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Related Words, Beliefs, Background for Choice #38

Worldview Theme #36B: Conspiracies                                    Worldview Theme #49B: Idealistic Socialism

for a summary read these 5 entries in order: conspiracism, conspiracy theories history / evil reasons why they are spread,
culture war, United States of Conspiracy, conspiracy--fact-based ones

for a summary read these 5 entries in order: socialism, socialism--centralized,  Marxism, authoritarianism and collectivism, communism


altruismputting the interests, welfare, happiness, and perhaps even survival of other people or living things above one’s own interests, etc.   This devotion often involves self sacrifice. In an extreme case, it can even mean giving up one’s own life so that another can live

anti-corporate movement--beginning over a century ago, this movement spurted during the 1960s / 70s, slackened, then caught fire in the last two decades--driven by concerns over globalization,.  In his 2007 book, The Rise of the Anti-Corporate Movement, Evan Osborne referred to it as "increasingly influential in politics in the United States and Europe".  Believing that multi-national corporations aim to control the world and maximize their profits in doing so, anti-corporate activists seek to rein in corporate power--although they differ in their prescriptions for doing this. Some defenders of these engines for economic growth, jobs, technological innovations, etc. charge that some critics are naive and caught up in anti-corporate conspiracism.  Osborne is troubled by how "activists ignore the idea that politics is a messy compromise among all sides and slide into the belief in one all-powerful faction pulling the strings." In critiquing such books as the 2001 bestseller When Corporations Rule the World, by David Korten, he disputes the notion that corporate power is "a coherent sinister force. "  

apocalypticism—concerned with the end of the world, or some catastrophe after which life won’t be the same

authoritarianism and collectivism--are alike in that in both the individual gives up certain rights and aspirations and conforms to the beliefs, goals, and expectations of the larger whole (nation, political party, religious group, working group. etc.) that he or she is part of.  They typically differ though in the manner in which members submit to such authority: authoritarian institutions are undemocratic and affected individuals have no real choice, whereas many collectives operate with voluntary participation and leadership seeks consensus agreement of members. 

bourgeois--associated with middle-class respectability, capitalist possessions; (see also next entry) 

bourgeoise vs. working class--Marx' identification of the potential conflict between owners of the means of production and those who labor. 

centralized vs. decentralized ways to govern--using the USA as an example, some power is centralized at the federal level in Washington DC with president and Congress, some is distributed to rest with 50 state governments. Likewise at state levels, some power is centralized in the  governor and state legislature, some is much more decentralized in that the decisions of various city and county governments within the state--acting through mayors, city councils, county boards of supervisors, etc--may more meaningfully affect people's lives. Within big corporations, power can likewise rest predominately with CEO and corporate board, or can be spread out to value the voices of employees and even investors. 

centrally planned economy--a system, typically used in socialist states, where investment, production and allocation of goods is based on planning goals established by a centralized decision-making authority.

clandestine--kept secret or hidden

collectivism -- belief in an economic system based on the collective or communal control over the means of production and distribution.

collusion -- a secret agreement between businesses or firms that sets price and output in a way that decreases competition and increases profits

common good, the--can be defined in various ways depending on one's perspective. Some define it narrowly as that which is good for every member of the community; others broaden the community here to include all human beings. While libertarians argue it is a meaningless concept, utilitarians equate it with "the greatest good for the greatest  number of individuals."  

communismidealized society that forms after revolutionary class struggle in capitalist societies as envisioned by 19th century German philosopher  Karl Marx in which all property is state-owned and wealth, work, material goods, etc are allocated based on something like a “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" perspective. The earliest mass trial of attempting this began in 1917 in St. Petersburg Russia and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  Most would characterize its history by saying that noble idealist goals were defeated by human nature and cumbersome centralized bureaucratic hierarchy / authoritarianism / totalitarian coercion tarnished the whole thing. 

