No conspiracy required

Lyle comments here that:

Clearly, you’re pointing to a conspiracy.

I was about to press the “Post Comment” button a couple times and kept thinking of something else I wanted to add. It became post material rather than comment material.

Study a little bit about complex systems and emergent behavior. A simple example is John Conway’s Game of Life. A very simple rule set (read the “Explanation”  on the web page) results in complex behavior and patterns. In addition to the default initial value click on three square in a row either vertical or horizontally and let than run.** The “rules of life” didn’t include explicit instructions for that pattern. Those patterns emerge from a very a simple rule set.

Or even think about a situation where a moderately large group of people (say a few thousand) are put on an unpopulated island and interact with each other with the simple rule of “do not intentionally inflict harm on others”. Or perhaps the slightly more complex rule set of The Ten Commandments.

Given the correct environment with sufficient readily available natural resources, won’t that group of people develop specialized skills, transportation systems, markets, entertainment, schools, etc.? And it will all happen without the need for any any “Master Planner” or “conspiracy” of the entire, or even a majority, of the people. Did that rule (or set of rules) include plans for some people to be farmers and others to be bakers and merchants? No. That behavior emerged from the simple rule or rules.

I claim that there exist a moderately large subset of people who enjoy, or at least get some sort of reward, from exerting power over others. Given the correct environment* that simple “rule” can result in the complex “cancel culture” and even genocidal behavior periodically emerging. No conspiracy required.

* I suspect a necessary component of the environment may be related to population size and perhaps population density. I suspect this because a certain amount of objectification is required. And with small group sizes objectification is difficult. Do we see tribes of a couple hundred people murder 10% of their own group? I don’t think so. I think the group size has to be in the thousands before that behavior sometimes emerges.

** A very cool one I just discovered is the following:


That is a cube with three on a side.

16 thoughts on “No conspiracy required

  1. I claim that there exist a moderately large subset of people who enjoy, or at least get some sort of reward from exerting power over others.”

    I agree

    1 “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters” ― Daniel Webster

    2 I have seen this personally. The Vice Chairman of a group I belong to is an acquaintance/friend who retired from being the main supervisor of a state biological laboratory. The wife of one of the board members (another friend) worked there and about 15 years ago, or so he was invited to join.
    I remember seeing him ‘politicking’ with other board members and I wasn’t surprised that when it became open, he ascended to that current position simply because he has the personality and ambition to “lead”.
    He’s a pretty nice guy…as long as you agree with him (which, actually most of the time I do, but then…)

    • Robert Heinlein said it plainly: the world is divided into two classes of people, those who want to tell others what to do, and those who have no such desire.
      He did not make any statements (as far as I know) about the relative sizes of the two groups. Judging by recent election results, the first class is at least as large as the second.

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  3. “ I claim that there exist a moderately large subset of people who enjoy, or at least get some sort of reward from exerting power over others.”

    Agreed. An examination of the nature and behavior of any HOA or other type community board would bear this out, IMO.

    Jeff B.

    • Yes, and throw in a profit motive. Along with a little a-moral human nature. And a George Soro will appear every time. Just like clockwork.

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  5. There’s nothing dirty about admitting that something is a conspiracy. America was formed by a conspiracy — and so was the Soviet Union.

    The people taking your rights have names and addresses. We should know what those are.

    • Agreed.

      But searching for the behind the scenes master planners is a waste of time if there are none. If complex system emergent behavior can explain the situation then we should focus on changing the feedback loops and nodes (including adding new ones as well as modifying existing ones) to correct the misbehavior.

      • “..we should focus on changing the feedback loops and nodes (including adding new ones as well as modifying existing ones) to correct the misbehavior.”

        So; you’re advocating for a conspiracy to take down a much stronger, more organized non-conspiracy : )

        • Not really. For example, advocating for a return to the gold standard or even a Bitcoin type money system doesn’t imply a conspiracy or even a “take down”. Just lobbying your representatives to stop increasing the printing of money and creating balanced budgets modifies the feedback loops.

