Applied Conspiracism: Giving a Name to Trump’s Amorphous Political Philosophy

Conspiracism: The belief that major historical and political events are brought about as the result of a conspiracy between interested parties, or are manipulated by or on behalf of an unknown group of influential people; belief in or advocacy of conspiracy theories.Oxford Living Dictionary

Trump’s conspiracism deserves its own term.

First, there is the breadth of Trump’s conspiracism. Unlike many conpiracists, Trump does not limit himself to just one or two conspiracy theories. Virtually everything is best explained (or explained away) as the result of conspiracy: global warming, foreign competition, positive job numbers under Obama, the Battle for Mosul before he took it over, Obama’s birth and presidency, Ted Cruz’ father, the Deep State, etc. (Caveat: when he’s feeling charitable, Trump will use the explanation of stupid leadership, as in bad trade deals or bad military strategy).

As an “ecumenical” conspiratorial thinker, Trump is able to deploy any and all possible conspiracy theories as the situation demands; and of course invent new ones. This makes Trump’s brand of conspiracism much more flexible and practicable on a day-to-day basis when handling the various problems of campaigning and governing.

Amorphous conspiracism also allows Trump to publicly communicate with his fellow conspiracists semi-surreptitiously through hints and omissions of condemnation, such as republishing conspiratorial propaganda and then excusing it as a mistake, an oversight. The message to fellow conspiracists is: I’m with you, and my tepid public retractions are just a front to appease people not yet enlightened by conspiracism.

Most importantly, Trump’s brand of conspiricism is centered around the unspoken credo that fighting the vast conspiratorial forces of the world requires that one engage in counter-conspiracies, even if that means colluding with openly hostile foreign powers like Russia.

Trump’s conspiratorial political philosophy and conspiratorial political practice thus requires its own new, huge, fabulous term. Amorphous conspiracism? Ecumenical or universalist conspiracism?

“Applied conspiracism” is advantaged over these other terms for several reasons: Trump used conspiracism to win the Republican nomination and the presidency; Trump is now positioned to act on his conspiratorial beliefs; the President shows no sign of being any less conspiratorial than he was when he was an outsider candidate; and lastly, because it’s becoming more and more apparent that Trump and his team conspired with internet trolls, white racists, and hostile foreign powers in their campaign to gain power.

Fresh Business Ideas from 500 B.C.

Scythian Saunas with Real Sensimilla not that Seedy Shitty Scythian Stuff

According to Herodotus, the ancient Scythians made marijuana saunas. See if you can spot his error:

“Inside this little tent they put a dish with red-hot stones in it… They take some hemp seed, creep into the tent, and throw the seed on to the hot stones. At once it begins to smoke, giving off a vapor unsurpassed by any vapor-bath one could find in Greece. The Scythians enjoy it so much that they howl with pleasure. This is their substitute for an ordinary bath in water, which they never use.”

MODERN UPDATE:  no seeds, obviously, just buds.

You see, the Scythians were smart, especially given their backgrounds, but they weren’t so culturally advanced as to have sensimilla (seedless marijuana). Consequently, when the Scythians threw their spindly seedy buds on the fire, Herodotus, who got fucked up, thought the seeds were the point. ‘Understandable, given that the seeds pop and put out more smoke and considering how fucked up Herodotus got.

It’s amazing he remembered anything. Truly a great ethnographer.

But like Colorado, it would have to be well-regulated. Like you’re only allowed one sauna per day or something.

Would it sell? What are you an asshole? Of course it would sell!

Gladiator Goo

The Romans were smart enough to market gladiator sweat and stupid enough to buy it.

We honor that capitalist spirit of intelligence and stupidity and go one better by offering gladiator dick-cheese, the goo that accumulates inside the foreskins of the uncircumcised penises over in Old Europe.

Really old Europe. Like Transylvania and stuff. Places so old the sun barely shines there anymore.

And yes, these are genuine gladiators and other heroic sports and military figures. We didn’t just scoop the cheese from some genetically defective geek or something. These are manly men with so much testosterone they’re deadly.

