Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Scholars Plot to Produce a Book

And now the cabal invites you to read it.



It's been three years since I flew to Miami to cover an interdisciplinary conference on conspiracy theories. For one weekend in 2015, a collection of historians, psychologists, philosophers, political scientists, and others—many of them with radically different worldviews—shared their research and squabbled over their conclusions. Many of the participants' papers have now been revised and assembled into a book called Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them, edited by Joseph Uscinski and published by Oxford University Press.

I have a chapter in there myself, since I presented a paper at the conference in addition to covering it. And while you can read an earlier version of my effort for free here at—we posted it back in 2015—if you want to see the final text with footnotes and everything, not to mention 30 more chapters from folks who don't all see these issues the way I do, then you oughta plunk down for the book. The topics covered range from conspiracy theories in Turkey to conspiracy theories in Argentina, from the psychology of rumors to the apocalyptic strain in religion, from "The Conspiracy Theory Pyramid Scheme" to "Conspiracy Theory Phobia." For a full table of contents, go here. To buy the book, go here.

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  1. Jesse, could you point me to an article that explains why conservatives are so susceptible to CT?

    1. Like seeing white power symbols everywhere, Russians getting Trump elected, Jared Kushner ordering the murder of that reporter? Oh wait…

      1. Im’a take a wild guess here and hypothesize that the real white power crowd is absolutely 100% on board with the theory that Jared Kushner is working with the Saudis to murder their enemies and manipulate Trump. Of course to the media and Left none of this will matter, and the Trump administration will continue to be the one that is “tainted” by their “association” with Nazism and anti-Semitism.

      2. “Jesse, could you point me to an article that explains why conservatives are so susceptible to CT?”
        Gee, turd, in between your lies, maybe you could tell us about that VFWC which was after your fave candidate.

        1. Sevo, I think you meant VRWC, as in the vast right-wing conspiracy.

          When Hillary alerted the press to the VRWC of which Hillary alerted the nation on NBC’s The Today Show. In 1995, she insisted that a VRWC was “conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president”.

          At the time I wrote to Hilary to thank her for bringing the VRWC to my attention and requested contact information. For some reason, I did not receive a reply.

          In 2016, Hillary doubled down on her VRWC theory, saying the the VRWC is even better funded now by the likes of multibillionaires, naming the dread Koch brothers whose evil aim is “to control our country. They want to rig the economy so they can get richer and richer.”

          That makes Reason part of the VRWC.

          Our dedicated public servants and elites in journalism, academia, and entertainment would never conspire or collude to do anything that was not clearly in the interest of the people.

    2. Conservatives care about stuff. People who don’t care about anything don’t care about conspiracies.

      Liberals who are only in it for themselves and only want to get other people’s money don’t have to imagine a conspiracy about why other people don’t want to have their money stolen from them. That’s obvious.

  2. OT:

    ‘Don’t do that.’
    Because it’ll kill you.’
    ‘Naah; hold my beer.’

    “Indian Island Police Struggle to Get Body of American”
    “NEW DELHI (AP) ? Indian authorities were struggling Thursday to figure out how to recover the body of an American who was killed after wading ashore on an island cut off from the modern world.
    John Allen Chau was killed last week by North Sentinel islanders who apparently shot him with arrows and then buried his body on the beach, police say.”

  3. The greatest believers in conspiracies–at least prior to the Kennedy assassinations–were DOJ prosecutors. Mabel Willebrandt was one such prosecutor who complained that her colleagues were going overboard with conspiracy indictments against bootleggers. Far easier, in her view, to obtain tax evasion indictments under the Manifesto income tax added to the Constitution by small-party spoiler votes–same as liquor prohibition. As soon as she published this in a syndicated column in August-September of 1929, the stock market slope changed sign and by October had accelerated into the Crash.

  4. “Conspiracy Theory Phobia”

    You mean the cabal of psychologists who put together our diagnostic codes are trying to create a diagnosis just to enrich themselves and convince us all that Donald Trump isn’t really the talking horn on the beast of Revelation 13?!

    That’s what the Illuminati wants you to think, Jesse!

  5. You don’t need to believe in that stuff to be special. Your friends and family value you. Not because you have the special knowledge (they probably wish you’d shut up about that stuff), but in spite of it, just because you’re you. It’s ok. It will be ok.

    Why not try to enjoy life and have a relaxing vacation instead of worrying about whoever secretly doing whatever in service of some shadowy agenda only you (and maybe a few others) understand?

    Stand down for a little while. See what happens. If there’s an emergency and things go horribly wrong, you know what to do. If there isn’t, then maybe you were a little too worried, and you can worry less going forward.

  6. Advertising this book like this is like, totally a conspiracy to make me, um, like, buy it?

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