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Conspiracy theories

As a student of history, I get the impression that conspiracy theories are based on a touching belief that human beings are more organised than historically has been the case. I am currently reading about the English attack on Hispaniola during Oliver Cromwell's tenure. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The attack was not thwarted by underhanded means but by incompetence and bad luck. The English did manage to filch Jamaica from the Spanish but that was not the original intention.

It's important to be openminded about any theory on particular events even if one suspects it is a conspiracy theory. A request for evidence should be the first thing historians ask.


I recently read an very interesting interview in the UK Guardian Newspaper, where the interviewer/journalist spoke with a self confessed conspiracy theorist whom was labelled for some quite awful online content, such as extreme anti-semitism, among other flavours of discrimination. It was a very sensitively handled piece, and instead of the common attack on the guy that is the usual tack of such pieces, he was desperately trying to understand why an essentially decent and friendly guy would say such awful things.
The conspiracist was of the usual type, not especially smart in his conspiracy thinking, despite being intelligent, but rather subsumed into the conspiracies he swam in with little question. On being carefully challenged on these he instantly started to withdraw from the conversation, unable to counter the factual questioning, but unwilling to to engage. But the most interesting part for me was when the interviewer tried the interesting tack of trying to engage in real conspiracies, such as the current enquiry and exposure of the UK Post Officer scandal and other similar outrages. The guy could not discuss these real conspiracies at all, could not put these in the same light as his fictional ones.
It seemed he was overwhelmed by a world out of his control and knowledge, felt a helpless victim to power and circumstance, and had withdrawn into what was a safe world of false conspiracy, one he could do nothing about but could be a part of something with others, knowing something no-one else knew, gaining some sort of power of his own through it, without any responsibility to the world of the real. Maybe even in complete denial of what he couldn't face.
This seemed such a poignant tale and sad in it roots. The guy wanted to shout out to all what he thought was wrong in the world, but only succeeded in hurting others and being rejected. This didn't seem at what he was after, not some internet troll, looking to hurt and upset then watch for vicarious pleasure before moving on to some other pasture green.

[Caveat]: This is to my best memory, and my memory isn't too good in certain ways. I couldn't reread this, I can't describe why, sorry, so instead I've provided the url so anyone else who cares to can compare my take on this with what's written and their own conclusion. ‘You’re going to call me a Holocaust denier now, are you?’: George Monbiot comes face to face with his local conspiracy theorist
There is talk about conspiracy theories between me and friends at the autism charity drop-in and when I was at college too, there is also a Mel Gibson film I believe about conspiracy theories, I just saw this newspaper article about conspiracy theories on the metro newspaper website:-
link to metro story

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