Conspiracy and Open Plans

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This is a draft Pyrrho 20:13, 16 Sep 2004 (PDT)

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Conspiracy and Open Plans

What is an Open Plan? Well, an open plan is a plan that is fully documented in a publicly accessible way. Additionally, for the plan to be truly open, it has to be the real plan, that is, it has to be followed by the group who owns it.

That was easy since I've just made up the term "open plan" using the ideas of Open Society and Open Source Software, and "open" and "plan". But what is a Conspiracy?

Simple, it's a plan you don't know about. In common usage it's important that the plan be a "secret plan", but again, what does that mean in practicality? It means you don't know the plan. If someone has worked hard to hide it from you or if you just are not privy to it, that's a secret to you. Plans you don't know or understand are conspiracies. (Assertion A: debate in comments). Additionally, it has to be a well tooled group executing the plan, of course, that is, the secret plan has to be executed.

Open Plans are the exception

Open Plans are the exception in life. If a billionaire has a plan and has no reason to inform you about it fully, then this is indistinguishable from a conspiracy, whether it involves selling ice cream or getting a date or --- wait, it's that a little trivial pyrrho. No. It's not. If you would care to add a defintion for conspiracy that is more stringent on the KIND of plan, feel free, I'm all ears. I hold that such definitions will not be subject to criteria that can be checked. A conspiracy is such entirely in reverse proportion to it's Openness.

Conspiracies Rule The Day

So most plans are conspiracies, and they should be classified this way even though there is a wide spectrum regarding how malevolent they are, how important they are, how big they are, how successful they are. Although this means there are incidental conspiracies (plans not shared with you because you are not interested...) that in itself is not important because if information is sought about such plans one can determine if the plan is "really" a conspiracy. If accurate information on the plan is provided, or refused... one can pin down how open the plans -really- are when challenged.

But conspiracies rule the day because there is only one reason to tell people your plan, and that's if it's really part of your plan to do so. Generally people don't share information unless it helps them. So it's far more likely that sweet sounding parts of a plan will be leaked. Even benign plans are often not spoken to leave flexibility to change the plan. A truly open plan will be stated, and then revised when changed. How common is this. It's almost totally UNCOMMON, and in fact, clearly inadviseable in any situation where opposition is expected.

Conspiracies Really Happen

A further explanation of conspiracies has to rest not on the idea that in a way all plans that have any action are conspiracies... those are not the kind we put on our tin foil hats for, are they. No. I admit, we are concerned with BIG malevolent conspiracies. Big usually means impact, not nec. the number of people, but it has to mean both to some degree. Certainly a few key people can have a huge impact, but they require minions and hired hands to execute their plans. Many duties can be ordered without suspicion or without the agent involved understanding their action as part of a greater plan... just sign the check. But some people have to know what's really going on if you sell arms to our enemies (Iran) or break into the oppositions HQ (the Watergate Hotel). Any significant conspiracy should probably have dozens of people in positions to piece together the plan as a conspiracy.

Conspiracy Theories as Proxies

So far my point is that we know for a fact that conspiracies happen, they are all around us. They are natural growths of people with plans, especially wealthy or otherwise powerful people with plans. Further, truly malevolent (or should we say self-serving) plans are known to happen. We will not discover all these plans just as not all of them will succeed to a degree where it's vital we know them. Some succeed but life goes on. Let me repeat: we will not discover all these plans.

It's important that conspiracy theories (tin foil hat kind) be vetted. No, you can't take them seriously, you take them with salt. You let the forteans discuss them, their merits, their origin, the grain of truth, the grain of lie, the flavor, the people involved, and the social angst that generated them, if that's what it was. The reason is since we will never know about most of the conspiracies in the world, these theories act as proxies for real conspiracies.

It's important that we understand the plans of people whose plans have impact, even if we cannot KNOW those plans. And frankly, exploration through fiction is the way to do that.

Conclusion

So I follow conspiracies, and not unlike in cryptozoology, if you follow them you will find more than a few that come to light and turn out to be true just in your limited lifetime. And if you learn nothing of the people who are accused of being part of the conspiracy, you learn a lot about their opposition, that comes up with the theory. For example, the Clinton Conspiracies showed me how really crazy the opposition is, and just how dangerous they are for this country if allowed to rule.

Never discount a theory because it's a conspiracy. Discount it because of lack of evidence. Ask it's proponents to be quiet because it's counterproductive strategically at this time or another. Argue against it on it's lack of merits, fine, don't tolerate nonsense. But just because it sounds like a conspiracy? No. Conspiracy is the lifeblood of progress, because all oppression has been through conspiracy with violence being a mere henchman compared to the deceptions of conspiracy in which your King, appointed by God, saught to control and thwart your best interests even while you pledged your devotion to him.

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