11 Sep The Bielefeld conspiracy – part 2
Yesterday, in the first part of this article, we talked about the so called Bielefeld conspiracy, the fact that it was made up by a few students in the first half of the 1990s, and the reason why they apparently did that. We repeat that reason: to demonstrate the unfalsifiability of conspiracy theories and their inevitable circular argument. Big words for the assertion that you can’t prove that conspiracy theories are wrong, be it just because those who believe them will say that those who don’t are part of the conspiracy. Sounds nice and recognizable: think of Jerry Fletcher in the movie “Conspiracy theory” – a role played brilliantly by Mel Gibson – who’s convinced that almost the entire world is involved in some conspiracy or another.
Now this Jerry Fletcher is no more than a caricature. Maybe somewhere in the world there is a “conspiracy theorist” vaguely resembling this caricature, but the number of politicians taking bribes or putting aside their principles in exchange for power, politicians resembling their caricature, is undoubtably much bigger. By which we are saying: putting everybody involved with certain matters aside as a lunatic because some lunatics are involved with certain matters is al too easy.
If you spend, on the contrary, some time on, for example, fora like the one of Godlike Productions, you’ll soon come to the conclusion that “conspiracy theorists” in general bare absolutely no resemblance to Jerry Fletcher and those who do are at least ridiculed by the others. One of the reasons to do that is being or not being able to answer the question “Why ?”. Could a supermarket chain put strychnine in your steak ? Of course, but why would the supermarket chain bother ? Could you be abducted and have a chip planted in your brain ? Probably, but why would anybody do that ?
The fact that nobody in the case of the so called Bielefeld conspiracy could produce a canny answer to that question is the very reason why this “conspiracy” has been seen as a good joke from the beginning and not a possible reality. Honestly: if – as later admissions to the story said – the CIA, the Mossad or aliens would like to hide something in Bielefeld, they wouldn’t attract the attention of the world by denying the city even exists.
Conclusion: the theory on the Bielefeld conspiracy is, in clear opposition to what the creators of it would have intended, very falsifiable (exactly like the existence of the city itself: it suffices to, from the apparently really existing part of Germany, drive there to conclude it’s not a Potemkin village). And no “conspiracy theorist” will rebuke us as part of the conspiracy because we dare say so.
But maybe the thing about “unfalsifiability” and “circular argument” was not the real reason for bringing up the Bielefeld Verschwörung ? No, indeed, there are better reasons possible. And sarcastic people as well as “conspiracy theorists” are familiar with it: ridiculing somebody or something (remember what we wrote above about the caricature Jerry Fletcher). You met some friends and drank a beer ? Are you sure you weren’t abducted by a flying saucer ? A fire in the kitchen ? Sure your mother didn’t pass away again ? Hitler didn’t die in that bunker in berlin ? Right, and this year he had his 125th birthday somewhere in South-America … That kind of things. Let’s be honest: it’s far easier to ridicule someone than to prove he’s wrong.
Conclusion: how to make clear to the world that those who think of conspiracy theories are lunatics ? By coming up with absolutely crazy conspiracy theories and mingling them softly with the other theories. That’s something you can observe on conspiracy websites too an usually those messages are recognized by serious people as what they are: trolling. Only for outsiders, people who are not seriously in these things, the difference between trolling and seriousness is not clear, which is why the serious stuff is seen as nonsense too.
For real “conspirators” – and we’ll discuss what we see as such another time – the internet is a blessing: everybody and nobody is taken serious, every opinion is worth as much as another one or nothing.
For “conspiracy theorists” it really doesn’t matter that much: they are in the essence spirits with a tendency to science. They don’t settle with what the media, governments or opinion makers are telling them, they are looking for connections, for underlying truths, for that which maybe hidden by the big scenery put on stage by whom it may concern. They are very critical minds and so they can’t stop looking even if half the world is mocking them.
Enough filosofy ? Then read the free prequel to The Maier-Files