A Response to Laudato Si

 

Has Mother Church wielded the sword and shackles of the state for so long She has forgotten the use of the shepherd’s crook?

 
A Response to Laudato Si

As is usually the case, the Pope did something and the liberal media came in their pants with excitement. My less-involved Catholic friends and some non-catholic friends then asked me what he actually said and did and what it means, media spin aside. I make it a point to read Encyclicals as they come out, as often as possible. While I’m skeptical of Catholic social teaching for a number of reasons, it would be unbecoming of a Catholic intellectual critical of some social teachings to not keep abreast of progress made in that regard. Also, with the persistent questions from others, I find that it is beneficial to myself, my friends, and our relationships to be able to provide a service in the form of translating 170-odd pages of teaching that’s very involved and built on millennia of scholarship into something digestible to a more secular mind.

In interest of defending Church teaching against the portrayal it will receive in the mainstream (RE: pagan) culture, I spent a good chunk of yesterday and this morning reading and re-reading Laudato Si and reading many short commentaries written by various clergymen and lay Catholic journalists. I have several pages of handwritten notes, addressing specific things that were said, the general theme of the encyclical, and its relationship to history and standing Church teachings, and I’m not sure how much use those notes are going to find in this post, as there’s some very important general themes that need to be addressed. These issues far overshadow individual lines or phrases that may be misinterpreted or otherwise used contrary to the goals set out for the encyclical, so these smaller issues may be overlooked in this post.

The most important point to get out of the way is the relationship between Catholic social teaching and the general body of scholarship within the Church. Many Catholics, even devout Catholics do not understand the role that the encyclicals and other works in Catholic social teaching play in the Faith. Catholic social teaching is not Doctrine or Dogma, it is not an infallible pronouncement by the Pope acting alone and in persona Christi. Catholic social teaching is, essentially, the magisterium of the Church saying, “Based on what we have to work with, here, this looks like the best solution to a particular problem the Church faces.” In the case of this encyclical, it identifies several problems, some real and some imagined, and looks for a root cause for these problems in order to make “a variety of proposals possible, all capable of entering into dialogue with a view to developing comprehensive solutions.” In such a dialogue, “…the Church has no reason to offer a definitive opinion; she knows that honest debate must be encouraged among experts, while respecting divergent views.” This post (that will be wholly invisible to the magisterium and to those who could and would affect change) is an attempt to address the issues presented, their root causes, and continue the dialogue sought by Pope Francis. No, I don’t claim to be an “expert” as indicated in the encyclical, but I am confident that I am no more or less an expert than a substantial majority of the people involved in and affected by this dialogue. As such, I am as entitled as anyone else to express my informed assessment of the situation.

This document is essentially three different encyclicals blended together in a frenetic and haphazard arrangement, a departure from the more analytic and procedural voice and style of Francis’ immediate predecessors. It may sound strange, but I will do my best to explain what I mean.

One of the encyclicals is an assessment of mankind’s relationship to it’s environment, the role that we play in our environment’s well-being and the role that our environment plays in our well-being, both spiritually and physically. It explores how exploitative and irreverent practices with regards to creation develop vicious attitudes within the practitioners which results in the exploitation and irreverence being directed at other human beings as well. In a surprising but well-defended argument, the Pope lays out how industrial monoculture farming is culturally related to inhumane medical experimentation and abortion, for example. This encyclical reads as a slightly less poetic text that one would expect Francis’ namesake to have written, waxing on and on about the glory of the Creator as seen in His creation, our role as stewards of that creation, and the teleology of all things. This encyclical appears to be addressed to the traditional audience of the encyclicals: the people of the Church in the world at large and within the magisterium. It calls for a pastoral approach centered on acknowledging the almost panentheist nature of reality, how God Himself is part of his creation and His presence in His creatures must be respected, lest one fall into the habit of not acknowledging that same presence on one’s fellow humans. With typical Franciscan flair, the primary focus is on how the poor are marginalized and harmed the most by these irresponsible and irreverent practices.

