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The Consensus Conspiracy - Brownstone Institute

The Consensus Conspiracy


What is a consensus? At its heart it is a group of people thinking that something is most likely correct or good or the best way to do or think about something.

What is a conspiracy? At its heart it is a group of people thinking that something is most likely correct or good or the best way to do or think about something.

The difference between the two is the impression of the intent of the group by those on the outside. Conspiracies are manifestly suspect and created out of nefarious motives to achieve a specific, most likely at least unethical, goal. Consensuses are seen as positive constructs, having been arrived at after open discussion, healthy debate, and a consideration of all relevant factors.

But over the past decade or so, at least as to some of the most important moments of supposed consensus – Covid, climate change, and the idea that democracy is being in being imperiled – they have actually turned out to be nefarious conspiracies while supposed conspiracy theories – elite global restructuring, the threat of climate change being used to gain political power, and, of course, Covid – have turned out to be correct.

In other words, the conspiracies were in fact the consensuses and the consensus are in fact the conspiracies.

The psychological implications of consensus are powerful. People immediately think of experts gathering around tables or lab benches, unreservedly hashing things out, and coming up with a well-considered, fair, and objective “this is really pretty much how it is” decision. This remains true in popular conception even though most current consensuses are made by only asking people who the originators already know (97% of climate scientists say global warming is real and caused by humans, for example) will agree with whatever is being posited.

The psychological implications of conspiracy are just as powerful. People immediately think of backrooms, secrets, code words, winks all being exchanged in order to scheme out how to best reach a false goal.

To start, look at one very clear example of consensus being conspiracy in the past three years: the Covid lab-leak hypothesis. After being shouted at for nearly three years that the virus could not possibly have originated in a lab in Wuhan, it turns out (and, really, this should be a surprise to exactly no intellectually honest person) that the people like Peter Daszak of EcoHealth infamy, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the various gears of the international “let’s do something really dangerous and not tell anyone about it” cabal who were most vociferously denying the possibility of such an occurrence were those with the most to lose if the lab-leak hypothesis took hold.

Conspiracies involve shading truth, tapping friends and fellow travelers, reaching out to those who have similar fears of what they could lose if the truth be known and have something to gain if the truth is buried.

That is exactly what occurred surrounding the lab-leak hypothesis, made all the more galling by the inherently pointless (though not from a military standpoint) nature of the idea of “gain-of-function” research – the exact type of research being conducted at the Wuhan lab – has never and could by its nature never work as advertised.

The raft of other lies told during the pandemic response – about vaccines, masks, distancing, education – reinforced and were reinforced by this underlying false consensus as each aspect must mesh with another across all four dimensions or the edifice tumbles.

As to climate change, despite the terrifying loss in the “hockey stick” trial, the international movement is based on self-serving manipulations, lies, and obfuscations all wrapped in the “We dare you to criticize this!” bow of safety and sustainability.

For example, the medieval warming period, denied by so many climate scientists, happened – it’s in writing. Nascent France placed a tariff on the importation of red wine from Wales and, just by looking at a map, one can clearly see that what were once seaside ports are now inland villages. That means sea levels were higher in the Middle Ages, something that the climate orthodoxy of “It’s never been warmer than now and humans are the cause” says it impossible.

Whether or not it started out with ill intent is debatable, but there is no question that much of what is being foisted upon society – have less, be less, eat less, use less, think less – was caused by this and is being used to facilitate the intentional restructuring of global constructs in order to benefit a select few.

And for both Covid and climate change, they are based on intentionally false readings and descriptions of what science itself means and how it properly operates. From “settled science” – there is no such thing – to “follow the science” – as impossible as following a car which you are driving – the destruction of what was once seen as an objective search for the most accurate description of the world around us has been unrelentingly and devastatingly and incredibly convenient (for those who stand to benefit the international drug companies and NGOs and the green investors, etc.) has continued apace.

A consensus tells the world that democracy is in peril due to nationalism, rightists, fascists, demagogues, and populists, that a conspiracy of forces is working to end the sort of liberal democracy that much of the world has striven for for the past 200 years.

To save said democracy, though, the consensus has (like we are told conspiracy theorists do) resorted to shadowy meetings, byzantine money trails, media capture, absolute lies, and the most undemocratic thing imaginable: censorship.

What the consensus defenders are doing is defending not “our” democracy but “their democracy with every tool available.

What they are protecting is their democracy; not a democracy of the people, but now merely a word used to fig leaf the ever-expanding slither of socialist socialite statism, the velvet fascism that is deftly hammering its way through the society and the culture.

The genuine risk to actual democracy is not coming from the masses of people saying “Let us speak, stop being corrupt, think of the nation’s well-being first, stop spying on us” but from those hiding behind the supposed consensus to justify their censorship, their wallowing in public dollars, their being beholden to unaccountable private groups, and their surveilling everything they can.

Absurd consensuses abound. Misinformation does not, cannot exist, but it is a threat that must be destroyed.

Additionally, there is the supposed consensus of doctors that on-demand genital mutilation is a good thing, that the world must be electrified, that local and organic food is best and there would be enough to feed everyone, and that the personal freedom associated with personal transportation is selfish and harmful.

And it a rather meta way, just denying consensus – any official consensus – is seen as fatal denialism that, too, must be stamped out lest any questions be allowed to linger.

All of these putative consensuses (they really tend not be consensuses in the actual meaning of the word) are in ascendance now and are driving massive societal change against the will of the general public in order to subjugate the general public.

So if conspiracy theorists are becoming found to be more and more correct and consensus drivers are found to be more and more incorrect and deceitful and gaming the system for their own personal game, have the two concepts switched places?

It seems to be time to start to fear the real menace afoot today: the consensus theorist.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Thomas Buckley

    Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore, Cal. a Senior Fellow at the California Policy Center, and a former newspaper reporter.  He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at You can read more of his work at his Substack page.

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