A vial of their manly essence will make you deadly cool too. A few smears of Gladiator Goo and all the ladies will be fawning all over you inside your new Scythian Sauna complex.

The Lost History of the Gay Vikings

For centuries these ruthless marauders from Scandinavia terrorized and dominated much of northern Europe and Russia.

They were the Vikings–and five percent of them (at least) were gay!

The first notable Viking raid was against the sacred British isle of Lindisfarne, a monastic castle known for its abundance of precious gold, fine silver, and doable choir boys. The results were horrific and shook straight Europe to its core.

“One of the tricks to being a Viking raider is to never be the last man ravaging a village while all your mates are back at the boat fitting to leave. And that’s why premature ejaculation has been genetically bred into modern Scandinavian men.”

I’m not sure how that relates, but the important question is:  How did all these gay Vikings find love and fulfillment in an age which didn’t even know the meaning of “love and fulfillment,” much less gay love and fulfillment?

Some clues can be found in the epic poems chronicling Scandinavian history, called the Sagas. Of particular interest are that small subset of the Sagas which seem to deal with homosexuality, called the Fagas.

There once was a Viking from Norway

Who much preferred the back doorway.

His wife tried and she tried,

but he never could be plied

to stay home long enough to fuck her.

The failure of the last line to fully rhyme, or even rhyme at all, is typical of the Vikings, who were not great poets–hence their extensive use of the limerick. What’s important for scholars, however, is that these sections of the Fagas give us vital overlooked clues as to why the Vikings were such constant ferocious raiders, forever launching new, more far-flung adventures.

The sea is cold, violent, and ug-leey

But our wives are worse.

Next stop–gay Pareé!

Previous historical theories on the expansion of the Vikings focused on overpopulation, agricultural shortages, and the general shittiness of Scandinavia. But now a new social mechanism can be added to the explanations:

Early societies create all-male militaristic organizations which also attract homosexuals. The gay warriors find a certain fulfillment in military life and especially in the freedom of life “on the road,” causing them to generally excel over their non-gay comrades, rising in the ranks. And of course there’s those in-built organizational skills which gay guys have. And their mastery of gossip etiquette. Rising to the top, however they do it, they gain control over the strategic decision-making of the group. The result: more raids and less time at home.

This same social mechanism was undoubtedly at work during the Crusades. But of course the gay history of the Crusades is much more well known–everyone knows about the strictly celibate Templars and the mostly celibate Hospitallers and the technically celibate Hand-Jobbers. But few people, even students of history, know about these gay berserkers from the north and their beards.

The Presidential Assassination that Scarred My Generation

I was barely a bump in the womb when John F. Kennedy was shot, so his murder taught me only one thing–I got to get me a 16 mm color motion picture camera… Or at least Super-8!

What scarred me–what scarred all of us if we’d just admit it–was the assassination of President Ford when I was 11 years old. (September 1975)

Followed by another assassination attempt three weeks later! (also September 1975)

Both attempts failed. Both were by women. One was a follower of Manson, the other just an ordinary political extremist.

No woman had ever attempted to assassinate a US president. And now here’s two in one month!

The shock and horror of JFK’s assassination taught the WWII generation and their Baby Boomer kids how to despair and lose hope–a valuable lesson which they would have to relearn in ‘Nam.

But rather than shock and horror, it was the absurdity and the banality of Ford’s failed assassination attempts that subliminally taught my generation an even more demoralizing lesson: really weird bad shit is normal–it can happen twice in three weeks!

And it can not even matter!

And what if the “women’s libbers” are wrong?

The nihilism of those object lessons was simply crushing. Even if subliminally.

So the next time you see someone my age doing the things we do, just remember, they had to live through the bi-monthly shooting of a sitting US President and grow up thinking that was normal and no big deal.

Gerry ducks a bullet

Gerry ducks another:  the advantages of having a dumb jock for President.

Go Ger’ Go!