conspiracism--the belief that increasingly the human experience is shaped by evildoers who often  band together and work behind the scenes to carry out plots that subvert the will of the people and hurt society. Typically,  charges made by conspiracists turn out to be short on facts or logic--many are off the wall inventions that are simply crazy--and don't stand up to critical scrutiny. Many come from publicity seekers--as in, the more outrageous something you say is, if you make enough noise about it the more you’ll get noticed!  In the last two decades--partly aided by the internet and social media--the influence of conspiracists has dramatically increased. And with it a culture of lies and misinformation

conspiracy, fact-based onesunlike most of your typical conspiracy theories which are often mostly fabricated and fiction, a fact-based conspiracy really does involve people with their own self-serving agenda working together behind the scenes. Some corporate crimes and government scandals fall into this category.

conspiracy theories, history, evil reasons why they are spread and who believesWhile a typical conspiracy theory involves supposed evildoers plotting,  in many cases the conspiracists originating and spreading these theories to the largest audiences are the evildoers. . Of course it's easy to dismiss some ideas like the flat Earth as so lacking in substance that they've hung around for decades simply for entertainment value. Something more sinister emerged in the pages of supermarket tabloids and talk radio in the 1960s-1970s. Perhaps most notable: the phoney story that  NASA faked the whole lunar landing. While using outrage to sell newspapers, etc is always a possible motive, the lunar landing hoax brought with it the suggestion it was  promoted to undermine trust in government and science/technology. Since then, publicity seekers, loud mouth entertainers, and the psychologically unbalanced (see entries for psychopath and  narcissism) who care nothing about the truth have (especially in the USA)  transformed the field.  Aided by internet platforms / social media, conspiracism  has morphed into a multi-billion  $ industry with huge political influence. Before the consequences of its extremism finally brought it down, the leading conspiracism website was right wing site full of rants about “fake news” media and with a political axe to grind  (see United States of Conspiracy, The) .Tens of millions of Americans are entertained by-- and many believe--the bizarre fiction / lies / misinformation conspiracists put out.  Many who believe share the same prejudices, eccentricities, etc as the originators, but with additional gullibility,  propensity for wishful thinking, and total lack of critical thinking skills—to say nothing of common sense. 

 corporate crime–corporations and/or their employees break laws and use their power to ruin lives, endanger public safety, or pollute the environment in their quest for profits.  Its negative impact on US society is great.  In 2008, Russell Mokhiber, founder of the Corporate Crime Reporter, wrote "The losses from a handful of major corporate frauds–Tyco, Adelphia, Worldcom, Enron–swamp the losses from all street robberies and burglaries combined.  Health care fraud alone costs Americans $100 billion to $400 billion a year.  The savings and loan fraud...cost us anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion..." Of political campaign contri-butions & lobbyists, Mokhiber wrote, "Corporate criminals are the only criminal class in the United States that have the power to define the laws under which they live." 2009 brought news of Bernie Madoff's corrupt investment firmthought to have ripped off $50 to $65 billion, and concerns about ripoff of government furnished bank bailout funds. The 2010s began with the continuing  painkiller drug addiction --what one writer referred to as “Pharma and the Poisoning of America”--and speculation as to whether any corporate executives would go to jail over the “sub-prime mortgage crisis” which triggered the “Great Recession” in 2008 (none did). The decade brought a number of major scandals, with these ten ranked the worst by the Wall Street Journal: 1) the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill; 2) Foxconn suicides; 3) Liber scandal; 4) FIFA corruption scandal; 5) Volkswagen emissions cheating; 6) Turing Pharmaceutical HIV drug price gouging; 7) Theranos; 8) Fyre Festival; 9) Mossack Fonseca and the Panama Papers; 10) Wells Fargo account fraud.

corporate state -- a term used by those who believe that government and large corporations are run by the same people and are so intermeshed that corporate goals and policy and government goals and policy are essentially the same

critical thinking skills—generally refers to skills / ability to take facts and form  judgments.  More specifically it may refer to the skills / ability to do an analysis (breaking down into component parts) of a problem or situation based on facts, how they may be related, cause and effect, logical reasoning, forming and testing hypotheses, etc. And do this to rigorous standards: with enough competence, experience and  knowledge to tackle a problem or case, in an error-free manner , free of wishful thinking, with integrity not prejudice or bias, etc.. Depending on the problem or situation as much or more synthesizing (putting together) may be required. All of this is done to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, solution, or judgment that fairly represents the situation, is plausible, and meets other tests—most critically it eventually stands up to others’ judgment /appeals, attempts to reproduce, etc. And in this way gains acceptance.

