Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Peter Dale Scott: Conspiracies the Problem?


Peter Dale Scott: Conspiracies the Problem?

Peter Schultz


                  Are conspiracies the problem? According to Peter Dale Scott, the answer is “Yes,” because they operate outside constitutional processes clandestinely or secretly and, therefore, are not legitimate. Scott labels such politics “deep politics,” implying that if deep politics could be controlled or eliminated, all would be well. Without deep politics, JFK would not have been assassinated and Nixon would not have been deposed via Watergate.


                  So, to reformulate the original question: Is deep politics the problem? Or is conspiratorial politics the problem? Scott’s answer is “Yes” to both questions. But perhaps he is wrong, and wrong in a way that obscures the character of the political.


                  Taking the second question first, do all conspiracies produce unhealthy political results? Certainly not. JFK engaged in conspiratorial politics to keep the United States from Americanizing the war in Vietnam. That is, he acted deviously to accomplish his goal, which was to pull the United States out of Vietnam via a negotiated settlement. But he did not let this be known accept to a few advisers when he stated that he would end US involvement in Vietnam after he was re-elected in 1964. Until then, he was willing to conspire to hide his real intentions.


                  LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover also conspired after Kennedy’s assassination by deciding between them that Lee Harvey Oswald would be deemed responsible for Kennedy’s death as a lone, crazed assassin. That is, they conspired to squelch any rumors of there being a conspiracy behind Kennedy’s death, and LBJ and Hoover were prepared to validate this story with the actions of what came to be called “the Warren Commission.” Why did LBJ and Hoover so conspire? In order to avoid the possibility of a war with Cuba and the USSR, a war some in the government wanted to happen and were even willing and apparently trying to facilitate.


                  Deep politics, or conspiratorial politics may then, and often do, serve good purposes. Conspirators, even deep conspirators, are not always, or even generally, “bad guys” seeking goals that are not in the national interest. And, so, to think of conspiratorial politics as “deep politics,” i.e., as a suspicious, illegitimate, and corrupt kind of politics, is misleading. Conspiratorial politics, even as deep politics, is just politics. At times, such conspiracies serve the national interest but at other times not so much.  


                  It is not the conspiratorial character of political actions that determine their worth. Rather, the goals sought are what determine the worth of political actions, whether such actions are conspiratorial or constitutional. “Deep politics” is just politics by another name. Similarly, a “deep state” may exist in the United States, as Scott and others argue, but even if it does, its existence doesn’t change the nation’s politics. Subterranean politics, even when involving an assassination, is just politics.


                  So, when conspiracy theorists assert that, say, the 9/11 attacks were facilitated by conspirators “inside” the United States government, the appropriate response should be, “Yes, that’s a possibility.” After all, some respectable and powerful people did say before 9/11 that Americans needed to experience a “Pearl Harbor-type event” to wake them up to the need to aggressively confront the dangers created by Islamofascists like bin Laden and al Qaeda. Of course, the evidence that such conspiratorial behavior occurred is, at best, weak. But given the character of the political, such behavior shouldn’t be dismissed out-of-hand or as delusional. After all, it seems quite certain now, after the disclosures of the past sixty-plus years, that JFK’s assassination involved a conspiracy.


Not only does politics “make strange bedfellows,” as the old expression has it, but politics also leads decent people to do indecent things. More than occasionally, that indecency involves killing, the kind of killing that is called “patriotic.”

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