Why “Conspiracy Theory” Is Hate Speech

“Hate speech” of course is a fairly silly term, since intent doesn’t necessarily follow the literal meaning of words. Let me give you an example:

I once sold a house to a gay couple. The one of the pair I dealt with happened to be a really decent guy with a good sense of humor. At the walkthrough our conversation went something like this:

James (laughing): So, Paul, you don’t mind selling your house to a couple of fags?

Paul (also laughing): Nah, it’ll make the neighbors happy. You guys are always neat and stylish, aren’t you?

I assure you, there was no hate involved in this conversation. James started the joke and I joined in with him. And while I don’t normally call people “fag,” in this case I played along because it was just that… playful. Using “fag” this way diffused tensions rather than caused them.

That said, I’ll play along with the political term, “hate speech,” today, because the term, “conspiracy theory,” as it’s so often used, really does have aggression and hate built into it.

How Adults Speak

I’m talking about actual adults now, not just people of a certain age. I’m referring to people with some level of maturity.

Mature people speak to communicate and (hopefully) to find the truth of things. And if things are too complex or obscure for truth to be clearly seen, they try to understand the other party’s viewpoint and to clarify their own.

Immature people speak for the purpose of winning. And that’s simply barbaric. It’s almost excusable for the fifth grader on a playground; it’s not for the 30-year-old or, God forbid, the 50-year-old.

And sad to say, I’ve seen a lot of older people – in their 40s, 50s, and even older – who are woefully immature in their speech. You can see plenty of them on TV (expensive suits don’t actually impart maturity), where the common denominator of their immaturity is politics, a blood sport devoted to winning at all costs.

A Weapon Is as a Weapon Does

There was a cute line in the Forrest Gump film, “Stupid is as stupid does.” In other words, stupidity is shown by its actions. Likewise, a weapon is shown by its actions. And if that’s true, the term, “conspiracy theory,” is very clearly a weapon.

This term was popularized by the CIA, by the way, when they were trying to quash discussions surrounding the JFK assassination((You can find the details in Conspiracy Theory in America, by Lance deHaven-Smith. There was even an official memo on precisely this.)). In other words, it was promoted to shut down inquiry, not with reason, but with intimidation, ridicule, and shame.

Since then it has been used widely, usually with fear mixed in. As in, “You are challenging authority, and people who do such things get hurt.” Clearly, this is a weapon-like usage.

Likewise in daily life. I think all of us have said something that generated the reply – the blow – “That’s a conspiracy theory.” Whereupon people in the vicinity take a sort of step back from us. And again, reason has nothing to do with this. “Conspiracy theory” is not a reason; it’s a verdict… a verdict supported, not by fact, but by fear and its dark associates.

And we should make no mistake, most of time this phrase is used, it is used with malice. To call someone a “conspiracy theorist” is to slap them. It’s to hammer them down, shut them up, scare others from considering what they said, and to shame them as badly as possible.

So, yes, such uses of “conspiracy theory” really are hate speech. The only serious difference between them and the so-called n-word is that one attacks race and the other attacks cognition.

The Dark Faith of the Heretic Hunter

Michael Barkun, a political scientist who has studied conspiracy theories at length, concluded that a common feature among conspiracy theories is that they form a closed system that is unfalsifiable. That is, they are cut off from reasoned examination. Because of that, he says, it becomes “a matter of faith rather than proof.”

Ironically, that’s precisely what has become of the epithet, “conspiracy theory.” The term is used as a verdict, enforced with dark and aggressive emotion, and is thus cut off from examination. It is a slander that stands upon a dark type of faith. The user of the term, “conspiracy theory,” is all too similar to the heretic hunter.

“Conspiracy theory” is launched more than spoken, intended to deliver shame and cut off from examination by the dark triad of intimidation, ridicule, and authority.

Very often it is hate speech.

* * * * *


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Paul Rosenberg

The Mass Conspiracy of Blame Avoidance


If you can ever get far enough from the status quo, one of the most shocking sights you’ll see is the mass conspiracy of blame avoidance. This phenomenon is so pervasive  that most people go their entire lives without taking serious notice of it. It simply is, and the possibility of another way has never occurred to them.

People do see this from time to time of course, but only as it intrudes on them personally. And even then, they generally wander away from the conflict and slide back into the conspiracy, wondering what just happened.

I call this a mass conspiracy because it’s something all of us enforce upon each other. I’m sure there must be a few people who’ve been immune to it since birth, but I can’t really point to anyone. And while I was less prone to this than others by a good piece, I’ve enforced it upon others myself. (Though not in some time, I’m pleased to report.)

“Okay. So, What Is It?”

Let me start with the part of this most of us have run into:

Have you noticed that staying in lock-step with authority absolves you of blame?

