Home / Conspiracy / Why Liberals Hate Conspiracy Theories
Print Friendly and PDF

Why Liberals Hate Conspiracy Theories

Written by Gary North on March 14, 2013

Remnant Review

I wrote an article on Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard. I argued that one of the reasons why tenured Austrian School economists want to distance themselves from him, is his writings on conspiracies in American history.

Rothbard was quite clear about his commitment to apply Austrian economics’ theories of human action to the topic of conspiracies. He wrote this defense of the conspiracy view of history in 1977. He began with a description of the knee-jerk reaction of Establishment intellectuals.

Anytime that a hard-nosed analysis is put forth of who our rulers are, of how their political and economic interests interlock, it is invariably denounced by Establishment liberals and conservatives (and even by many libertarians) as a “conspiracy theory of history,” “paranoid,” “economic determinist,” and even “Marxist.” These smear labels are applied across the board, even though such realistic analyses can be, and have been, made from any and all parts of the economic spectrum, from the John Birch Society to the Communist Party. The most common label is “conspiracy theorist,” almost always leveled as a hostile epithet rather than adopted by the “conspiracy theorist” himself.


This brings up the issue of the academic guild. Every guild has rules and regulations. It has above all a system of screening. The guild screens out people who do not hold to the standards enforced by the guild. The guild attempts to define its own practices as the only true practices that are acceptable to the guild, and which should be acceptable by society. Any practitioner who deviates from the standards announced by the guild, and above all, systematically enforced by the guild is automatically defined as some sort of deviant. The representatives of the guild warn the public not to accept the conclusions, practices, or presuppositions of anyone, and especially any rival group, that dares to call into question the conclusions, practices, and presuppositions of the guild.

The guild dismisses all suggestions that it is operating in terms of self-interest. It assures the public that it only has the interests of the public at heart. It is pursuing its goals in order to defend the public from unscrupulous operators who seek to defraud the public. For this reason, and only for this reason, the guild insists that it is necessary for the government to intervene and prevent those who offer opposing opinions, practices, and above all, lower prices. The public needs protection from charlatans, the guild insists, and in order to help the public, the guild calls upon politicians and bureaucrats to establish rules, which means rules written by the guild, to restrict entry into the field of study or operations presently dominated by the guild.

The guild seeks to define legitimate practices, presuppositions, and concepts in terms of the prevailing standards of the guild. It is this definition of legitimacy which is central to the promotion of the guild’s interests. The guild must deflect all criticism of the guild that is based on a careful study of cause-and-effect with respect to the economic results of the guild’s recommended political measures. Anyone who follows the money, from the effects of the regulations back to the bank accounts of the members of the guild, is dismissed as a conspiracy theorist. He is dismissed as a Marxist, or someone who was opposed to the protection of the general public. The guild insists that its adherence to its own standards of operation has nothing to do with the increased income generated by the guild, and by the decreased income generated by the guild’s competitors.

Virtually all modern political legislation, as well as virtually all standards adopted by government bureaucracies to enforce the laws, are the result of special-interest pressures brought to bear on politicians and bureaucracies by members of guilds. Almost all of modern economic life is based on guilds, as surely as urban economic life in the year 1200 was based on guilds. They are not called guilds today. They are called special interests. Special interests are groups of producers whose special interest is specifically their own personal self-interest.


One of the strange aspects of modern historiography and academic social science is this. The phrase “special interest group” is widely accepted, but the phrase “conspiracy history” is one of contempt. From an economic standpoint, a special-interest group lobbies politicians to get laws passed that restrict new entrants into the field which is presently dominated by the particular special-interest group. This is widely recognized as being basic to modern political life, and academicians have no doubts about following the money back to a capitalistic special-interest group: a corporation, a trade association, or a cartel. In other words, they follow the money when the money leads back to a specific group of capitalists. This tradition goes back to Adam Smith in the wealth of nations. It is a long-established tradition.

When the trail of money leads to well-known Establishment organizations, such as the Council on Foreign Relations or the Trilateral Commission, or worse, to the Federal Reserve System, the academic historian draws the line. “Thus far, and no farther.” He ceases to follow the money. It is legitimate, he says, to follow the money back to organizations whose sole purpose is making money. These are the bad guys. But it is illegitimate to continue following the money when it leads to nonprofit government advisory organizations made up of the prominent people in business, academia, the media, and the highest levels of national government.

(To read the rest of my article, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

24 thoughts on “Why Liberals Hate Conspiracy Theories

  1. SunshineKid0 says:

    Frankly, any time that a liberal hits a solid idea, his only resort is to attack it, hence the term "conspiracy" every time someone has an idea that goes agains this grain of logic.

  2. Texas Chris says:

    I've met Tom Woods on several occasions. He is far from paranoid or stupid. Is is quite intelligent, and very witty.

    This "Rothbard as a cult" meme is getting old. His arguments are irrefutable; I have NEVER seen a logical exposition on why Rothbard was wrong on any single point. Never. The discussion always devolves into insults and slanders against his supporters. Again, the "cult" ad hom. We're so rigid in our beliefs! Shocking!

  3. "I have NEVER seen a logical exposition on why Rothbard was wrong on any single point"

    Beyond parody. Any single point? Did St. Rothbard walk on water? I guess if you think some guy's words are Holy Scripture, then any disagreement really is slander…

    I'd like to ask Gary North about Rothbard's atheism while we're at it …was Rothbard wrong about that Gary???

    PS: The hilarious part is Tom Woods said those who do NOT worship Rothbard are in the cult!!!

