A Philosopher's Blog

A Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on September 28, 2009

President Clinton was recently asked whether the “vast right wing conspiracy” that allegedly plagued his administration is still around or not. His view is that it is not as strong as it was, but is still virulent. Naturally, one might wonder whether there is such a vast conspiracy or not.

People do love conspiracy theories of this sort.  The left has this “vast right wing conspiracy” while the right has its own favorite: the liberal media conspiracy.  Such theories are very appealing to folks. First, it is appealing to the ego to think that your are so important that a vast conspiracy has risen up against you (or your cause). Second, it provides a useful scapegoat in case of failure (“it wasn’t me, it was the vast conspiracy”).  Third, conspiracy implies secrecy, so it is a difficult thing to disprove.

Fortunately, the application of a little reason can help sort out the matter.

First of all, the conspiracy cannot be all that vast. After all, if it were truly vast, then Obama would not be in office. Of course, it could still be fairly large (just not large enough to stop Obama or the Democrats).

Second, most right wingers seem to be very open about their dislike. If they are conspiring, they don’t seem to get the idea that a conspiracy is supposed to be secret.

Third, the idea that the conspiracy is vast certainly implies that it is a unified movement. However, the right wing does not seem to be unified to the degree required for it to count as a vast conspiracy. Sure, there are folks that are right wing and are up to various sneaky things, but I would not consider this a vast conspiracy. If the right were so well organized and unified that it could maintain a vast and secret conspiracy, it seems unlikely that the Democrats would stand a chance against it.

Does this mean that there are not well organized right leaning groups that act in secrecy against the Democrats? No, not at all. Clearly there are such groups. Just as there are left leaning groups that act in secrecy against the Republicans. However, there seems to be no vast conspiracy on either side. Or perhaps they are so good at conspiracy, that they have been able to hide their vastness and amazing abilities behind the illusion of smallness and fallibility.