culture wara cultural battle for dominance between social groups with highly divergent worldviews: different beliefs, values, practices, sources of information, etc. The term was first used in the USA in the early 1990s to describe the cultural divide / widespread societal disagreement between traditional conservative and progressive liberal camps with hot button issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, separation of church and state, gun laws, immigration, multiculturalism, etc. Increasingly the battle lines are between those who cynically don't believe the mainstream media,  buy into charges of "fake news" and "a rigged system," embrace certain (mostly fictional) conspiracy theories to some extent, resent experts and the elite, etc. pitted against  those (many with more idealistic, less cynical outlooks) who are comfortable with a society based on facts, science, professionalism, competence, meritocracy, etc where people compete on a playing field based on these things.   

dehumanizing by linking person to the Devil—refers to the practice of attacking / vilifying a person, perhaps as part of an extremist  political agenda,  by linking them to pure evil / the Devil—effectively dehumanizing them.  Examples of how the conspiracy theory driven right wing conservative extremists have employed this tactic: 1) the vilification of Hungarian-American billionaire investor and philanthropist—and victim of assassination attempts—George Soros; 2) the Q Anon conspiracy theory

disinformation--refers to false information spread to intentionally deceive the intended audience.  Often not all the communicated information is false, typically there will be a kernel of truth in the deceitful message.  This provides something that can be built around--embellished with falsehoods, tied to baseless conspiracies, etc--an approach many who spread disinformation for a living feel is particularly effective. 

dividing people, tactics used to do this -- those who fear the collective strength of people who have organized and united to form a group, often seek to exploit differences within the group and destroy its populist mission. Differences exploited often include race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class -- but fracturing can occur along many potential fault lines if outsiders are working to encourage it. After the fracturing, people who previously fully embraced populism may have moved away from it (to some extent) and toward individualism, and blame, dissension, finger-pointing, lack of trust, etc. may exist where previously they didn’t.

economic democracy--while conceptions of it vary, this generally refers to a socioeconomic system that does some or all of the following: 1) transfers economic decision making from the (corporate elite) few to the majority through worker management / ownership of productive enterprises, 2) generally promotes democratic local / regional control over corporate state central planning, 3) charges central government with levying taxes that allow social control of investment, which is carried out locally / regionally, and 4) while retaining the market system, abolishes private ownership of productive resources, and wage labor. With respect to the latter, in worker run enterprises there are no labor costs: workers are compensated by dividing up what is left after other costs have been subtracted from sales  revenues.  With 3) and 4) in this conception, such economic democracy looks like a form of socialism.

economic system, functions of--generally refers to individuals and socioeconomic / political institutions within a society producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services, deciding questions of ownership, and allocating economic resources (and their costs and benefits).  These are handled differently in different systems (capitalist, socialist, etc.)  Specifically these functions include making decisions as to what goods /  services will be produced / offered, at what price and quantity, how production will occur and products distributed, managing the factors of production and associated problems, how services will be delivered, how benefits are distributed, how costs / burdens are shared,  etc.     

egalitarianism -- the belief that all human beings should have the same rights, opportunities and privileges

ethics–the study of right and wrong in matters of conduct

false balance / both sidesism—refers to journalist efforts—some perhaps a relic of the old USA Fairness Doctrine rescinded in 1987—to even- handedly present both sides of controversial issues, when in fact one of the sides has little or no real case that stands up to an evidence-based approach. To attain something like a balance of arguments—where none is possible they can weigh extreme minority views far too much and downplay consensus, or simply report false claims or misleading arguments that one side presents. Some feel this approach to journalism—along with out of control social media posts-- is a major cause of the epidemic of misinformation sweeping the USA in 2020.   

