I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories. I prefer incompetency theories and corruption theories. My experiences of government organisations tell me that the CIA is more likely to have ignored the credible threat warnings of Jihadi hijackers than to have planted demolition charges in the twin towers without something going wrong.

There are another couple of theory types that worry me. Complacency theories and, to coin a term continuing the ‘C’ theme, Co-opting theories. I don’t know if others have researched this last one, as I have only come to grips with it recently while trying to understand the self-destructive behaviours of some groups.

Unconnected groups start supporting the agendas of other activists in order to direct and encourage action for their own benefit. The co-opted group accepts the support as it appears to legitimise their action. 

It is well-known that bad news sells. The decline of mainstream media has led to journalists co-opting any cause that results in bad news. Thus, we see talking heads on the TV news egging on riots in their own neighbourhood. Locals suffer so that a few extra dollars of advertising time may be wrung out of a sunset industry while any hint of rational debate about BLM gets publicly criticised.

Socialists who want to break down our civil liberties have co-opted the Greens’ environmentalism as an excuse to attack and undermine traditional behaviours. The Greens have co-opted socialism to propose a universal wage while destroying the economy by outlawing dairy farming. We now have communists trying to save the planet instead of workers, and tree huggers who think state control of business will stop global warming (Meridian Energy didn’t get that memo).

Electricity generators switched from opposing climate alarmism to promoting it once they realised it would drive energy prices up. The economics of wind farms and solar power stations do not stack up unless it is used to drive spot prices up when the wind drops out on cloudy days.

This shows the insidious nature of the co-opting conspiracy when corporates get involved. The “Left” thinks it is driving cultural change, but it has been working for the dark side of capitalism.

One would expect that big business would use their greater resources to oppose increasing regulation because it means added costs, and this certainly used to be the case, particularly regarding environmental protection (Exxon Valdez, Union Carbide in Bhopal). But corporates have realised that increasing regulation can be used to drive out competition, especially small businesses. The costs are passed on to consumers anyway, so profits go up.

Perhaps the best example of this is the European Union, and the real reason for Brexit. The media have focused on immigration (racism is an easy narrative to sell) as the driver, but for many Brits it is the bureaucratic meddling that has driven them to the edge. Surveys of small businesses (those under 20 employees) show ¾ are leavers, while ¾ of big business (over 100 employees) are remainers.

In my own profession (architecture), I have seen the explosion of bureaucracy in resource consents, driving up the cost of construction. The new rules do little to improve the quality of construction and environmental design, simply adding more compliance paperwork. Larger firms look at it as generating more chargeable work for employees, but the poor bastards doing the work (like me) are finding it draining. I get satisfaction out of a job well done and care about my clients’ money.

Meanwhile, the number of council planners has quadrupled, even despite many leaving to set up their own consultancies, profiting from steering customers through an unnecessary quagmire of hurdles.

We all need to start pushing back or it will only get worse – there are too many self-interests to be satisfied and too much money to be made for it to stop by itself. Please examine the cultural change that is being promoted by any group and follow the money before you follow the lead. You are being used.

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