sea nerd blog — mass conspiracy theories

we are a sociable species
we need to form communities
we need to work together

we are a communicative species
we need to talk
we need to tell each other
our key and silly things

it’s easier to talk
than to keep a secret

but we can keep a secret
if it’s important to us
or to someone close to us
who’s had to say it

keeping a secret
is keeping the brakes
on the mouth
pressed hard

but people are fallible
we make mistakes
in a moment of distraction
we’ll let the brakes off

when we are seen unseen
when we share with love
when the beer is strong

professionals can be trained
of course
those whose job
is spy and wreck
are trained

but those of us whose jobs are normal things
who remain untrained
in the malign arts of secrecy
in the master arts of crime
to leave no evidence
we can’t

you have to believe
to use the energy
to keep the brakes
applied

the secret
has to be important to us
it’s work to keep a secret
it’s natural to talk

if the secret
is not about our own lives
then it has to have a reason
to be kept
a reason that is so important
that we will do the work
to keep it

a common cause that’s strong
in which we strongly believe
is defence of the realm
is honouring the king
is protecting a principle
but none of those are secret

a common cause
that’s secret
how do you know
you’ve a common cause

and to expect
a mass of normal people
to do the work
to keep a secret
for a common cause
when they do not know
the common cause
is silly

a conspiracy
is a secret plan
by a group
to do something unlawful
or harmful

a mass conspiracy
is a secret plan
kept by a mass
of people

who have to keep the secret plan
who have to make no error
all of them
every single one
must be infallible
must keep the brakes
on their tongue

so
a mass conspiracy theory
requires the conspirators
not to make human mistakes
not to be people

yes
one or two
yes
a cell of committed believers

and cells get caught
their secrets
escape

but a mass of hundreds
of the untrained
all keeping the same secret
perfectly

do the believers
in the conspiracy
really think
the conspirators
can all keep the secret
perfectly
that none can make
a human mistake

a cell is small enough
that the changes of mistake
is low enough

thousands of people
no

a mass conspiracy theory
is a confession
by its believers
that they believe
the conspirators
are not human
that they themselves
are bigots

if they’ve thought it through
if not
they’s at best naïf

and then there’s
the recruitment

for a conspiracy
to become a mass conspiracy
the initial conspirators
have to recruit
many more

if the recruits
know the cause
for which they’re being recruited
then it’s not a secret

how can mass conspirators
recruit people
to a cause
if they keep the cause
a secret

how can they guarantee
that people will always accept the cause
once they know the cause
is a ‘unlawful or harmful’ cause

how can they make
their thousands of recruits
all keep the brakes on talk
all never make mistakes
when moral cause
demands otherwise

no
it’s clear
if a belief
depends on mass conspiracy
to hold
then that belief
for that reason alone
is false

for a long time
i’ve help the opinion
that mass conspiracy theories
contradict human nature
but i’ve never
got to the nub of it
until now

there is an innate contradiction
in the concept of a mass conspiracy
which makes them impossible
so much so that a belief
which depends on mass conspiracy
is false

you do not need
to investigate the evidence
put forward
the claims
stated and implied
to find an error

the very fact
that the belief
involves mass conspiracy
is the very proof
that the belief
is wrong