I believe I have found an appropriate synonym for the unwieldy phrase, “engaging in conspiracy theory”. Let’s just call it “thinking”.
Say that a young man’s date for Friday night cancels on Friday afternoon, pleading that an intense migraine has overtaken her. Disconsolate, he wanders into the local watering hole later that evening… where he spies his girlfriend absorbing cocktails and laughing in brave defiance of the famous headache as a tall, dapper stranger whispers in her ear. Our young man thinks… what? That he’s been misled? That he’s been played? Why, he deserves to be jilted if that’s what he’s made of! Conspiracy theorist!
Your high-school-senior son says he’ll be out late on Saturday night—not to wait up, that he and his friends have formed a study group to ace all of next week’s final exams. You take him at his word and go to bed. The next morning, you find his book bag just where he left it upon returning from classes Friday afternoon. Out in the garage, you discover his hand-me-down car wedged in at a very odd angle and notice empty beer cans knocking around in the back seat. And you conclude… what? That he didn’t spend the night studying? I hope they come arrest you, you… you conspiracy theorist!
John Stossel dared to point out last Wednesday that our 23 trillion debt hasn’t faded away, despite what appears to be a rip-roaring economy. Indeed, the debt continues to mushroom, and Mr. Stossel notes that a day of reckoning must come. These facts can hardly come as a dazzling revelation to elected representatives of either party, yet neither Democrats nor Republicans have the stomach to carve a dime from our entitlement programs. That’s by no means shocking, and the major fault for their paralysis lies with us. Every politico on either side of the aisle knows that fiscal responsibility is the kiss of death, so both wait for the other side to make the fatal move in a game of “chicken”….
Or so one might have said fifteen years ago, when the looming catastrophe was already fully visible. These days, however, Democrats are not simply waiting for Republicans to cave in and show an understanding of elementary arithmetic. No: every Democratic candidate for president is trying to outbid the others in exorbitant offers of “free stuff”—free health care, free college, free annual income. Free citizenship, even—a free right to vote on how much of other people’s money you want to pocket, freedom from prosecution when you break the nation’s laws, freedom to vote (once again) when you’re clumsy enough to get yourself sent away to prison for lawbreaking too spectacular to be ignored.
And… and is there no endgame here, beyond getting elected? Is that what we are to think—that every single Democrat in office or seeking office nowadays is so incredibly stupid as not to understand that we have no cash for such palaces of fantasy? Some, to be sure, are stunningly challenged by basic addition (especially those with economics degrees from Ivy League institutions). But all of them?
Well, yes, that’s precisely what we are to think, what we must think… unless we wish to descend into the vile, malodorous realm of conspiracy theory!
We must assume, furthermore, that no Democrat has a plan for what to do when Social Security and Medicare checks dry up, when rioting breaks out in the streets, when the nation from coast to coast begins to look like San Francisco. For if such a plan exists, counting on a crisis which must not “go to waste”… wouldn’t that be a conspiracy?
Bestowing the right to vote upon felons and foreign nationals begins to look like a plan of some particularly dark design, especially when you factor in the Democratic Party’s zeal for denying legal citizens their Second Amendment rights. Is this merely a matter of adding the criminal vote (and the child vote, if Pelosi had her druthers) to the dead vote in order to ensure permanent Democrat hegemony… or is massive civil unrest being courted to justify calling out the National Guard, transforming it into the National Police Force dreamt of by Barack Obama, suspending elections, and settling into a true socialist oligarchy in the grand old Soviet or Maoist style? The whole thing begins to look like… but, nah! Pull yourself up short and take several steps back! You know where that kind of thinking leads!
Now, Republicans don’t open the border to terrorists while taking defensive weapons at gunpoint from legal citizens. They don’t invite Israelis to vacation by the thousand in Chicago during the first week of November and bestow upon them the right to vote as pro tempore residents. They actually resign if caught having sex with the cleaning lady’s underaged daughter, and they hold the Constitution in highest regard… except that, you know, the President is the Commander in Chief, and waging war in that capacity is sometimes a bit hampered by the need of a formal declaration from the Senate. It’s important to whisk around this small planet like Superman and stay the raised hand of the evil-doer… so important that parliamentary procedure sometimes gets trimmed at the edges. Islamo-fascism has to be nipped in the bud wherever its dark flower breaks the surface; the Religion of Peace has to be given a chance to nourish new democracies and marketplaces.
