Conspiracy theorists aren't crazy

I have a personal Facebook account, which I use to keep up with friends and family. Like many of you, I've also discovered that this gives me a peek inside the psyche of those friends and family — and one of the things that I saw was an interest (and sometimes belief in) conspiracy theories. It wasn't limited to the Right or the Left. And it definitely wasn't limited to people I love but consider a little "off", if you know what I'm saying.* Over and over, I saw perfectly rational, sane people, supporting and spreading ideas that, to me, seemed a little nuts.

And that made me curious: Where do conspiracy theories come from? The answer, according to psychologists and sociologists, is not "Glenn Beck's fevered imagination." In fact, the category "people who believe in conspiracy theories" can't even really be separated into The Other in a nice, neat way. If you look at the data, the people who believe in conspiracy theories are us. And those theories grow out of both historical context, our feelings about ourselves and the wider world, and the way that our brains respond to feelings of powerlessness and uncertainty. Here's a short excerpt from my most recent column for The New York Times Magazine:

While psychologists can’t know exactly what goes on inside our heads, they have, through surveys and laboratory studies, come up with a set of traits that correlate well with conspiracy belief. In 2010, Swami and a co-author summarized this research in The Psychologist, a scientific journal. They found, perhaps surprisingly, that believers are more likely to be cynical about the world in general and politics in particular. Conspiracy theories also seem to be more compelling to those with low self-worth, especially with regard to their sense of agency in the world at large. Conspiracy theories appear to be a way of reacting to uncertainty and powerlessness.

Economic recessions, terrorist attacks and natural disasters are massive, looming threats, but we have little power over when they occur or how or what happens afterward. In these moments of powerlessness and uncertainty, a part of the brain called the amygdala kicks into action. Paul Whalen, a scientist at Dartmouth College who studies the amygdala, says it doesn’t exactly do anything on its own. Instead, the amygdala jump-starts the rest of the brain into analytical overdrive — prompting repeated reassessments of information in an attempt to create a coherent and understandable narrative, to understand what just happened, what threats still exist and what should be done now. This may be a useful way to understand how, writ large, the brain’s capacity for generating new narratives after shocking events can contribute to so much paranoia in this country.

Read the rest

*This joke is totally going to get me into trouble. Dear friends and family: Trust me, you are not the one I'm referring to here.

Image: December 21st...., a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from clawzctr's photostream


  1. Why is it that studies of the psychology of conspiracy theories almost always begin from the assumption that conspiracy theories are untrue? It’s pretty easy to see genuine, subsequently well-documented examples of conspiratorial behaviour at very high level in recent history. From Watergate, to the UK’s ‘dodgy dossier’ on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, there are plenty of examples of behaviour which might make some conspiracy theories a fairly rational analysis of the behaviour of elites.

    1. If you and MrJM read the full story, you’ll see that this is something I (and the researchers) are talking about. In fact, all the scientists I spoke with, as well as historians, were very clear that part of why conspiracy theories exist is because conspiracies actually exist. (That’s what I meant up above by “historical context”.)

      The problem happens when you decide you’re going to believe in a conspiracy no matter what evidence exists to the contrary.

      1. I thought that believing in something no matter what evidence exists to the contrary was called religion.

      2. If that is the case, don’t you think it’s time for a new phrase to describe ‘conspiracy theories’?  That phrase seems to suggest pretty strongly that they are not based in fact.  How about we call them, ‘motivation analysis’ or ‘things people who are paying attention notice’.  (Kidding on that last one, kinda)

    2. I think it’s safe to assume that these theories are vast in number and are each are formulaic, involving quite a few ideas and people to make them happen. I would say that is why the assumption is they are considered untrue.

      Now to illustrate where you are correct, I would point out to everything leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Cheney’s business ties, attacks on Bush’s father, our dependance on oil, the ever-changing reasons we needed to go in; All conspiracy and in the end true.

  2. Chicago’s “Operation Greylord” is also illustrative of the reality of conspiracies and counter-conspiracies.

  3. The fact that the main stream media is totally compromised might have something to do with this trend as well.

      1. How about the millions you get each year from the Bavarian Illuminati to conceal what you know about the fnords?

        1. Wait you dont get a pay check from the Illuminati. I thought all readers of Boing Boing were on the payroll by now.

          1. I can tell you’re not actually on the take, because the Illuminati have gone to all direct-deposit for their employees.

          2. My bad I got mixed up with the Freemasons. At a certain point your taking so many bribes its hard to keep track of them all.

