Conspiracy theories come in many forms. In general, for any theory to be called a conspiracy theory two or more intelligent entities must have joined together to plan an outcome. Conspirators usually have something to hide, so they conceal their plans. Whether a theory that something has happened is true depends upon the internal logic of that particular theory and the quality of evidence put forward to support it. Here I shall discuss three types of theories. Though only two are conspiracy theories, strictly speaking, all are related in offering explanations of events that many people believe are the result of malign intervention. I distinguish the three by the coherence of the arguments put forward to propose them and by the quality of the evidence advanced in support of them.
The first of type of conspiracy theory is one that could not be true in any conceivable universe because the theory violates the laws of logic and known physics. The second type of conspiracy theory does not violate the laws of logic or physics, but is so improbable that a rational person is unlikely to take it seriously. The third type of theory should more properly be called not theory but fact, and is only dismissed as ‘just a conspiracy theory’ by those who wish it were not true or those who do not want others to believe it.
Many people have written to me to suggest that the calamities that have befallen Pakistanis since 1947 have been sent from the heavens above as a punishment for their disobedience. Such an idea is especially attractive to people who feel helpless to control their own lives; and second, if the misfortunes of Pakistanis were sent from the heavens above as a punishment for their disobedience, then it is odd that these misfortunes fall disproportionately on the poor, whom one might think have already been punished enough. Pakistanis should stop thinking that their misfortunes are willed from the heavens above and should start looking for more likely causes.
The second type of conspiracy theory suggests that the recent floods were the result of the use of a secret weather-weapon designed by the Americans, the Israelis, or both, and used on Pakistan to further their aim of destroying the country, or drastically retarding its development, or of weakening it so that it might be more easily invaded. This theory does not violate the laws of logic or physics. It could be true. It is even plausible to think some Americans and some Israelis would want such a weapon and, having it, would use it. But the chances of this theory being true are just too slim for it to be taken seriously, yet.
The third type of conspiracy theory has certainly involved conspiracies to harm the interests of most life-forms, including people, in Pakistan, but would more appropriately be called fact, not theory. Ever since 1947, Pakistanis have conjoined to destroy their own country. Sometimes they have done so in concert, but not in a conspiracy, sometimes they have acted in conspiracies. Certainly the American formulators of foreign policy have conspired over the years to ensure that their own interests have been served above all others here, no matter what the cost to Pakistan, and they have tried to conceal their selfishness behind homilies on freedom and democracy. Most Pakistani leaders have joined, willingly or unwillingly, with their American bosses in this betrayal of their country.
At times the powerful have conspired, not so much to destroy the country, but to desist from preventing its destruction. With even the rudiments of a responsible government, the worst effects of the recent floods would have been avoided. All who have harmed and still harm Pakistan present themselves as virtuous, so hide the truth, and all have at some time conspired with others to serve their own interests as against the interests of the general population and other animals that try to live here. Pakistanis should forget the ire of Allah, much as the rich might deserve it, and look to the real causes of their misfortunes.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2010.
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