FCC fairness doctrine--was a policy introduced by the USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1949 and eliminated in 1987. It required that those who held broadcast licenses cover controversial issues of public importance in a way that was fair, honest, and balanced to the extent that contrasting viewpoints were at least presented,  if not allotted equal time. Many feel that rescinding this policy has contributed to the polarization / culture wars in the USA that has developed over the subsequent three plus decades. 

folklore -- the body of customs, stories, sayings, jokes, games, legends, oral history, myths, superstitions, etc that relate to the life and spirit of a particular population or group and make up the oral tradition of that culture.

left vs. right vs. individual freedom diagram, placing groups on--this is an oversimplified representation but has value as a starting point for understanding / discussion. Note the meaning of the term "liberal" has changed:  "classical liberals" of the  laissez faire / mid 18th century era in Europe are to definitely to be distinguished from those of the USA New Deal era and decades following and related pro social welfare thinkers in Western Europe. Perhaps the "liberals (left)" in the diagram most closely refer to these as they exist today; whereas the people called "libertarians" today are more like the "classical liberals."   Similarly the "conservatives (right)" in the diagram refers to folks today--who are not necessarily those wanting to preserve the status quo / rigid hierarchy. Those are to be contrasted with progressives (not shown).  The wide variety of socialists are not shown--they would typically fall within the "statism" group.

justice -- implementing what is just, defined in various ways as being reasonable, proper, lawful, right, fair, deserved, merited, etc. For some, justice is intimately connected with fairness, a connection with three dimensions: equal treatment, the degree to which exercising freedom and liberty is to be allowed, and reward for contributing to the common good.


magic, for entertainment vs. a worldview–in affluent Western countries people are entertained by magicians and they expect to be fooled by tricks and illusions, but this way of relating to magic is clearly not what is being considered in discussions of how magic fits into worldviews.  In many cultures magic has more in common with religion–or even science & technology–than entertainment.  One can argue that magic, religion and science all developed in response to the same basic human needs.  These include 1) the need to make sense out of how nature works, gain some power or control over it, and appreciate how people fit into it, 2) the need to come to terms with the mystery of death, 3) the need for social, moral, and spiritual guidance as to how to behave, and solve problems that arise in daily life, and 4) the need to live in a world that is not so scary and unpredictable–but more manageable, understandable, comfortable and amenable to humans.    

Marxismis the basis for an economic and sociopolitical way of looking at the world that highlights social class (see entry) conflict. It grew out of Karl Marx' 1848 book The Communist Maniofesto, and--with help from Friedrich Engels--grew into an dispassionate analysis of the inherent flaws in a pure capitalist economic system which later served as the basis for 20th century socialist and communist states.  The analysis considers an economic struggle between capitalist owners and workers, identifies the origin of the capitalist’s profit in the form of "surplus value" created by worker labor that is not paid for, models business cycles of boom and bust (falling profits, layoffs, crash), with small businesses absorbed by the growth of larger firms.  

According to Robert Heilbroner, "...the Marxist model of how capitalism worked was extraordinarily prophetic". Marx  felt that capitalism was inherently unstable and that it would be socially impossible for governments in such societies to right wrongs–for that would require the powerful upper class to act in something other than its own economic self interest.  As a result he felt that capital would accumulate and wealth become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Viewing this as a dangerously unstable,  intolerable situation, he felt eventually capitalism would be replaced by a classless society in which production would become centralized in the machinery of the state–which itself might eventually "wither away."  Modern economic history–in particular Western economies building social justice into their systems, moving away from pure capitalism and toward social welfare states–suggests that Marx failed to appreciate the social adaptability of capitalism.  But its critics—notably Thomas Piketty in his 2014 book Capital in the Twenty-First Century—argue “there is no natural, spontaneous process to prevent destabilizing, inegalitarian forces from prevailing permanently.”

misinformation vs. disinformation—both refer to false  information, use of the latter term means that the false information is being knowingly spread to deceive others.

