Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yes, I work for the Illuminati

At Scientific American, Michael Shermer has a column on a subject of no small importance these days: "Why People Believe in Conspiracies."


TAYLOR said...


Does a conspiracy have to be 'secret' for it to qualify as a conspiracy, in your mind?

Kenneth Silber said...

Taylor, I find that an ill-defined question. I presume you won't be offended if I'm selective in what I respond to. The post a few items down discusses the (to me more interesting) question you asked of "who causes inflation."

TAYLOR said...


A little offended.

It seems simple enough to me, I don't get what's ill defined about it. I am asking you very simply,

"As one of possibly many conditions necessary to be met to qualify as a conspiracy, is 'secrecy' (the idea that the 'true purpose' of a group of conspirators is supposed to be known only to them) part of your definition?"

In other words, can a conspiracy be right out in the open, for all to see, maybe even with intent openly stated, or must intent be kept 'secret' for a conspiracy to occur?

TAYLOR said...


Since you like to try to guess what my not-so-subtle points are (I'm not much of a Socratic dialoger now am I?), here's what I'm after:

Bernie Madoff's assistant penned a piece in which she explained her total shock and disappointment to learn that her boss had been running a Ponzi scheme. What's significant about this is that it demonstrates that an individual can assist with and be part of a criminal act/plan to defraud, and be completely unaware that they are supporting such an operation.

Similarly, many people who accuse you of being a shill for special interests might be making those accusations from the perspective of, "Ken is working for 'them' and doesn't even realize he is doing so." In other words, people might believe in 'conspiracies' that are not secret to them, but are secret to you.

Just as you title your post sarcastically, "Yes, I work for the Illuminati", Bernie Madoff's assistant might have once told a friend, "Yes, I work for a ponzi scammer... right, hahaha!"

I'm not saying I agree with them that you're a shill (at least maybe not in the way they mean it), but I do ask you to consider whether it's possible that a person might work to serve an interest other than the one they are aware of, due to their own ignorance or lack of perception of what is going on around them?

Anonymous said...

People believe most of the stuff Shermer writes about because it's true.

Much more interesting psychological question: are shills like Shermer aware of the crimes and lies they're covering for, or do they just show up for work and TPTB say, "Hey, let's promote this guy"?