Two Precursors to the Internet Unite to Overtake It

22,000 B.C.:  Pigeons domesticated.pigeon

20,000 B.C.:   Pigeon-net established, a fully interconnected network of carrier pigeons across much of Ice Age Europe and Asia (what the people at the time called “the Late Glacial Maximum”).Pigeon NetImportant messages can now travel faster than the wind.

And of course porn, lots of porn:


15,000 B.C.:  People discover that the information in 3-dimensional Venus figurines can be “compressed” into several 2-dimensional drawings on hide or bark and thus be transported by pigeon much more easily than figurines. As with all inventions, not everyone welcomed this as progress: “I don’t want porn I can’t feel!

4,000 B.C.:  Indo-European invaders destroy the Pigeon-net in their conquest of Europe, replacing it with their much less efficient horse-borne system of communication. Pigeon networking becomes the pastime of local ham operators.

Pigeon Net vs. the Internet:

Advantages:  superior speed and accuracy in rural or undeveloped areas; immune to hacking; greater privacy; allows “downloading” of actual objects and money, not just information.

Disadvantages:  4 ounce weight limit; AWOL pigeons; lazy pigeons; dumb pigeons; stubborn pigeons; moody pigeons; psychotic pigeons; and CATS, which stands for Cats Attacking The System.

Cats attacking the communication system

Cats attacking the communication system:  message not received

 A.D. 1968:  CB Radios made smaller and affordable → birth of the Redneck-net

CBMicrosoft Word - Figure 2.doc

Redneck-net vs. the Internet:

Advantages:  no spam, no porn, no ads, tweet-friendly, good cop reports go viral, hookers have their own channel

Disadvantages:  no porn, no text, no images, no video, too many rednecks

The Future:  Directional Beaming technology (not yet invented) allows CB radio to reach across continents. Channel Hovering allows private conversations to be established which “hover” randomly around the main CB channel (which is public and crowded). At the same time, genetic engineering produces super-swift pigeons with a dog’s eagerness to please; it also eliminates all the bad rednecks. And the micro-storage of information is already old hat. The inevitable result is the emergence and triumph of the Intercontinental CB-Pigeon Net, with all the advantages of pigeon-net and redneck-net combined over global distances.

Breaker One-nine, we got an illegal convoy of 10,000 pigeons flyin’ towards the border tonight. So order your contraband now. Do you copy? (over)

How to Foresee the Future in Your Sleep according to Ibn Khaldun

If we were forced to suppose that there have been a few secret time-travelers in history, suspicion would naturally fall on people like Leonardo da Vinci, Jules Verne, maybe Marcel Duchamp.

How were these guys so far ahead of their time?  Maybe they were ahead of their time, literally. Maybe they weren’t great geniuses so much as plagiarists of the future—they took good notes and then came back and tried to take credit.

My candidate for secret time-traveler is Ibn Khaldun (1332 – 1406). Several hundred years before the West reinvented anthropology and sociology, Ibn Khaldun invented, by himself, an incredibly modern “science of culture.”

Intellectual achievements normally attributed to Europeans of the modern era (i.e., after c. 1492) can be found throughout Ibn Khaldun’s Introduction to History, written in North Africa in 1377:  the economic law of supply and demand; the labor theory of value in economics; the “Laffer Curve” theory of taxation and revenue; the impossibility of alchemy; the spuriousness of astrology; the necessity of a sociological understanding of history; etc.

Strangely, Ibn Khaldun made all these discoveries against the historical background of the intellectual decline and fall of Islam in the 14th Century.

Because of this, Ibn Khaldun left no intellectual legacy in the Muslim world and was not rediscovered by the West until the 19th Century, too late to have any real impact.

And that really reeks of time-travel!

Think about it—it’s as if Ibn Khaldun tried to cheat Time by producing, in advance of its eventual occurrence, a fully modern science of culture, but Time went on ahead just as if Ibn Khaldun had never made his discoveries at all!

It’s like the solution to the “kill your grandfather” paradox!

Anyway, in his Introduction to History, Ibn Khaldun also describes a method for seeing the future in your sleep. He also attests to its efficacy.