monopoly -- a situation in a market economy when but a single seller exists for a commodity that has no realistic substitute

narcissism–an exaggerated sense of self love or heightened emotional investment in one’s self, detracting from one’s appreciation of, or emotional investment in, others.  It has been suggested that this masks deep feelings of unworthiness and emptiness–unacknowledged, but unconsciously lurking.  Critics of individual excess in the consumer culture have linked the psychology behind it to narcissism

nationalization—when private property is transferred to the ownership of a national government, making it public property.  Such transfer can occur without coercion and be accompanied by full compensation, or the government can simply seize the property.  Nationalization is the opposite of privatization—where public property is sold and becomes private property.

paranoia -- in mild form it is characterized by excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrust of others; in more demented, severe psychological disorder form it also involves delusions -- of jealousy, of either persecution or grandeur.

paternalism -- a system in which adults are treated in a fatherly way like children, with their conduct regulated and their needs met. Typically in exchange for this care, the authority expects loyalty and that those receiving the care will accept their relinquishing of personal control.

production, factors of--in both classical and neoclassical economics these are considered to be labor, land (including natural resources), and capital. These can be hired (labor for wages, land for rent, capital loaned at some interest rate, etc.) or fired in a market economy.

power elite, the -- refers to the class of people in positions of power in the corporate state. The term was first used in the 1950s as the title of a leftist assessment of who runs America (a book by C. Wright Mills).

propaganda -- broadly speaking, information that is designed and disseminated as part of a concerted effort to influence what individuals believe or want, and manipulate public opinion and desires.

pseudoscience–something that seemingly has a scientific basis, but, upon closer investigation, does not.  Examples include beliefs in 1) horoscopes, astrology and that human personalities are shaped by stars in the zodiac, etc. 2) magical powers of crystals, 3) an ancient technically advanced civilization of Atlantis, and 4) extra-terrestrial beings in flying saucers are visiting Earth.  Each of these–and many other similar beliefs–have been investigated using scientific methods and thoroughly debunked as lacking in truth, in useful application or both.  Many pseudoscientific beliefs persist because 1) people uncritically believe in them without doing their own analysis of the merits; 2) many promoting such beliefs profit from doing so.  

pseudoscience and conspiracism--in explaining why their hypotheses, theories, inventions or supporting data behind them are not accepted by the scientific community, pseudoscientists and conspiracy minded films have been known to allege that others (scientists, corporate or government officials, etc)  have engaged in conspiracies to suppress them.   

psychopatha bold person who has high self esteem yet engages in extreme anti-social behavior--often totally self serving, manipulative,  lacking in any real caring about others’ feelings. Given this person’s strong inclination toward violence, his or her physically harming another would not be unexpected, but dishing out verbal or other abuse is more common. It’s believed roughly one in a hundred people fit this description. Both genetic and environmental factors are believed responsible—a history of parental neglect or absence provides one example of the latter.

pusher -- a derogatory term referring to someone who consciously makes an effort to hook someone on an addictive product or behavior -- including a consumerist lifestyle. With respect to this latter possibility, one can argue that the most massive pusher effort in history involves the nearly impossible to escape advertising messages of multinational corporations trying to hook individuals on wanting and continually spending money on things that they don’t really need.

Q Anon conspiracy theory—launched in 2017, this involves a great mysterious good guy patriot Q who is an battling evil collusion between deep state forces embedded in the US government, Satan worshippers,  and child molesting pedophiles.  The battle is supposed to culminate with the “A Great Wakening” in which people in general finally realize that Q Anon believers have been right about the threat all along—and the final victory of the forces of good / God over the deep state / Satan forces.

scientific consensus—the collective general agreement, judgment, position, and opinion of the scientists in a particular field of study amenable to scientific methods

skepticism–the doctrine that having true knowledge in some areas is impossible, and that knowledge is always accompanied by uncertainty and doubt.  Michael Shermer describes it as "the fine art and technical science of understanding why rejecting everyone else's reality and substituting your own almost always results in a failed belief system."   

