The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

The "Tinfoil Hat" Brigade September 21, 2004 by RedStar2000

As you may know, both the Che-Lives board and this site were down for four days...and see what I got stuck with.


If "doom" is at hand, then why isn't this guy hanging out at a topless bar? Or doing whatever else he may happen to enjoy?

Of course, it may be that he really enjoys spending the "final years" of technological civilization just "crying DOOM!".

The obvious difficulty with "end of the world" scenarios is that they generate complete passivity.

Forget about revolution, communism, all that crap -- within a few years, the remnants of humanity will be concerned only with savagery or barbarism.

Forget science and engineering; take archery lessons and learn how to grub roots. Yum!

This gentleman's "tinfoil hat" theories of 9/11 require no comment; U.S. imperialism behaves as it does for fundamental economic reasons...not "plots".

But I see no reason to "take seriously" any of the fashionable "end of the world" scenarios because, if true, then there is nothing to be done.

The ballgame is over, period.

In my opinion, that's a reactionary position...perhaps explaining his invitation to speak to a club of reactionaries (the Commonwealth Club of California).
First posted at San Francisco Indymedia on September 14, 2004


An ad hominem is not a rebuttal.

As I noted, there is no need to "rebut" nonsense.

But if you insist...

If Bush & Co. wanted to "arrange" an "incident", it would have been done on a much smaller scale...or even faked entirely like the "Gulf of Tonkin incident".

Your link is a smörgåsbord of "tinfoil hats"..."secret societies", "occultism", etc. All that's missing is "space aliens".

I would not dispute the contention that those born to the ruling class have many inter-locking ties...secret, semi-secret, and open. New or potential recruits are undoubtedly both socialized and carefully scrutinized through such mechanisms as fraternities, private clubs, "secret societies", etc.

But when the Federal Reserve Board or the National Security Council meets, they do not do so in order to "ratify" a "decision" made the previous evening at a meeting of freemasons or "Illuminati". When it comes to serious money or imperial ambitions, that stuff gets decided by "the people actually in charge!" And they do not make their decisions based on a "secret conspiracy" but on the very open grounds of maximizing profit and building a stable American empire.

It's not a secret.
First posted at San Francsico IndyMedia on September 18, 2004


And the proof of this is?

9/11 cost many members of the ruling class serious money!

Do you think they're utter fools? Would they piss away billions when the job ("terrifying people into greater submission to the authorities") could be done for much less?

Look at what the Italian neo-fascists did...set off one bomb in a railway station, killing less than 200. Do you think Bush & Co. would not have preferred a "cheap" alternative to 9/11?

Not to mention the obvious fact that the more elaborate a conspiracy is (like 9/11 would have had to have been), the more likely it is to unravel.. One reason that "vast conspiracies" are so improbable is that the more people actually involved, the more likely it is that someone will "blow the whistle". Look at how "Watergate" came apart with all the rats scrambling to save themselves.

"Conspiracy" is actually a rather poor "method" of political action. The ones that come to light rather resemble "the gang that couldn't shoot straight" gross blunder after another.

I have no doubt that there are a great many "small conspiracies" in capitalist society...but, in the "big picture", they are trivial in their effects.

Anyone who suggests otherwise is a good candidate for the "tinfoil hat" brigade.
First posted at San Francisco Indymedia on September 19, 2004


But what I want to know is this. The government’s official version of what happened is itself a conspiracy theory. Why, of all the various conspiracy theories that have been put forth, is it the only one you do not question? Why do you see fit to take it upon yourself to preach so vehemently that we should not question the government? Do you work for the government? Are they paying you to defend them? If not, why are you doing it?

In this case, the government's "conspiracy theory" makes more sense than yours a wide margin.

That a small and well-financed group of Islamic clerical-fascists should hatch a scheme to "smite the infidel" is entirely plausible. It fits well with their ideology, their "track-record", and does not require "belief" in wild improbabilities.


Third, and most important, the ruling class is not a monolith. It functions as a unified structure *only* in its relationship to the working class. The rest of the time, they compete among themselves for the spoils of class war. They don’t mind costing their competitors money. They like that. Other members of the ruling class lost nothing whatsoever on 9/11, and have made scores of billions of the so-called "War on Terror" already, and it’s only three years old.

That's not a bad summary -- although there have even been times when parts of the ruling class seriously disagreed how to respond to working class insurgency.

