Conspiracy theories and plausibility

Back in 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached and nearly removed from office. With all of his power, all of his political influence, and the immense resources available to him as President, he could not cover up a sexual dalliance with a 21 year old White House intern. This is the case I point to when I hear outlandish conspiracy theories. When the federal government cannot even effectively cover up oral sex in the Oval Office, how can they possibly carry out a wide-ranging political conspiracy that would require hundreds (if not thousands) of people, travel, expenses, and various other things?

The answer is simple. They cannot.

I do not doubt that there are all kinds of shady things happening that we will never know about. That is a safe assumption because we live in a world corrupted by sin, and every person who has ever lived is a sinner by nature and by choice. Of course there is corruption, and sometimes people get away with it. But the charges in some of the most freakish conspiracy theories are almost always total nonsense on their face. We need to be more discerning and less willing to believe things just because it casts a political enemy in a bad light.

Folks, we can point to all kinds of behavior by politicians that is at least ethically questionable, if not downright criminal. We can point to reliable mainstream media reports as well as official records to point out corruption: People hiring relatives, using campaign funds inappropriately, and so forth.

We do not need to believe in outlandish nonsense in order to believe that a political figure is a bad person or that a specific group is made up of bad people. Just sticking with what has been documented is more than enough most of the time to make your argument. Believing outlandish fantasies only makes you look like a fool and discredits your ability to make good arguments in the future.