  4. I think most of the churches today are guilds. How dare you question the authority of the great spiritual leaders and how we lead our church. Its our way or the highway and we will discredit you on the way out.

    I don't get involved with them and never have for various reasons, but I believe this to be very articulate about my sentiments of common church culture, especially within the evangelical movement.

  5. Actually, liberals tend to base themselves in fact, hence their dislike towards theories, which are based on unsubstantiated evidence and conjecture.

  6. DarkStarAz says:

    I used to be associate producer on a conspiracy con up in the Bay Area, and in my experience conspiracy theory aficionado run the political gamut from left to right to center. It kind of depends on the type of conspiracy – but I would say liberals embrace them more overall. Me? I like Vigilant Citizen and their approach to the entertainment industry. Disney, James Cameron, and the record industry.
    Then of course there is the whole ET intervention in mankind's history…

  7. SunshineKid0 says:

    Oh, Shane, you're pulling my chain, I know! Liberals couldn't tell a fact unless it is distorted, which is why when they are faced with facts they call the facts 'theories' and go after them with a vengeance.

    Thank you, at least for giving me this well-stated slanted take on words. Made my sides hurt from laughing at them!

  8. Why do most people despise conspiracy theorists? Because the conspiracy theorists feel they are part of some persecuted minority and coming up with some sort of theory makes them feel important.

  9. StarOracle says:

    As an astrologer and psychic, I have enjoyed international attention for some of my spot on readings. I also had a fleeting acquaintance with both men brought to trial for the Kennedy assassinations. For some reason my life abuts to history without inolving me directly. One man that I greatly admired, even though I am solidly conservative, was John Kennedy Jr. His magazine George was full of great articles and I was sure he would take the reins of the Kennedy legacy until his tragic death several days after Senator Patrick Monihan graced the young John with his support for the senate seat that he was vacating. From the moment that I heard of his death I was sure that the Clintons did it, and when Hillary eventually wound up with Monihan's seat it solidified it.

  10. Bill Coleman says:

    Churches are guilds of goodness and in a free society, they can be destroyed or lose their reputation for goodness if they are not “guilds of goodness”.
    “It’s our way or the highway and we will discredit you on your way out” (with appropriate limitations) is fundamental to a free society and means that freedom of association is a two way street. vin 5 ron et ya ho period con.

  11. I thought liberals liked conspiracy theories. Atter all, the man in the White House sat for twenty years and litened to his own preacher slander the African race. The preacher preached that the HIV viruse had been specially crafted by the CIA as a genocidal weapon against the negroid race. Since ity is absolute and undisputable fact that the effects of AIDS are most seriously devastating to immoral and intensely promiscuous people, the preacher was alleging that members of the African race have almost no morals, and that this allegation was such a well-known fact that the enemies of black people had seized upon it as a means of destroying them.

    Obama listened to this slander of the ethnic group he self identifies with without criticism of any kind.

  12. The basic Tea Party line is that politicians cannot can spend public funds infinitely and infinitely without destroying the entire country that they mistakenly believe they rule.

    Perhaps your partner "Chain" will agree with me when he shows up.

  13. Ok Django, what lies and innuendos do Tea Partiers perpetuate….or did Rachel Maddow not get that far into her monologue yet?

  14. BaconNBeer says:

    Simple fact a conspiracy is a plan. The hallmark of the human race is the ability to plan past the next meal. Anything important has a plan. Without question most of what happens has a plan. Whether it is good for you or bad is what gets us up in arms.

  15. profitup10 says:

    Gary, how about we us the following to Restore the Original Constitution and then let the INVISIBLE HAND take over – competition between the 50 States for the best economic model.

  16. G. Kuhns says:

    To a liberal that comment would seem true since liberals often accept theories as fact. (E.g., global warming and the wisdom of Keynesianism).


  18. Seymour Kleerly says:

    Laughing too hard to read the article!. The Conservative WORLD of information is nothing but Propaganda and CONSPIRACY THEORY!

  19. Go up against Rothbard, Seymour. I dare you. BTW, he wasn't a conservative.

  20. captainkudzu says:

    What makes you think liberals hate conspiracy theories? They thrive on them!

    Liberals are ruled by emotion and lack of logic. Conspiracy theories rely on an emotional response and lack of actual information. In many cases they are easily discredited when the facts are examined. The only way to keep them going is through and emotional denial of the facts, i.e. all facts available have tainted and doctored by the members of the conspiracy, whether they be the New World Order or the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy.

    Liberals were quick to jump on the bandwagon of the 9/11 conspiracy, the conspiracy that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney were Bush's brain, that conservatives want to re-enslave blacks or deny health care to the poor in order to boost corporate profits.

    Thinking people should examine the facts and then compare them to reality. If a prediction based on a conspiracy theory doesn't come true, that should put the purveyors of the theory in doubt. Too often, however, conspiracy true believers on the right and left simply make excuses and latch on the next crack pot theory.


  21. Do liberals indeed base themselves in fact? I do wonder about the facts (padded out) concerning global warming. I do wonder about the so called facts concerning the THEORY of evolution most liberals accept as fact. What about Cosmic Evolution theories. Theories you see do abound among liberals. Another theory among the liberal popular is the "Right Wing Conspiracies" theory.

  22. Seymour Kleerly says:

    Who's Rothbard?

  23. Seymour Kleerly says:

    Sorry, I just "skimmed" the Article. Reading comprehension was never my strong suit.

  24. Seymour Kleerly says:

    Only a few Liberals believe in the 9/11 conspiresy. It's mostly Libertarians.