Although… one would think that, with such a keen interest in defense, the Republicans would address themselves to seeking an alliance with Putin’s Russia instead of driving her closer and closer into the embrace of Red China, the one nation on earth aggressively, openly gobbling up its neighbors or commandeering their resources while conducting campaigns of ethnic cleansing and instituting Orwellian monitoring of ordinary people. One would think that continuing to feed Wall Street by allowing the PRC to take over vast portions of our industrial sector and purloin all of our intellectual property of value would stir Republican indignation.
One would think, most especially, that Republicans would have been clamoring to have the national power grid secured against electro-magnetic pulse attack and solar flares during the Ryan/Boehner years of enjoying substantial power in Congress. After all, if ninety percent of the North American populace would die in the wake of a catastrophic nation-wide power outage, if this has been understood since the late twentieth century, if the cost of hardening the grid is relatively minuscule, and if Republicans are such valiant hawks in the matter of providing our military with tanks (as opposed, say, to modernizing the nuclear arsenal)… well… well, what?
One of my Republican senators responded last week to my letter expressing concern about the unsecured grid with an assurance (and I’ve no doubt that this was an auto-responder’s assurance) that he cared about “climate change” and, to that end, was doing his all to advance the construction of a nuclear power plant. Fine. Thanks for listening.
Perhaps we witness here a mere greasing of conventional pockets in the energy sector, just as we see in Democrats a mere pandering to the “what’s in it for me?” crowd with endless offers of free stuff from other people’s closets. Perhaps there really is nothing to see here, on either side. One doesn’t like to be a… you know: a conspiracy theorist!
But as I mused at the end of my just-published essays collected over a period fifteen years, Nightmare Made of Dreams: A Conservative Scholar Assesses Our Nation’s Declining Taste for Self-Sufficiency, there’s something really odd going on under our noses. The phenomenon now popularly known as the Phoenix Lights occurred over twenty years ago. It was seen by thousands (including Governor Fife Symington of Arizona) and photographed or videoed by dozens, perhaps hundreds. Strange craft were silently executing maneuvers over a major southwestern metropolitan area that any Physics or Engineering professor at any public university would denounce as patently impossible. Somebody did that… and somebody in our government knows who the somebody was. I have a feeling—not an articulated theory, just a feeling—that our off-budget defense programs are vastly more advanced than most of us believe (whether or not the craft over Phoenix were built at Area 51 or on Alpha Centauri b). That hunch consoles me. It would be nice if our defenses were indeed much more sophisticated than they appear to the casual eye. I can also muster little outrage at the utterly covert nature of such projects (though why one of them went overt on March 13, 1997, is a puzzler). If you reckon for a moment how leaky our “security” agencies have been around the Trump Administration, and if you then consider the premier importance of projects like these, you’d want another blanket of secrecy thrown over them rather than more sunlight penetrating to them.
Yet there remains that deadly sunlight—those solar flares against which our grid is not secure. How can a nation whose elite engineers have refined the ability to defy gravity not have built Faraday cages around its power generators? That’s like asking how a nuclear submarine cannot have a protocol to see that someone shuts the hatch before a dive.
What’s the game? As a citizen, I say to my representatives, “I don’t want to know all your secrets. I shouldn’t know them… because if such a one as I knows them, then the Chinese surely will. I don’t even want to write a futuristic novel wherein you happy few retreat to Dr. Strangelove’s bunker, let the rest of us rioting rabble die of starvation and self-slaughter, and then climb out in eight months to repel the Red Guard with flying saucers. But is something like that really the plan? Does the plan really require that we and our children and grandchildren die like rats on the Flying Dutchman? Is something like that in store for us? No? Then why won’t you secure the damn grid?”