This is from pages 83-84 of Franz Rosenthal’s horrible translation of The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History:

                “In the Ghayah [ascribed to the famous 10th Century Spanish scientist Maslamah ibn Ahmad al-Majriti] and other books by practitioners of magic, reference is made to words that should be mentioned on falling asleep so as to cause the dream vision to be about the things one desires. These are called ‘dream words.’  [One of these is] the following non-Arabic words:

tamaghis ba’dan yaswadda waghdas nawfana ghadis.”

These words seem to be Aramaic according to Rosenthal.

Feel free to try it and report back to this blog. In the future.

Gerontocracy Now! (Now that I’m Old)

More Modest Proposals: repress the young!

All political systems are repressive, some more than others. But repression is inevitable. Politics is the distribution of repression, so let us not evaluate political systems in terms of how they distribute “rights” but rather how they distribute pain.

“Rights” are aspirational but pain is all too real. “Rights” are fuzzy around the edges, and often conflict with each other. But Pain is clear, distinct, quantifiable, and all-too-cumulative. Very rarely does one form of suffering get in the way of another form.

Humankind has tried different repressive schemes. We’ve repressed the poor. We’ve repressed the rich. We’ve repressed the merchants, the intelligentsia, the religious. We’re repressed minorities, silent majorities, even veterans and whiskey distillers. You name ’em, we’ve repressed ’em.

And yet, we don’t seem to have gotten it quite right. Our recipes for repression are not optimal. Those who might object on behalf of democracy’s alleged greatness are often the first to bewail the imminent demise of the system. Freedom and Democracy, it seems, are always in peril, embodying in reality the oxymoron of “eternal peril” invented in jest by Monty Python.

So even if freedom and democracy are the best of the worst, at the very least they deserve to be relieved of their absurdly eternal peril.

The answer I propose is that we have not repressed the right people. If we repress the right people in the right way for the right period of time, the rest of us can live in the most splendid, un-imperilled freedom the world has never known.

Humankind’s political choices are this: all of the people can be free some of the time, or some of the people can be free most of the time. Democracy chooses the first option. I modestly propose the second.

The reason the second option has a bad name now is because of its unfortunate association with kings, dictators, military juntas, aristocracies and police states. They all made the same mistake—they allotted freedom and repression in pretty much the same measure for the entire lifetimeof the individual subject/citizen—born to the manor, buried in the mausoleum.

Big mistake! What we need is a system of freedom and repressions attuned to the demographic age group of its citizens. Forget privilege and power based in any way on birth. Rather, privilege and power based on birth plus forty laps around the sun!

The obvious solution which has so far eluded us is to harshly repress the young, especially young men. If young people, especially men, lived under a police state the rest of us could live in a wildly free neo-hippie paradise. It wouldn’t even have to be “neo-hippie” it would be that chill.

Who commits crimes? Who commits terrorism? Who drives like shit? Young people, young people, young people. Especially men. The radical feminists are right, there’s no point arguing with them–insurance companies don’t, so neither should you. (In fact, there’s no point arguing with any radical system of thought—simply give in and submit to its critique and it goes away, like the Viet Cong, but that’s a digression…)

Male violence is the fundamental problem of every society. Fraud and corruption are secondary, and only slightly less male-dominated.

Whoring may be the oldest profession, but at least it was a profession. All in all, it seems like honest work. Male violence, however, is the oldest racket, and it has been perpetuating itself like a useless computer virus for much too long now. How long must we pay men to protect us from other men?

The radical feminists make only one mistake—they do not distinguish between “men” and men who have had their scalps disappear and dicks soften. In addition to lower testosterone (the world’s most dangerous drug), the latter tend have extensive family and social obligations which simply do not restrain the deluded thinking of 18-year-olds.

Eighteen year old men have a mindset designed for charging machine-gun nests: I’m special and I’ll live forever and the rules of common sense don’t apply to me.