        2. I thought the Illuminati were our friends now.  I recall an intriguing BB article on the optician derivations of the movement, and the side-stepping of the catholic church – something along those lines.

          Or … was that just … to catch me out … ?  *help*

      2. You, no. But consider all the ridiculous stories that large mainstream media like Fox* for example has given legs to: Death Panels, faked birth certificates…and so on and so on endlessly…….

        Then you have all more fringe (but still wildly popular) outlets/pundits that go even further down the rat hole. It seems that in most cases these conspiracies would die if they weren’t being stoked by somebody with a platform.

        * We want to not call it mainstream because it’s so ridiculous, but the fact remains that it’s the most widely watched “news” outlet year after year..

        1. it’s the most widely watched “news” outlet year after year.

          On cable.

      3. You are not the mainstream media. I believe ‘the media’ currently still refers to the mass media, ie. commercial, analog, broadcast media.

  4. I think part of the issue is not that conspiracies don’t exist, but that conspiracy theorists give up too early and settle for theories that are too simple or pat. 

    For example, do all the bankers and presidents get together @ Bohemian Grove and plot the course of world events? Not strictly. Do they manage the flow of world events through their many connections and shared interests? That goes almost without saying. Conspiracy theorists tap out too early; they tire of plumbing the depths of true conspiracy.

  5. Sometimes I get the feeling some of my friends that believe in these conspiracy theories and like the idea because it is neat and/or seems like the stuff they watch on TV or read about.  They also don’t like admitting they are well out of their depths in many of the topics they are discussing.  And they don’t have to be, they choose not to learn more about it.  Prideful in their ignorance in some ways I am sad to say.

    For example I try to explain to my friends that why I *LOVE* the concept of ancient aliens in a fictional environment (Stargate, various novels, etc.), I’m not getting on that bandwagon unless there is incredibly compelling evidence and science to back it up. 

  6. My personal feeling has always been that this is something of an extension of our brains’ fantastic ability to see patterns. As huge an evolutionary advantage as that is, we also have an ability to see patterns where none exist, to overlay our own perceptions on the things we are seeing. It’s a case of taking such patterns to an illogical extreme, in many instances. 

  7. Questioning the status quo/the official stories given by governments and
    corporations is not a mental health issue and I don’t agree that
    turning away from the thoroughly corrupt political system and mainstream
    corporate media is anything other than a good thing.

    Whatever happened to the days when questioning everything you read and heard was seen as a positive attribute that demonstrated that you could actually think for yourself?

    Psychological Studies such as this are fundamentally flawed in that they based upon the assumption that all and any so-called “conspiracy theories” don’t hold any water … or put another way, that conspiracies don’t exist at all. That right there is insanity if you ask me!

    Maggie Koerth-Baker and the researchers she referred to may take exception and refute this point, but the fact remains that no distinction is made between real hard-working journalists/researchers/investigators that look into and bring to light conspiracies and some crackpot tinfoil hat wearing loon living in his mum’s basement. No, instead all so-called “conspiracy theorists” are yet again tarred with the same brush.

    I agree with Maggie on at least this point though: “The problem happens when you decide you’re going to believe in a conspiracy no matter what evidence exists to the contrary.” Too true – it’s called Cognitive Dissonance – and like many things it works both ways. Believing that Building 7 could collapse like a pancake without being hit by a plane springs to mind …

    If you’re searching for the cause of paranoia in America (and the rest of the world might I add) look no further than your living-room. It’s called the television. Try switching it off!

    Peace and Love :)

    1. No, instead all so-called “conspiracy theorists” are yet again tarred with the same brush.

      Yes your conspiracy theory that they are all out to get you is far more rational than that other guy’s conspiracy theory that they are all out to get you.

      1.  Hi,

        I understand where you’re coming from, but there’s a flaw in your logic. Just as I was saying about the article, you too are jumping to the conclusion that every piece of conspiracy research is equal in quality and validity as every other piece of conspiracy research.

        That’s just lazy thinking.

        Just like any other field of research, there are valid conclusions that are backed by evidence and logic, and then there are THEORIES (an important distinction) that do not display either.

        Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water … any idiot can mouth off on Youtube about Elvis being kidnapped by aliens, but to lump them in with valid and intelligent researchers who investigate real conspiracies is a mistake (unless of course you’re one of those people who believe that there are no such thing as conspiracies and that governments and corporations care about you, in which case, never mind, I’ve just wasted my time in replying is all)

        Peace and Love :)

        1. I’m one of those people who believes in an free society, the more people who know a secret, the harder it is to keep over the long run.

