Conspiracies, vast or half-vast? –Robert M. Shelby, 4-2-12. [484 txt wds]

It’s fun to play with words or phrases and take pretended positions masking one’s true understanding or allegiance. It feels clever “just for fun” to weigh out the wrong sense of a meaningful term, like fish under the counter so ready to spoil it has to be over-sold. Of course, one deep in denial may display more ignorance than playfulness.

We cannot talk about the famous “Vast Right-wing Conspiracy” if we don’t understand the facts of conspiracy and the range of the word’s meaning. An abstract word has an array of senses such that one can’t assume which sense is operating in a particular context before examining its occurence in context. When one wants to deny a fact in politics one tampers with the semantics of language naming or describing it. One way  resorts to hyperbole or over-statement that seems to fall of its own weight, but if one actually confuses baby with the bathwater one throws out, baby does not disappear. Baby and bathwater are different things. Throwing sudsy water in the readers’ eyes does not make baby go away. Drop it out a window, baby cries in the wilderness.

Relation between words and reality is frought with anomaly and antinomy as well as ever-latent analogies, the roots of metaphor. Without deep metaphors and systems of metaphor we could scarcely gain understanding of anything, much less form attitudes toward them. Alas, these also make possible the rich tapestry of disinformation and twisted volition that constitutes the “Conservative Mind.”

What is a conspiracy? (1) A small group or network of people with common interest and particular goals who communicate and act in secret to bring about an immoral or illegal result. By such definition, a conspiracy cannot be vast. (2) An extended, loose network of several conspiring groups, all with similar views, hopes and aims, perhaps sharing national party identification. Such a conspiracy will contain many persons of no specific activity or involvement with core groups. Each core group contains leaders and followers while the core groups themselves provide leadership to loosely attached followings sympathetically in agreement with leaders in “the cause,” even to the point of obedience to suggestion and direction.

By definition, a conspiracy of this second sort can be vast. It may embrace whole parties and parts of parties in an amalgam of shared purpose. It may be international, as was the Communist Party. Some core groups will machinate in secret with significant impact on the relatively public following. It was this type to which Hillary Clinton referred. This much is transparent to any senior student in sociology or political science. Writers who prate unbelief in a vast, right-wing conspiracy play to ill-informed and unthinking people. This is unworthy of any who think themselves smart. Intellectually speaking, such folks drop their pants in public and moon the world. Each deserves a kick in his or her wisest crack.

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