Robert Anton Wilson on conspiracies…

“Indeed, those who think “conspiracy theories” never contain anything but paranoid fantasy should remember that our government itself and all advanced governments believe in conspiracies and have laws against them. Special branches of the police power have the job of investigating possible conspiracies in various areas—the SEC looks for bank swindles, the Red Squad of every police department looks for subversive ideas, district attorneys hunt for books so evil they are not protected by the First Amendment (which radicals like the late Justice Brennan believed was intended to protect all books), even the CIA (when it can spare the time from its profitable cocaine business) looks for external conspiracies, etc. If we (or three out of four of us) don’t trust the people who govern us, they don’t trust us, either. And no other country lacks some criminal conspiracy laws or agencies charged with seeking them out and prosecuting them. This, for instance, explains how the Italian government in the 1980s discovered the P2 conspiracy, which had placed over 950 of its agents in top government positions. Similarly, the U.S. government has recently found evidence of a conspiracy of deception by the tobacco industry. Such facts should warn us again dismissing all conspiracy theories as the pastime of dingbats and cranks. None of the investigative agencies charged with bringing hard evidence into court, however, have ever found traces of any of the Really Big Conspiracies that most “conspiracy buffs” believe in. This, of course, only proves one thing to the true conspiriologist: The major conspiracies really do have almost universal power, because the investigating agencies themselves “are part of the cover-up.” Against that kind of logic, the gods themselves contend in vain. But, of course, a truly powerful and truly intelligent conspiracy would never get “exposed” or even suspected, as Mel Gibson says in the popular film Conspiracy Theory.

Thus nobody can totally refute any truly crazy conspiracy theory, because all such theories have a Strange Loop in their construction. Any evidence against them also functions as evidence to support them, if you want to look at it that way. Thus, like its cousin, theology, the pop demonology of conspiracy theory survives any and all criticisms. People do not believe theological or demonological models of the world for logical or scientific reasons, but for “artistic” or at least emotional reasons. These models or narratives provide harmonious, coherent, and starkly simple explanations of events that otherwise seem chaotic and beyond human comprehension. That’s why I believe in so many of them myself.”

Robert Anton Wilson