We all know at least one person who is an avid conspiracy theorist. Whether you are a hardcore conspiracy theorist, occasionally dabble in it, find them entertaining, or flat-out discount them, we cannot overlook the significance it has in our society today — especially in the era of the internet and social media.
Briefly, a conspiracy is defined as a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. So, if a group of junior high school friends planned to harm one of their schoolmates via bullying of any form, that’s a conspiracy. Additionally, a conspiracy theory is the belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event.
Generally, people associate conspiracy theories to factions within governments involved in shady activities. All governments are involved in suspicious activities, whether in the past, currently, and in the future; these activities can range from ethically questionable to downright crimes committed against humanity.
Conspiracy theorists and theories are not seen in a positive light. In the past — before the internet and social media — people who publicly engaged in conspiracy theories were labelled as delusional, paranoid, and not credible. There’s still a stigma attached to conspiracism despite how widespread it is. Yes, in some instances, the adverse reactions from conspiracy theories are warranted; however, we shouldn’t wholly override them; there is room for conspiracy theories.
So why the negative portrayal of conspiracy theories and theorists in the media?
The short and simple answer is governments, organizations, institutions, and/or other forms of hierarchical structures don’t want people knowing their suspicious activities, so an effective way to maintain the status quo and control the narrative is by discrediting questioners in mainstream media. People use to rely on their governments to be truthful and transparent to its citizens. People also use to believe in mainstream news media to uphold the truth and report all issues without bias. Neither is the case now. Many people are losing faith in their governments globally and mainstream news media. 2019 is known as The Global Protest Wave of 2019 due to the large numbers of high-profile protests across the globe.
Naturally, a lack of trust leads to questions which result in speculations. Conspiracy theories don’t appear out of thin air; there’s an element of truth that exists. The validity of a conspiracy theory boils down to whether there’s substantial evidence or not. Just because it’s difficult to prove corruption doesn’t mean it’s not happening. We’ve already established all governments are either all the way corrupt (Saudi), somewhat corrupt (USA), or corrupt-ish (most countries).
Most television shows about governments such as Scandal, House of Cards, and Designated Survivor are all about conspiracies.
There are many reasons why people believe in conspiracy theories, but ultimately, people like stories and simply want to know. So when a story is filled with holes and leaves the reader questioning, a healthy dose of conspiracy theory-ing never hurt anybody. Not all conspiracy theories are true, like those who believe climate change is a hoax. Additionally, some theories are so far-fetched it will leave any sensible person side-eyeing, but there are some theories that were proven to be true or have some elements of truth to them.
The conspiracy theory of conspiracy theories is that conspiracists are all lumped together and labelled crazy to leave no room for the few who make logical speculations. That’s a mouthful!
Here’s a break down to help you distinguish the different types of conspiracists:
The erratics — These are the people who make outrageous claims, such as believing the earth is flat and that climate change is a hoax despite the plethora of evidence that has proved these claims to be false.
The fun — These are the people who make theories about non-serious matters that are somewhat believable. Like those who believe that the Ali/Liston fight was staged.
The analyzers — These people are essential. They fill in potholes in stories and try to make sense of things that the general public doesn’t have answers to. They understand when something is not right and naturally start speculating. Because of the analyzers, the U.S. government was exposed for injecting radiation to its citizens for 30 years to prepare themselves for a nuclear attack. These people often have an analytical eye and are healthy critics. They are not stupid and know when a story doesn’t add up.
In conclusion, conspiracy theories are everywhere, and we all engage in them, whether it is about trivial matters or serious mysteries like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Whether major conspiracy theories are real or not, only time will tell…like it always does.
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