Thursday, October 30, 2008

Unforeseen Contingencies announces a new contest!

What's the craziest bit of conspiracy theory you've heard surrounding this year's U.S. elections?

As we move towards the denouement of the presidential campaign, hysteria and nuttiness seem to be on the rise, no doubt exacerbated by the stress and worry induced by the financial debacle. A few weeks ago I sent a bit of economic analysis to an internet discussion group, and found myself inadvertently sucked into an email "debate" with conspiracy theorists who imagined that we pay interest on every dollar in existence, that the Fed earns enormous profits that it funnels to shadowy international bankers, and that no one actually must pay income tax. I managed to extricate myself by insisting that I be excluded from the list, but not before being accused of being a "sheeple," or even worse, an active member of the conspiracy.

OK, that's old stuff, refuted years ago, that will persist longer than the Fed itself, no doubt. Isn't there any new paranoid kookiness out there?

Particularly with the campaigns entering the endgame, I would expect conspiracy nuttiness to be really heating up. Hence "we" at UC are offering a fine prize for the craziest piece of conspiracy theory submitted. (Double prize if it proves to be true!)

A few ground rules:

1. It must be new (that means new to "our" panel of judges).

2. It shouldn't be obviously stupid. E.g. the claim Obama was actually born in Kenya and hence isn't a natural born citizen is, umm, stupid. Those who make the claim don't argue his mother wasn't an American citizen... but that's all that is required for him to be a natural born citizen.

3. There must be some contingent of people who actually believe the theory. E.g. apparently everyone now agrees that Sarah Palin, not Bristol, really is the mother of Trig.

4. Entrants may not submit conspiracy theories that they've invented themselves... unless they can document that they've first convinced at least 1% of American voters that the rumor in question is true.

5. Entries must be submitted here before 0:01 EST (12:01 AM) 4 November 2008.

6. Assuming there are any entries, prizes will be announced on 5 November 2008. All decisions will be final.

I have not yet decided on prizes, but they'll be awarded for the first three places, and will be at least as useful as the fine tinfoil hat sported by our attractive model above.

I think that the gold medal at the Olympic Games of nutty conspiracies must go to this one:


Yikes! Frightening!

In an even more sinister twist to this story I actually recieve the CFR publication in question (under an alias! even more suspicious!) and indeed read the Obama piece in question.

This is leading, of course, to my own conspiracy, which I'll get around to posting soon.

But your entry is in fisrt place so far!
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