Thoughts for the Day on Scandal and Conspiracy

Posted on June 24, 2014 by

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It may appear to be a slow summer, but if you look more closely you will see that the same issues continue to percolate–the IRS scandal, the immigration influx, Benghazi, Obamacare (especially now, as we are one day away from a Supreme Court decision on the mandate and religious freedom), the VA scandal, proposed regulations by the EPA that could kill the coal industry and raise energy prices, and the new Iraq crisis.  Some have suggested that all or most of this has been the result of a conscious strategy by the Obama administration to disrupt society and create conditions for a radical increase in government power.  This is often called the Cloward-Piven strategy, named after two Columbia University sociologists of the 1960s, Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who argued that it could place such pressure on the Democratic Party that the welfare system (at that time, relatively small) could be massively expanded. 

At first glance, when looking at all these problems which appear to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the president and/or his minions, one might conclude that Cloward and Piven are alive and well, and at work (actually Piven is still alive).  But for those inclined to conspiracy theories (and I do like a good theory), I would urge great caution.  It would be very difficult to implement the Cloward-Piven strategy, given the massive size of the Federal state. There is just too much inertia.  At another level, it doesn’t look as if the actors involved have consulted with eachother.  They might be trying to implement something that is bad, but individually, they might not even know it is bad–they may actually be incompetent or radically ideological or just plain “political.”  True, there is some evidence that President Obama knew the Cloward-Piven strategy, but so have many others–even yours truly.  President Obama might even like to see it succeed, if possible. But he doesn’t have enough power to (Captain Picard used to say), “make it so.”  

So what is the point?  Keep your eyes on the issues, be vigilant, even over the summer.  But be careful about conspiracy theories as causal factors.  They have a tendency to bite back and, after all, do you really want to be lumped together with Area 51 people, ancient alien advocates, 9/11 conspiracy mongers, and “birthers”?

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