T Nation

Accidental or Conspiratorial History


#1

There are two schools of thought on the nature of history. The mainstream idea is that history is pretty much a stream of accidental events, such as the shooting of Archduke Ferdinand to start WWI. The other is that most events are planned in advance and that someone gained from an event. For example, Nathan Rothschild becomes a billionaire by speculating in stocks after Trafalgar. Did he manipulate or even cause a war which led to this?

So, what do you guys think? Why are we taught the accidental view in school, and the conspiratorical view maligned? Is that in itself a conspiracy?


#2

Was the shooting of the archduke accidental? And maybe Nathan Rothschild become a billionaire by accident. I don't necessarily believe that schools have the power to make somebody believe that things in history happen by accident. I think it depends, more or less, on the individual and how they view those things. History books are written to present the facts and ideas of what "they" want us to read and hear. There is so much that is always left out and misrepresented.


#3

That is why history class in public school bored me to tears. However, I can watch the History Channel 24/7. Among other details, THC shows the people and personalities behind the events.


#4

Headhunter:

EXCELLENT thread!

I think that it's both...

1) There are incidents that just happen...call it "fate", "devine providence", "acts of nature"...whatever belief you ascribe too, it doesn't matter...they are random, unplanned events.

2) By the same token, some events ARE manipulated and planned.

As it relates to history, I think that there are two things that shape it:

1) The "mass acceptance" by a community (scientist, religionist, archeologist, etc.) of what is truly "fact" and

2) The interpretation of those "facts". Let me give you a recent example of what I mean.

100 years from now, if you wanted to read about President William Jefferson Clinton; which would be the more "factual" historical record...the one written by himself in his archives...or the one written by Russ Limbaugh?

What about President George W. Bush...would it be the one from his Presidential archives...or the one written by Michael Moore?

And which historical record would be more "factual"?

History, and mens interpretations of it, can be a real slippery slope...

Mufasa


#5

"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happened, you can bet it was planned that way."
~Franklin D. Roosevelt


#6

JFF,
That's a great quote! In moments of weakness or when they're tired, we get a glimpse of what these guys think. Don't recall where I read it, but a reporter, chasing Bush #1 down the street after a long speech, got "If the public knew what we did today, they'd chase us down this street and lynch us!"
Sure would love to know what that one was all about, although we can guess.


#7

That's because FDR was a scary freakin' dude.


#8

Is there a 'secret history' that we know nothing about? JTF came up with one that keeps bothering me: on a U.S. Geological website, there were large seismological events in New York about 1 or 2 seconds before the planes struck the buildings. That just plain bothers me! Were small nuclear explosions done just as the planes were hitting?
Put me in the Tin Foil Hat Brigade, I guess, but info like that has me questioning things.


#9

In my opinion, it is a facet of human nature to construe meaning ex post for a random sequence of events. Therefore, I guess it is very hard if not impossible to reliably judge if occurrences in history had an inherent "plot" or not. In most cases, it is likely that both components had their share.


#10

Here is a weird coincidence? that got me thinking. Today I drove my wife to the train station in Newark New Jersey to catch a train to Washington DC for a baby shower. The train station was packed because no trains had left from North of New Jersy travelling South at all today.

New Jersey Transit said it was an Amtrak switching problem and they didn't know when it would be fixed. Amtrak says it is a NJT problem and they didn't know when it would be fixed.

Seemed like a typical snafu to me until I went to pick my wife up and the radio was talking about the anti war march on DC today scheduled for 1:00 that was expected to draw 100,000 people.

Coincidence? Probably. Is it convenient for the administration that no one who planned on traveling by train on the Northeast corridor will get there and that the head count will probably be much lower, yeah.


#11

Just to clarify, Nathan Rothschild was not involved in Trafalgar AFAIK, nor in the events leading to the break-out of war following the treaty of Amiens. He was involved in financing Wellington's army in Portugal/Spain 1807/1813 and did make a fortune after the battle of Waterloo in 1815, incidentally saving the London stock market from crashing in the process.

How did he do that? By setting up a courier chain from Brussels to London, thus ensuring he got the news first. Smart man, but hardly causing the outbreak of that war, nor the previous one.

(Sorry, I am a history buff.)


#12

conspiracy theory! conspiracy theory!...oh, wait I'm one of them...


#13

I'm fairly sure the schools of thought with relation to historical interpretation are actually a Marxist view or a Weberian view. Few others have given us frameworks though which to view the past, at least none which have been so influential. I think what you're bringing up is a discussion of human agency vs. determinism and I don't think the debate will ever end. Most likely there are elements of both evolution and human agency.


#14

Keep in mind, history is written by the winners. The losers never get to tell their side of the story. The winners also get the opportunity to pass down their techniques for creating history. The losers are usually dead. That is why it is called history...His-story.


#15

This topic is a great one and can be argued for years and years. In light of the fun we are having and since I was a history major and a huge history buff and conspiracy theorist i will throw this into the mix:

as for "planned" or "caused" history, how does everyone feel about the theory of the New World Order? This basically (very bascially) states that throughout history, most world leaders have been a part of a lineage of a group called the Illuminati. These leaders (and other powerfull people) have been working together to lead the world to an eventual system where the all the earth's people are governed by one government. This NWO will be run similar to a dictatorship. Events that are cited to be proof of this are WW1 and 2, 911, Holocaust, Bay of Pigs, etc.
another big argument is the huge amount of nation that keep their citizens in poverty so they can exert total control.

Some notable players:
The Bush's
Hussein (saddam)
Hitler
FDR
Stalin
Bin Laden
Ben Franklin
Thomas Jefferson

and these are just some off the top of my head. you can get more info by doing a google search. I havent been up on this topic for about a year or so but i think it would be cool to discuss as it fits in the thread.


#16

here is more info:
http://www.threeworldwars.com/new-world-order.htm


#17

A discussion of the so-called "Illuminati" won't get very far.

History is entirely subjective, at least with regards to motives, forces, etc. There are usually a minimum of three good reasons for any major political event and the answer that becomes accepted must pass several criteria. Most importantly, it cannot create cognitive dissonance.

Persons who are inclined to reject "conspiracies" will reject any source material that "conspiracy theorists" cite. Even when conspiracies are revealed in mainstream historical and governmental data (Gulf of Tonkin, Bay of Pigs, Operation Northwoods, The American Revolution, The French Revolution, etc.) most anti-conspiracy folks will negate the influence of the conspiracy or assign it secondary or lesser significance. Debate is impossible and good conspiracies can never be proven. Self-deception to avoid cognitive dissonance will always trump reason.


#18

Great responses! Perhaps if we think of our selves as being determined by our society, then whoever creates that society determines us. For example, a person today thinks far differently from someone only 500 years ago. Technology greatly influences our world-view; we are, in effect, the product of a mathematical/science based world. Is that in itself a conspiracy? Whoevevr created that world 'creates' us.


#19

Yup cognitive dissonance is often subjective too. The label 'conspiracy' instantly negates any supportive evidence in so many minds. I read a book, possibly called 'Global Conspiracies' (I forget) which contained an anthropological evaluation of the importance of conspiracy theories as a social coping mechanism in reaction to the opaque nature of the American government.


#20

Are we a product of our past? Undoubtedly, and has our past (especially the 'modern' era) been the age of tehcnological innovation? Yes , therefore we are in many ways the products of the science community, but equally they wouldn't have existed without the early capitalists and their venture capital. They wouldn't exist without merchants and guilds etc. I always find myself coming back to the idea of an evolutionary pressure pushing humanity to new areas, it can be both deterministic and allow for accident, the role of ideas etc.