were passing on info to the Soviets?

    No long winded excuses. Just a percentage will do.

  84. sdfc

    My comment was to the libertarians Dave. Obviously that doesn;t include you so at-ease.

  85. sdfc

    Do you concur with IT CL?

  86. Infidel Tiger

    I hope not.

    I don’t know enough, but McCarthy sounds like a very necessary arsehole.

  87. C.L.

    Dot has no point. He’s all over the shop. One minute he’s advocating crazy lightning wars against regime heads; the next, stroking the Van Dyke beard of Sean Penn, he’s refusing to stand for Joseph McCarthy on grounds of a phony liberalism.

    I note that SDFC has backed away from his amusing argument that treason constitutes ‘freedom of political association.’

    Barack Obama doesn’t agree with you. Is he a nasty right-wing extremist too, doofus?

  88. sdfc

    I don’t have an in depth knowledge either IT but a a large number of people were persecuted for their political leanings.

    Unless they were proved to be a threat to the US then this was the result of false accusation.

    Did there even have to be any evidence of communist leanings in some of those people or was dobbing in enough?

    Libertarians should have deep philosophical problems with this. Yet the silence is deafening.

  89. sdfc

    I haven’t moved away from anything CL. You’re mjust trying to sell a dummy.

    I’ll ask again. What percentage of those identified as being communists were found to be traitors. Simple question.

  90. daddy dave

    My comment was to the libertarians Dave. Obviously that doesn;t include you so at-ease.

    I’m curious why you classify me as “not-libertarian.”

  91. sdfc

    Your ambivalence to CL’s support for the communist witch hunt is reasonable evidence.

  92. Infidel Tiger

    Libertarians should have deep philosophical problems with this. Yet the silence is deafening.

    I like the way you think “libertarians”, whatever the hell they are, should have a lockstep view of the world.

  93. sdfc

    Freedom of thought is pretty crucial to liberarianism IT.

  94. daddy dave

    Your ambivalence to CL’s support for the communist witch hunt is reasonable evidence.

    excuse me for not marching down the street blowing whistles with a papier mache effigy of an elephant.

    I assume your comment was in jest, sdfc, because it’s completely circular.

  95. daddy dave

    Freedom of thought is pretty crucial to liberarianism IT.

    CL is saying, in effect, that McCarthy was hunting spies. Spying for foreign states falls outside the protective domain of ‘freedom of thought.’

  96. sdfc

    The Stasi or KGB could say the same thing Dave. The question is what ratio of spies to innocents were caught up in the witch hunt?

    Two parts of fuck-all is my guess.

  97. sdfc

    You choose to comment on a range of issues here Dave as do other so-called libertarians. I would have thought this topic was relevant to libertarianism.

    I’m not asking you to do anything. Your responded to me don’t forget. If you don’t have an opinion why comment?

  98. daddy dave

    If you don’t have an opinion why comment?

    Because you asked why I hadn’t commented on it.

    The question is what ratio of spies to innocents were caught up in the witch hunt?

    I have no idea.
    I’ve already indicated that I don’t know enough about this topic to participate, so there’s no point asking me socratic questions.

  99. daddy dave

    sdfc, you seem to be on a bit of a witchhunt yourself, challenging people to either publicly condemn CL or be damned.

  100. C.L.

    …a large number of people were persecuted for their political leanings.

    On reading those words, the first thing I thought of was Julia Gillard’s Nixonian condemnation of the Troika of Evil on her enemy’s list: Jones, Bolt and Akerman – complete with gutter references to ‘denialism.’

    Unlike the case above, it’s sometimes – very occasionally – right to condemn people for their political leanings. The Duke of Windsor was condemned for having a hard-on for the Nazis, for example. So were the Mosleyites. So, for the duration of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, were several Australian unions. Neither the Duke nor Mosley were any different to the Hollywood ‘liberals’ who loved Stalin and his successors.

    They deserved to be condemned as traitors and extremists – the same way all Australians, liberals and conservatives, condemned the old pro-Hitler unions.

    Were there casualties of the Cold War – innocents caught up in sting of battle? Certainly there were. Barack Obama has killed probably hundreds of village children in Afghanistan. Churchill – the old drunk lionised by Dot – slaughtered innocents by the tens of thousands. Set most of them on fire.

    If a few old lefties indifferent to Stalin and brandishing a CPA membership ticket only for the most half-hearted of reasons were given the treatment by McCarthy, that’s too bad. The American government was marbled with communist spooks and only a few good men – McCarthy, chieftain – knew it and acted.

    And we now know that he was right.

    As Jack and Bobby knew he was right at the time.

  101. sdfc

    You’re right Dave I did throw out a blanket question to liberarians.

    The I don’t know comment position seems like a cop out however given the well known persecution of hundreds of people for their political leanings with little or no evidence.

