Conspiracy theories highlight inconsistencies or ambiguities in official accounts. Conspiracy theories allow people to address feelings of powerlessness and lack of control, avoid feelings of uncertainty and allow people to make sense of events. They also however, undermine confidence on important topics such as the workings of science.
people who suspect conspiracies aren’t really skeptics. Like the rest of us, they’re selective doubters. They favor a worldview, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn’t about God, values, freedom, or equality. It’s about the omnipotence of elites.
In an increasingly globalised world, and against the background of turmoil caused by financial crises, war, and international terrorism, the need to understand the nature and roots of conspiracy theories has become increasingly urgent.
Part of the conspiracy cohort is made up of those of us who grew up during Watergate; the lies told about the number of enemy deaths during the Viet Nam war; the actions of major corporations in places like Chile in the 70's and 80's.
Some of us stood in public spaces in the heart of our universities with the guns of the National Guard trained on us.
These were all factual happenings, many uncovered and reported on by this very paper. Our childhood was built upon the illusion that America was mostly just a large Mayberry. These revelations shook our basic beliefs right to the ground,
It's hard to step back from that cliff once you've been pushed to the edge of it.