In America, conspiracy theories have always had a negative connotation, despite being the heart of most Hollywood thrillers and action films. The conspiracy theorist is someone, who is excessively distrustful, yet willing to accept massive leaps of logic to explain everyday phenomenon. They will also be very paranoid. After all, anyone who is onto the grand conspiracy is going to be seen as a threat by the conspirators and the powers that be, so the conspiracy theorist is always under threat.
It’s a funny dynamic, when you think about it. The elaborate, often ridiculous, conspiracy is the heart of so many popular movies and TV shows, yet the conspiracy theorists is a wacko and threat to society. Alex Jones had to be removed from the internet, due to being a conspiracy monger. Added to this is fake news spread on social media, which is a form of rumor designed to create conspiracies and conspiracy theorists. This trope is now so real, the US military has been assigned to tackle it.
Of course, fake news and conspiracy theories are a matter of perspective. For the Left, a conspiracy theory is any explanation that does not support their agenda. Trump secretly colluding with invisible Russians to mind control voters in the 2016 election is a perfectly rational explanation for his victory. People wondering why senior FBI men were colluding with foreign intelligence agencies to spy in the Trump campaign is a dangerous conspiracy theory, probably started by Russians.
Now, many, if not most, conspiracy theories are nutty and designed to get attention for the conspiracy theorist. That’s why Alex Jones exists. He figured out that if he entertainingly talked about conspiracies, he could generate a big audience willing to pay to see him perform. Red Ice, the popular alt-right YouTube show started life as a conspiracy theory outlet. Their stock and trade early on was space aliens and the paranormal. As Hollywood knows, conspiracy is good box office.
A funny thing about most hard core conspiracy theorists though, is they don’t have a lot of interest in genuine conspiracies. There are, after all, real conspiracies. They are common in politics, as politics is the business of plotting in secret to undermine opponents. Without conspiracies, there is no politics. Boris Johnson just learned this the other day when some of his colleagues plotted against him. These sorts of plots, however, have no interest to the conspiracy theorists.
Think about the two big conspiracies of the current year. We have the seditious coup plotted by senior elements of the security agencies. Then there is the on-going cover-up involving two attorneys general and two FBI directors. This is Cassius and Brutus plotting against Caesar, in terms of import and drama, yet the popular conspiracy mongers are not all that interested in the story. You would think the conspiracy guys would be all over it, just as proof that conspiracy are real.
Another conspiracy that seems to have gained little traction with the conspiracy community is the strange life and death of Jeffrey Epstein. Probably the most bizarre and salacious story in half a century, involving shadowy figures in the over class, has generated little interest from the conspiracy mongers. The weird thing about the Epstein case is it got more attention from the conspiracy theorists when he was just a shadowy fixer, than when he was the victim of a conspiracy.
You could easily write a couple of books on the conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 attacks. If you google “dancing Israelis” you get page after page of links to sites covering that angle. Ryan Dawson has done dozens of videos on it. These guys are examining beard hair patterns in grainy photos to prove their claims. Philip Giraldi has written extensively on the subject. This two decade old story still gets plenty of attention from the conspiracy community, but current conspiracies get none.
This suggests a couple of things about the sorts of people who become obsessed with conspiracy theories. One is they like the leaps of logic required to tie the various facts together in the narrative. It’s like a solving a puzzle for them. Finding a picture of Person X in the same room as Person Y, who they have already connected to the event, allows them to “solve” some great riddle. The fact that person X and Person Y have no known connection, other than the photo, makes it all the better.
The other thing about the conspiracy people is they eschew certainty. The typical conspiracy theory has lots of ambiguity and uncertainty. On top of that, it has multiple explanations operating in parallel. Where one narrative runs out of road, another narrative picks up from there to connect to another narrative. In a real conspiracy, like the FBI scandal, there are real facts. If all of the classified documents are ever made public, which will never happen, everyone will know what happened.
That’s the funny thing about the critics of conspiracy theories. They claim that these theories are popular because people like simple answers. That is probably a conspiracy there itself. People don’t like simple answers. If they did, Hollywood thrillers would feature no plot, just stuff exploding in between sex scenes. The truth is, people hate simple answers and conspiracy theorists really hate simple answers. The people who prefer an orderly world with no ambiguity are the critics of the conspiracy theorists.
All of this leads to the conclusion that the best way to keep prying eyes from looking to close at your shenanigans is make it look like a conspiracy. Make sure to have a few villainous looking characters and lots of contradictory elements. This will attract the conspiracy people looking to make bank on it. This will then attract the anti-conspiracy people, looking to debunk the conspiracy theorists. The back and forth will allow you to get away with your scheme and enjoy a quiet retirement on Nantucket.
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