Power Structure Theories
Posted on February 26, 2016
Power structure theories are conventionally dismissed as conspiracy theories. They are not the same at all. There are two problems.
First, I hate the term “conspiracy theory” because it now means “conspiracy myth.” But some conspiracy hypotheses turn out to be true. (E.g. the CIA operational wing intentionally operates as a set of nested conspiracies, some of which eventually come to light.) Anyone who uses the term “conspiracy theory” as dismissal has earned my contempt as being a mindless reflexive conspiracy denier.
Second, a power structure theory differs from a scientific conspiracy hypothesis in many ways. e.g.:
a. Valid conspiracy hypotheses reflect the various laws of large numbers—big conspiracies fail for lots of reasons, while ordinary bureaucratic ineptness is so widespread that it often looks like a conspiracy. Power structures on the other hand do impact a lot of people.
b. Power structures are long lasting. Conspiracies rarely are.
c. Power structures in a democracy try to be hidden, but always leaves lots of visible traces. Successful conspiracies don’t.
One of the few hard-earned advantages the left has created in recent years is that most progressives are reaching agreement on a rough power structure theory. We all know there is a oligarchy of the very rich that acts in favor of increasing inequality and in opposition to our interests on every one of the major conflicts of our time.
Every so often you see an otherwise right-wing billionaire put money into causes like pro-choice or ecology or gay rights, out of sincere belief. However the oligarchy as whole is in alliance with the wrong side on all such issues, either to preserve corporate profits (climate change denial) or to split the natural coalition of the have-nots against the haves (radical religious right).