  102. C.L.

    … you seem to be on a bit of a witchhunt yourself, challenging people to either publicly condemn CL or be damned.

    LOL. Yes, I picked that up too.

    ‘Libertarians, do you now or have you ever associated on friendly terms with CL?’

    Take the fifth, people!

  103. sdfc

    So the ratio is not very favourable then CL. That’s okay I can dig it.

    You’ve never pretended to be anything other than hard right. My comment was to the “libertarians”.

  104. sdfc

    Dave your unwavering support for CL is touching. Despite his beliefs being at odds with yours as a libertarian.

    Pick and stick hey?

  105. daddy dave

    Dave your unwavering support for CL is touching.

    aw, shucks.
    Well, I’ve been reading about McCarthy on wikipedia, and it seems he was a jerk, an arsehole, and an alcoholic. He encouraged books to be banned (and some were burned) because they were written by communists. He released names of people although they were not proven guilty and destroyed their careers. He harangued and harrassed and generally pissed people off, and I don’t trust alcoholics to do a high quality job of anything, so he probably did screw it all up in many ways.

    But then again, he was investigating Soviet connections in important government institutions, and he found some. So where does that leave us? He wasn’t hunting shadows after all, at least not entirely. The modern equivalent would be finding al Qaida members working for Qantas or cityrail.

  106. C.L.

    You’re digging a lot of stuff, SDFC. You’ve freely buried your hilarious ‘freedom of association (with foreign powers)’ argument, for example. More amusingly, you’ve dug your own credibility grave by condemning alleged witch hunts while challenging agog third parties to condemn me for a politico-historical belief. As those third parties include an interlocutor who favours lightning regime decapitations and another (the Founder, no less) who has called for the introduction of the rattan, you’re unlikely to win too many broomsticks of victory. You often condemn libertarianism for supposed dogmatic inflexibility and now you condemn it for being a broad church. To my mind, uncovering and destroying communist scum was and is one of the paramount missions of any true libertarian. It’s why I’ve called Bob Santamaria the greatest political libert[y]arian in Australian history. He also was charged by leftist myth-makers with having run a ‘witch-hunt’ and he also has now been acknowledged as having been right: ask Bob Carr.

    Stick to Jim Cairns-era economics. History isn’t your strong suit.

  107. JC

    Dave your unwavering support for CL is touching. Despite his beliefs being at odds with yours as a libertarian.

    Oh interesting. And since when does libertarianism say we should tolerate traitorous activities in our midst supporting a regime bent of a country’s destruction.

    I’m not supporting any of McCarthy’s activities as I don’t know enough about it. It’s just a rebuttal of your ignorant statement.

  108. sdfc

    I take your point Dave but that doesn’t give authorities carte blanche to persecute innoncents in the name of finding a very small number of traitors.

    I think you’er right Dave I’m in effect encouraging people to speak against CL. That wasn’t my intention so I’m pretty happy to leave the conversation here.

  109. sdfc

    Try following the conversation before commenting JC.

  110. daddy dave

    That wasn’t my intention so I’m pretty happy to leave the conversation here.

    Okay.

  111. sdfc

    Still no numbers I see CL.

  112. C.L.

    You’ve never pretended to be anything other than hard right.

    I don’t have any ‘hard-right’ opinions – whatever these spectres of evil are exactly, in your febrile imagination.

    But thanks for confirming with another ad hom that you’ve capitulated.

  113. JC

    Try following the conversation before commenting JC.

    So I shouldn’t believe any words you ever utter then?

  114. sdfc

    If you’re having trouble let’s narrow it down.

    What ratio of those blacklisted by the entertainment industry were found to be traitors?

  115. C.L.

    LOL. I don’t have the corpus of McCarthy papers in front of me, SDFC. (I note here that you’ve admitted to heavy drinking on your Pat Malone on Friday nights).

    What we do know:

    Regardless, wherever you come down on McCarthyism, Communism, and the rest is a matter of opinion. What is a matter of fact — unmitigated, irrefutable, undeniable fact — is that there were hundreds of Communists working for Moscow, directly or indirectly, in the United States during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. The Rosenbergs were guilty and got what they deserved. Alger Hiss too. Victor Perlo, Judith Coplon, Morton Sobell, William Perl, Alfred Sarant, Joel Barr, and Harry Gold were all either pawns or lackeys of a foreign and evil foe. We know the Hollywood Ten were all Communists, but what else they were we can’t know for sure, because they believed taking the Fifth was more important than protecting the country (and if you think it’s unfair to cavalierly call people who devotedly followed the Moscow line for all their adult lives “Communists,” I sure hope you don’t ever call, say, President Bush a “fascist” on the basis of no evidence at all). The American Communist Party (CP-USA) was in fact a Soviet franchise.

