At first blush, Wikipedia appears to be a vast, sprawling melange of competing Points of View, with no particular ordering principle other than a Darwinian “survival of the fittest.” But in viewing the activities of the dominant elites in the Wikipedian hierarchy, or what Jimmy Wales once infamously dubbed “the cabal,” a pattern begins to emerge.
First, let’s consider Wales’ own ideological profile. He is best known as a “Randroid,” an acolyte of quasi-philosopher Ayn Rand. The essential feature of the Randian Weltanschauung is the assertion that efforts to order society through the establishment of governments and constitutions are inherently counter-productive, and that society prospers when such efforts cease. This is similar to the doctrine of the “invisible hand” from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations: that if governments follow the doctrine of Laissez-faire and avoid any intervention into the economy, the “invisible hand” of the markets will order matters to the benefit of all.
This has never been the case in the real world. Inevitably, under conditions of Laissez-faire, well-organized forces step into the power vacuum and order matters to their own advantage. Not surprisingly, these well-organized forces tend to be the most vigorous proponents of Laissez-faire. But, it would be disadvantageous to have the public perceive a conflict of interest here, so it is important, if the gambit is to succeed, that any benefits accruing to the proponents of this doctrine be regarded by the public as purely coincidental. (It is worthy of note here that Jimbo made his fortune as an options trader, following the deregulation of the financial markets.)
To this end, the doctrine of “conspiracism” comes in mighty handy. Allegations that a privileged grouping is “gaming the system” for its own advantage are dismissed out of hand as “conspiracy theory,” and the discussion comes to an abrupt halt.
So, one factor which unites a seemingly diverse collection of ideologues at Wikipedia is their shared antipathy toward “conspiracism.” It also explains the extraordinary latitude afforded to conspiracy-hunters such as Chip Berlet, who edits Wikipedia as User:Cberlet, or the celebrated MONGO. These editors appear to be exempt from a whole array of Wikipedia editing policies, from Conflict of Interest to Civility.
However, leading Wikipedians will go to great lengths to deny that there is any organized effort to promote a particular ideology at Wikipedia. A particular mantra in in recent years has been that There Is No Cabal (TINC.) And Wikipedia continues to portray itself as an amorphous, anarchistic “Encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” when this has never really been the case.