I’ve always found conspiracy theories to be fascinating, not just individually, but as a concept in and of itself. I spent the darker portion of my teenage years happily lost down dark-web rabbit holes, searching for deeper meaning in the shocking War on Terror that shaped a generation of antiwar misfits like myself. However, I’ve come to spend more time as an adult asking the far more existential question of what exactly defines a conspiracy theory? The general opinion seems to be that a conspiracy theory essentially amounts to a narrative with a lack of evidence to back it up, but in reality, what makes any particular narrative a conspiracy theory is largely defined by the generally corporate manufactured popular public opinion surrounding its source.
Basically, the zeitgeist decides, and he who defines the zeitgeist defines what evidence is considered reasonable enough to make any given conspiracy more than just another crackpot theory. Thus, the revolving door of big government and big business that governs our mainstream media also governs our truth. This essentially makes the entire notion of the conspiracy theory a largely arbitrary and inherently elitist concept, especially when you consider the absolute bunk that our all-knowing corporate overlords shovel into our skulls as absolute truth on a regular basis.
What makes the theory of Saddam Hussein’s mythical weapons of mass destruction any less unhinged than the theory of bombs being planted in the World Trade Towers? How is putting your total trust in an establishment that essentially acts as a glorified Speak and Spell for the most violent military on the planet any less irresponsible than buying into whatever monster-of-the week Alex Jones has conjured up to sell more dick pills to incels?
The cult of the conspiracy theory is built largely on a sort of blind faith in the “official story” as told by the same fine folks who brought you the easily debunked mythology behind such gems as the USS Liberty and the Gulf of Tonkin. Not to mention the fact that once-maligned conspiracy theories include since proven facts like MK-Ultra and the Tuskegee Experiments. It is in this foggy minefield of crowdsourced truth and manufactured consent that we are forced to comprehend the growing crisis surrounding the destruction of the Nord Stream Pipelines.
Nobody denies that this was a blatant act of deliberate sabotage. On Monday, September 26, a series of underwater explosions blasted gaping holes into both of the Nord Stream Pipelines which were designed to carry Russian natural gas to Germany under the Danish waters of the Baltic Sea. These pipes were also designed to be virtually indestructible, steel-reinforced concrete cables built to withstand the direct impact of the anchor of an aircraft carrier.
NATO, Russia, Denmark and virtually everyone else at the scene has declared this dastardly deed to be an act of war and this is an act of war that very few military forces on the planet are even capable of pulling off. What we are talking about here is a very powerful and well-choreographed series of controlled demolitions performed miles below sea level with high-tech modified underwater drones. There really are only two militaries on the planet that could pull off this kind of high concept, James Bond-style, skullduggery successfully and they’re both currently locked in an increasingly apocalyptic death struggle-by-proxy for the soul of Europe deep in the blood lands of Ukraine.
Naturally, the all-knowing Western Zeitgeist blames those wicked Russians for what essentially amounts to the most colossal terrorist attack ever committed on the European continent. On the surface this accusation comes across as totally reasonable. After all, if Vladimir Putin has proven a goddamn thing over the last two decades it’s that he is one sneaky, cold-blooded, motherfucker. But once you get past this fact and come across the rest of the facts at hand this narrative very quickly falls apart.
Putin certainly is a soulless snake willing to make millions freeze to achieve his aims, but he was already achieving this sickening goal with those pipelines intact. The Russian state-run petroleum behemoth Gazprom is the sole owner of Nord Stream 2 and the majority shareholder of Nord Stream 1, which provides Europe’s largest economies with 40% of their natural gas. Putin has already responded to western sanctions by turning off the spigot and telling the EU to sue for peace in Ukraine or shiver. His ability to play God with Europe’s thermostat was the greatest opportunity that the tinpot Czar had to exert leverage over Europe and even Uncle Sam admits it.
In a recent press conference, that dead-eyed department store mannequin with a kill list known as Secretary of State Antony Blinken openly gloated about the “tremendous opportunity” those supposedly Russian attacks on their own infrastructure offer to end Europe’s dependency on Russia’s natural resources and “take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial goals” going on to call these attacks “very significant” and astutely observing that they offer a “tremendous strategic opportunity for years to come.” For once, I agree with this creep, though I would add that the most significant opportunity these bombings offer is the opportunity for the US to weaponize Europe’s carefully manufactured energy crisis as a means of advancing our own imperial designs in the region.
