Sep 24, 2020
An unusual solo show this week. We have an introduction from me and then it's a recording of a classic Michael Parenti lecture, Conspiracy and Class Power, which you can also find in the show notes.
Speaking of show notes, they're rather extensive everywhere but YouTube, and best found at the actual post page.
Firstly, the rest of the 'series' in which this show would reside, were it a post.
Secondly, the Parenti lecture, its inspiring TMBS clip, and a bit from Ben Burgis on populism and liberal scolds:
Jupiter is still in Capricorn. One way of being with this is to see him as a teacher of hard truths. The other side of that is that you are or should be learning just what it takes to run the world. To administer the physical plane. To see how the sausages are made and what they are made of. The great teacher has shined a light and I worry that some of you shut your eyes. Open them, please. This is very serious now.
Next is Charles Eisenstein, and an excerpt from his conspiracy essay.
“Conspiracy theory” has become a term of political invective, used to disparage any view that diverges from mainstream beliefs. Basically, any critique of dominant institutions can be smeared as conspiracy theory. There is actually a perverse truth in this smear. For example, if you believe that glyphosate is actually dangerous to human and ecological health, then you also must, if you are logical, believe that Bayer/Monsanto is suppressing or ignoring that information, and you must also believe that the government, media, and scientific establishment are to some extent complicit in that suppression. Otherwise, why are we not seeing NYT headlines like, “Monsanto whistleblower reveals dangers of glyphosate”?
Information suppression can happen without deliberate orchestration. Throughout history, hysterias, intellectual fads, and mass delusions have come and gone spontaneously. This is more mysterious than the easy conspiracy explanation admits. An unconscious coordination of action can look very much like a conspiracy, and the boundary between the two is blurry. Consider the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) fraud that served as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq. Maybe there were people in the Bush administration who knowingly used the phony “yellowcake” document to call for war; maybe they just wanted very much to believe the documents were genuine, or maybe they thought, “Well, this is questionable but Saddam must have WMD, and even if he doesn’t, he wants them, so the document is basically true…” People easily believe what serves their interests or fits their existing worldview.
In a similar vein, the media needed little encouragement to start beating the war drums. They knew what to do already, without having to receive instructions. I don’t think very many journalists actually believed the WMD lie. They pretended to believe, because subconsciously, they knew that was the establishment narrative. That was what would get them recognized as serious journalists. That’s what would give them access to power. That is what would allow them to keep their jobs and advance their careers. But most of all, they pretended to believe because everyone else was pretending to believe. It is hard to go against the zeitgeist.
The British scientist Rupert Sheldrake told me about a talk he gave to a group of scientists who were working on animal behaviour at a prestigious British University. He was talking about his research on dogs that know when their owners are coming home, and other telepathic phenomena in domestic animals. The talk was received with a kind of polite silence. But in the following tea break all six of the senior scientists who were present at the seminar came to him one by one, and when they were sure that no one else was listening told him they had had experiences of this kind with their own animals, or that they were convinced that telepathy is a real phenomenon, but that they could not talk to their colleagues about this because they were all so straight. When Sheldrake realised that all six had told him much the same thing, he said to them, “Why don’t you guys come out? You’d all have so much more fun!” He says that when he gives a talk at a scientific institution there are nearly always scientists who approach him afterwards telling him they’ve had personal experiences that convince them of the reality of psychic or spiritual phenomena but that they can’t discuss them with their colleagues for fear of being thought weird.
This is not a deliberate conspiracy to suppress psychic phenomena. Those six scientists didn’t convene beforehand and decide to suppress information they knew was real. They keep their opinions to themselves because of the norms of their subculture, the basic paradigms that delimit science, and the very real threat of damage to their careers. The persecution and calumny directed at Sheldrake himself demonstrates what happens to a scientist who is outspoken in his dissent from official scientific reality. So, we might still say that a conspiracy is afoot, but its perpetrator is a culture, a system, and a story.The Conspiracy Myth - Charles Eisenstein
Lastly but the opposite of leastly, is Whitney Webb talking about the next three or four months. (And if you are a premium member, this goes well with yesterday's Q&A with Alison McDowell.)