Conspiracy theories and the African predicament

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I am not a believer in conspiracy theories. Nor do I subscribe to the view of those philosophers of history who believe nothing significant happens in our world without some conspirators lurking behind it. I’m also not among those who blame foreign imperialism for all of Africa’s problems. I believe that we Africans are ultimately the architects of our own misfortunes.

This is not to say that conspiracies don’t exist. I have studied enough political theory from Polybius and Thucydides to Talleyrand and Kissinger to know that conspiracies abound. What the philosopher Isaiah Berlin terms “the crooked timber of humanity” still defines the character of our sinful world.

When I was a teenage undergraduate, I stumbled upon a slim little booklet titled, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a document purportedly crafted in pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia as a Jewish plot to enslave the world. In reality, it was a forgery designed to prepare the grounds for the mass pogroms that was later to be visited upon the Jewish people in what has been termed ‘our bloody twentieth century’.

But global conspiracies do exist. Perhaps the leading theorist in this field is the American historian and political philosopher Carroll Quigley (1910-1977). Quigley graduated in physics at Harvard before switching to history where he eventually earned a doctorate. He was a pioneer of the “scientific method” in the historical sciences. He became a professor at Georgetown University where he taught the young Bill Clinton who later became president of the United States.

Quigley wrote The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden (G.S.G. & Associates, 1981), a history of the elite trans-Atlantic secret society that was to shape Anglo-American relations for the better part of a century. He showed that there exists a global network of … Read More...