          Conspiracies that involve hundreds or even thousands of people are nearly impossible to keep secret. For this reason alone, any conspiracy which involves that many people should immediately gets discounted.

          But honestly the easiest way for me to bin the “crazy” conspiracy theories and the ones that are less crazy is hearing the rationale for the motivation of those carrying out the conspiracy. If your answer involves a) world domination b) paranormal or c) secret societies, then it is likely that your conspiracy theory is just as ludicrous.

          In the case of 9/11, well, both tests fail miserably. Not only would you have to have a huge number of people involved both governmental and non-governmental, but every explanation as to what someone would gain by doing it seems to involve ridiculous leaps of faith.

          1.  > every explanation as to what someone would gain by doing it seems to involve ridiculous leaps of faith.

            The most outrageous and unbelievable conspiracy theories about 9/11 stem from “official” sources. We’re supposed to believe, on faith, what we’re told by the government.

            I don’t have that much faith in an institution that’s proved to be the source of so many lies and disinformation. I don’t know what happened on 9/11, but believing what the government says just because it’s the government is dangerously close to not thinking.

          2. Fine, then believe the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (SEI/ASCE), the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) all of which analyzed the cause of the collapse.

            Now I understand what Maggie said about being cynicism driving conspiracy theories.

          3. You’ll be shocked to know that your comment was flagged. We should make people fill out a little form saying why they’re flagging things. Then we could have a check box that says:

            □ SHEEPLE!!!

          4.  I can’t reply to your comment about SEI/ASCE, etc. but your argument is a fallacy as there also many other members of civil societies that disagree with the “official” story.

            My original point is that the government can’t be trusted on its word as there’s a long history of lies and disinformation that stems from it.

          5.  That’s the Chomskyian view and it is readily discredited by observed reality. Every gram of cocaine, heroin and pot sold in the US is the result of a successful criminal conspiracy involving thousands. Thousands in the banking industry  successfully conspired to give hundreds of thousands of sub-prime loans to people who couldn’t afford them and then pass on the liability to Fannie Mae and other government-backed mortgage securities. Why didn’t anyone come forward to reveal the scam? Why are we reawarding banks even when we now know the truth?

            If people always came forward to reveal secrets, organized crime. revolutions and sexual affairs would be impossible.

    2. Whatever happened to the days when questioning everything you read and heard was seen as a positive attribute that demonstrated that you could actually think for yourself?

      But you don’t question everything that your see and hear. You question the ones that don’t fit in with your own social and political narrative.

      Prove to me how many protons are in a cobalt atom. Prove it without relying on other people’s statements or images that could have been altered.

      1. > But you don’t question everything that your see and hear.

        Only speaking for myself, but I question everything told to me by political authority if they’re telling me that their actions in the political realm are for my safety or national security.

        “If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these [legislators] are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”


      2. Hi Antinous,

        I think that you may have taken my statement to the nth degree in literalism. Sure, you’re right in that every time I read my mail, I don’t immediately start questioning my home address or date of birth, but apart from that and other similar silly examples, you can only really speak for yourself. :)

        I regularly challenge my beliefs – to do otherwise would involve being arrogant and close-minded to other possibilities and eventualities. It is for this reason that I hold the saying that you should always question what you hold to be true, as one lie may be supporting another lie.

        If you aren’t willing to see outside of your own social and political narrative how are you ever going to truly evolve and grow as a human being? If you’re too afraid to step outside the box that encompasses your current belief system, your in a very real danger of it being a prison of your own making; with the inability to think logically or critically about any subject whatsoever.

        I’m only interested in the truth, and hold no sentimental values to any beliefs that I ‘currently’ hold. And this ties in nicely to Maggie’s point about it being a problem to believe in something despite the evidence to the contrary. Thus, if evidence comes to light that I’m wrong about something I’m not too pig-headed to alter or even completely change my position – as I have done many times in recent years. Facts are facts and the truth will out. :)

        Don’t be so sure of everything dude.

        Only a fool knows everything. A wise man knows how little he knows.

        Peace and Love :)

        P.S. How many crumbs are in a loaf of bread? :P

  8. If you take the anxiety out of conspiracy, it gels more.

    Similar to SedanChair above – through deduction and reasoned analysis, you can come up with a lot of stuff.  Conspiracy is simply a matter of more than one person or groups working together to achieve something.

