Friday, October 17, 2008

There's Always Someone Looking at You!*

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the Credit Crunch or Banking Crisis or Complete Meltdown of International Capitalism Based On Spurious Socialist logic or whatever you want to call what is going on in the world economy at the moment generated a conspiracy theory. And here it is, based on the government’s (frankly draconian) dealings with Icelandic banks:

Is it possible that government or corrupt officials have been running for the past 10 years a massive money laundering scam with taxpayers funds through NGO's, Quango's, Local Authorities, Charities and 'Registered Companies', a scam so big that the financial crisis was going to scupper and expose it, that the beneficiaries were going to lose the money or even worse get found out, or was it that receivers and auditors would be able to unravel it, and that only Nationalisation and the use of terror legislation could keep it under wraps.
It is possible, yes. But I’d also say it is deeply, deeply unlikely. Probably on a par with someone finding out that I am secretly Superman. Which I am not. No, really, I’m not. I know you never see Superman and I together in the same place, but don’t read anything into that.

See, I can’t be doing with conspiracy theories in general. I believe JFK was shot by a loner as he was driven slowly in an open top limo in a state that pretty much hated him. I believe that Diana was killed when a drunk driver drove her car into a concrete wall very, very fast. I believe that both the CIA and FBI screwed up in the months before 9/11, meaning that a group of surprisingly amateurish terrorists were able to cause an unprecedented level of destruction in the US. And I believe that something really similar happened here on 7/7.

It comes down to this, I think – your perception of human nature. You either believe that people are fundamentally corrupt, evil, and conspiring 24/7 to fuck you and the rest of the world up in some way. Or you believe that people – even important people who are running countries and everything – are often lazy and incompetent, and then a minority of determined and evil and/or demented people take advantage of that. I’m firmly in the latter camp.

The evidence is all around us, if you care to look. See that set of roadworks, the ones that have been going on forever without any progress being made. That’s down to people being lazy. And incompetent. Likewise, when you spend half an hour waiting to speak to your bank on the phone, only to find that they can’t help you in anyway and actually seem to faintly resent you calling them – that’s incompetence. With a healthy splash of needless, mindless bureaucracy thrown in for good measure. And when the tax office takes too much money from you, that’s down to laziness, bureaucracy and incompetence. It might feel like something more, and it might be pretty gutting and ire inducing. But it is just people being, basically, people. In other words, it is people being a bit crap.

So apply that to, say, the Kennedy assassination. What seems more likely – that the Secret Service was arrogant and unthinking when they let the incredibly vain Kennedy drive around in an open top limo just to boost his ego, and a lone nutter took advantage of that? Or that there was a conspiracy, involving Cuba, and the Mafia, maybe even LBJ in cahoots with the FBI and CIA, to kill a President in plain view of the world? Since the average group of people aren’t capable of organising a piss up in a brewery – even if the brewery is offering an events manager – how likely is it that any group of people could actually organise the murder of a President and keep the conspiracy covered up for decades?

I mean, the one time there was a genuine conspiracy – and I’m talking about Watergate here – it was based around an administration trying to cover-up the pointless burglary of a Democrat office by loopy members of Nixon’s campaign team. And how long were they able to keep it all a secret for? It was just months before the truth started to emerge, and the whole *conspiracy* was uncovered by a couple of hacks. Watergate shows how conspiracies would operate in the real world – they would be ineptly put into place and oh so easy to uncover.

So what seems more likely – that Gordon Brown panicked and wanted to posture, so invoked terrorist/security legislation against Icelandic banks, or that Gordon Brown has been at the head of a criminal conspiracy for the past ten years to launder money on an international scale? Maybe I’m lacking in imagination, but to me it is clear that it is the former.

I could be wrong, and hopelessly naïve here, but I can’t help but think that the most likely explanation is that people are stupid and incompetent, rather than conspiring away with the sort of ability and intelligence that just ain’t seen in the real world. The banking crisis – and the response to it – is caused by greed, panic and stupidity, not by criminal elements secretly controlling the world. Frankly, the criminal elements wouldn’t be able to agree on what the conspiracy should be, let alone how to put it into practice.

*A special prize for anyone who can name the song I am referencing in the title.

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At 6:34 pm , Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

"There's Someone Looking At You" by The Boomtown Rats?


At 6:22 pm , Blogger The Nameless Libertarian said...

Correct. Just wanted to flaunt some of my obscure knowledge of Bob Geldof's career before he became a crusty cretin.



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