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GOP behind a gas price conspiracy?

Conspiracy theories have become a part of our social consciousness. I believe they gained mass popularity around the time of the Kennedy assassination and have since become questions raised following any situation of national or world crisis.

With the recent drop in oil prices some have begin to question whether or not there's a conspiracy involving Big Oil and the Republican Party. Polls clearly indicate that a majority of Americans are unsatisfied with the direction of the country under the GOP-controlled House and Senate. And the nation's general disenchantment with the leadership of President Bush has plenty to do with that.

Some feel oil prices are falling because the Republicans fear a voter backlash in November. Conspiracy theorists envision dark boardrooms where GOP officials meet with Big Oil directors in clandestine fashion and cash is exchanged under the table. Gas prices plummet and America's collective demeanor improves. Just in time for a general election.

How even more interesting if rumors of Osama bin Laden's death had been confirmed last week as reported by a French source. Conspiracy buffs would have viewed the No. 1 terrorist in the world's death as an intriguing convenience for the GOP and President Bush.

Even skeptics must take a questioning look at the evidence. The intriguing thing about history is that it can always be re-examined and even the most minuscule detail can be observed and stretched into a book-length work. Observe the many biographies of historical figures from the past. Someone can always - either from personal experience or from letters or notes - recast a person in their own view. That's not really a conspiracy. That's more or less someone subconsciously shaping his or her vision of a person through a story.

Depending on the subject, it's also a good way to make a good buck.

Because how many trees have been sacrificed in the name of re-hashing Elvis' life for the millionth time?

Conspiracies run wild. The Internet is populated by paranoid people with enough time on their hands to devote pages of text focusing on the mystical symbolism found on the dollar bill.

At www.global-conspiracies.com, there's enough speculative information intertwined with fact to give the appearance that Armageddon is just around the corner. At it won't come with the appearance of the number &#8220666” either, but from suspicious black helicopters overhead, government concentration camps and secret societies with strange names like the Illuminati, or Skull and Bones, or the Bilderberg Group. According to this website we are a few years away from falling under the banner of a New World Order where independent thought and writing is crushed under the heels of Nazi-like, neo-fascist regime.

So which is more frightening?

Life as a series of random circumstances and events, some caused by man, some not?

Or life as manipulated behind the scenes by a shadowy group of individuals who may or may not be Republican?

Kevin Pearcey is Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC. He can be reached by phone at 383-9302, ext. 136 or by email at: editor@greenville.advocate.com.