    If you can deduce some benefit to that group of the activity under examination, and assess they had the power to do it, then it is not impossible it occurred in that way. Being thorough and picking through alternate hypotheses, you can farm a little group of potentially probable theories.

    Then it’s a question of acknowledging what it is you can’t see in the picture.

    But back to the anxiety – if it makes you anxious, and there’s nothing you can do about it – why worry?

  9. Rather than call it “conspiracy theory”, why not call it “power analysis”?

    > “Either way, the current scientific thinking suggests these beliefs are
    nothing more than an extreme form of cynicism, a turning away from
    politics and traditional media — which only perpetuates the problem.”

    Why is turning away from politics and traditional media a problem? The source of bad or manipulated information is trad media and politicians. People are looking for something better.

    It’s a good essay, Maggie. But it shows the confirmation bias of those that have a predisposition to give politicians and media the benefit of the doubt. Giving politicians and media the benefit of the doubt is the reason that people are confused in the first place.

    1. Turning away from politics means that you’re giving up any power you have to control those politics. So then what do you do exactly? Sit back and say, “Well, it’s all crap and something better will come along?” By what force, if not voters and involved citizens? 

      Also, you’re sorely misunderstanding this if you came away thinking that I’m telling you to give politicians and media the benefit of the doubt. As I wrote in the story, the problem is not believing that conspiracies exist. The problem is refusing to accept the times that they are not happening, the times when the bulk of evidence says you are wrong. The problem is also deciding that anybody who tells you something you don’t want to hear is part of the conspiracy. But, of course, I would say that, as a member of the media collecting my monthly paycheck from Them. 

      1. > Turning away from politics means that you’re giving up any power you have to control those politics.

        It’s already proven that we have no power to change it from the “traditional” end of politics. Most of America wants legal cannabis, for instance. It won’t be happening at the Federal level for a long time. Why? Because most of America has no power to change what a minority wishes to keep as status quo.

        > By what force, if not voters and involved citizens?

        Gandhi’s model comes to mind, but we’re a ways off from Americans having their stuff together enough to effect that change.

        > The problem is refusing to accept the times that they are not happening,
        the times when the bulk of evidence says you are wrong.

        Power conspires 24/7. It never sleeps. Sleeping is the job of the masses that have no desire to look behind the curtain.

        In the midst of the DoJ/AP imbroglio, the IRS brouhaha and all of the other obvious and more subtle abuses of power, discounting power analysis (my term for “conspiracy theory”) as a 24/7 occupation is a little dangerous.

        We all know that powerful people abuse their power. It’s a duty to never stop trying to tell people about their abuses, even if we’re wrong sometimes.

  10. Certainly the feasibility of conspiracy theories and how ridiculous it is to believe in them can ranked in some manner. Surely they’re not all equal.

    For one example, conspiracies that have occurred in the past and were feasible vs. conspiracies that require unrealistic, and unprecedented levels of planning, scheming and collusion to execute.

  11.  Conspiracy theories are simply attempts to trace causality across a range of events, and, as has already been suggested, the folk who get labelled “conspiracy theorists” tend to go for relatively simple, easily-imagined (well, easy for them) sets of connections. But, as SedanChair suggests, there are non-conspiratorial combinations–confluences of interest, one might call them–in which commonly-held goals and values lead to converging behaviors that one might see as deliberately and explicitly coordinated. But people who believe in the efficiency of the market–of that Invisible Hand–already believe in what might be called meta-forces that are unconscious and distributed. Is the theoretical free market a conspiracy? Of  course, even the most libertarian of libertarians admit that markets can be manipulated–and market manipulation, like conspiracy, requires conscious participation in the activity in question.

    The Marxists I knew in grad school had a pretty well-developed theory of what-makes-stuff-happen, at least from the viewpoint of what parts of a system were deliberately operated and what parts were the result of groups of people with compatible (or conflicting) sets of interests and powers. Jimdees suggestion that this area might be better named “power analysis” reminded me of that.

  12.  I think the language of this is all wrong.  People shouldn’t be asking why do people believe in conspiracy theories – they should be asking why do people believe in the conspiracy theories that are made up as opposed to those that are legitimate.  The fundamental suppositions of conspiracy theorists are actually correct – there is a massive concentration of the world’s wealth, influence, and power in the hands of a small few, this minority constantly conspire, in small and sometimes large ways, to insure that they maintain that wealth, power, and influence, and the mainstream presses are predominantly compromised and slanted toward maintaining the interests of the elite minority, or at any rate towards keeping particularly unruly cats away from the pigeons.  So conspiracy theorists are not wrong in this sense, they’ve just been lead down the garden path by fantasists and snake-oil entrepreneurs who produce myths and folk-lores that make narratives out of the basic truths of massive wealth inequality and the failure of democracy to really empower the majority.

