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The Latest Mainstream Conspiracy Theory: Putin Had Prigozjin Murdered
Mainstream media have reported in recent weeks that it’s likely President Putin is behind the death of Jevgeni Prigozjin. This speculation is in all respects a conspiracy theory.
Indeed, the mainstream media regularly reports conspiracy theories. The Chinese woman who claimed that the coronavirus escaped from a lab is said to be secretly working for Steve Bannon, Putin is said to have financed Trump's election campaign, the Russians are behind the large-scale spread of fake news . . . These are all mainstream conspiracy theories.
Some of those theories may, in the end, turn out to be more or less correct. But there are also mainstream conspiracy theories that have been patently wrong and whose spread has caused enormous damage and human suffering. Consider, for example, the theory that Saddam Hussein secretly produced weapons of mass destruction. This was the rationale and drummed up support for the horrific Second Gulf War.
When a conspiracy theory is spread through the mainstream media, however, it is almost never acknowledged as such, even in retrospect. On the other hand, if a story goes against the mainstream narrative, it is quickly – far too quickly – labeled a conspiracy theory. Any criticism of corona policy, any criticism of climate discourse, any critical analysis of the structure of globalist institutions and their propaganda campaigns, and so on – all automatically conspiracy theories! And anyone who dares engage in such discourse – as all citizens of the world indeed should – risks being quickly and unceremoniously booted from “polite” society, and relegated to a ghetto of other conspiracy theorists.
This branding of critical analyses as de facto conspiracy theory is used to stigmatize the speaker and thereby bring the discourse to a standstill, even if the theory is correct. There are admittedly quite a few mainstream-critical conspiracy theories that make no sense, but there are also quite a few that do make sense.
For example, it is indisputable that the WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation conducted a large pandemic simulation the year prior to the corona crisis with the entire scenario that unfolded the following year already being put into practice. You can find evidence of this exercise on the internet, neatly catalogued on the aforementioned institutions’ websites, under the title “Event 201.” It is also indisputable that the director of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, published a book entitled The Great Reset. Event 201 and The Great Reset have given rise to some rather far-fetched thought constructions. But it is a big net: those of us who have brought any critical attention whatsoever to these two – and other relevant – events, have been smeared as conspiracy theorists.
It is appropriate that there is a certain reluctance towards conspiracy theories. They undoubtedly played a role in the rise of totalitarian regimes during the early twentieth century. The mother of all conspiracy theories is the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which proclaims the existence of a secret, all-powerful Jewish world government.
Despite its massive popularity, the fictitious origin of “the Protocols” is well-established. It is based on a text originally published by French lawyer Maurice Joly in 1864 under the title Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a kind of pamphlet in which the author denounced Napoleon III’s hunger for power. The text was edited and distorted by the Russian secret service Okhrana in the late 1800s with the intention of fueling anti-Semitism in Russia. The Okhrana retained about half of the original text, added a few paragraphs left and right, and consistently replaced “France” with “world” and “Napoléon III” with “Jews.” In this way, the Okhrana manufactured a text in which Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism, was said to be the head of a Jewish conspiracy that aspired to world domination. This publication was used in both Russia and Germany during the first half of the twentieth century to stir up anti-Jewish sentiments. Like the mainstream conspiracy theory that Saddam Hussein produced weapons of mass destruction, the Protocols were a complete fabrication - a fabrication that led, directly and indirectly, to an incalculable amount of human misery.
Conspiracy theories respond to man’s irresistible urge to reduce the complexity of human existence and human relationships to something simple and understandable. Evil is located in a single object – an evil elite, an evil dictator, a religion, or a group of people – and then free-floating anxiety, frustration and aggression is focused on this one object. A conspiracy theory thus provides a privileged albeit misplaced psychological rationale to form a blind, fanatical mass that gives free rein to all problematic, dark human sentiments.
However justified the aversion towards conspiracy theories may, at times, be, it does not change the fact that conspiracies do take place. And to radically dismiss this can also lead to horrific suffering and misery. The Nazis, for example, came to power through a series of conspiracies. Just think of the fire they, themselves, set in the Reichstag, and which was used as a pretext to eliminate the “communists” and other opponents of their regime. If these conspiracies had been identified for what they were, the Nazi modi operandi would have been revealed, at least at some level. This is just one historical example of the detrimental consequences of denying the existence of conspiracies.
Nowadays, the label of “conspiracy theory” has clearly become a stigma with which the mainstream story - itself a diligent producer of conspiracy theories that are generally not recognized as such - protects itself against any form of (justified) criticism. Such stigmas prevent crucial questions—such as “What is America’s and Europe’s part in the conflict in Ukraine?,” “What are the actual costs and benefits of the Covid vaccination campaigns?”, “Are digital passports and Central Bank Digital Currency (CBCD) a dangerous step towards technocratic totalitarianism?,”and so on—from being asked in public space. Until such questions are publicly discussed, conspiracy theories will continue to flourish in both alternative and mainstream media.