Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tin Foil Hats: Coming Out of the Closet

There is a small group of powerful elite that achieve their ends through government. 

This is very difficult for many to accept – after all, it calls into questions the entirety of their faith in the state.  Yet, I can prove it with one simple statement (and I won’t cite it exactly correctly, and I wish I recall where I first read it):

Democracy is the false belief that you and your wife have twice the political pull of someone named Rockefeller.

Now, I know this isn’t convincing enough for many.  They want facts from credible (mainstream) resources; not from Murray Rothbard, and certainly not cute little quips from a mosquito. 

Well, slowly but surely these doubters are getting their wish (or nightmare, as they don’t want their belief in the state shaken by facts).  I commented on one such mainstream report a few months ago, in a post entitled “Tin Foil Hat Has Gone Mainstream!  In a study conducted by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK, it was determined that those who believe in so-called conspiracy theories are saner than those who believe the government-peddled version of events; further, the so-called conspiracy theorists represent the majority view when it comes to online discussions.

Now another, as reported in the Telegraph: “The US is an Oligarchy, Study Concludes.”

The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

My little quip pretty much covered this.  But I am not a recognized researcher.

After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

I will go one step further, focused on the phrase “its economic elite”: the US government, like most governments around the world, is greatly influenced by an elite that does not consider itself the captive elite of any one nation.  They consider themselves global.  But I know many will want to read this from a more authoritative source. 

Let’s clarify the term “conspiracy”:

The act of conspiring; an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot; any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.

So, back to the study: are these powerful individuals influencing government through open means?  Do they advertise their intentions, publish minutes of their meetings with congressmen and regulators, or seek open debate on the Sunday morning talk shows?  Have you been invited to the meetings?

The answers are, of course, no, no, no, no, and (I am taking a leap of faith on the last one) no.

Hence, a conspiracy.

Now, in some events it might come easy for those who discount other conspiracy theories to also accept that a small yet powerful group of financial elite have an extraordinary influence on government policies.  For example, the bail-outs of Wall Street are an obvious example, one that should need no further statement to convey the connection.

But if here, why not elsewhere?  Why not in cases that are not so obvious?  Why not in actions directed primarily by state actors?  Why not in actions of export policy, government subsidies for food and shelter?  War?

Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying oragnisations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it."

Don’t get mad at me, I didn’t say it.


  1. As I commented to Becky in response to her post:

    As you well know, those who are immune to objective evidence and reason regarding the state will just say that we need “more reform”, and “less money in politics”, and other such tripe. Alas, some just won’t see the light.

    We may get through to a few with this evidence, but most are beyond hope, I fear. They are eternally (emotionally?) damaged and fear the bogeyman of a private sector that somehow keeps them down, but ignore the real dangers of the state.

    Some are beyond hope.

  2. Oops, I made the erroneous assumption that you had h/t'd Becky Akers' post at LRC:

    Refers to the same study.