Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More on Conspiracies 4

Conspiracies are an example of what is hopelessly incomplete about the social science matrix for analysis.  I want to say a little more about them.

POSITIVE Conspiracies are rare but do Exist

"But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

--Matthew 6:3-4, KJV

There exist peculiar positive conspiracies. Anonymous gifts to those in need are an example, especially anonymous gifts from multiple donors. Not incidentally, the Koran says that secret generosity is 70 times more effective than gifts given openly.

There is one other sort of positive conspiracy that I know of: successful espionage. It is done in secret by a close group of people. Such a group is intent on deluding and confusing absolutely everyone else in order to achieve a deceptive objective, one related to winning a war as rapidly as possible with as few friendly casualties as possible.

So let us add a very small group of master spies to those who conspired with positive results, though they themselves did not profit financially from the activities: Sidney Reilly and Patrick Dalzel-Job were great and courageous spies of the first and second world wars. The two of them were certainly major inspirations to Ian Fleming when he wrote of the fictional James Bond.

Richard F. Burton may have been the most successful and important spy in world history. Disguised as Strickland in Kipling's military short stores and in the novel, Kim, Burton was elemental in making what is now Pakistan part of the British empire. Burton also successfully entered closed cities where discovery meant death. He knew dozens of languages; his translation of the Arabian Nights entertainment remains the standard to this day.

Herbert O. Yardley changed history and naval strategy by cracking the Japanese diplomatic code during the negotiations for the relative sizes of the British, American and Japanese navies in the 1920s, a story he infamously related in the long-suppressed book, “The American Black Chamber.” Yardley also wrote a phenomenally interesting book about card playing, “The Education of a Poker Player.”

Canadian millionaire William Stephenson was instrumental to the defense of Britain in 1940 and the defeat of Adolf Hitler (read “A Man Called Intrepid” or see the movie, “Enigma.”)

Finally, I would like to add the cautionary rule that bad espionage is the worst kind of negative conspiracy. My own favorite example is German intelligence during the first world war. They came up with the breathtakingly stupid idea of transferring Lenin in 1917 by train from Switzerland to the eastern front so that trouble might be brewed up for the czar. The Germans suffered for this idiotic stunt until the wall came down and East Germany was reunited with the rest of the nation in 1989.

Another heroic feat of incompetent espionage occurred when the United States went to war against Iraq in 2003 without a single spy on the ground in Iraq. The formal grounds for the conflict were the special weapons of nuclear, chemical or biological agents, termed “weapons of mass destruction.” There weren't any in Iraq, and so none were found. There were no agents inserted who could verify or deny the claim. Electronic surveillance was used instead, and the analysts arrogantly claimed that actual human intelligence was quaint and out of date and unnecessary. The war itself dragged on for the rest of the decade.

Footnote to conspiracies

Conspiracies do not reach the level of negative quiddity, which will be discussed in detail later in this blog.

Positive conspiracies of generosity and espionage do not reach the level of positive quiddity, which will be discussed later in this blog.

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