May 28, 2012

Mad Tin Foil Hatter, Part One

As I recall from my law school days, a criminal conspiracy is essentially an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime, accompanied by at least one "overt act" in furtherance of the plan.  Thus, for example, if Sluggo and Rico are knocking back the muscatel in an alley somewhere and realize, in an unclouded area of one of their brains, that they've run out of money, they might hatch a scheme to knock over the local 7-11 in order to refinance their operation and continue with their lifestyle, which consists of drinking muscatel in an alley and finding creative places to urinate where they won't be arrested.  Unlike lower mammalian forms, human life is not always ennobling.

The law school exam "issue" (which you're supposed to "spot") is that no crime has been committed yet. So far we just have two derelicts talking about robbing a convenience store, an activity protected by our precious (if fast disappearing) Freedom of Speech.  However, Sluggo, who is resourceful when an acute shortage of muscatel presents itself, remembers that his pal Yerzy has a .38 revolver which could help with the heist, and he and Rico stagger over to Yerzy's to borrow the gun.  They brag to Yerzy about their plan, in their incoherent, brain-damaged way, not realizing that Yerzy acquired the policeman's special .38 revolver from an actual policeman, on account Yerzy is a snitch on the payroll of the local fuzz.  As soon as Rico and Sluggo stagger off, Yerzy calls the cops.  They sweep in and make the bust as S & R approach the unwitting Pakistani behind the counter at the 7-11.

Question: has a crime been committed?  Well, yeah.  Sluggo and Rico don't actually have to rob the store to be guilty of a conspiracy to commit armed robbery, a felony.  There was an agreement and the overt act of borrowing a snitch's revolver to use in the scheme.  Sluggo and Rico cop to a year in the local pen, although Sluggo dies of the DTs while awaiting sentencing.

So much for the formal, legal meaning of conspiracy.

We live in a society that is now rife with conspiracy theories of a different kind.  Such theories tend to abound, I believe, when conditions of life become excessively complex and incomprehensible.  It becomes a great challenge, requiring prodigious exercises of the intellect, to discern any reason at all why things happen the way they do in modern American life.  As more and more power becomes concentrated in distant seats of government or non-governmental, financial authorities (Washington, D.C., the International Monetary Fund, the Federal Reserve), the individual citizen becomes simply a passive pawn in the digitized, hyper-reality of a confusing technocratic state, casting votes in a haphazard, more or less random way for either Republican or Democratic imagery.

Leading to questions such as: just what the hell is going on?  The esteemed Dimitry Orlov allowed himself a little conspiracy theory, subtly expressed, in one of his recent posts, where he was writing about "skyscraper theory" (the idea that skyscrapers tend to be built in increasing numbers just before financial crashes, citing a theorist who linked the two through interest rate analysis).  Dimitry had this to say about the demolition of skyscrapers:

The prospect of collapse is built right into the very concept of the skyscraper. The best case scenario of a controlled demolition requires explosive charges and electronic sensors to be placed in key areas all along its steel frame. The explosions must be triggered in a specific sequence, precise to the millisecond and dynamically adjusted by a computer so as to steer the accumulating avalanche of rubble into the footprint of the skyscraper's basement, to be excavated using heavy machinery once the entire mass stops burning and cools down. Without such precise and active control, things are guaranteed to go sideways because errors multiply rather than cancel. The idea that a skyscraper can collapse down into its own footprint by itself has been disproved by every generation of little children who played with stacking up blocks and knocking them down: the blocks don't land on top of each other in an neat little pile; they scatter all over the living room floor. The worst case scenario is that the entire structure will eventually start to lean a bit, then a bit more, and eventually topple, forming a trench forced with twisted steel. Where the skyscrapers are packed close together, as they are in the many “downtowns” where skyscrapers are to be found, there is a chance of a domino effect, with one skyscraper knocking down others in a chain reaction.

I think I see what he's getting at, and so do you.  This is one kind of "conspiracy theory," one that I personally do not place much credence in.  There were many eyewitnesses to the two airliners hitting the World Trade Center towers, were there not?  To accept this kind of conspiracy theory, you have to believe that there was considerable planning involving the 9/11 terrorists, who were allowed to hijack planes and fly them to lower Manhattan, and domestic authorities who rigged the towers to blow, killing many people including New York fire and police.  Thus, in this scenario the Arabs provided a false flag diversion, making it appear that the airplanes were the proximate cause of collapse, but their nefarious American co-conspirators didn't quite have the heart to rig the building to fall down haphazardly, risking an utter catastrophe, as Orlov describes.

Yeah, I know:  No Arab-piloted plane hit World Trade Building 7, and it fell down too.  Was a plane supposed to have hit it?  Nevertheless, is the example provided by "experiments" by children with blocks actually transferable to buildings made of structural steel where the upper floors (weakened by burning jet fuel and damaged directly by impact) pancake onto the floors below?  I'm not so sure about that at all.  The design flaw of the twin towers, according to the engineer who built them, was that the internal, horizontal members were light and susceptible to failure, compared especially to the heavy strength of the vertical elements.  This might explain the "controlled" nature of the collapse.

This kind of conspiracy theory highlights the difficulty of actually knowing anything about anything that happens outside the range of one's own percipient faculties.  One is left with the banal common sense of saying things such as, well, if a conspiracy had been involved, wouldn't someone have divulged something, anything by now about how it was carried out?  It would take so many people to plan it and put the scheme into operation.  This is no Sluggo & Rico caper.  By and large, I think such criticisms are valid, and I use this approach for Reality Navigation in my own life.

Without being 100% sure.  Yet I do think that most of American life is in fact now controlled by conspiracies of agreed interests, which operate on a different basis and for different purposes. More on that subsequently.

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