    In other words, you are free to describe McCarthyism as a witchhunt if and only if you are willing to concede that actual witches existed in our midst. The evidence — from declassified Venona transcripts, Soviet archives, memoirs, etc. — is still mounting, but what we have so far is plenty in itself. In 1996, Nicholas Von Hoffman wrote an essay for the Washington Post that caused no small amount of hysteria on the American Left, which has been milking its myths and denial for decades…

    Yet, as Hoffman reluctantly conceded, these assessments were in turn lies, myths, and carefully constructed distortions. The reality was that “in a global sense McCarthy was on to something. McCarthy may have exaggerated the scope of the problem but not by much…

    What we know is that McCarthy was right.

    This is now axiomatic and anyone who denies it is essentially lining up with the 9/11 Troofers of historiography.

  116. sdfc

    You’ve struggled to make a point all night JC. Are you alright?

  117. sdfc

    Heavy drinking? I wish. I’m a two pot screamer these days.

  118. JC

    You’ve struggled to make a point all night JC. Are you alright?

    lol.. I’m not over .05 like you are and seem to think responding to your own direct words is struggling to make a point.

  119. sdfc

    I don’t know what you are arguing about CL.

    I fully accept that you are hard right and most definitely not a libertarian so this kind of arbitrary state persecution of citizens, is right up your alley.

  120. sdfc

    You’re funny JC. Ya wowser.

  121. JC

    …so this kind of arbitrary state persecution of citizens, is right up your alley.

    Like this you mean:

    Julia Gillard’s Nixonian condemnation of the Troika of Evil on her enemy’s list: Jones, Bolt and Akerman – complete with gutter references to ‘denialism.’

  122. JC

    That’s no senator, SDFC. That’s the nation’s highest level political leader trying to set the dogs on some members of the citizenry.

    Would you see that as a form of McCarthyism. I do.

    By the way I don’t agree with their positions on AGW, however Duck Bum should be politically roasted for what she’s done.

  123. sdfc

    When Gillard hauls political commentators before parliamentary committees and some are blacklisted from working in the media that reference might have some relevance.

    Just to be clear I will be arguing against that if it ever happened. Somehow I don’t think it will though.

  124. C.L.

    I fully accept that you are hard right and most definitely not a libertarian so this kind of arbitrary state persecution of citizens, is right up your alley.

    Well, thanks for confirming – with yet another highly original ad hom – that you’re capitulating.

    So far – in a tirade about Joseph McCarthy – you’ve called for others to condemn me, for me to be cast out of a community and now you’re accusing me of being a ‘hard-right’ meanie who persecutes people.

    You might want to lay off the drink when you post because I don’t think you realise the scale of your self-beclowning.

    The top prize, though, is hereby awarded to you for attempting to rationalise treason as ‘freedom of accociation’ – something unknown in the annals of either liberty or jurisprudence.

    Stick to Whitlam voodoo economics. On history you make Homer look like Leopold von Ranke.

  125. sdfc

    I’m a believer in AGW but I agree the carbon tax will do fuck all in regards to the global temparature. I’m going to have to see the tax offsets to have an opinion as its impact.

    I doubt whether the world is going to ever deal with the issue. Given the uncertainties that gives me cause for concern.

  126. C.L.

    “…blacklisted from working in the media…”

    You mean, like non-lefties at the ABC?

    Funny, I don’t recall you condemning that, SDFC.

    If the careers of communists were destroyed in the 40s and 50s (when the Soviets and China were embarked upon the greatest murder spree in human history), good. Just as members or sympathisers with the Nazi Party should have had their careers destroyed.

  127. sdfc

    Shit CL I’ve jupset you haven’t I?

    Try saying why you disagree with me. Be precise.

    So far all you’ve done is put forward irrelevant references and engage in an unconvincing scatter gun attack on me.

  128. sdfc

    Have you any evidence the ABC blacklists non-left commentators?

    You’re just thrashing around like your drowning now. Get a grip on your self.

  129. JC

    When Gillard hauls political commentators before parliamentary committees and some are blacklisted from working in the media that reference might have some relevance.

    she’s gone pretty close. She named a hotel owning couple in the country using workchoices to lower wages that turned out to be untrue and almost ruined their lives. Of course Duck Bum was too gutless to name names outside of parliament.

    Just to be clear I will be arguing against that if it ever happened. Somehow I don’t think it will though

    Swan has been a accused by several employer groups of threatening retaliation when these groups or their individual members criticize government policy.

    You mean that sort of behavior?

  130. JC

    Have you any evidence the ABC blacklists non-left commentators?

    Name a regular commentating conservative that’s been a senior ABC player on their payroll in the past decade.

    One will do.

  131. sdfc

    No I mean hauling citizens before parliamentary committees.

