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As you can imagine, as a WND columnist I get e-mails from all kinds of people, including those vocal individuals or groups who have their own personal theories about where we’re heading. Martial law, one-world government, TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) … you name it, I’ve heard it. Collectively these are known as conspiracy theories.

What is a conspiracy theory? The dictionary defines it as “a theory seeking to explain a disputed case or matter as a plot by a secret group or alliance rather than an individual or isolated act.”

Most conspiracy theories spring from a deep distrust of government and, by extension, of the official explanations offered by the government of historical events. “Usually, government is the entity engaging in the conspiracy and the ensuing coverup, and the individuals who proffer these theories tend to be antigovernment, at least to some degree,” notes SkepticWiki. Conspiracy theories span decades and even centuries. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, chemtrails, Roswell, the assassination of Kennedy, Hitler’s suicide, the assassination of Lincoln, all the way back to the existence of Christ … all have had conspiracy theories surrounding them.

And, as with proving a negative, conspiracy theories can be very hard to disprove.

So when I hear the latest conspiracy theories surrounding recent news events (the BP oil spill, Arizona immigration reform), I’m inclined to dismiss them as yet more rantings from obsessed people with an ax to grind, who claim to have inside knowledge of yet another grand plan to round us all up into concentration camps and gas us.

These obsessed individuals take a sequence of events and embroider it with “if this is true, then therefore this will happen” scenarios that fit with their personal fixation. They only hear the evidence they want to hear, then lavishly embellish it with their own interpretation and just a tinge of hope that what they believe will actually come to pass (so they can say “I told you so”).

Conspiracy theories arise when people feel helpless against the destructive tide of events that shape our world. Conspiracies don’t arise around joyous events, only malevolent. Theorists believe there must be a reason something happened; it can’t have a meaningless, random, accidental or natural cause.

When you think about it, conspiracy theories are easy to understand. They are an attempt by the powerless to make sense out of senseless things, usually by blaming the powerful and elite.

So far there’s only one conspiracy theory to which I’m willing to lend an ear. Or, to put it another way, only one theory fits nicely into my pre-existing suspicions. And that is the theory that our country is on the path to destruction.

Why else would the government continue to spend billions – trillions – of stimulus dollars it doesn’t have despite evidence that stimulus programs don’t work? Why else would it take over the health-care system (against the will of the people) in an attempt to “improve” it despite evidence from other countries that socialized medicine results in rationed services and skyrocketing costs? Why else is cap-and-trade being pushed in the wake of the BP oil disaster, despite projections that show it will raise our taxes catastrophically and bankrupt our already depressed nation?

Yet even this theory fails to stand up under scrutiny. The people planning or implementing these things are not thinking about the destruction of our country per se. Nobody is a villain in their own eyes. They’re all doing what they think is right and correct within the bounds of their own vision.

In other words, the “conspiracy” to destroy our country is actually nothing more than the natural tendency for government to grow bigger and more powerful.

Everyone wants more. More funding, a more important title, more staff working under them. Nobody goes into the office in the morning and asks himself, “Gee, I wonder how I can reduce my funding, cut my staff and have a less prestigious job title?” But unlike the private sector (where you get bigger and more powerful by working harder and providing products or services that people want), government bureaucrats achieve their goals by creating more rules and regulations and taxes to get more funding, more staff and more prestige.

I do not believe there are a bunch of guys in black robes sitting around secretly planning on how to enslave us under a one-world government. The bigger and grander and more long-lasting a conspiracy, the less likely it will succeed because people can’t keep secrets. Someone will blab.

Besides, there doesn’t have to be a secret grand plan to bring about the downfall of this nation. It will happen all by itself, right out in the open. Greed (corporate and individual), avarice (wanting something at the expense of someone else) and apathy (the idiot box) will accomplish everything the conspiracy theorists attribute to an evil Master Plan. The massive growth of the government in total opposition to the vision of our Founding Fathers (the old “fearful master” thing) will accomplish the destruction of our country quite neatly. No preplanning necessary.

Since the dawn of civilization, nations have been born, grown too large and arrogant and died. There was no conspiracy. It’s unfortunately quite normal. Our Founding Fathers knew this very well, and that’s why they built in the checks and balances they did. Unsurprisingly, politicians have done their best to erode and bypass and ignore those checks and balances ever since. There’s no conspiracy. It’s predictable. It’s right out in the open.

But here’s the thing: In the end, it doesn’t matter if our current events are part of a grand and secret conspiracy or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s preplanned or just a natural chain of events. It doesn’t matter if the Bilderberg Group is in cahoots with Obama to bring about a one-world government, or if it’s just a series of greedy politicians and bankers messing us up. It’s immaterial.

The important thing is, we still have to fight it.

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