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If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of
civilization, it expects what never was and never will be
- Thomas Jefferson -

The Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines conspiracy as a plan or agreement formulated, especially in secret, by two or more persons to commit an unlawful, harmful, or treacherous act. The same dictionary defines treachery as a violation of faith; betrayal of trust; treason.

Government has become nothing more than thousands of conspiracies. Almost every election and every piece of legislation entails a plan formulated in secret by two or more persons to commit a betrayal of trust. The old joke about knowing that politicians are lying when their lips move may seem cynical, but it contains more than just an element of truth.

Professional politicians routinely tell us half-truths, at best. At worst, they lie. Sadly, if politicians told the unvarnished truth, they would probably never win an election. Americans want happy talk and they want politicians to promise the impossible. So, we must settle for a government by conspiracy.

The moment a politician decides to run for office, he or she will enlist the help of advisors, pollsters and strategists to help them win an election. Together they conspire in private about what the politician will say to the public in order to win. Regardless of how wonderful a politician's true agenda may be, you can bet that the image and platform presented to the public will contain spin, half-truths, and distortions.

The candidate will have to raise funds for the campaign and will meet in private with large contributors. Of course, these meetings are private and not open to public scrutiny. At a minimum, a large contributor will expect access to the candidate once elected. Many contributors will expect even more - such as legislation favorable to their interests. The public has no way to know what deals are struck with large contributors pushing an agenda.

It is not likely that a local politician will announce that he supports a particular zoning variance that will only benefit Acme Real Estate Company after he receives a large contribution from Acme. If it comes to light that he does support such a zoning variance, the politician will most likely claim it is for the public good and not because he got a large contribution. He may even pretend to be outraged that a political opponent would even question his integrity.

A state delegate campaigning for office would probably not mention that he would vote to increase rates that insurance companies may charge after receiving a large contribution from an insurance industry PAC. One can only wonder if the politician running for Congress actually believes that a perpetual war against "Islamofacism" is needed to keep America free or if he merely receives a lot of loot from defense related industries that will profit from a protracted war.

No political office goes unfilled and it is certain that a politician will be sworn in to office after the election. Typically, the politician will swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution and a new conspiracy begins. With few exceptions, there is not a politician in Washington that feels constrained by the powers enumerated in the Constitution.

The legislative process may entail numerous conspiracies before a bill is actually voted on. There will be secret meetings with lobbyists, PACs, contributors, and other politicians. There will be closed committee meetings where politicians make agreements among themselves. Checks will be written, cocktails consumed, and deals made - all outside the public view.

Meanwhile, polls will be taken, political parties will spin out some talking points, and pundits will present a barrage of half-truths for public consumption - all to gain the consent of the governed. An entire 500 page bill will be reduced to a two-sentence soundbite that explains the proposed legislation. The public will not know of the secret agendas, political contributions, and vote trading that led to the proposed bill.

The public will only see a handful of politicians present rehearsed talking points on C-SPAN before the televised vote. There will be no debate. Politicians may ask rhetorical questions, but their opponents will not answer. This is the extent to which the public is allowed to see the legislative process.

So, if someone tells you they don't believe in conspiracy theories, you will know that they are helplessly naive and ignorant of the political process. Except for the rare occasions where a politician tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth regarding a campaign or proposed legislation, the process of government is a conspiracy in and of itself.

This article contributed by Tom Blanton of Richmond, Virginia.