Hey, yeah, so, Granite Shadow.
Arkin sounds comparatively rational (in his inaugural entry, he says his “basic philosophy is that government is more incompetent than diabolical”), but many of the comments on Arkin’s post bear the hallmarks of paranoid schizophrenic delusions.
The bane of conspiracies is that people just aren’t very good at keeping secrets. (This is notoriously true even of professional secret-keepers.)
But there’s something very compelling about conspiracies. I think it’s genetically hard-wired. Our brains are fundamentally pattern-recognition machines. Even when we’re not looking for patterns we find them: animals in the clouds, faces in wood grain, canals on Mars, the kind but stern visage of Jesus in assorted foodstuffs. We find causalities and other links between events the same way, whether they’re “really” there or not.
Given all the things I believe to be “facts,” it’s impossible for me to conclude that the “War on Terror” is anything other than a tactic to divert attention from some other agenda. The agenda that seems most likely to me involves the goals of the (what I percieve to be) the true constituent of the Bush administration: Big Business, particularly the oil companies and certain DoD contractors.
It’s also very hard for me to accept that the neoconservatives will be able to retain their populist status as the consequences of their policies become more obvious to citizens. It’s hard for me to believe they don’t forsee serious near-future challenges to their power base.
But then again, in the sound bite in which he pleads with us not to turn away from his Iraq windmill tilt, his voice nearly cracking with petulance as he reavows his determination to end “terror,” our Chief Executive sounds to me as if he’s ready for his tin foil hat fitting.
The thing is, we’ve given him the power to actualize some of his delusions — so if he has paranoid fantasies, he can drag us into them along with him.
I can’t seriously entertain the notion of a vast Rebuplican conspiracy to circumvent the democratic process. It would have to be too big, and somebody would spill the beans. And I believe that — as much as I may disagree with them on many points — most of our elected representives, party politics aside, hold the funadmental freedoms of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights as dear as I do.
But it’s still troubling to see legislation enacted (and a simultaneous trend in judicial intepretation) that could enable a coup (by any other name) under the pretext of a national emergency, and that could silence dissidents and whistleblowers.
If you do exactly what the paranoids expect you to do, what the hell do you expect the paranoids to think? And what are those of us who like to consider ourselves sane to think of your following of the paranoiac blueprint?
I think arm-waving, shouting, and dragging-into-the-light is called for.
Let us be aware not only that overthrown and suborned governments are found in history books as well as in deluded minds, but also of the tactics that brought them about. Let us remember the findings of the Church Commission, and let us repeal the USA PATRIOT act.
Let us agree, foremost, that however very unlikely these possibilities are, we must not allow them to become any more probable than they already are.