    There is a reason why conspiracy theories have so much mythic resonance at this particular era of history.  Somebody (I think Levi-Strauss) said that one of the functions of myth was to resolve an intractable contradiction or paradox – and conspiracy theories derive their resonance as a modern mythology from the contradiction between the idea that all people are created equal and the actual reality of how our world is socially organized.  They didn’t have conspiracy beliefs like we do in the Middle Ages, not, as some people suggest, because they believed in God and providence, but because the idea of inherited wealth, privilege, and power in a minority was normalized by that culture – as it is not in ours.  So, while are are often justifiably amused or appalled by conspiracy beliefs, the joke may one day, as an increasingly imperiled and powerless middle-class, be on us.  

  13. I’d put a qualifier on the title “Some” perhaps, or even “Many” — or, on the outside “Most” — because you can’t truly say that NO conspiracy theorists are crazy.  (Or, if some don’t like crazy, because of its pejorative connotations, we can at least say that (to my mind most) true conspiracy theorists depend on Olympic-record-length leaps of faith and a tendency to depend on second-hand reports by less than dependable sources — or else they just “know” it’s correct  (see also “truthiness.”)  And, yes, many otherwise normal people do leap onto the irrational wagon when they are scared or confused and desperately want an answer — but since, for most people, that state is temporary, I wouldn’t slap the label conspiracy theorist on them.

    1. Well, I said they didn’t have conspiracy theories like ours – ie relating to how the world is governed.  The witch hunts are more analogous to establishment conspiracy theories than anti-establishment conspiracy theories – they are the precursor to the use of commie and terrorist panics for politically opportunistic reasons.

    2. I would classify a lot of the anti-Semitic rumors (cf. the Blood Libel) as proto-conspiracy theories.  

      1. Or the Jew Suss (real life person who was tried and executed for causing EVERYTHING THAT WENT WRONG in a German principality in the 1600s)

      2.  Indeed. It’s interesting to see how they’ve bled over into other groups, from right-wing survivalist crazies, to aquarian love & light spiritual types (plenty cray-cray there too, don’t get me wrong), but with the same nasty undercurrents – or, more interestingly, the same infectious paranoia, but new targets to blame.  They evolve like viruses.

  14.  This is actually a pressing issue for me now.  Having an interest in and possible belief in ‘conspiracy’ theory seems to always involve being liable to attacks on one’s sanity and/or mental health.  I am glad of the title of this article (how rational people…) but still sense a gentle disparagement in the tone.  Looking to the original article linked here, it seems that the general conclusion regarding cynicism source from a ‘summary of research’, so I am wondering how broadly based that research is, and how often individual experiments on the topic were repeated.  I dislike the notion that a tendency to belief in conspiracy theories stems from a feeling of powerlessness (which sounds suspiciously like learned helplessness) and this seems like yet another attempt to place it with the realm of mental health issues (which like it or not are often used in society to downplay and devalue certain opinions and beliefs).   I am glad of the chicken/egg observation as to whether powerlessness or conspiracy theory interest are causes, but it is possible they are not direct causes of each other at all.  Perhaps though after all an interest in conspiracy could naturally arise as a result of losing power (politically) and is a compensatory evolutionary adaptation meant to reinstate that power.  Conspiracy theorists have banded together in the past to assert a particular cause,  a recent example (no matter how flawed) being the exo-political movement.  It is also possible to think of many well known individuals who are clearly not disempowered  (such as Jacques Vallee)  but deeply into what would be considered conspiracy theories.  Also; I think the way of the theory the researches seem to display would I think benefit greatly from some injection of a Foucault-style analysis.  I do remember reading a study showing that university professors were found to be significantly more cynical than the general population – how many of these studies would produce the same results for the scientists themselves if they were the subjects?

  15. They exist only because those in power lie so often.  Most people are so jaded and sound asleep – they will denounce anything that sounds too wild or different from the official talking points. When it’s eventually proven to be true – nothing comes of it. Their trap door mind remains shut and they just tune it out.  Imagination and critical thinking is being stamped out. This is why your country is on fire.  

    1. I disagree – I believe a lot of modern conspiracy theories stem from a deep-seated cynicism and/or solipsism, mixed with an unwarranted presumption of complexity.

