Inside the Mind of the Conspiracy Denier
Part One of a Two Part Series
by Stuart DiNenno
Why is it that so many otherwise intelligent, thinking Christians refuse to investigate, or even take seriously, reports that wicked men in high places are conspiring to deceive and manipulate the people for the purpose of advancing themselves and their anti-Christian philosophies and agendas? Why do they instead vehemently insist that reports of conspiracy cannot be true, and condemn or mock those who affirm them, despite all the evidence in support of conspiratorial activity?
The history of the world is replete with accounts of abuses of power — deceit, betrayal, theft, murder, and many other crimes committed by governments and their officials. Corruption in high places is no less present in our modern world, even to the point that we make jokes about an “honest politician” being an oxymoron that is as illusory as a unicorn.
We know that politicians often lie to the public and hide their affiliations, and that they regularly act contrarily to the causes they profess to support. We know that powerful, mega-wealthy corporations routinely flout civil laws and disdain Christian morality, even promoting the opposite of the latter. We know that there is a series of revolving doors between big business, the lobbying system, government regulation agencies, the judiciary, and the news media, and that this results in a great deal of collusion that goes unchecked, and the evil consequences of it are rarely punished. We know that even low-level criminals in Western societies often go unpunished or only receive light sentences. We know that the so-called justice system favors the moneyed and politically connected so that their crimes, in most cases, not only are treated even more lightly than those of others, but that often they avoid prosecution altogether. We know that government intelligence agencies spy on their citizens to the point that few people today believe their personal communications are private. We know that high-level law enforcement agencies have repeatedly abused their power. We know that governments throughout the world often ignore or trample on the rights of the people, and actively abuse and mistreat them. Even though we have a controlled press, we know that all of this corruption exists, and though the extent of it is not nearly revealed in its fullness, we all know enough to recognize that the assertions made in this paragraph are true and it is doubtful that anyone sees them as controversial.
No less obvious is the existence of conspiratorial organizations.
Take, for example, what we call “organized crime.” No one denies that criminal syndicates running gambling, liquor, drugs, and prostitution operations have existed in the past and continue to exist. Those who deny other conspiracies seem to have no problem believing that there are cartels running the drug trade and that so-called Mafia organizations have been in operation for many years. These are well-known examples of conspiracies which, in many cases, have not only been shown to be far beyond merely local in scope, but even clearly demonstrated to be international.
In America during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there were campaigns to break up what were called trusts and laws were put in place to forcibly do so. These trusts were defined as the conspiracies of big business owners to monopolize certain industries. The Sherman Act of 1890 was one example of anti-trust legislation which outlawed “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.” Trusts were conspiratorial organizations run by men hungry for money and power who wanted to dominate their particular fields of business and eliminate all competition. Anti-trust laws are still in force and are still used by the U.S. government today.
Then there are Marxist revolutions. It cannot reasonably be denied that they have been instigated by conspiracies. No one can honestly and objectively evaluate the facts of what happened in Russia during the early 20th century and say that the overthrow and murder of the Russian royal family and the institution of the Soviet regime occurred as a result of something other than a conspiracy. Only a fool or a deceiver would assert that the Communists did not plot to overthrow the government but that it happened organically by a series of coincidences. It is also obvious by even a cursory study of the Communist movements of the 20th century that the revolutionaries in multiple Eastern European countries worked in concert with those in Russia to take power in their respective countries. This is a clear example of an international conspiracy.
Let us also not forget the genocidal conspiracies such as what is claimed to have happened in Germany before and during World War II. It is a very curious thing that so many who deny the existence of conspiracies never deny the so-called Holocaust. Yet, if it were true, then it necessarily would have been a conspiracy on the part of thousands of Germans to murder millions of people. How about the killing of millions of Russians, Ukrainians and other ethnics by the Soviets in the 20th century and the same by the Communists in China toward their own countrymen? Did these things happen by a series of mere coincidences or were they carefully planned and executed by men in high places? Is it not obvious that the latter is the case?
Seeing that all of the above is quite well-known, it becomes difficult to understand why so many people continue to deny the existence of high-level conspiracies with such vehemence. Why, in spite of all the evidence, do deniers continue to display sneering contempt for those who affirm the existence of conspiracies, and why do they continue to hold the increasingly untenable belief that “despite all of its flaws, the system still works”? That is, regardless of the existence of human corruption and all of its manifestations throughout history and into modern times, why do they seem to believe that above a certain undefined point in the authority structure, everything somehow falls into place, as if there is a sanctifying force that lays hold on men when they reach a particularly high level of influence?
Is it not blatantly obvious that the opposite is true? Today’s Godless political milieu favors the unscrupulous. A moral person, to say the least, is at a distinct disadvantage in the power structures of the world and is going to have little inclination or taste for doing what is necessary to climb the ladder to a position of influence. In fact, it is very likely that he will be unable to do so without participating in evil that his conscience will not allow. The amoral, on the other hand, have no such obstructions. They need only think about what is the best strategy to advance their position in the world. Lying to the public while cheating in private is the easiest way to win the game. Why would people expect anyone other than the most wicked men to rise to the top in such a system? If the path of least resistance to power and wealth is deceit and ruthlessness, there is little chance of punishment for the same, and the lack of moral convictions to bind the conscience becomes an advantage, then why would anyone doubt that this is the path which will be chosen by the worst of men and that they actually do realize their ambitions? No one denies the maxim “absolute power corrupts absolutely” but few, it seems, actually apply it to the world in which we presently live. For if they really believe it to be true, then why do so many fail to reach the obvious conclusion that the further we look up the power pyramid, the more corrupt men we should find occupying positions in it, with the most evil being those holding the most power?
