Conspiracy

The Dan Smoot/Liz Smith Axis

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Conspiratologists and paparazzi take note: Angelina Jolie, last seen fighting the Illuminati, has joined the Council on Foreign Relations. Adjust your theories and your stakeout plans accordingly.

[Via Norman Singleton.]

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  1. You are just finding this out? I thought I saw something about it on FOX over the weekend or earlier.

  2. She is one step closer to her goal of creating a post-apocalyptic world of multicultural superhuman children.

    I, for one, welcome our pouty-lipped overlords

  3. I guess Mensa is now pissy she passed on them. I knew this would happen.

  4. Member Carol Adelman, former head of U.S. foreign-aid programs, said, “It’s not like Paris Hilton is being nominated.”

    Ouch.

    It would be interesting to know how many other Hollywood ambassadors are members.

  5. I, for one, welcome our pouty-lipped overlords

    Your pouty-lipped overlord.

  6. There are a few other notable “Hollywood ambassador” members.

  7. But by a “few” I mean very few – just a handful of the several thousand members would fall under that definition.

  8. They did make Steve Gutenberg a star, and they kept the metric system down.

  9. “‘Bring her on,’ said Dr. Gordon Adams, an international-affairs professor. ‘The idea of having Henry Kissinger and Angelina Jolie in the same organization is dazzling.’

    “Member Carol Adelman, former head of U.S. foreign-aid programs, said, ‘It’s not like Paris Hilton is being nominated.'”

    It seems that the men are more enthusiastic than the women. I guess men are just more open-minded.

    And, by the way, Dr. Adams, I wouldn’t get my hopes up, if I were you.

  10. I don’t think a libertarian site shoould be encouraging conspiracy stuff. It brings the nutbars out and discredits the rest of us.

  11. Ed,
    If you refuse to wear the tinfoil hat, I’m going to have to ask you to return the decoder ring.

  12. Ed,

    I’m sorry, but was that English?

  13. Rimfax,

    He made a coherent (and reasonable) point. I don’t know why you would pick this post, of all the often illegible jibberish spouted in the comments, to pick on.

    Unless it’s an inside joke I’m not getting. Then sorry.

  14. “Your pouty-lipped overlord.”

    I hereby formally and unequivocally submit!

  15. “I don’t know why you would pick this post”

    Because a great many of the Reason folks are sociopathic narcissists.

  16. What about the paparazzi? Can I encourage the paparazzi?

  17. “On Friday night, the council’s membership accepted Jolie’s nomination – meaning she will soon be rubbing elbows with other club members such as Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Alan Greenspan.”

    Wow. Why would she want to associate with such inferior beings?

  18. IMDB reports that Jolie will play Dagny Taggart in the film version of Atlas Shrugged.

    If she does join the CFR, this could hurt our efforts to get Birchers to become Objectivists.

  19. The CFR has at times contained more than its share of members who have engagesd in conspiracy vis a vis government action.

    Ed:

    I don’t think a libertarian site shoould be encouraging conspiracy stuff. It brings the nutbars out and discredits the rest of us.

    One of the reasons for political conspiracy theories is political conspiracy. It does happen.

    When we libertarians debase conspiracy analysis, we’re throwing out an invaluable tool for understanding real politic. Political power is often transmitted via the machinations of hidden collusion and miss-direction. Often, conspiracy theorizing is the only way to apprehend political reality.
    I think we need to engage in conspiracy analysis to understand political power. We need to ask the question; who benefits? I like Rothbard’s extension of common sense conspiracy analysis from smaller political situations like the collusion of labor and management to enact tariffs, to larger things like entry into war, the creation of the Fed, etc.

  20. Rick,

    That’s so deja moo.

  21. Rimfax

    Of course it waas English.

  22. Rick Barton

    I think you mean your oft-posted statement to be the definitive defense of cosnspiracy theory, but you really have to rework it. In the first place, you surely mean “disparage,” not “debase.” Look them up,and you’ll see what I mean. Secondly, it is obviously not enough “to ask the question, who benefits?” People benefit from things they had nothing to do with all the time. I benefit from the rise in gold prices because I own stock in gold, but it doesn’t follow that I had anything to do the the rise. Finally, it won’t do to defend conspiracy theories without addressing the question of evidence. Anybody can work up an elaborate conspiracy theory about anything by simply focusing on everything that supports the theory and ignoring everything that doesn’t. That why most of us desparage conspiracy theories in the first place.

  23. Thank you Joe-interesting objections and considerations:

    I think you mean your oft-posted statement to be the definitive defense of cosnspiracy theory

    So ya noticed I posted it before, huh? 😉 I consider it a defense, but certainly not definitive cuz it’s not near extensive enough. But perhaps the inclusion of the considerations that you bring up move it in that direction.

    you surely mean “disparage,” not “debase.” Look them up,and you’ll see what I mean.

    I chose “debase” cuz it not only means devaluation but also devaluation via corruption. The corrupting agent in this case is the reflexive “nut ball” association.

    it is obviously not enough “to ask the question, who benefits?”

    I agree. I would never contend that it’s enough. Rather, I contend “Who benefits?” is a necessary but insufficient aspect of conspiracy analysis. The answer to the question is often illuminating, and leads us in the right direction. But it is only circumstantial evidence in establishing the existence of political conspiracy.