Another one of the encyclicals is drawing a connection between this renewed environmental focus and the greater body of Catholic teachings, the relationship between abortion, postmodernism, consumerism, the destruction of the family, the evils of war and violence, etc. These passages are, unsurprisingly, the main focus of the articles popping up all over the internet titled some variation of “Ten things that the mainstream media will ignore in Laudato Si”. This encyclical is, essentially, a reaffirmation in the long-standing tenets of the Church: Abortion is murder, contraception is bad, gay marriage is a metaphysical impossibility, postmodernism is an intellectual cancer that is killing humanity and faith, etc. The only new addition to this litany that is presented is to try and add “and mind your greenhouse gasses” somewhere in-between “Postmodernism is bad,” and “We have to be careful with GMOs.”

The main focus for everyone, myself included, is this third encyclical. This one is addressed to “world leaders” and the UN in particular, as opposed to the Church and its people. This encyclical is rife with praise for worldwide economic manipulations, the use of government violence to accomplish the ends of the Church, an appeal for granting all governments more authority and force to implement stricter environmental regulations, broader economic manipulations, and redistribution of wealth. This encyclical explicitly calls for a progressive carbon tax, a world government with a navy and police force with authority to supersede national governments, national and local governments to implement “free” public housing and utility access, and heightened enforcement of drug laws.

Worse, though, than pleading with the state to use it’s swords and shackles to coerce responsible behavior out of humanity at large, Francis takes a page out of Pope Urban VIII’s book. Overstepping his authority in moral and theological matters, the Pope attempts to side with the “scientific consensus” and endorse a worldview that is anti-scientific and empirically falsified. Declaring human-caused global warming to be an existential threat to creation of a magnitude equivalent to the great flood which God repented of in Genesis, Francis demonstrates that he needs to hire better researchers and ought to be more reticent before declaring Galileo anathema. He makes this mistake twice, in rapid succession. After demonstrating an unwillingness to critically assess the legacy academic stance in light of empirical evidence in science, he does so again in the realm of economics. Using Keynesian economic prescriptions and “green” socialist rhetoric, he creates a straw-man of the free market which is even more flimsy and caricatured than those manufactured by liberal college students on social media.

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Pope Francis decides to decorate the Vatican instead of reading Rothbard
  There was one line, in particular that required a double-take, a re-reading, and it ultimately elicited a violent reaction from me:

“Civil authorities have the right and duty to adopt clear and firm measures in support of small producers and differentiated production. To ensure economic freedom from which all can effectively benefit, restraints occasionally have to be imposed on those possessing greater resources and financial power. To claim economic freedom while real conditions bar many people from actual access to it, and while possibilities for employment continue to shrink, is to practise[sic] a doublespeak which brings politics into disrepute.” p96

This quote is taken from the midst of pages upon pages of diatribe against international outsourcing of labor, speculative investment, development of trade infrastructures, the automation of menial tasks. While lamenting these actions, the Pope calls for an increase in the policies which are the direct cause of them. Economic regulations, such as the minimum wage, intellectual property legislation, and progressive corporate taxation and subsidies creates innumerable perverse incentives within the market, as a natural matter of course which is empirically verifiable. To blame “the market” and paint such claims as “a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals,” demonstrates a wholesale ignorance of the science that is economics. One should expect a former scientist to understand the limitations of his understanding of others’ fields and at least call upon them to inform his opinion. If he has done so, he needs to look harder for a reliable resource.

The reason this sudden interest in mainstream sciences and display of ignorance in these matters is offensive is because the Pope is a moral authority in the world, and to draw upon obviously false data, bundle it up in moral language and issue ethical and political proclamations demeans both the sciences he misrepresents and the position which he occupies in the See of Peter.

These three encyclicals are blended together in a manner that makes them inextricable from each other. In one sentence, Francis will point out a theological understanding concerning substantive relationship of the trinity, move to an analogy concerning the nature of agriculture, and indict private ownership of resources. Because of this, it is impossible to tell where the Pope is addressing individual Catholics and exhorting them to consider their role in creation from a theological perspective and where he is exhorting politicians to use violence in order to protect the poor in the developing world from global warming from an economical perspective.