  6. Emergent behavior has long been understood.

    No less an economist than F.A Hayek has explicated it, and David Friedman (son of Milton) has followed up on it.

    Ludwig von Mises has several works which remark upon envy and the desire to dominate others.

    I’m sure commentary on it goes further back than that as well, but Hayek and von Mises have put the observations on a more sound economic footing.


    • I would suggest emergent behavior has been “known,” rather than “understood,” for a long time.

      It’s predictable that something will happen; accurately predicting just what, however, is a much harder problem.

  7. “I claim that there exist[s] a moderately large subset of people who enjoy, or at least get some sort of reward, from exerting power over others”

    Of course, and if two or more of them collaborate on the acquisition of power, that is, by definition, a conspiracy.

    Call it a confederacy if you like. It’s the same thing, but “confederacy” doesn’t carry the same psychological baggage as the word “conspiracy”.

    This is a bit like the debate over the Big Bang theory verses intelligent design. It can get carried away into the realm of the ludicrous. In this case you’re very close to making the argument that no two people ever deliberately collaborate on any nefarious activity or goal, to form a plan, but rather that it happens spontaneously and by natural (physical and chemical) causes.

    This is akin to the sort of defense that a child would make for himself after participating in an act of gang vandalism or some such. And yet in any such case as that, it is the job of the courts, prior to sentencing, to determine levels of culpability by uncovering (cutting through the inevitable deception which is manifest in any and all such activities) any leadership hierarchy or key influencers (thus exposing the nature and structure of the conspiracy). By your argument there’d be no need for such discovery because such influencers simply don’t exist, because groups’ activities simply happen according to the laws of nature apart from influence of any form of leadership.

    I’d further submit that the word “conspiracy”, from which we’ve been trained to run, carries the baggage that it does because of a conspiracy to discredit the notion of conspiracies.

    Does every little detail of the activities of the global leftist/Romish/Marxist culture (root word being “cult”) require specific and detailed instructions from some “grand poo-bah”, transmitted over some form of sub-ether secret radio? Does each participant in said culture (root word being “cult”) carry a membership card, having taken a blood oath of loyalty to the global left? Of course not. It’s a mind-set, but the fomenting and nurturing of said mindset is the result a confederacy, with planners and executers.

    And so I will partially agree with you on one point, which is your title point. I agree that no conspiracy between people is required for a lot of bad things to happen. But that’s a far, far different thing from saying that no conspiracy happens at all, or that there isn’t a “confederacy” (same thing) of the left worldwide.

    No malice is required for a traffic accident to occur either, but that’s not to say that malice is never a cause of traffic collisions, or that a person alleging malice is “off his rocker” or is leaping into the realm of fantasy and delusion for doing so.

    And so we must at some point give up on in-fighting over semantics and go after the pertinent evidence only. Are we defense attorneys for the left, and if so how long, and up to what point, can we maintain the defense of “well-intentioned but stupid or misled” (“misled” points to a leader, btw), or are we investigative reporters for truth? There is a difference.

    • It’s not infighting over semantics. Conspiracy is a precise term, especially when used in legal contexts, and if you are interested in preserving or recovering the rule of law you will take care with your words.

      A confederacy can be merely for for mutual support, with no direct plan of action. A conspiracy has a set of goals, which are secret, communicated with the members thereof, and usually unlawful. To your point, a conviction for conspiracy doesn’t require “every little detail.” Often, it doesn’t require physical evidence that communication has occurred – it’s sometimes proven with “circumstantial” evidence.

      Also, you (and all of us) are part of a culture also – actually several cultures, unless you only ever interact with one person, and clearly you do interact with more than one person, as shown by your posting here. Are you a member of a cult as a consequence?


    • I find it very telling your claiming just two people collaborating is sufficient to satisfy your previous claims. Compared to the whole “Romish/Marxist culture” a few paragraphs later and so common in your typical comments which implies, if not explicitly calls out, a worldwide organization of thousands or millions.

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