    Anybody can work up an elaborate conspiracy theory about anything by simply focusing on everything that supports the theory and ignoring everything that doesn’t. That why most of us desparage conspiracy theories in the first place.

    Incorrect conspiracy theories and poorly done conspiracy analysis is no more a reason to dismiss conspiracy analysis than bad science is a rason to dismiss scientific inquiry.

  24. Rick

    “Debase” still doesn’t fit “cuz” those who disparage conspiracy theories aren’t corrupting them. The theories are already a debased and corrupt form of reasoning. They aren’t so because of any nutball association; it’s the other way around–they’re associated with nutballs “cuz” they’re nutty.

    Asking who benefits can just as easily lead us in the wrong direction “cuz” there’s no necessary causal relationship. Such fallacies are never illuminating. One who engages in them isn’t engaging in analysis at all. To say that such drivel is bad analysis is like saying that atsrology is bad astronomy and that when we dismiss astrology, we dismiss scientific inquiry.

    My guess is that you’re a high school student who spends way to much time on the Internet. Once you get some edcuation under your belt–especially some history courses–you’ll be quite embarrassed that you ever wrote this stuff “cuz” it’s just silly.

  25. Sorry, way TOO much time on the internet

  26. Rick

    Here’s the formal name of your fallacy in case you want to follow it up.

    Animistic fallacy
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The animistic fallacy is the logical fallacy of arguing that an event or situation is evidence that someone consciously acted to cause it. The name of the fallacy comes from the animistic belief that changes in the natural world are the work of conscious spirits.

    The fallacy is sometimes presented as the question “Who benefits?” followed by an answer identifying the presumed culprit.

  27. Joe,

    Your first paragraph is just more silly, anti-intellectual, categorical dismissal. And you’re quite wrong about “debase”. Here’s a similar usage by Andrea F?bry, who works in comparative literature at the State University of New York. Just Google it up and you will find thousands of examples:

    He continues with the argument that some spectators would debase art, because they are unable to cast a trained eye on it and thus they reduce it from its whole to cheap replacements of its parts.

    http://clcwebjournal.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb99-4/fabry99.html

    Asking who benefits can just as easily lead us in the wrong direction.

    What?? Ridiculous! To assume that asking who benefits can just as easily lead us in the wrong direction, you’d also have to assume that humans aren’t volitional creatures.

    “cuz” there’s no necessary causal relationship

    If we were talking *necessary* causal relationships, I wouldn’t have said that the answer to the question is *often” illuminating.

    You appear not to have a logical mind, Joe.

    One who engages in them isn’t engaging in analysis at all.

    So you’re saying that either political conspiracies never happen or that they are, for some reason, impossible to analyze, cuz those are the only two alternatives.

    To say that such drivel is bad analysis is like saying that atsrology is bad astronomy and that when we dismiss astrology, we dismiss scientific inquiry.

    Ha Ha! That makes no sense. You were unable to even form a congruous analogy.

    especially some history courses

    If you knew more history, you’d know that political conspiracies do happen.

    you’ll be quite embarrassed

    Well insult boy, it’s you who should be quite embarrassed by your 1:23pm post cuz you demonstrated a real dearth of mental sophistication.

  28. Okay, Rick. Carry on.

  29. Argument from final outcome or consequences
    Such arguments (also called teleological) are based on a reversal of cause and effect, because they argue that something is caused by the ultimate effect that it has, or purpose that is serves. This argument takes some permutation of the form that if a claim were either true or untrue, then the consequences would either be good or bad, and therefore what is true is what leads to either achieving a good outcome or avoiding a bad outcome.
    For example, Christian creationists have argued that evolution must be wrong because if it were true it would lead to immorality.

    Subtype: Argument from Benefit
    Another common, and perhaps more subtle, form of this logical fallacy is the notion that if someone or some entity benefited from an event they must have caused the event. This fallacy is commonly invoked in the context of the JFK assassination in order to support an alleged conspiracy. The argument is that if someone benefited from the assassination of JFK they must have been involved in a conspiracy to carry out the assassination.

  30. Joe:

    Here’s the formal name of your fallacy in case you want to follow it up.

    I’m not committing that fallacy cuz I’m not claiming that knowing the answer to the question “Who benefits?” in political situations is proof or conclusive evidence of cause-Only that the answer tends to lead us in the right direction-probabilistic evidence, perhaps.

    But I did follow it up. Thanks for bringing it up…Sounds like the basis for a masters thesis: “On why conspiracy analysis is not guilty of the Animistic fallacy”

    No hard feelings.

  31. Another common…form of this logical fallacy is the notion that if someone or some entity benefited from an event they must have caused the event.

    The operative words here being “must have”.

  32. Rick

    Absolutely no hard feelings. I take solace in the thought that you are probably college-bound and will grow out of this nonsense naturally. Just “cuz” that’s what usually happens.

  33. Joe,

    That would be more credible if you had actually made a case that it is indeed nonsense-or even issued a decent rebuttal.

    Well, I might be college-bound, I do take an occasional class cuz it’s interesting. But I’ve been already. I do however have a son who’s about to finish grad school.

    What in the world is with your pre-occupation with “cuz”?

  34. Rick

    I was making light fun of an adolescent pronunciation, which I assumed you were consciously representing in writing to signal your age. My mistake!
    Let’s agree to disagree and move on (in different directions.)

  35. Joe,

    No problem at all. Perhaps it’s that I’m subconsciously trying to hide my age. Hmmm….

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