There is no denying that people everywhere in the world are facing ecological crises: living in cities that are not conducive to human flourishing, living near industrial mining operations, facing evictions from tribal lands or private property in the interest of economic gains for the powerful, the destruction of biodiversity in inhabited areas, and a general disregard for the inalienable rights of human beings are all issues that need to be addressed, and quickly. However, to blame “the free market” when there is no such thing, to pin the blame on people that are merely doing their best to survive when faced with systematic violations of their rights, and to fall back on methods that are the direct cause for the decline of Christianity and the rise of the postmodern world seriously misdiagnoses the cause of the problem and results in a very dangerous situation, both in the world at large and in the Church itself.

This political edict in the guise of moral teaching places those that are well-versed in science and economics in the difficult position of trying to justify the teachings of the Church that are explicitly contrary to what they know to be true. Some may lose their faith, either in the Church or in reason. The loss of faith in either is a tragedy, and it can be prevented simply by Francis double-checking his work and being cautious not to overstep the bounds of papal authority. An even greater tragedy than some umber of individuals losing their faith due to a contradiction in moral teaching and empirical fact is the alienation that such teachings has formed between the Church and the people and institutions best situated to aid the Church in pursuing a more Christian world. Economists the world over are denouncing the Church and discovering the long-standing trend on Catholic social teaching towards full-blown socialism. The scientific communities that tend to lean more socially and fiscally conservative (like the Church) also happen to be the ones that have disproven any substantial causal relationship between human activity and global climate change, in outright ignoring their findings, the Pope has alienated the scientific community once again, driving the long standing wedge between reason and faith even further. Even in moral and philosophical circles, there is outrage that the pope would undermine basic human rights (such as the right to be secure in one’s property) for the sake of the rights of woodland critters and soil bacteria, which is explicitly done in this document.

TL;DR: Despite all of my defenses of Pope Francis to-date, my re-interpretations of his words in the light of reason and Church teaching in order to explain to others how one can rationally support his teachings, there is no way to deny that he is a full-on socialist with a callous disregard for economics and science. While I am not a sedevacantist or about to apostatize, this is an excellent opportunity to begin picking apart the whole of Catholic social teaching and calling for reform in the Church, not concerning matters which are doctrinally secure (such as prohibitions on gay marriage or abortion) but concerning instances where the Church draws too heavily on philosophically and scientifically flawed information. Many lament that this encyclical will be remembered as “the global warming encyclical”. I lament it as well, the global warming was merely a pretext for pushing a theologically-backed call for one world socialist government, and to remember it as the “global warming encyclical” discounts the very real damage that has already been done by the document to the integrity of the Church and the incalculable damage that will be done if world leaders heed the Pope’s plea.

Discovering that the See of Peter is occupied by a died-in-the-wool socialist is a good opportunity to review Church history. I’ve found, in my limited education of the subject, that the delineation between a Doctor of the Church and a heretic is a razor-thin one between those who are willing to admit the possibility of error and those too prideful to do so.

Only time will tell.

You can read the full text of Laudato Si here:
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

 

Restoring Justice

If someone were to have read my post concerning honor and engaged in critical discussion, they may have accused me of being a non-dualist. Claiming that honor and same are the same thing would sound to many as if I’m saying “good” and “evil” are the same thing. I am not a non-dualist, but you may not believe me after hearing/reading this today. Today, I’m addressing another ancient concept that nobody seems to understand in this, the postmodern era: justice.

You hear about “justice” every day: SJWs demanding that straight white men be burned at the stake for “social justice”, different victims or criminals becoming the focus of “justice for this guy” mobs, in the statist prayer “liberty and justice for all”, justice in music, television, movies, lectures, C-span, everywhere. Reading Plato, one sees justice presented as “giving to everyone what they are owed” which is often interpreted through the lenses of “an eye for an eye” and “repay your debts”. Something often addressed alongside justice, and often used to help define the limits of justice, is mercy. People point to the beautiful occasions in which someone forgives the man who killed that person’s entire family or something and say “faith in humanity: restored”. Christians, inspired by Thomism, love to juxtapose mercy and justice as opposites and then struggle to argue that God can simultaneously possess two opposites to an infinite degree, which is simply absurd.