Whereas the wisdom of age tells the senior conscript that adversaries become allies when the war ends, even Nazis and Commies, so why not just spray bullets around until each side runs out of ammo and the commanders are forced to withdraw?

This wisdom must be kept from the young (sh!), lest they fail to charge machine guns nests when we really really need them to, so already we’re talking about a police state in terms of information and censorship.

The mentality of 18 year olds is a wild resource which society must occasionally deploy and therefore must perpetually control. Like a pit bull. It is not something to be emulated by the broader culture, nor, given its admitted recklessness, does it seem particularly eligible for the so-called Rights of Man.

We should recast the Rights of Man as the Rights of Quadragenaria—forty laps around the sun (thirty for women, sorry, too bad dudes) and you’re in—full inalienable rights and participation with near-diplomatic immunity and with very little juridical supervision or surveillance, much less anything even resembling the Patriot Act.

Until then, make darn sure you’re papers are in order! Especially after curfew…

And don’t worry about any organized resistance from the youth to this proposed gerontocracy. They don’t vote, they don’t care. They don’t even read important things like this. Even if they did, you could still enact an Enlightened Gerontocracy without much protest because they would delude themselves by thinking:

I’m special, so I don’t need to worry about the upcoming harsh rules of gerontocracy because they won’t be applied to me like they will to other young people…

Previous revolutions have been costly and bloody and often fail to achieve lasting reforms. Establishing an Enlightened Gerontocracy, however, requires only the mellowest of revolutions against the world’s most privileged caste of people, so privileged they don’t even know it—the young and healthy.

Alan Brech 2012

From the Annals of Linguistic History

The first person to ever use the grammatically passive voice was joking his way out of guilt.  He got a huge laugh and from then on people not only retold the joke (” ‘The sword– went through him! Ha ha ha!“) they also marveled at his avoidance of appropriate punishment (“Everyone in the mead hall was laughing their breath away! Or rather, I should say, ‘the floor of the mead hall had everyone rolling on it laughing!’ Everyone except the accused, who walked by!”).

Over time, the passive voice became less funny and less exculpatory until it is now considered a normal part of language for people who are obviously guilty or fuzzy.

The future imperfect tense also began as a joke, repeated not so much for any famed hilarity but for its perpetual usefulness.  “By the next moon, I will have begun to repay my debt in full.  And you can take that to the bank!”

More Barely-Burlesqued Quotations and Paraphrases from a Reputedly Great History of Western Culture (Part 3)

From Jacques Barzun’s Dawn to Decadence:  500 Years of Western Cultural Life (c. 2000).  See posts from May 24th and May 30th for Parts I and II.  Annotations are printed in italics.

• When the world gets Romanticist, and becomes less Classicist, that’s when we get Tacitus back at us (pp. 9, 247, 295, and 503).

• England has not had an English king since 1066 (p. 240).

Stupid gits

• Modern manners are an amalgam of the ideals of chivalry and mercantile rigor (p. 245).

Take sneezing for instance:  the “God bless you” part is chivalrous; the failure to offer a cloth handkerchief is mercantile.

• The reasserted Divine Right of Kings in the 17th Century led to the political marginalization of divine institutions (p. 247-248).

So if we just remove the Sanctity from marriage, divorce rates would plummet.

• Absolute power is never really absolute (p. 250).

And yet so many are absolutely corrupt

• Rimbaud, like Rambo, was bent on utter destruction (p. 618-620).

• Sexual liberation and women’s emancipation were parallel and intertwined (p. 626-627).

Men just used women’s lib. to get their freak on.

• There was no such thing as antiques until the 1890’s (p. 600).

• By the 1890’s “there was no such thing as the leisure class” because “everybody is now busy at all times, even on holiday” (p. 595).

Yeah, I feel so sorry for those bastards every time I see them sweating over their I-Phones on Cape Cod.

• History is not really a science (pp. 299, 568-570, and 578). And neither is anthropology (p. 578).

• Nurses were rightly associated with drunkenness and loose morals before Florence Nightingale (p. 580).