In light of all the above, why do men continue to deny the existence of conspiracies, even to the point of eschewing evidence for them when it is presented, and instead cling on to the belief that the government institutions of the world are working for their benefit? What sort of man chooses to persist in such an intellectual fantasy land existence?
There is a plausible theory.
When we are infants we place an implicit trust in those with whom we first find ourselves — our parents. It is a trust which is justified. As infants or children we could not survive otherwise. We need our parents to interpret the world that we have not yet experienced, to inform us of those things of which we have not yet acquired knowledge, to provide for us the things that we are unable to provide for ourselves, and to shield us from the dangers against which we are incapable of defending ourselves.
Later in life our world, of course, broadens but we still have similar needs. The scope of human societies is too large, their institutions are too intricate, and our personal experience is too limited, for us to navigate and comprehend it all without assistance from agencies outside of ourselves. In addition, though as adults we are much more able to protect ourselves, we are still vulnerable to being attacked by forces that are too powerful for us to fight off, and there are multiple threats to our well-being that we, as individuals, lack the power, knowledge, and skills to overcome. Therefore, the role our parents had in our lives when we were children is partially transferred, at least in theory, to the authority figures and institutions of the larger society.
We would like to believe that the governments at various levels in our nation, which we elect and fund, will use the police and military forces they control to protect us when we face a threat that is too powerful for us to defend against as individuals or families. We would like to believe that the legal system, which has been formed to administer justice, will actually do so when we are wronged. We would like to believe that the medical system consisting of doctors nurses, hospitals, etc. will take care of us when we are overcome by injuries or diseases that we lack the capability to deal with ourselves. We would like to believe that the information about our nation and the world, which we are unable to gather for ourselves, is being accurately reported and interpreted by the media companies who have the large scale structures in place to search it out for us. And we would like to believe that the education system which has been put in place to aggregate knowledge on a wide variety of topics for us and to disseminate it to us faithfully for our benefit is actually doing so.
This is how we all would like our world to function. These institutions were put into place to serve us, and we all want to believe that they actually do so. However, the reality is that they have been corrupted, so that they cannot be counted on to faithfully perform in our best interests. In this, the conspiracy affirmer and the denier agree to some extent. The difference between the beliefs of the two is only in degree and scope. The conspiracy denier will affirm that the system is flawed, and that bias and corruption do exist within it but he will not allow his recognition of corruption to proceed to the level of considering that the organizations that purport to help us actually may have been subverted to our destruction. He will vehemently deny that there are any conspiracies afoot, despite any proof that is presented to him, or he will at least not allow for the existence of conspiracies beyond a low level or a limited range. He steadfastly maintains a hope and a trust that the system, considered overall, is still working in his best interest. He sees injustice in it but usually ascribes this to mistakes and oversights — blaming it mostly on mere incompetence rather than malevolent design. The idea that human corruption could be so pervasive and depraved as to manifest itself into a conspiracy on a grand scale is something that he just cannot accept and, therefore, any evidence that might be presented to him in support of the same is rejected out of hand and never given any serious consideration, much less thoughtful examination.
The question naturally arises: What makes the affirmer and the denier different? Why is one man willing to examine all of the evidence and follow it to its logical — albeit disturbing — conclusion, while the other shrinks back and refuses to consider the facts, choosing instead to live in a delusion of blissful ignorance? What causes one to take the eye-opening “red pill” while the other chooses the “blue pill” of remaining in darkness about the breadth and depth of the evil forces operating in the world?
There could be many reasons for the behavior of the denier, such as a desire for acceptance, not wanting to be seen as a ‘kook’ who believes in ‘conspiracy theories’ and thereby preserving an image of respectability; possessing a stunted or uninspired intellect that is unable to assemble the pieces of the conspiracy puzzle and so instead choosing the path of least resistance by parroting the conventional wisdom; having a greater interest in maintaining the status quo because of material benefit or social rank, rather than in challenging it and risking the potential loss of either; the self-protective mechanism of disassociating from reality by pretending that evil committed repeatedly within our lifetime is not really occurring and ‘couldn’t happen here’; being too cowardly to challenge the powers that be and so choosing rather to ally with them, along with the other cowards who do the same, by accepting and defending the mainstream narrative; or simply being too lazy and apathetic to investigate matters for oneself and so going along with the flow of the zeitgeist.
Any of these reasons, or indeed a combination of them, could provide the motivation for denial. However, a theory expressed in an article online by a man named Tim Foyle which is entitled “On the Psychology of the Conspiracy Denier” convinced me that, in most cases, conspiracy denial is simply a matter of cognitive and emotional immaturity. Most of the next several paragraphs are verbatim excerpts from his article with a few changes and additions, and some other parts of this article are also excerpted or paraphrased from Mr. Foyle’s document.