 

“Blasphemy!” No, not really. It is the very definition of absurdity to simultaneously hold that both A and non-A are true. No amount of special pleading (mystery) or symbolic logic can change that. I’m not saying God isn’t infinitely merciful or just, only that Aquinas made yet another mistake. As a matter of fact, I’m dropping this God talk in favor of philosophical exploration of justice and mercy themselves. Those of my readers that are both intelligent and theologically-minded will be able to follow this line of thought to its necessary conclusion concerning God’s nature.

Most people, as I understand it, believe that justice is either some formless and vapid idea like “equality” or “fairness” or that it means “retribution”. “This guy did something bad, so we have to do bad things to him.” Very few people will argue with that description, only the specific reason for or implementation of it. “That guy raped someone, so we must lick him in a rape cage (prison) for the rest of his life.” “This lady stole some money, so we must take everything she owns or earns until it is paid back… and a little off the top for me.” There’s always arguments as to how far is too far, like the death penalty; “should we murder a murderer?” but rarely is the more fundamental question asked.

Is doing “evil” to “evildoers” justice?

I’ll leaver that question for your rumination while I address mercy. In the ancient world, mercy was a vice that only the most powerful could afford. In the Christian world, it was a benevolent act that even the most impoverished peasant could perform towards even the most powerful king. In the post-Christian world, it’s a meaningless feel-good word for being nice. In each of these eras, the meaning of mercy has been assumed to mean “staying the execution of justice.” Debt forgiveness, governor pardons, jury nullification, victims and their families forgiving criminals, for example. Mercy, then, is shown by those too helpless to extract retribution on those with power. The paradigm case would be millennial SJWs getting jobs and shutting up.

Of course these two concepts are at odds. If justice has been a perennial issue of rights, honor, and morality throughout recorded history and mercy has been a more recent afterthought, it is no wonder that so many are confused, There are lots of exciting logical conundrums which emerge with this juxtaposition of two aesthetically pleasing opposites. I’m not sure I need to explore them right now, as everyone has read a book or watched a movie which hinged on one such conundrum or another. Any Christian that hasn’t wrestled with these problems has not critically assessed their faith. It’s a very real concern: when does one do evil to evildoers and when does one forgive them? I believe I have a solution. I’m not about to take credit for it, as the inspiration at least comes from the first couple centuries AD.

Our understanding of justice and the function it serves is wrong. Mercy, then, is also misunderstood, due to its status as wholly dependent on justice for its meaning. If justice is people getting what they deserved, people ought to do their best to keep their distance from me; as I’ve mentioned in a recent Daily Resource Suggestion, “Nobody deserves anything. If we deserve anything, it is nothingness.” Unsurprisingly, this is a Catholic belief; that’s why theologians are so desperate to make God merciful.

I have intentionally avoided discussing justice from the utilitarian position, as they equivocate justice with political ethics: “Whatever laws and violence are shown to maximize pleasure for the most people, except the obvious answer of ‘none’.” “Justice” as “deterring crime through punishing those that break the law” is a subset of the utilitarian stance. I call it moral/legal equivalence, and that’s all the time I want to waste on it today.

If justice is not retribution or deterrent, if it’s not repaying debts and taking an eye for an eye, what is it? If mercy is not the suspension of justice, what is mercy? Justice is restoration, and it is growth. Mercy is the proper application of justice. Doesn’t make sense? Good.