But 9/11 hardly fits the mold of one group of ruling class elements "conspiring" against another. And I expect the losses far exceeded "a few billion".


You are not thinking clearly here. Your mind is a prisoner of your own ideology. Ideology is what idiots have instead of ideas. Get over it. Think for yourself for a change.

I wish I had some "helpful advice" to offer you...but I don't think there's anything I could say that would make any difference.

For some folks, ordinary life is "dull" and "boring" and "ordinary materialist explanations" are "unsatisfying". A world of "secret societies" and "vast conspiracies" is "more interesting". Others prefer "space aliens" and "anal probes".

It's all "tinfoil hat" stuff.


"When it's done right, you won't know who did it or how it was done." -- William Colby

What else would you expect him to say? Professional "spooks" always make wild claims of their "effectiveness"...knowing full well that no one can ever "prove" otherwise.

When the "blowback" from their "black ops" becomes public, they always say that "it wasn't done right".

"Spook stuff" does have a certain the same folks who believe in vast conspiracies. The political consequences are not so good...they end up vastly exaggerating the power of the ruling class (or portions thereof).

"Why struggle" against a regime endlessly capable of brilliant "black ops" that always "work"?

Like the "peak oil hypothesis", it's a formula for surrender.
First posted at San Francisco IndyMedia on September 19, 2004


Plausibility is not truth. Truth is consistence with the empirical data...Fitting the mold or not does not determine whether something is true. Something is true if it is consistent with the empirical data, and for no other reason...Again, who believe and who doesn’t, is irrelevant. The only thing that is relevant is consistence with the empirical data...Again, how people analyze what happened, and what conclusions they draw, have nothing whatsoever to do with what really happened. That is determined by the empirical data. What happened, happened. What didn’t happen, didn’t happen. What you or I happen to think of it doesn’t matter. Either way, it happened or not, as determined by the empirical data, and by the empirical data alone.

Such a heartfelt tribute to empirical truth in the abstract can hardly be disputed.

However, we humans are limited. We cannot personally confirm or reject all of the "empirical data" that is submitted for our consideration.

Therefore, we almost always rely on what we are being told consistent with what we already know (or think we know)? Does it "make sense"?

This occasionally (or even often) leads to gross error. A very large number of Americans, for example, really believe that they live in a "democracy"...that their vote "means something", that "elections" are "more" than a civic ritual, etc.

That belief is "consistent" with all they've been "taught" about American political "reality" when someone like me points out that matters are radically different from what they believe, we are met with a very high degree of skepticism.

The rule is: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Consider this claim...


How plausible is it that the plane that hit the Pentagon made a hole significantly smaller than the plane itself?

Did you measure it yourself? Did you create a computer model of the impact and determine for yourself what size the hole "should have been"?

No, someone told you that...and you believed them.

Why? Because such a statement of purported "empirical fact" struck you as plausible, as consistent with your own predisposition to favor "conspiracy theories" and the "power" of "secret societies".

That's not an "attack" on you; all of us do the same thing from necessity.

As it happens, there are lots of things that the government says that I also do not accept as plausible...their record of veracity has, overall, been a very poor one.

But that doesn't mean they lie about everything. And if you begin with the presumption that they do, it quickly lands you in the soup...which is where you find yourself.

Sometimes the truth serves their interests better than a lie would.

Figuring out when they are lying is sometimes very difficult...and plausibility is what we often use when we have nothing else to go on.

But what is plausible to one may be wildly implausible to much so as to simply rule out consideration altogether.

I have no particular quarrel with those who are skeptical of the government's official explanations of 9/11 -- indeed, I think it quite likely that embarrassing evidence of the government's incompetence is probably being suppressed.

They "do that" all the time.

But what you and others propose -- that 9/11 was the fulfillment of a "deep conspiracy" within the government -- is, in my view, so wildly implausible as to not merit consideration. One might just as well claim it was done by "space aliens" posing as Islamic clerical-fascists.(!)

Like it or not, the truth to be believed must be plausible.
First posted at San Francisco IndyMedia on September 20, 2004


This seems to differ little from when everything is passed off as something created by a tinfoil hat brigade. If we no longer question such things we become oblivious to when they actually happen, and I would say that becomes just as dangerous.

I'm not sure I understand your point here.

That is, we could seriously investigate any particular "end of the world" scenario and conclude...what?