      People can’t accept that awful, senseless things happen, have always happened, and always will happen, and sometimes answers aren’t readily available.  Information isn’t always complete.  Sometimes explanations of events are complicated, but more often they aren’t.

  16. I don’t need a leap of faith to know that 911 was orchestrated in order to invade Iraq. I watched it happen Live on TV. I learned my physics well because I broke my arm bad enough to wear a cast for 2 freakin years.  I know what a controlled demolition looks like, I witnessed 4 of them prior to 911 in my Job.  I helped create scenarios in CADD for architects.

    What actually happened, vs the story the WH and media tried to put out do not mesh with reality.  I don’t live on Mars, or the Moon. Gravity is a constant on the earth it hasn’t changed since before dinosaurs and it’s not changing before we all get blasted out by an asteroid.

    If you find you can deny the evidence of FACTS.  That’s your damn business, I am not in the business to convince anyone. But that does not make me fucking crazy either.  3000+ people died.  It’s my responsibility to hold them accountable for their senseless deaths.

    1. I saw the video of you breaking your own arm with a hammer on YouTube. And I know you did it to orchestrate the murder of Michael Jackson by OJ Simpson. It is well known that the documents showing him to be in a Nevada prison cell that night are faked.

    2. If you haven’t witnessed any UNCONTROLLED demolitions, then you have no basis for knowing how they should differ from the controlled variety and in what ways. And if you haven’t understood this 12 years after the attacks, then with all due respect, you are in fact crazy.  

      1. There is no such thing as an Uncontrolled Demolition. Unless you count the house falling down on it’s own. Hardly a purposely demolition. If it was Uncontrolled, the top of the tower would have fallen as normal building would fall, away from the base of the tower. It didn’t. It fell directly into it’s own square. Which means, that was a controlled demolition. You don’t have facts of physics on your side. YOU can not change physics. I don’t care who the fuck you think you are, facts are immutable. You cannot change them. No amount of screaming on a message board is going to change the fact that 911 was a controlled demolition. And murder of 3000 people.

        1.  Sure there is. There was one on live television on the first night of the 2nd Gulf War. Then there are earthquakes and fires that cause buildings to fall on occasion. However, uncontrolled collapses (since you object to the D word. whatever…) are by their nature unanticipated, and are seldom recorded on video. So the common claim that they should somehow differ on casual visual inspection from controlled collapses, is a claim with no backing whatsoever.

        2.  “the top of the tower would have fallen as normal building would fall, away from the base of the tower.”

          And you claim to be an architect?? What engineer would design a building to let it topple intact and take out a whole block?

  17. The term ‘conspiracy theory’ is a conclusion, not a category. It has a similar character to the word ‘myth.’ It is a judgement. 

    Conspiracies are defined as secret, harmful or illegal plans.
    Policies are public, helpful and legal plans. 
    Our governments do both, in comparable measure. This is a matter of documentary record. 

    I like the idea of mashing up fantastic conspiracy theories with true political conspiracies. Thus, exactly five years after the Roswell incident, BP, the UK government, and the US government conspired in the overthrow of the prime minister of Iran and installed an alien called The Shaw, who turned out to be a brutal tyrant. His inhumanity was proof he was a cold-blooded reptile from the extra-terrestrial crash site. 

    The notion of conspiracy theories also misleads one into thinking that great events like the banking collapse of 2008, or the illegal war on Iraq, are the product of individuals conspiring, rather than, corrupt, dysfunctional institutions on all sides being gamed, and the interactions, often influenced by a few key people, contributing to the giant clusterfuck we call political reality. 

  18. Accusations of “conspiracy theory” have become little more than a general purpose put-down used to stifle critical thinking and questioning of propaganda  from elite sources. Any deviation of opinion from the revealed truth presented us by the media, corporations or the government is evidence that you are a paranoid kook, irregardless of the quality of the arguments and evidence you present for your point of view, or the absurdity of the the government propaganda in question.

    Even when evidence surfaces that the government and media lied or misled us, people will still hang on to those lies or attack anyone who loses faith in the government narrative as a result of them.

    1. Or you’re just a whackdoodle who can’t figure out that the presence of some verifiable conspiracies doesn’t mean that everything is a conspiracy.

      1. Where did I say or imply that everything is a conspiracy? Please show me where anyone, anywhere said that “everything is a conspiracy” or is this just a conspiracy theory of your own?

        I see no reason why you feel the need to be insulting, other than you appear to be threatened by my opinion.

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