Justice exists betwixt individuals. If one were to exist alone in the universe, there would be no party for him to injure or be injured by, there would be no party to establish or show justice to. In this way, justice is a concept that is only manifest between individuals. If one is injured by another, whether it be the intentional commission of a crime or an unintentional destruction of property or honor, their relationship is also damaged. If justice were merely returning harm for harm, both parties are rendered worse off than before the execution of justice and their relationship is damaged doubly so. If justice were merely the replacement of damaged goods, justice could not be applied in circumstances in which the damage is incalculable or immaterial such as the loss of a child or the stripping of honor. Justice (or mercy) could not merely be the forgiveness of transgressions between individuals, as whatever harm has been affected is still present and the relationship will remain damaged after the initial act of forgiveness.

Justice, if restorative, would require the growth of all parties involved. If one party were to be harmed by another, for both the property damaged and the relationship between individuals weakened, they must grow beyond the damage done. Harm itself is contrary to growth, even if it allows at times for growth that would have been otherwise impossible, so returning harm for harm is not justice. The replacement or repayment for damaged goods can be incorporated into an act of justice, as it is an attempt at restoring the status of things to their original state. As mentioned above, though, such an action alone cannot be justice and such an action may be impossible as some things are irreplaceable and relationships cannot return to previous states. The same goes for forgiveness, it is necessary but not sufficient for restoration of relationships and statuses.

The specific implementations of justice are contingent upon the circumstances of the injury between parties. What is required to grow beyond a stranger scuffing someone’s shoe is orders of magnitude lesser than what is required to grow beyond a friend or family member murdering one’s family with a chainsaw. In the first instance, a more sincere apology and offer to make amends and a subsequent act of forgiveness and re-polish or replacement of the shoes (by either party) is all that is required. In the latter case, the one concerning a murder most foul, I know not by what means one would grow beyond the loss of one’s family nor if a relationship could be restored after such an inhuman crime, and I hope never to discover the answer.

Such a limitation is not a limitation of justice, but of those that ought to pursue it. Justice is one of the greatest expressions of discipline and the quintessential foundation of community for, without the mutual guarantee of justice, individuals are left to their own Hobbesian devices, unable to even raise a family. This is mercy, the manner in which justice can restore peace, community, and flourishing, how justice allows the growth of community despite the spectre of risk and bad actors.

Clearly, there is a tension between justice and self-defense. If I am obligated to defend myself, my autonomy, and my property at all costs, how can justice be applied once my assailant is dispatched? In some ways, it cannot; whatever relationship my assailant and I had is severed the moment he chooses to commit a crime against me, and it cannot be restored once he is dead. This tension ought to serve as a reminder to avoid exposure to crime and to encourage one to attempt de-escalation before resorting immediately to violence when someone is being an asshole.

TL;DR: Justice is not punishment, nor is it getting even. The only logically consistent description of justice is that it is restorative. Justice is a mutual concession of guilt and effort to grow beyond damages caused. There are limit cases to justice that can and ought to be explored, but first principles and the immediate fallout of those principles ought to be explored first, especially because this understanding of justice has been largely ignored in modern culture.

A Conspiracy Theory

Haven’t you heard about how alien lizard jews did 9/11 to get the chemtrail program off the ground? It’s all part of the plan to take your guns and re-establish the supremacy of the white, cis-male, capitalist, patriarchy. No? Well, how about how american doctors, under the orders of the federal government, injected syphilis into a bunch of black people (calling it a vaccination) and watched them slowly die an agonizing death? No? One more: did you hear about how the founder of Planned Parenthood openly admitted to being a racist and founded the company for the sake of implementing a far-reaching eugenics program and the intellectual and political elite applauded her for it? No? Not surprising. The terrifying thing about this list is that two out of three items are a matter of historical fact easily verified by reading documents published by the actual perpetrators of the crimes in question. The lizard jews, however, are a little better at covering their tracks.