1. It's bollocks...we wasted our time and energy bothering to check it out.

2. It's (gasp!) true...we're all going to die or at "best" be reduced to savagery.

Conclusion one need require no effort on our part, and we can use that time and energy more productively. I just ignore such scenarios because there's nothing useful that can be done about them.

Conclusion two renders all our efforts and any possible future efforts completely makes more sense to just drink ourselves into a stupor.

Perhaps it's a matter of taste...I'm sure there would be people running their vacuum cleaners "just one last time" before the power goes off "forever".

But it's not to my taste...I would rather think I was doing something useful "right up to the end"...if there is one.

Much the same is true, I think, about "deep conspiracies" and "secret societies". If such things were really influential in the course of history, then our revolutionary efforts would never be more than insignificant trivia. The "secret masters" would still be running the flags or otherwise.

So I just "rule them out" -- the knowledge of whether or not they are "true" should be of no interest to revolutionaries.

And there's also a practical consideration: if we fail to limit our investigations to the plausible, then where do we "draw the line" and on what grounds?

"Maybe" George Bush is really a "space alien" from Vega XVII. "Maybe" agents of the devil were behind 9/11. "Maybe" the tinfoil hat brigade is "right". (!)

"Maybe" I'm a 34th degree Freemason who secretly rules the internet. *laughs*

See...there's just no end of nonsense to "investigate". Therefore, I only admit plausible hypotheses for consideration.

I don't see any other reasonable way to proceed.
First posted at Che-Lives on September 23, 2004


Fair enough, but then we have to define the terms of what's actually plausible, which is a whole lot harder.

It's a "judgement call" that each of us has to make.

For example, suppose I were to read an article in which the author put together quite a bit of credible evidence from public sources in support of the hypothesis that the U.S. is planning an imminent invasion of Iran.

That strikes me as entirely plausible...whereas others would not even consider it until the bombs started falling.

It "fits" with the recent behavior of U.S. imperialism as well as with its professed ideology.

Now suppose someone else suggests -- on the basis of on-going suspicion -- that rogue elements in the CIA conspired to facilitate the efforts of al-Qaeda to commit a major terrorist action within the U.S.

Well, it's possible...the CIA has done some pretty "wild" things "off the books"...though the effects were marginal. I personally wouldn't waste a lot of time thinking about this one.

And from there we enter the realm of "deep conspiracies" and the wildly implausible. And here is where, at least in my opinion, rational effort is wasted.

People have different levels of skepticism and accordingly different criteria of plausibility. As I noted in the exchange at San Francisco IndyMedia, some folks find "mundane" explanations "unsatisfying" and seem to have a decided taste for the "spectacular", the "exotic", and the truly weird. A century ago, they might well have found their niche in astral writing, table-tapping, ghost-photography, etc. In our more secular age, it is the "deep conspiracy" that appeals to (at least some of) them.

Perhaps it stems from an insight that is perfectly valid -- authority does lie to people...quite often and in many ways. But when that insight in disconnected from much in the way of real knowledge about how the world actually just "runs hog wild".

And anything becomes "plausible".
First posted at Che-Lives on September 24, 2004
· Welcome
· Theory
· Guest Book
· Hype
· Additional Reading
· Links

· Contact
Latest Theory Collections
· Communists Against Religion -- Part 19 June 6, 2006
· Conversations with Capitalists May 21, 2006
· Vegetable Morality April 17, 2006
· Parents and Children April 11, 2006
· The Curse of Lenin's Mummy April 3, 2006
Defining Theory Collections
· What Did Marx "Get Wrong"? September 13, 2004
· Class in Post-Revolutionary Society - Part 1 July 9, 2004
· Demarchy and a New Revolutionary Communist Movement November 13, 2003
· A New Type of Communist Organization October 5, 2003
· The "Tools" of Marxism July 19, 2003
· Marxism Without the Crap July 3, 2003
· What is Socialism? An Attempt at a Brief Definition June 19, 2003
· What is Communism? A Brief Definition June 19, 2003
· A New Communist Paradigm for the 21st Century May 8, 2003
· On "Dialectics" -- The Heresy Posts May 8, 2003
Random Quote
...they [the Maoists] dispose of Marx's "obsolete idea" that "the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the workers themselves".  

Search Internet
Search Website
· There have been 2 users active in the past 15 minutes.

Copyright © 2003-2006 -- Some rights reserved.