Wednesday, November 14, 2007

a hodgepodge of claptrap

Over the past couple of weeks I've been teaching basic computing to a very affable elderly gentleman who appears to be a retired businessman with an interest in science and technology, but he also has another interest-cum-obsession, which he's been smoothly and persistently haranguing me about. That is, the collusion of world political leaders in bringing down financial markets and thereby, somehow, enslaving us all. Apparently, the world is on the brink of collapse but everything's hush-hush. George Bush is really a communist [as are all the rest] and Alan Greenspan is in prison, unbeknown to the world, and some hundreds of the American banking fraternity have been spirited out of the country. It's all somehow to do with the fact that money isn't worth the paper it's printed on any more [since some fateful decision made in the seventies], it's all 'fiat money', he likes to say, and it all goes back to Lenin, who got the ball rolling.

Confused? The delightful thing about conspiracy theorists is that they can so steep themselves in their pet theories that, to the outsider, they come across as knowledgeable, articulate and convincing, so much so that only afterwards do you stop and think 'did he really say that?' My 'informant' appeared to know something about finance - he stopped in his pursuit of the miscreants of global capital to give me a little lecture on the founding of the Commonwealth Bank, which he described as the greatest banking institution in the world in its time. It was able to create money just like that, my informant told me, so that Australia emerged from World War One debt-free, but when its founder continued to create money 'they' turned on him and murdered him.

Of course, I could only nod and express surprise and regret at his revelations, knowing nothing about them, but I've decided to probe his claims a bit further, especially after discussion with the co-ordinator of the Community Centre at which I teach. My informant had also confided the parlous state of world financial markets to him, and they'd had a discussion about taxation. Unsurprisingly, my gentleman informant was a tax defaulter who claimed that tax money didn't need to be spent on services because most services were self-maintaining. No doubt he would also claim that, since all political leaders are crooks, criminals and communists, it would be itself a crime to provide them with your own hard-earned money. In other words, not skulking off from your responsibilities but doing the noble thing and wearing it like a badge of honour.

So I've been getting increasingly annoyed with this smooth talker. I challenged him a little this week, but he was deft and deferential while always dragging me into areas in which he had all the expertise, at least for that moment, even suggesting that I really read The Communist Manifesto and compare its contents with what's happening today. I have read The Communist Manifesto [a long time ago] and can't recall much mention of high finance in it. In any case, my informant's claims were so ludicrous that I was rendered quite speechless. No doubt if I had responded he would've come up with yet another unexpected conversation-stopper from out of right field. He was, it seems, accustomed to engineering one-way traffic scenarios.

It took me no more than five minutes on the net to discover the truth, all written by one Christopher Story:
You will have noticed many references to the World Revolution on these websites. Didn’t you know that this is what we are all experiencing? Who are the ‘dark actors playing games’ to which poor Dr Kelly, the brilliant British microbiologist who was ‘suicided’ in 2003, referred shortly before his death? Did you not know that certain over-powerful intelligence services, protected by long-standing legislation that they use as a cover for their open-ended organised criminal activities, are in control, out of control and need urgently to be brought under control, before they deal their suffocating death blow to democracy?

The guy's clearly mad as a witch's hat full of arseholes, but like my informant, he writes with a great deal of surface plausibility [for example, his grammar is impeccable, rare indeed among conspiracy theorists]. His routinely alarmist 'reports' have been largely ignored, except by my informant and his hopefully not too numerous ilk, but there is a site here that mocks and demolishes.

At first I thought that the communist plot was my own informant's twist on events, but no, it's all here from The Editor, Christopher Story. How can one man know so much? How burdened he must feel. The Story stories appear to be a variant of Illuminati PCTs [Paranoid Conspiracy Theories], all of which can be handily sourced from here. Good luck.

My only real question is whether to confront this elderly chap or just leave him to stew in his concerns. He's currently embroiled in a court case, and I'm wondering if it has to do with nonpayment of taxes. The community centre co-ordinator has asked me pointedly 'how does he get away with not paying taxes?' I'm wondering if he's wondering if he's breaking the law. That's to say, he's a criminal who, at the very least, shouldn't be helping himself to the community centre's taxpayer-funded services.

Of course, what I should reveal to him is that as the founding secretary of the new ussr, I'm the source of all his nightmares. To have power at last....



At 8:51 pm , Blogger Nick Blasbeat said...

Hello, had a look at your blog, because I was reminded about it because we are maybe going to do talks again. Anway, strictly speaking, your elderly friend was right about 'fiat money'. It's only worth anything because the government says it is, rather than being inherently valuable in any sense. This is something extreme Libertarians are often worried about for a number of reasons, one of the slightly more sensible ones being that fiat money is easy to make more of (literally you just print it) which can create almost infinite amounts of inflation. They want to go back to sheckels and pieces of eight, I belive....

At 11:27 pm , Blogger Stewart said...

Hi - yes, i've read a little on fiat money since. It seems tailor-made to generate or feed into conspiracy theories, and tricky to argue against, especially when you find high finance as boring as I do.


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