    Sort of like the stupid bank hearings.

  132. sdfc

    Conservative or right winger?

  133. C.L.

    No, you haven’t upset me, SDFC. (This is an old last-ditch debating ploy, by the way). You’ve lobbed on the thread (on what you admit is your booze night – solo, apparently) insisting that people condemn me. You’ve made all sorts of strange and embarrassing comments. You’ve invited me to respond and I have. I suspect you now wish you hadn’t, though, because it’s pretty obvious you have no idea what you’re talking about. Your ‘arguments’ have been bizarre.

    Your ‘freedom of association [with enemy powers]’ argument I would place in the Skanke Ho class.

  134. JC

    No I mean hauling citizens before parliamentary committees.

    Oh you oppose the formal approach, not the stand over tactics practiced by Wayne Swan threatening retaliation over the phone for opposing government policy. That’s okay with you.

  135. JC

    Conservative or right winger?

    Non left.

  136. sdfc

    Still don’t know what your point is CL.

    Drinking? Yes I have, it’s Friday.

    Solo? That’s also a yes. I doubt the missus and the kids would be interested in this riveting conversation.

    Anyway this is Friday and it’s sacred. It might make me a negligent husband and father for a few hours but I need to unwind on a Friday. I make no apology for it.

    What ratio of those blacklisted were found to be traitors? Stop stalling.

  137. sdfc

    Eoin Cameron in Perth. Former Liberal member of the WA parliament.

    I take your point. ABC commentators appear overwhelmingly left leaning.

    If you’re venturing that is equivalent to McCarthyism though your argument has reached a dead end.

  138. C.L.

    No I mean hauling citizens before parliamentary committees.

    Are you referring to the Un-American Activities committees inaugurated by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s or the ‘Hollyood Ten’ investigations pursued by Texas Democrat, Martin Dies after 1940?

    What exactly are you talking about?

  139. JC

    If you’re venturing that is equivalent to McCarthyism though your argument has reached a dead end.

    It’s pretty fucking close if you consider blacklisting is a form of McCarthyism.

  140. JC

    Are you referring to the Un-American Activities committees inaugurated by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s or the ‘Hollyood Ten’ investigations pursued by Texas Democrat, Martin Dies after 1940?

    Some people are very confused with the house hearings and those of the senate which were different things and I believe at different times.

    For the little I know, the US went apsehit that US nuclear secrets were leaked to Stalin who used the information the build nukes. There really were traitorous bastards in their midst.

  141. C.L.

    I take your point. ABC commentators appear overwhelmingly left leaning.

    So you admit there’s a blackban that you’ve never protested about.

  142. If you’re venturing that is equivalent to McCarthyism though your argument has reached a dead end.

    SDFC you have been around here long enough to know these people despise the ABC. They despise it so much they watch it more often than me but of course they are only doing this as a public service by warning everyone here how terrible the ABC is. It is one of the strangest behaviors I have ever encountered where people spend so much energy castigating something they hate yet spend so much time watching it.

  143. sdfc

    I don’t know anything about those hearings CL. But if they were equivalent to McCarthyism then I am in opposition to the methods of that enquiry as well.

    No its not JC.

    I’m now being called. Fun’s over for me. Have a good weekend.

  144. C.L.

    I don’t know anything about those hearings CL.

    Stunning.

  145. C.L.

    They despise it so much they watch it more often than me but of course they are only doing this as a public service by warning everyone here how terrible the ABC is. It is one of the strangest behaviors I have ever encountered where people spend so much energy castigating something they hate yet spend so much time watching it.

    Two things, John:

    First, that sounds a lot like your attitude to Catallaxy, oui?

    Second, your argument is illogical. One doesn’t need to spend “so much time” watching the ABC to know that it’s politically biased. It’s not as though its critics here wade through hours of Play School, Miss Marple and Gardening Australia to unearth examples of this self-evident truth. A couple of hours per week, if that, confirms the reality.

  146. daddy dave

    I’ve now read enough to conclude that CL’s description of McCarthy as “Hero” is overdoing it somewhat. However, CL’s right that the comparisons to witchhunts don’t hold up, because witches don’t exist, but Soviet sympathisers did.
    Also, the threat was real. The cold war was real. Soviet aggression was real. It’s not like Joe McCarthy just decided one day he hated hippies, and went on a hippie-witch-hunt.

  147. daddy dave

    on the other hand, it’s a succinct way of expressing his objections to the demonization of McCarthy.

  148. dover_beach

    sdfc:
    I don’t know anything….

    Quite.

    CL on JohnH:
    First, that sounds a lot like your attitude to Catallaxy, oui?

    I’ve noticed this myself. So far as the ABC is concerned, I like it despite its obvious political bias.

    And ditto what dd said.

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