Conspiracy Theories

Talkin' Conspiracies with PJ Media

Ed Driscoll interviews Jesse Walker.


Last week Ed Driscoll of PJ Media interviewed me about The United States of Paranoia, a book I may have mentioned a time or two on this blog. He has now posted both a podcast and a transcript of our conversation. Here's an excerpt:

The book, by contrast, costs a few bucks.
Nina Paley

MR. DRISCOLL: Any hopes that The United States of Paranoia will put an end or at least reduce some of the conspiracy mongering?

MR. WALKER: Oh, no. I mean, I didn't write this as an attack on conspiracy theories, although I'm very open about it when I think something isn't true. And I didn't write it as a collection of conspiracy theories that I believe in.

It's just sort of me looking at the stories and at American history and culture through that lens. So I'm not even trying to stop it here. But it would be fruitless to try to stop it, because that's just the way people's minds work.

Like I said, we're always going to be seeing signals, seeing patterns, creating narratives, being suspicious of people. And there's always going to be some conspiracies that are real, so some theorizing is going to be justified. And that's just the way it is, you know?

I was on TV a few days ago, and someone said conspiracy theories were toxic to democracy. And all I can say is, I hope not, because that means you could never have a democratic society.