And have you noticed that new things – things not acknowledged by authority – are held to the opposite standard: that even one flaw excludes them from consideration?

Let’s take “social services” as an example.

Everyone knows that these operations consistently fail the children they’re supposed to save and that a shocking number of these children are ignored, abused, and even killed. The operators of the system, though, are never seriously held to account (certainly not personally), and their funding increases year after year.

Let someone propose a different way of handling the same “social” problems, however, and criticism jumps to the highest possible level. “What if” questions are not so much asked as launched at the new idea, and unless all of them are deflected, the new idea is instantly rejected.

A reasonable approach would be to count the failures under the current version, project the number of failures under the proposed version, and compare. But that doesn’t happen. Instead, the failures of the accepted version are flatly ignored, and a single imagined failure of the new way disqualifies it.

That is simply illogical and unreasonable. In fact, it’s cult-like.

And yet, nearly all of us have done this at one time or another. Some of us have done it many times.

The Payoff

If millions of us are doing this, you’d guess that there has to be some kind of payoff from it. And there is. The payoff is psychological comfort, and it works like this:

When we attack the new idea (social services-related or otherwise), we’re not defending children from risks, we’re defending our previous choices and the hedge that stands between us and blame.

Most people feel overmatched by the world. This begins in childhood and is nurtured in government schools, where years of an obscure but persistent curriculum teach us to obey without question and never to place our judgment above authority.

Because of this and other factors, we retain the sick feeling of being overmatched all our lives.

On top of that, we live in a guilt-ridden culture… and guilt feels bad.

And so we find refuge in a dimly recognized conspiracy:

We’ll support authority – and will ridicule anyone who strays from it – so long as authority protects its adherents from blame.

You can see this in the way people deal with the edicts they are given by authority: They hide behind them.

Rules provided by authority stand as the responsible party instead of us. No matter that we actually performed a harmful action, if we did it under authority, we can hold ourselves blameless, to which other members of the conspiracy will attest.

And that’s why we trash anything new and unauthorized, because if authority can be ignored, our protection from blame can be ignored too.

Are We Really That Fragile?

This conspiracy presumes that we’re far too fragile to handle blame. It roots in our childhood vulnerabilities and calls up the intimidations of enforced schooling. Regardless that we’re no longer fragile seven-year-olds, we feel that way… because the conspiracy was forged in us when we were weak seven-year-olds and rests upon those feelings.

The conspiracy, then, is cruel to us. We are no longer children, and we shouldn’t still be suffering childhood fears. We no longer need parents. If anything, we need to be parents.

This conspiracy of blame avoidance further keeps us from appreciating ourselves. Because if we started taking blame for our faults, we’d also start accepting credit for our virtues and successes. And those are far more numerous.

I hope I’ve given you a glimpse of this mass conspiracy, because it’s a sneaky and seductive destroyer.

We really have outgrown childhood and its fears. We’ll do far better by leaving them and the conspiracy behind.

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Paul Rosenberg

A Conspiracy Theory About Conspiracy Theories


One of the funny things about conspiracy theories, including false flag attacks, is how often they are proven to be true. You have to wonder how long the shame-inducing slam, “That’s a conspiracy theory,” will keep working.

But that’s not my point for today. Today, I want to introduce a conspiracy theory of my own, a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories. Here it is:

The powers that be – the elite, the deep state, whomever – want wild conspiracy theories to spread. Because after these wild theories set the “outrage meter” very high, they can get away with almost anything below that line.

In other words, wild theories ensure that the “I’ll act if I see that” trigger is never reached and Joe Average remains docile, even as he is progressively abused.

I hope I haven’t given any nefarious people ideas, but I think this is already happening. And in any event, I’m fairly certain it’s worth pointing out.

A Second Theory

There is a second reason for the lords of the status quo to love conspiracy theories, which is that such theories make it easy to discredit troublesome ideas.

For example, we now know – thank you again, Edward Snowden – that government agents are infiltrating websites to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt, as well as to destroy reputations.

So, rather than just pulling out the usual manipulation to discredit a troublesome idea (“conspiracy theory!”), why not tie it to some really nasty racist crap?

Lots of people have avoided discussions of the Federal Reserve, for example, because trolls attached to the discussions demonize Jews. Disgusted by anti-Semitism, people turn away from the whole subject, and the central banking scam remains unquestioned.

There are reasons open comment boards are overrun with hate-spewing trolls, and it’s not that deeply deluded people make up that much of the general populace. (Though they do exist, and they do love to spew their filth.)

So, this is my second conspiracy theory:

Disgusting trolls are paid to promote certain ideas… ideas the elite want to eliminate.