social class-- divisions amongst members of a society typically based on wealth, heredity, land owned, occupation, education, etc. that order a society in ladder fashion ( lower, middle, and upper classes are common divisions).  Extremes here have ranged from extraordinarily class conscious feudal society (remnants of which today still remain in the United Kingdom) to ideally classless communistic societies.  In the United States talk of social class and class struggle is "politically intolerable" according to historian Howard Zinn.

social justice—refers to 1) a relationship between individuals and society in which people have what is just, defined in various ways as being reasonable, proper, lawful, right, fair, deserved, merited, etc; 2) if the condition described above does not exist, then taking steps to make it so. In practice, in affluent Western societies, seeking social justice is concerned with seeking a fairer distribution of wealth and privilege, equal opportunity for all, ending unfair discrimination or exclusion, and providing a safety net for the especially vulnerable. It can also involve recognizing / rewarding those who contribute to the common good more than those who behave in more self-serving fashion.  

socialist--one who believes in socialism (see next entry). In left vs. right political labeling terms, socialists would be considered at the extreme left of the political spectrum. 

socialism--generally refers to 1) various  economic / political theories, ideologies, and political movements, and / or 2) an economic system characterized by state ownership of the means of production and distribution. Given state ownership, it is a type of collectivism (see that entry.) The state turns over its role in distribution of goods in market socialism. This is an idealistic centralized socialism / western capitalist market system hybrid in which  the (western capitalist) market is used for distribution.

socialism--centralized--a non-market based economic system involving a centralized government that plans and controls the economy.  The Soviet Union (1917 - 1990) represented such a system.

socialism, market –a hybrid economic system (sometimes called state capitalism), coming in various forms, which maintains state or co-operative ownership of the means of production, but recognizes that the market provides an effective way of distributing goods and services, and is responsive to what people actually want.  In its (idealized) decentralized form, market socialism leaves the market alone to function freely.  In other forms, it is directed (to some extent) by central state planners.  (China provides an example.) 

socialism, market in China—In the decades following its establishment in 1949 as a socialist state controlled by a single (communist CCP party), the Chinese economy generally sputtered.  Notably mass famine beginning in 1958 was followed (critics say purposely to distract attention) by the upheaval of a decade of the cultural evolution.  While changes were made in the late 1970s,  nonetheless by 1991 China's central planners knew their economy needed still more help. Thus the  “socialist market economy” was instigated. In the words of a 1993 CCP document, "even if State property remains the main base of the national economy, all forms of property – State, collective and private – will have to be used in developing the is necessary to keep to the principle of combined development of multiple economic sectors in which public property maintains the dominant role; it is necessary to further transform managerial techniques in the state owned enterprises and set up a modern entrepreneurial system." Measured in terms of economic growth, the plan—aided by opening the economy to some Western investment and becoming more of a player on the globalization stage-- worked.  Today the Chinese government celebrates—and Western historians acknowledge--that the four decades of economic growth that began around 1979  lifted more people out of poverty than anything else in human history ever has.

socialism vs. social welfare statism—While idealistically pure socialist states don’t exist,  various non-market based centralized national control based economies functioned in many countries in the 1917-1991 era. Today such systems have either collapsed completely or have evolved into hybrids that can be called market socialism—most notably in China.  Measured by the extent that free markets operate, in between the extremes of the world’s two largest economies, China with rather limited market participation, and the much more market-based USA economy, are the modern social welfare states (in the UK and Western Europe,  perhaps operating most completely in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.)  Here the governments value protecting and promoting the well being of its citizens by running or heavily subsidizing health, education, and various social safety services.  To pay for it, citizens are often more heavily taxed than they would otherwise be.

state owned enterprise—a business / corporate enterprise where the state or government has a significant stake in the ownership. They can be 100% state or government owned.  Given their financial objectives—which may include making a profit—they are to be distinguished from state or government agencies—although both share pursuit of public policies.

