Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Law of Conspiracyless Conspiracies

I read an article about Tim Tebow being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. In the comments, someone said, "Hopefully in the future somebody will write a book on what really happened with the Tebow situation. I'm betting there was quite a bit of collusion." This reminded me of my Law of Conspiracyless Conspiracies: a conspiratorial result doesn't require a conspiracy to exist if all actors want to produce the conspiratorial result.

For instance, Barack Obama's college transcripts are not kept from public view by a conspiracy. No one is identifying everyone who has access to the files and coordinating their continued compliance with the cover-up. Instead, everyone with access to the files has independently decided, "I don't want those files released." Result: a conspiracyless conspiracy.

The same is probably true for Tebow: no owner or general manager decided, "I want this guy who wears his Christianity on his sleeve to be banned from the league, so I'm going to call everyone and make sure it happens." Instead, all the owners and general managers decided, "I don't want to hire Tim Tebow." No phone calls required, but the same outcome results.

Is it a more-heroic assumption to think there is uncoordinated agreement among so many actors? Not with political correctness, standardized education, and homogenous culture. The kind of person who works in Columbia University's records office agrees 100% with all his coworkers about whether Barack Obama's transcripts should be released. ("But A Random Stranger," you say, "those files aren't released because they aren't for public consumption." Jack Ryan laughs at your naïveté.) The kind of person who runs an NFL team is uncomfortable with all-but-superficial Christianity among his players. No one had to call him on the phone to get him in the conspiracy.

The implausibility of a directed conspiracy is what undermines most conspiracy theories. We hear a theory presented and we say, "Really, someone is organizing this agreement across thousands of people in every country and through multiple generations?" No, no one is organizing it. But that doesn't mean it's not happening.

PS: What do I think Barack Obama's college transcripts would show? I think they would show that he applied for college as a foreign student. His supporters want to suppress this because he either was born overseas and so is ineligible for the presidency or he was an American misrepresenting himself as a foreigner for favorable consideration; neither option is desirable for him.

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