And nowadays, paid trolls aren’t even needed; artificial intelligence bots can carry out the work quite well and can even respond to counter-posts.

Can I Prove This?

Not entirely, no. And I’m not going to spend hundreds of hours tracking down evidence. That’s not my job; I’m not an investigative journalist. (Neither is anyone else these days, but that’s a separate point.)

Still, the links I’ve inserted above prove a lot of what I’m writing, and the rest will have to remain my own personal theories… and I’m just fine with that. People can take them or leave them as they choose.

The Other Problem

Beyond everything covered above, the other problem with conspiracy theories is that they are far too hopeful. Yes, hopeful.

The implication buried in conspiracy theories is that the world is being controlled. Whether it’s controlled by the Illuminati, the Jews, the Masons, or whomever, there is a strange sort of comfort in the idea that the world is controllable.

The comforting thought goes like this:

The world is being controlled by evil people. So, if we can just get rid of them, control will revert to good people, and things will be great again.

This thought is false. The world is not controlled by any single group of people. Rather, it’s a large, chaotic mess. Yes, the deep staters, central bankers, and so on do manipulate a lot of things, but they struggle endlessly and very often fail. Consider just two recent examples:

  • If they were that smart, these groups wouldn’t have allowed the internet to jump onto the scene in the early 1990s.

  • If they were that potent, they would have killed Bitcoin as soon as it appeared.

The truth is that they’re not that smart, and they’re not all-powerful. In fact, they have power only to the extent that they hoodwink people into serving them. And that’s not an iron-clad arrangement.


Presuming that everything above is true, what do we do about it?

My first thought is that we should stick to facts, not imaginings. I suspect, for example, that Building 7 at the World Trade Center was purposely brought down, but I don’t know that. My suspicions don’t make it true. Furthermore, it isn’t worth obsessing over. There are dozens of more important things to invest with time and energy – like actually building a better world.

I can’t think of a single conspiracy theory that’s worth majoring upon. Aliens at Roswell or the Kennedy assassination may be fun speculations – and I’d love to know the God’s-honest truth about both – but they’re simply not that important.

Rather, we should be busy building a better world, bypassing the institutions of abuse that dominate life in the West.

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Paul Rosenberg

The Real Problem with Conspiracy Theories

conspiracy theoriesIt seems that applying the tag “conspiracy theory” to something is the new way to get rid of it quickly. Evidently, people have been trained to stay away from anything given that title, assured that they will be embarrassed and ridiculed if they don’t gain some distance.

But while this association trick is of some interest, it really isn’t our subject here. Our concern is the problem built into conspiracy theories, not how the words are used as a weapon.

I’ll pass up the easy criticism of wild, irrational conspiracy theories. While these criticisms are legitimate, the risk associated with such theories is fairly minor; any serious, independent observer can see through them. The real problem with conspiracy theories is not easy to see – it is implied rather than directly stated. I’ll give it to you in brief, and then explain it more carefully:

The real problem with conspiracy theories is not that they are scary – it’s that they are too comforting.

My concern with conspiracy theories is not whether they are true or false; it is their implication that the world is being controlled. There is a strange comfort in the idea that the world is controllable.

The hidden thought embedded in most discussions of conspiracy theories is this:

The world is being controlled by evil people. So, if we can get rid of them, the world can revert to control by good people, and things will be great again.

This thought is false. The world is not controlled by any group of people – evil or good – and it will not be. The world is a large, chaotic mess. Those groups that do exert some control are merely larger pieces in the global mix.

The worst conspiracy theories take this hidden thought to an extreme, with a thought process that goes something like this:

  1. We had a glorious and just past.
  2. We lost our glorious days.
  3. It must have been someone’s fault. (“It was our own fault” is excluded, since that would require painful reflection and repair.)
  4. A plausible theory is inserted here, defining a clear villain or group of villains.
  5. Once we get control away from the villains, our glorious past will return.

This formulation is false, for several reasons:

  • The world is massively complex, and is simply not suited to control.
  • No type of control produces golden ages, and what is controlled suffers damage. (I’ll explain this in future issues of the monthly Freeman’s Perspective letter.)
  • Glorious times are created by good people and a tremendous amount of hard work; they don’t come easily or automatically.

This idea, of the world not being controlled, is troubling to most of us. Nonetheless, it seems to be the truth. The good guys don’t control the world and the bad guys don’t control the world. The world is a big, complex mess.

The Guy Who Would Know

I happen to know one of the world’s great intelligence analysts. He has written innumerable classified briefings, over several decades. We see each other at meetings from time to time and chat if we can.

At one of these meetings, we took a few moments to discuss the chaotic actions of intel groups worldwide, which led to a question I had been waiting to ask: Is there anyone who can see the big picture? Anyone with a clear view of what’s really going on?

