Posts by HORansome

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    If conspiracy theory gets claimed only to include the wacky claims used to put down the person talking, then we’ll lose the use of a particularly useful phrase.

    Boy, do I have a book to sell you then. Because that's what I argue, although at slightly more length and with more references to the assassination of Julius Caesar.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    You'll need to be a little more specific, I'm afraid, Ian.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to tussock,

    A conspiracy is just a few people doing stuff out of public sight that’s deniable and for personal gain.

    I'm with you up until that point, and all I want to say is that I don't think we need to bake into the definition of a conspiracy theory that it's for personal gain or anything vaguely nefarious or malevolent. I think there can be conspiracies of goodness where people act in secret towards some public good. After all, one story as to why Brutus and his associates assassinated Julius Caesar was to rid Rome of a tyrant (it's not the only story, admittedly), and activists who plot in secret to disrupt some meeting or stop some event from occurring (which is a kind of conspiratorial activity) often do it because they consider it to be the best outcome for all.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to andin,

    I think it's fair to say that John Key is a bit of a conspiracy theorist about the work of Nicky Hager. So was Helen Clark.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to CJM,

    What are the odds that there’ll be an SIS operative under cover with those police digging around for any Snowden or Greenwald correspondence on Hagers computers? And no, I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

    That's a great example of what I call the "I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but..." fallacy, where people are happy to put forward what are, to them, plausible conspiracy theories but don't want to be labeled as a conspiracy theorist. I say own the term: I'm happy to be called both a conspiracy theorist and a conspiracy theory theorist.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Well, yes. Once again, that's one kind of conspiracy theorist. The members of the Dewey Commission were called conspiracy theorists for their belief Stalin and his cronies had manufactured the verdicts of the Moscow Trials. Turns out the members of the Commission were right.

    The actual issue here, surely, is the claim about whether those in power will ignore or hide evidence which reflects badly upon them, or even disseminate disinformation (a term invented by the Stalin regime to "describe" the Dewey Commission's report)? However, that's an issue which isn't unique to claims of conspiracy.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Part of the attraction of apparent conspiracy theories seems to be that they give an illusion of power to the powerless – the eureka moment of “I was right, everything I knew was wrong!”

    That's true of some conspiracy theorists but I'd hesitate to define a set of beliefs which range from the plausible to the implausible with reference to just one kind of conspiracy theorist. Also, after the Snowden revelations, et al., it seems some of those conspiracy theorists might well have known something was up.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The line was being deployed preemptively, before Dirty Politics was even published. And it was quite effective. The number of people who can’t perceive a difference between Hager and Ian Wishart is quite remarkable.

    In the terms of your argument, of course, Hager is a conspiracy theorist.

    Indeed. As are you, what with your remonstrations of Messrs. Farrar, Williams and Graham on Twitter the other day. :)

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Ah, but that only works if you implicitly accept that the term “conspiracy theory” isn’t really a pejorative marking out irrational beliefs. Many academics, journalists and politicos tend to use “conspiracy theory” to refer to some belief which is clearly nonsense and the product of conspiracism (i.e. a conspiracy theory is something not based upon evidence nor good argument). If such a theory comes to be proven, they have to go through a whole bunch of metaphysical mechanics to show how it wasn’t really a conspiracy theory at all (consider David Aaronovitch’s “Voodoo Histories”: he starts the book by claiming conspiracy theories are nonsense and then spends the next half of the book trying to show how the conspiracy theories he accepts as being warranted aren’t really conspiracy theories).

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we should not dismiss…, in reply to DeepRed,

    Most, if not all the above, were eventually exposéd by investigative journos. They're more important than ever in this public relations-dominated day & age.

    Meanwhile, the Police raid Nicky Hager's home...

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

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