Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mark Shea, Glenn Beck, & Conspiracies

I like Mark Shea, and though I am not a huge fan of Glenn Beck, I don't really have a problem with him.  However, I have noticed that the same thing bugs me about both men.  Both Shea and Beck make references to some sort of vague yet sinister conspiracy that is trying to take over the world.  Mark Shea thinks that a corporate conspiracy of "a few wealthy men" is working to enslave the country and assassinate distributists*, while Glenn Beck believes that progressive globalists are taking over.  I cannot say that I am particularly worried about either scenario.  To quote P.J. O'Rourke: 
There are no conspiracies that rule the world.  There's no universe-mastering cabal of capitalists, communists, Islamic fundamentalists, International Monetary Fund executives, Federal Reserve Bank governors, New World Order functionaries with their UN black helicopters, Trilateral Commission initiates, Freemasons, Bavarian Illuminati, Rosicrucians, Knights Templar, Mafia families, Chinese triads, Mexican drug gangs, Jesuits, or Google.  And no, no, no, no, it's not the Jews.  They'd do a better job.
The Presidential "Birther," the 9/11 "Truther," the JFK assassination "Grassy Knoller," and every other conspiracy buff is announcing aloud: "The world is so stupid that even I can understand it."  
There is no sense in worrying about nebulous conspiracies when there are so many real, if less exciting, problems to solve.

*Ok I made that part up.


  1. I have got to say and I am not a fan of Mark Shea since he has an obsession with attacking the Catholic "Right" and hardly ever attacks the Catholic "Left" for their views. I do think that corporate America needs to follow principles of distributism but I don't think they're working to enslave the country or anything of that sort. I like Glenn Beck and agree with most of his views. I wouldn't classify Glenn Beck's belief or assertion that progressives are trying to take over the world as a conspiracy theory but rather more aligned with reality or the truth, but stretched a little bit. When you consider how much pull George Soros and other progressives have globally and tat their goal is to attack free-market economies and in fact exploit crises for their own political or personal gain it isn't much of a stretch for Glenn to think that global progressives are trying to take over America.

  2. Shameless self-promotion: If you have a few minutes, check out my essay: "The Conspiracy Theory as Secular Gnosis". It's one of my dreaded, long pieces - but perhaps there may be a sentence or two of interest.

  3. TH2: Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out!

  4. None of us know for sure that there is no conspiracy. That said, I find the chances so small that it would astound me just as much as Mr. O' Rourke if one was revealed.

    And if what is real seems less exciting, then we need to spend a lot more time with reality.

  5. Teresa: I wouldn't deny that there are those that would like to take over the world, I just don't think that anyone, even George Soros, will manage to do so.

  6. Been reading about various theories since the 70s. & none of them have come to fruition. Some of these conspiricy theories play well with those pre-millenialist, 7 years of tribulation Christians as they see them laying the foundation for the Antichrist taking over. the early 80s was a big time for some of them as some fundamentalists saw the 40th anniversary of Israel's creation as a modern state as the end of the generation that wouldn't pass away Jesus talked about.