America – and Western Civilization as a Whole – Was Founded on a
by George Washington
Magna Carta and Democracy Itself Are Based on the Idea that –
Without Checks and Balances – Those In Power Will Take Advantage
founded on a conspiracy theory: that Britain’s King George
was conspiring against the colonists by all his actions.
of Independence recites a series
When a long
train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same
Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism
… The history of the present King of Great Britain [and
others working with and for him] is a history of repeated injuries
and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment
of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts
be submitted to a candid world.
called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable,
and distant from the depository of their public Records, for
the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his
endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that
purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners;
refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither,
and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for
the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their
erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither
swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their
kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies
without the Consent of our legislatures.
combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction
foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws;
giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which
they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring
Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government,
and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example
and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into
our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested
with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He is at
this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries
to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already
begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled
in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of
a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the
high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become
the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or
to fall themselves by their Hands.
concept of “separation of powers” is also based on the
conspiracy theory that those with unchecked power will abuse it.
By creating 3 branches of government, the Founding Fathers hoped
to reduce abuse of power.
deHaven-Smith has documented in a soon-to-be-released book that
conspiracy theories were considered as American as apple pie all
through American history … up until very recently.
father of modern economics – Adam Smith – also believed
in conspiracy theories. As the New York Times notes:
against monopolies and the political influence that accompanies
economic power …
He saw a
tacit conspiracy on the part of employers ”always and everywhere”
to keep wages as low as possible.
But the centrality
of conspiracy theories in Western civilizations goes back much further
Carta – signed in 1215 – was based on the conspiracy
theory that the claim of the “Divine Right” of the king
and his men to do whatever they wanted was false and oppressive.
entire idea of democracy – going back to ancient Greece –
is based on a conspiracy theory as well: that leaders who make decisions
without input from the public will not treat the people as well
as if they have a chance to vote. This is another form of “separation
of powers”, as it creates checks and balances between the
decision-making power of the government and that of the people.
civilization would never have gotten off the ground with the core
idea that those in power need to be checked and reined in, or they
would abuse the people.
Conspiracy Theories Nutty?
You may have
heard that conspiracy theories are nutty. But the truth is that
conspiracies are so common that judges are trained to look at conspiracy
allegations as just
another legal claim to be disproven or proven based on the
and all 50 state’s
codes include specific statutes addressing conspiracy,
and providing the punishment for people who commit conspiracies.
examine what the people trained to weigh evidence and reach conclusions
think about “conspiracies”. Let’s look at what American judges
one of the 2 primary legal research networks which attorneys and
judges use to research the law, I searched for court decisions
including the word “Conspiracy”. This is such a common term in
lawsuits that it overwhelmed Westlaw. Specifically, I got the
has been intercepted because it may retrieve a large number
I know that this means that there were potentially millions or
many hundreds of thousands of cases which use the term. There
were so many cases, that Westlaw could not even start processing
So I searched
again, using the phrase “Guilty of Conspiracy”. I hoped that this
would not only narrow my search sufficiently that Westlaw could
handle it, but would give me cases where the judge actually found
the defendant guilty of a conspiracy. This pulled up exactly 10,000
cases — which is the maximum number of results which Westlaw can
give at one time. In other words, there were more than 10,000
cases using the phrase “Guilty of Conspiracy” (maybe there’s a
way to change my settings to get more than 10,000 results, but
I haven’t found it yet).
as any attorney can confirm, usually only appeal court decisions
are published in the Westlaw database. In other words, trial court
decisions are rarely published; the only decisions normally published
are those of the courts which hear appeals of the trial. Because
only a very small fraction of the cases which go to trial are
appealed, this logically means that the number of guilty verdicts
in conspiracy cases at trial must be much, much larger than 10,000.
“Guilty of Conspiracy” is only one of many possible search phrases
to use to find cases where the defendant was found guilty of a
lawsuit for conspiracy. Searching on Google, I got 3,170,000
results (as of yesterday) under the term “Guilty of Conspiracy”,
for the search term “Convictions for Conspiracy”, and 743,000
for “Convicted for Conspiracy”.
many types of conspiracies are called other things altogether.
For example, a long-accepted legal doctrine makes it illegal for
two or more companies to conspire to fix prices, which is called
“Price Fixing” (1,180,000
above, I would extrapolate that there have been hundreds of thousands
of convictions for criminal or civil conspiracy in the United
many crimes go unreported or unsolved, and the perpetrators are
never caught. Therefore, the actual number of conspiracies committed
in the U.S. must be even higher.
words, conspiracies are committed all the time in the U.S., and
many of the conspirators are caught and found guilty by American
courts. Remember, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was a conspiracy
is a very well-recognized crime in American law, taught to every
first-year law school student as part of their basic curriculum.
Telling a judge that someone has a “conspiracy theory”
would be like telling him that someone is claiming that he trespassed
on their property, or committed assault, or stole his car. It
is a fundamental legal concept.
many conspiracy allegations are false (if you see a judge at a
dinner party, ask him to tell you some of the crazy conspiracy
allegations which were made in his court). Obviously, people will
either win or lose in court depending on whether or not they can
prove their claim with the available evidence. But not all allegations
of trespass, assault, or theft are true, either.
claim of conspiracy is no different from proving any other legal
claim, and the mere label “conspiracy” is taken no less seriously
not only Madoff.
The heads of Enron
were found guilty of conspiracy, as was the head of Adelphia.
Numerous lower-level government officials have been found guilty
of conspiracy. See this,
financial columnist Justin Fox writes:
market conspiracies are real …
investigative reporters are conspiracy theorists, by the way.
But Our Leaders
Wouldn’t Do That
might admit that corporate executives and low-level government officials
might have engaged in conspiracies – they may be strongly opposed
to considering that the wealthiest or most powerful might possibly
have done so.
insiders have long admitted to conspiracies. For example, Obama’s
Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs,
Cass Sunstein, wrote:
some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out
to be true. The Watergate hotel room used by Democratic National
Committee was, in fact, bugged by Republican officials, operating
at the behest of the White House. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence
Agency did, in fact, administer LSD and related drugs under Project
MKULTRA, in an effort to investigate the possibility of “mind
control.” Operation Northwoods, a rumored plan by the Department
of Defense to simulate acts of terrorism and to blame them on
Cuba, really was proposed by high-level officials ….
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