It may very well be the case that most conspiracy denial is based on a desire to hold on to the protective mother/father relationship that began with the childhood trust of the parents, and later in adulthood was projected onto the societal apparatus consisting of all the aforementioned institutions. Just as the child in faith trusted the parents to provide, protect, interpret, and inform, in many cases adults have come to have a child-like faith that the institutions of society will do the same for them.
In sane and healthy societies, the innate instinct of faith changes as the adult psyche develops. As self-awareness, reasoning abilities, and healthy skepticism evolve in the individual, the innate trust impulse of the child remains but belief systems exist to nurture and develop it so that one’s faith is consciously placed in values and beliefs that are of lasting meaning and worth to the society and the individual. Reverence and respect for nature, tradition, and our ancestors is cultivated, as well as a love for reason, truth, beauty, and liberty, and ultimately a love for God. These become valid resting places in which we knowingly place our trust and faith. Regardless of the path taken to evolve and develop a personal faith, it is the use of one’s own consciousness and cognition to direct the innate impulse of trust that matters. We all have a profound responsibility to nurture and develop a mature faith.
But what occurs when the childish need within us has never been pushed to evolve beyond its original survival function of trusting those in our environment who are the most powerful — that is, those who are the most present and active? What becomes of us when we have never explored our own psyches, failing to deeply interrogate what we truly believe and why? What happens when we have not questioned our motivation for trusting those we trust?
Perhaps the answer is simple and that the evidence of this phenomenon, and the havoc it is wreaking, is all around us: the innate impulse to trust the mother never evolves because it is never encountered and engaged by the counterbalancing forces of reason and a mature faith, and so it remains forever on its infant setting.
While the immature psyche no longer depends on parents for its well-being, the powerful and motivating impulse described above remains intact, being unchallenged, unconsidered and undeveloped. Although now placed into a world in which stability and security are distant memories, the survival instincts remain, quite literally, those of a baby. Trust is placed in the biggest, loudest, most present and undeniable force around, because instinct decrees that survival depends on it. And, in this great ‘world nursery’, the most omnipresent force is the network of institutions which consistently project an unearned image of power, calm, expertise, concern and stability.
I believe this is how conspiracy deniers are able to cling to and aggressively defend the utterly illogical fantasy that somehow – above a certain undefined level of the societal hierarchy – corruption, deceit, malevolence and narcissism mysteriously evaporate. That, contrary to the maxim previously stated, the more power a person has, the more integrity he will inevitably exhibit. These poor deluded souls essentially believe that where personal experience and prior knowledge cannot fill in the gaps in their worldview – in short, where there is a barred door – mommy and daddy are behind it, working out how best to ensure that their little precious one will be comfortable, happy and safe forever. This is the core, comforting illusion at the root of the conspiracy denier’s mindset, the unstable foundation upon which he builds a towering castle of justification from which to pompously jeer at and mock those who see the reality behind the facade.
This explains why it is that the conspiracy denier will attack any suggestion that the benevolent, caregiving superiors are no longer present – refusing to believe that amoral power-hungry men are behind the barred door, men who hold the rest of us in utter contempt or disregard us completely. The conspiracy denier will attack any such suggestion as viciously as if his survival depends on it – which, perhaps within the makeup of his unconscious and precarious psyche, it does. His sense of well-being, of security, of comfort, even of a future at all, is completely (and completely unconsciously) invested in this fantasy. The infant has never matured, and because he is not aware of this, he will fiercely attack any threat to this unconscious and central aspect of his worldview. For such a person, finding out that the organizations and authorities he has trusted all of his life have been subverted and are actually working against him, is like finding out that his parents have betrayed him. It is just too painful a reality for him to face.
The tediously common refrain from the conspiracy denier is, ‘”There couldn’t be a conspiracy that big.” But this objection only elicits the question, “How big is too big?”
I have already documented, in part one, several examples of large-scale conspiracies that few deny, some of them even being international in scope. In addition, we know that the largest ‘medical’ corporations in the world can go for decades treating the settling of court cases as mere business expenses, for crimes ranging from the suppressing of adverse test events, to multiple murders resulting from undeclared testing, to colossal environmental crimes. Governments have performed the vilest and most unthinkable ‘experiments’ (crimes) on their own people without being called to account for them. Politicians habitually lie to our faces and bear no consequences for doing so.
And on and on it goes. At what point, exactly, does a conspiracy become so big that ‘they’ just could not get away with it and why? I suggest it is at the point where the cognitive ability of the conspiracy denier falters, and his unconscious survival instinct kicks in. It is the point at which the intellect becomes overwhelmed with the scope of events and the instinct is to settle back into the familiar comforting faith known and cultivated since the first days of infancy. The faith that someone else is dealing with it – that where the world becomes unknown to us, a powerful and benevolent human authority exists in which we have only to place our trust in order to guarantee perpetual emotional security. Such a dangerous delusion may be the central factor in placing humanity’s physical security and future in the hands of very wicked men lacking any moral restraints.