His answer was unambiguous: “No, Paul, no one really knows.”

So, my friends, if this guy, a super-experienced, high-level intelligence analyst, can’t see what is really going on, and doesn’t know of anyone who can see it – much less being able to control it all – then forget about secret groups intelligently pulling strings world-wide. Such mega-villains do not exist. They make wonderful characters in mystery novels and movies, but they aren’t real.

I fully understand that this can be a troubling thought, but there is every reason to think that it is true, regardless of how it makes us feel.

Yes, there are groups that oppress people and control things – that skim away people’s production and manipulate their lives – but they do this locally, not world-wide. Furthermore, they are not able to control things very completely; there are always people and groups who slip through cracks.

And, it gets worse…

They Are Not Smarter Than You

When we think of people secretly running the world, we may think of them as evil, but we also think of them as highly intelligent. This also is false. And, for most of us, it is doubly scary to think that the guys trying to run the world are not only immoral, but have very mundane minds as well.

The people who have tried to control the world have rarely been geniuses. Even the most successful of them weren’t all that smart. Stalin was ruthless, for sure, but he was not exceptionally bright. Neither was Hitler, neither was Mao, neither were Alexander or the vast majority of Roman Emperors.

Ruthless does not equal smart.

Rulers are called “genius” because armies obeyed them, or because their soldiers had superior weapons and reasons to fight, or because they killed the opponents of a specific cause. But these are not characteristics that can be associated with genius. Real geniuses have never been big on wielding power over others.

To buttress this point, consider this: How many ‘great rulers’ sowed the seeds of their own destruction? (Attacking Russia in autumn… how stupid is that!?) Read serious biographies of the wannabe world controllers; you’ll find that most of them shot themselves in the foot.

Perhaps a few of the central controllers have been quick thinkers, but most of these people didn’t gain their positions by being smart – they gained position by some external advantage, mostly by being born to it, in one way or another.

The Crucial Importance of Structures

Think about the elite of our time: The Bushes, members of the House of Lords, Hillary Clinton, or the students at top Universities who routinely become the leaders of media and government. Then think about the central bankers: Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Schroders and their various sponsors. Then consider this:

Almost all of these people have obtained power via birth, family connections, or some other type of advantage. They are not there solely because of merit.

As for elected officials, it is a big mistake to imagine that they are in their positions due to merit, regardless of the fact that people vote for them. Winning an election is not about virtue; it’s about manipulating crowds. You win an election by scaring people away from your opponent. Beside, everyone knows that politics is incestuous and that almost every politician lies continually; that’s hard to construe as merit.

The elite are not superior, except at remaining ensconced in structures of power. And those structures matter far more than do their occupants.

A New Understanding of the Ruler

So, if ruling types don’t control as much as we thought they did, and if they’re not especially smart, our assumptions about them should change.

Consider things from the ruler’s standpoint. If they are not really in full control and are not super-smart, they would have to think thoughts like the following, at least from time to time:

1. We must preserve the structure or we can lose everything. If the structures of the world failed, the rulers would not be able to rebuild them. The proof of this are the various dark ages; once the old order failed, it stayed dead. New structures eventually rose up, but not the old ones. The ruling elite, if they understand this at all, will be driven to preserve their existing structures.

2. We must maintain an image of being powerful and wise, or at least as being admirable. Knowing that they are not inherently superior, but that they hold superior positions – positions that ultimately rest upon the agreement of the masses – the elite have to carefully maintain some type of elevated status and to make sure that the masses continue to care about that status.

Another human factor, that plays in the elite, as well as it does in anyone else, is simple denial. Because the loss of their structures would ruin them, they find ways to avoid taking such thoughts seriously. (Humans are very good at this.) So, when they say, “No one saw this crisis coming,” they may be telling the truth, at least as far as they know it. Neither they nor anyone in their circles would entertain such thoughts. Likewise, they may not see the next crisis until it hits them.

And, because most of the elite are subject to self-reflection like the rest of us, they have to find ways to discount the masses. Even if this is as small as calling most of their domain “flyover country,” they need to make some sort of distinction between themselves and the people they rule. Otherwise, they would have to face the fact that, being no better than the mechanic in Cornwall, they yet control his existence from cradle to grave.

[Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our flagship newsletter – Freeman’s Perspective – Issue #4: “The Real Problem with Conspiracy Theories.” If you liked what you read, consider taking a risk-free test drive. Not only will you gain immediate access to the rest of this issue (which includes two examples of real conspiracies later proved true), but you’ll also be able to enjoy the entire archive – more than 500 pages of research on topics of importance and inspiration to those looking for freedom in an unfree world. Plus valuable bonus reports and all new issues, as well. Click here to learn more.]

Paul Rosenberg