For the longest portion of my life, I have been what is commonly referred to as a conspiracy theorist. At one point in my life, I could have made Alex Jones himself blush The term and practice of conspiracy theory has an interesting and colorful history, but that’s a different story for a later time. Today, I want to explore the nature and role of conspiracy theory in the life of a liberty-minded individual. I believed in alien/government conspiracies of control and technology, worldwide economic planning conspiracies, international government conspiracies, class warfare conspiracies, and more. Smaller in scope, the events around September eleventh, 2001 had led me to strongly distrust the official story which emerges in real time when varying types of crises arise.Looking at myself, making use of the Hobbesian fallacy of introspection, I think I can identify two causes for one to become a conspiracy theorist. If one has a skeptical disposition but is indoctrinated to believe in “higher powers” without rational justification for that belief, one is forced to either eschew or modify ad-hoc their beliefs when faced with rational criticism. In the case of conspiracy theories, lack of evidence is often considered to be proof of conspiracy, implementing the same rationale as a witch hunt, the internment of Japanese Americans, or McCarthy-style paranoia. It’s easy for an irrational belief in celestial parent figure who constantly messes with your life to become a belief that extends to “capitalists” or “all males” or “space aliens”. There may actually be a God, and there may actually be conspiracies, but irrational beliefs in them are just that, irrational. Once one can rationally prove or make a compelling case for such things, it becomes less a theory and more a justified true belief, AKA knowledge.

The second, and likely common, cause for one to become a conspiracy theorist is one of… well… immaturity. If one finds themselves frequently at a disadvantage and lacks the means to overcoming said disadvantage, one can easily fall into what Nietzsche calls “Bad Conscience”. We don’t have time here to really explore Nietzsche (If you, the reader would like me talk more about Nietzsche, let me know. I would love to make at least a full Nietzsche post.), but a super-high-altitude description of “bad conscience” is in order. Bad conscience is basically embracing and fetishizing one’s own weaknesses while demonizing powerful traits and those that one feels disadvantaged against. Whether or not the perceived disadvantage one faces is real or not, it is a natural behavior to pin advantage and blame on someone else. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it is beneficial or righteous, though. Ultimately, as with every other instance of adversity, one must overcome or circumvent one’s disadvantage or consign themselves to death.

How does the externalization of adversity demonstrate immaturity? In itself, it doesn’t. However, if that externalization takes the form of “the Jews”, “the patriarchy” “gun grabbers”, “those Christians”, “Satan”, or whatever other shape-shifting omnipotent boogeyman one can cook up, it demonstrates an unwillingness or inability to educate oneself as to the actual circumstances and how one might overcome them. Again, it very well may be the case that Satan sits on the masonic throne and tells the Jews to go out and impoverish the world for their lizard overlords… but that isn’t the immediate issue one faces in day-to-day life. If you can’t get a job, it could be more because you’ve demonstrated irresponsible tendencies by getting a women’s studies degree on a credit card and a little less because of the patriarchy. In either case, whether or not the conspiracy exists, it is at least intellectual immaturity and could be emotional or social immaturity as well. Here it is, people, an admission that I was once immature. Hell, I still don’t believe the official story of 9/11 and I think the Titanic was sunk intentionally, make of that what you will. Why is it immature? Because, if one is at a disadvantage, one must be able to diagnose and overcome that disadvantage; going “Oh, well, it’s not my fault… it’s impossible to overcome the Bilderberg conspiracy,” renders one unable to grow and overcome adversity. If one is not actually at a disadvantage, yet they see a conspiracy of boogeymen, they develop a learned helplessness and cannot flourish.

Also of note is the manner in which these conspiracy theories influence society once enough people agree that it is the truth. “The Jews” ruined the 20th century German economy, “the Capitalists” oppressed the Russian proletariat, “Islam” blew up the world trade center, “the patriarchy” raped everyone ever all the time, “Satan” made everyone in Africa black and consorts with witches in Salem, “the speculators” caused famines, “the Church”intentionally slowed scientific progress, “Americans of Japanese descent” were plotting to overthrow wartime America’s empire… do we need more examples? The problem with conspiracy theories and mobs of immature, angry people is the way that it collectivizes “the other” and justifies the oppression and slaughter of innocent human beings. Conspiracy theorists feed state violence.