statism–refers to belief in accepting the political authority of a central state government and its legitimacy with respect to governing, taxing,  regulating—even owning—various sectors of the economy.  Its opposite is anarchism.  Statists value individual freedom in personal matters far less than left wing types who are today called liberals; they value individual freedom in economic matters far less than right wing types who are today called conservatives. Statists generally prefer a society where a heavily centralized state (national) government has a great deal of control over individuals and communities in terms of personal and economic matters. States where the control is total are said to be totalitarian.    

top down vs. bottom up–contrasting approaches to bringing change, solving problems, structuring interaction (compare centrally planned economies, market based ones).

totalitarian government—an extreme form of statism, and the most complete and extreme form of authoritarianism, where the state has total authority which it uses to most severely restrict individual personal and economic freedom  It does this by outlawing opposition political parties, prohibiting any dissent to state policies, employing propaganda to heavily shape individual thought, taking absolute control of economic life, and actively using  police / surveillance / concentration camp type detention and other means to enforce / maintain its authority.

United States of Conspiracy, The --a 2020 PBS Frontline fifty minute  documentary that tells the story of super conspiracist Alex Jones and It chronicles notable related conspiracies: that the USA government was responsible for the 9/11/2001 attack, that the SandyHook School massacre was staged, the Obama "Birther" fiction, the “PizzaGate” theory whereby a Washington DC pizza place was a front for a child pornography ring run by  Hillary Clinton, etc. As it unfolds it becomes a chilling tale as, in 2015, Alex Jones hooks up with political dirty trickster, and long-time Donald Trump friend,  Roger Stone. And by 2017 conspiracy theory related misinformation begins to regularly flow from the mouth of the President of the United States--who many, by 2020, had come to believe was courageously battling the deep state, Satan worshippers, etc. and helping Q per  the Q Anon conspiracy theory. 

utilitarianism–the belief that the moral value of actions and associated outcomes should be judged according to the degree to which they are useful and benefit those affected.  Utilitarians evaluate the moral rightness of actions by  the extent to which they produce the greatest benefit to all concerned.  Utilitarianism has two aspects: 1) it links evaluating consequences of actions to human welfare, and accordingly, 2) how it ranks values (value theory) and ties them to human welfare.  The latter involves all the complexities of arguments over what gives individuals pleasure or happiness, conflicts between individual choice and societal preference, what benefits society in the long run, etc.  And it recognizes that assigning value is not merely done by adding benefits, since what is beneficial to some may be detrimental to others, and both the benefits and risks of possible actions must be weighed.

wealth inequality and capitalism—while history suggests the market-based capitalist economic system does a far better job at creating wealth than centralized socialist state non-market systems, it also suggests it promotes wealth inequality. In his 1867 book Capital, Karl Marx argued that in such a system capital would accumulate and wealth become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.  Analyzing whether this has occurred based on economic history and data is a key focus of Thomas Piketty’s nearly 700 page 2014 book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. There he concludes, 1) “the history of distribution of wealth has always been deeply political, and it cannot be reduced to purely economic mechanisms, and 2)  “there is no natural, spontaneous process to prevent destabilizing, inegalitarian forces from prevailing permanently.”

wishful thinking–involves interpreting events / actions of others, decision-making and forming beliefs based on what one desires to be true (rather than what is true) or what is the pleasing to imagine (rather than facing the perhaps grim?) reality behind a situation.   A related orientation–involving deluding oneself and similarly lacking in rational analysis / real world grounding–is "wishing makes it so."  This simplistic, fairy tale, magical, childhood fantasy way of dealing with problems is to be contrasted with the planning / hard work / repeated trials before success that adults solving real problems more typically are faced with.                    

world government--for some this means that all people would live under the political authority of a single, centralized unified government. National boundaries and national sovereignty would no longer exist. For others it refers to a political body that would limit its scope to making, interpreting, and enforcing international law. Albert Einstein supported the former; some argue that, with the United Nations, International Criminal Court, and other international organizations, we already have the beginnings of the latter.  The so-called "New World Order" refers to a particular world government that some conspiracy theorists claim will be ushered in when the hidden agenda of a powerful and secretive few is carried out.


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