We are involved here in a far reaching conspiracy to undermine our most basic beliefs and sacred institutions. Who's behind this conspiracy? Once again ask yourself: who has the most to gain? People in high places: their names would astound you! People in low places: concealing their activities beneath a cloak of poverty! People of all walks of life, left wing and right wing. Black and white. Students and scholars. A conspiracy of such ominous proportions that we will never, ever know the whole story and we'll never be able to reveal all the facts! We are readying mass arrests. I am going to see that you people get every possible break. If there is any information you would like to contribute at this time, it will be held in the strictest confidence.... [Lieutenant Practice, in Jules Feiffer's black comedy Little Murders]
To search for a conspiracy, the late Murray Rothbard has told us, is essentially to search for a motive. But surely not every motive is the underpinning for a conspiracy, is it?
Depends whom you ask. Why, just this morning, I happened upon the most ominous coincidence I've beheld since...well, since I got up this morning.
You see, the plastic container in which we store our Cheerios® was empty. I, desirous of a bowl thereof, ventured down the dimly lit stairs to our basement, wherein all manner of wonders and terrors are stored...some not to be spoken of, lest the stars should turn and Great Cthulhu return in his full and awesome fury.
I made it without incident. I took from the pantry shelves a giant-economy-size box of the object of my delectation, extracted from it one of the plastic bags it held, and returned with it to the lands of the living and more-or-less awake. There on the counter stood the empty plastic container, waiting to be filled with a fresh load of cereal, from which I might dispense my repast. Thinking nothing of it, I unsnapped the lid on the container, opened the bag of Cheerios®, and poured the latter into the former.
The contents of the bag filled the container exactly. Exactly! Not a morsel too many or too few. When I reapplied the lid, it fit with unnatural snugness. Clearly it had been engineered to a most precise specification.
"This can't be mere happenstance," I murmured.
And indeed, it is not. After much painstaking speculation, I have concluded that cereal maker General Mills has colluded with container maker SnapWare®! The two have collaborated to one another's commercial benefit: General Mills is now able to assure its customers that, thanks to the SnapWare® container, the cereal is protected against moisture, insects, and all possibility of going stale!
Surely someone -- some innocent maker of odd-lot cereals or variant-size containers -- is suffering economic harm from this collusion! How could this be anything but a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act?
When do the mass arrests begin?