More important than what happens when conspiracy theories become popular, more important, even, than the way immature people will be kept from flourishing, is the way that they distract from more real and actionable issues. The reason I took so long to realize that any organization predicated on coercion, murder, or theft is intrinsically unjust and misanthropic and any job which requires such is unjust and misanthropic, and that I have a responsibility to avoid such practices is because I was distracted from such things by “the evil globalist capitalist cabal”, “secret government/alien alliances”, and a handful of other conspiracies. I see so many people seeing systematic oppression by laws and law enforcement in Ferguson and Baltimore but being distracted from their oppressors by the spectre of “racism”. Conversely, I see people witnessing oppression by federal edict in southern Nevada but being distracted by the spectre of “socialism” (the Republican caricature of it, not the intrinsic nature of statism).

When people are so terrified that ISIS, Mexicans, or Chinese entrepreneurs are going to invade the country and behead Christians, steal their jobs, and give them more government, they forget that the laws passed, armies sent, and crimes committed in the name of defending against these boogeymen will eventually be turned against themselves. When people are bogged down in looking for a specific imperial agendas, like “the war on local government/guns/cash/women/minorities/gays/Christians/the environment/etc.”, they are distracted from the root issue that is empire itself. Even in libertarian circles, many are prone to forgetting that the enemy is the state itself as opposed to just the Federal government, the patriarchy/racists/sexists, neighboring governments, the Fed, lizard Jews, chemtrails, vaccination programs, or any other lesser, symptomatic, nebulous enemy.

If a man were to approach you, brandishing a gun and demanding your money and your obeisance, what is a more pressing matter: the mugger standing before you or a cabal of 1%ers sitting on a private island thousands of miles away? If your livelihood were contingent upon the whims of a sociopath living down the street, what would be more of an existential threat: your unruly neighbor or a guy who really hates white people, humps goats, and prays to the devil on the literal opposite side of the planet? If your king declares that you have no right to raise your own children, own land, or avoid being conscripted, wouldn’t that be more concerning than which patch of dirt he happened to be born on? What I mean to ask is that if there were a demonstrable and immediate existential threat, why would one concern themselves with a merely possible and nigh-unstoppable future crisis?

Besides, the burden of proof rests heavily on conspiracy theorists. One need only to say:

Murder, coercion, and theft are unjust
Taxation is theft
∴ Taxation is unjust

This is all that’s required (with appropriate definitions and such) to undermine the legitimacy of all governments, whereas a conspiracy theorist must often resort to grainy photographs, redacted segments of declassified documents, receipts from trash cans, numerology, and the rantings of this hobo over here in order to show that the UN performs satanic rituals to oppress women and George Soros needs to steal all your guns in order to join the club. If you set a standard of proof for, say, the existence of God (or his non-existence), that same standard must be applied to the existence (or non-existence) of Krishna or Sasquatch. Unless one is willing to say that the absence of evidence of God’s existence if proof that he exists (there are some nutjobs who say this), that same claim cannot be made about a Japanese-American conspiracy to hurt the war effort.

Of course, some conspiracies are real. Some are incredibly high profile and far-reaching.Pop culture sites, wikipedia, and even history textbooks will occasionally feature conspiracies so convoluted and successful that no one would believe a movie that had the same plot. These conspiracies serve as easy examples as to why the state is the enemy, but they are not required in order to make a compelling case. For example, mandatory vaccination programs are categorically unjust as they deprive people of their bodily autonomy and self-ownership. It doesn’t hurt, though, to point to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and ask how one can know that they will only be injected with what they are told they are receiving (or that it is safe, for that matter).

TL;DR: Conspiracy theories typically distract from more pressing and manageable crises. Those who engage in conspiracy theory also tend to demonstrate an unwillingness to improve themselves, instead choosing to allow themselves to be a helpless victim to an omnipotent boogeyman. In the case that conspiracy theory influences state policy, millions are subjugated and killed. One must remember that politicians and cops are the enemy, not because they are gun grabbers or racists, but because they are politicians and cops. In a free world, “the patriarchy” and Islam would have no ability to conspire in any manner that would affect you or me. It is only the violence of the state which allows for conspiracies to harm the human race.