Conspiracy-mongers practice a phony, pseudo-intellectual sophistication based on the belief that simple or apparent causes are illusory. In their eyes, all causes are hidden, and only a fool would believe a story as it unfolds. Invariably, they say, people in positions of authority lie to cover up the true motivation for their actions. The obsession with conspiracies hearkens back to the revolt against science and reason championed by Comte, Hegel, and Marx. They popularized a projection of the imagination onto reality, which resulted in the cult of “super-causes,” detached from any actual human experience. The conspiracy crowd continues that tradition, that crusade against the slow accumulation of evidence that is characteristic of scientific inquiry. Knowledge, a treasure acquired through substantial toil, is rendered superfluous, even to the point of being an obstacle to the “truth.” Why study the intricate details of history when you know that the corrupt capitalist system invariably launches wars against helpless Third World nations in order to exploit their natural resources? The explanation for this revolt against science and reason is complex, but I believe part of it lies in the fact that modern man has been deprived of the ability to attribute causes to higher powers. Previous generations could attribute the vicissitudes of life to miracles, demons, divine intervention, or fate, like the ancient Greek belief in the Moirae, the arbiters of destiny.
The Enlightenment stripped man of these outlets, replacing them with the colder tools of reason and objective analysis. As a reaction, the early 19th century witnessed a flood of pseudo-scientific formulas, among them Hegel’s inexorable laws of historical development. In an attempt to transcend science, these charlatans gave us a new set of “higher powers,” thereby leaving a legacy of superstition that still plagues us today. Published by Gary on September 24th, 2007 Filed under Marxism, Totalitarianism