The only question left here that I can think of to ask is ‘Is Vladimir Putin a fucking moron?’ I am being completely serious because this is precisely what the US government and their pets in the establishment Speak and Spell are asking us to believe. They readily admit that demolishing the Nord Stream Pipelines is an obvious strategic win for Putin’s enemies while simultaneously pushing the hopped-up conspiracy theory that the Mad Russian slaughtered his own cash cow. And naturally, anyone sane enough to suggest that this narrative is tinfoil-hat-crazy is the real fucking conspiracy theorist.
So, is Putin recklessly stupid enough to blow up his own pipelines just to spite NATO’s face? You be the judge, but my bullshit detector is screaming ‘Fuck no!’ on repeat. Putin is a petty and evil neoliberal gangster just like his opponents, but the man is not an imbecile. The Nord Stream wasn’t just a pair of pipelines. it was a weapon of mass destruction, a double-barrel shotgun aimed straight at Europe’s throat and with that weapon dismantled he loses all the leverage that made it truly lethal. The so-called logic behind Putin performing such an act of devastating self-sabotage makes absolutely zero sense whatsoever, but this is the latest conspiracy theory to be officially granted the status of the “official story” by the powers at be.
Obvious snow jobs like this are precisely the kind of bush league shenanigans that really killed the truth in this country, the fact that the self-sainted Fourth Estate thinks that we’re all fucking morons while they go out of their way to make the “official story” itself the wildest conspiracy theory online. These corporate media hegemons have poured billions of dollars into crippling critical thinking in this country by selling blind faith in their brand as a virtue before discrediting the very premise of truth by abusing this allegiance with a deluge of establishment-friendly conspiracy theories sold as Gospel truth.
NAFTA will bring middle-class Americans prosperity! Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11! Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who can stop Donald Trump! The Russian invasion of Ukraine was totally unprovoked! Vladimir Putin is an even bigger moron than you are! The audience isn’t fucking buying it anymore and they’ve been rendered so paranoid from having a supposedly infallible establishment gaslight them into one geopolitical clusterfuck after another that they’re willing to believe any asshole with a homespun accent who tells them that China is tainting their tap water to turn their children transgender. Donald Trump didn’t poison these people’s logic, CNN did.
So, who do we believe now in this post-truth era? I realize that this is going to come across as a bit depressingly jaded even coming from me, but I would honestly suggest no one, at least not exclusively. The contrived notion of objective journalism is a fallacy. Everyone has an ax to grind and the more they try to bury that ax beneath the camouflage of “objectivity” the more deluded by preconceived notions their narrative becomes. Blind faith is the true defining characteristic of the conspiracy theory and combatting that bullshit in this house of mirrors takes discipline and homework.
My personal approach, for whatever that’s worth to you, is inspired by the ancient Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant. The fable goes that several blind travelers were asked to describe a massive creature that they had never encountered before. Each man felt a different section of the elephant- the tusk, the trunk, the leg, the tail, and thus each man described a radically different creature, and each man was right, and each man was wrong. Only when their descriptions were taken together collectively did they come close to truly comprehending the beast before them.
The moral of the story is that agnosticism is a virtue unto itself and that all narratives should be both considered and taken with a hefty grain of salt. So, I read a little bit of everything that isn’t tainted by the revolving door of power and even a few things that are- CounterPunch, Reason, Al-Jazeera, the New Conservative, antiwar.com, the World Socialist Website, and even then, I refuse to assume that I ever have all the answers. Maybe Putin really is stupid enough to blow up his own shotgun. Maybe after decades beneath the pressure of a gaslighting NATO colossus, he finally snapped like the rest of us and started believing some mealy-mouthed Rasputin’s conspiracy theories. Maybe, but I’m not about to take Aderson Cooper’s word for it and you shouldn’t take mine either.
Think for yourselves, dearest motherfuckers. In a post-truth era, it’s the best self-defense we have against the beasts that brought us here.