‘Reminds me of what old Radical Bill told me back in Gainesville:  “In my vast experience, the liveliest women in bed were nurses and Jewish women.”  If only there were more Jewish nurses…

• Some Westerners became Communist for the sex (p. 747).

• One should not read beyond one’s intelligence (p. 770)

Now he tells me–on page 770!

• Hasty intellectual judgments about scholars from the past are as deplorable as hasty moral judgments about other people in the present (p. 253).


What an asshole…

• Hamlet never vacillated, nor was he indecisive (p. 254).

And Lady MacBeth didn’t have a guilty conscience–she was just OCD.

• Machiavelli was not Machiavellian given his Italian origins (p. 256).

The enz justify the meanness when you’re waist-deep in guidos. Barzun anticipated The Jersey Shore by 10 years.

• The Puritans in England and America were not dour killjoys. They only shut down the theaters because of all the whores and hook-ups (pp. 261-262, and 278).

• Modern democracy originated with the Puritans (pp. 265 and 277).

Shit, that means that Romney’s a shoe-in!

• John Lilburne had prison-glow (p. 268-269). Defoe, the father of modern journalism, also had it (p. 310).

Jesus still has prison-glow…and Cross-glow… and grave-glow…

• It was the Libertarian ideas of the Puritans that led them to persecute each other and everyone else (p. 271)

So vote for Ron Paul!  

And kill everyone else!

• Just because Fundamentalists suppress free thought does not mean that they’re anti-intellectual–persecuting ideas and speech shows that you really care (p. 272).

• Both Ceaser and Cromwell were full of clemency (pp. 274 and 276).

Mao and Stalin were veritable push-overs.

• Converting to Calvinism causes deep psychological depression–e.g. Cromwell and Bunyan (p. 275).

• The old Calvinist/Protestant Head-Trip:

Step 1:  get depressed about your moral salvation

Step 2:  feel morally justified and act semi-evil

  The new Calvinist/Protestant Head-Trip:

Skip step 1  (p. 275).

• Like anti-Communism during the Cold War, “anti-Popery” in England was justified at least until the early 19th Century (p. 276).

I never realized that fragrant flowers and leaves in an open bowl could be so offensive or dangerous.

• The Puritans were big fans of dry-humping, which they called “bundling” (p. 279-281).

• The 13th Century was the real Age of Enlightenment (p. 281).

• The reason the Puritans were so uptight was because they foresaw the modern condition of materialism, atheism and Hobbesianism that so disquiets our current age (p. 282).

• Louis XIV was raised by a single mom (p. 285-286).

Shit, that means Obama’s a shoe-in!

• Nobles used to be rebels, but Louis XIV kept them in line with etiquette and entertainment.  Versailles was so polite and entertaining that “everyone was on tenterhooks” (pp. 286-288, and 296).

• Versailles was constructed to get away from the mobs and intellectuals of Paris (p. 287-288).

They could have just moved to Florida, I mean, he was the Sun King after all…

• Louis XIV could scan the crowd at Versailles and tell at a glance who was absent (p. 287).

He missed his true calling as a leader of one of those so-called “Million-man marches.”

• Louis XIV only lost his temper twice. His most severe rebuke (besides “Hey, where’s so-and-so?”) was “I was almost kept waiting!” (p. 281-291).

And that’s why he never bothered to get a driver’s license. Or vote. Or shop. Or go out on a second date.

(p. 290:  “He obtained a succession of mistresses without the use of tactics.”)

• Louis XIV’s best mistress (Athenais de Mortemart) was a Satanist. When he shacked up with a truly pious woman (Mme. de Maintenon), his kingdom went to Hell (pp. 291, and 300-301).

• The aristocrats of pre-Revolutionary France were too Germanic (p. 295).

• Modern societies have “recklessly prolonged life” (p. 525)

This from a guy who was born in 1907 and still isn’t dead.

• Regarding the disappearance of court jesters:  the increase in Rationalism at the onset of the Monarchical Age (1648–1789) meant the end of the role of “the inspired idiot” (p. 302).


Alan Brech, 2012