Guest post by Tyler Farmer
Conspiracy theorists no longer have to resort to fictional characters from shows like “The X-Files” for their fodder. The dramas of real-life ousters and their tales of collusion and intrigue is accessible on the Internet and popular networks like TruTV which are available from service providers like GetDirectTV.
Contractor Takes on the United States Government
Take the case of Edward Snowden. Snowden was a government contractor turncoat who made a personal and ethical decision to expose what he called the government granting itself “power it is not entitled to.” Unlike some undercover conspiracy theorists, Snowden decided not to hide his identity. He believed he was doing nothing wrong. He wanted the American public to know that its government is keeping tabs on every email and every telephone conversation. The U.S. Government, according to Snowden, is using spy techniques on its own citizens to gather, collect and sift information that it may find useful in tracking criminals. As a result of his actions, Edward Snowden is now a man seeking asylum overseas. He is unable to return to the country he risked his freedom to protect.
Life Imitates Fiction
No matter how fresh a conspiracy idea may seem, we can source prophetic literature that predates our own paranoid fears. During the Spanish Civil War, a conspiracy novel began rolling about the imagination of a young man who had been assigned to write about the war from a British magazine. That man was George Orwell, and the novel was “1984.” Orwell finished the book while staying at a remote cabin in Jura, Scotland. The book is about a dystopian society in the future, portrays a grim reality where the government isn’t our friend, but our jail keeper. Where it’s possible to commit a crime just by thinking about it and Big Brother is always listening and watching. Sound familiar?
“Brave New World,” penned in 1931 by Aldous Huxley, began in the author’s mind as a parody of “A Modern Utopia” and “Men Like Gods.” The parody eventually turned into a serious warning about the vagrancies of idleness. Released to near-global criticism, “Brave New World” eventually found its place in the hearts of the public and critics alike.
“Monsters,” by Peter Cawdron, or “Fahrenheit 451,” by sci-fi master Ray Bradbury, describes a world where books are against the law and citizens take a variety of pills to get through the day. Our modern society hasn’t gotten to the point where the dissemination of information is illegal. And we certainly don’t turn to drugs to feel happy or solve our problems. Right?
Conspiracy in our Living Rooms
We are still fascinated by conspiracy theories in movies. “The Hunger Games” movie and TruTv’s “Conspiracy Theory” provide ample entertainment or proof of underhanded doings, depending on your point of view. With these real examples, we must ask ourselves: How accurate is the word “theory” in conspiracy theory?
Image by Colin Dunn pursuant to the terms of his Creative Commons license.