Why Do We Call Ourselves "The Volokh Conspiracy"?
A little bit of absurdist humor that's stuck with us for 18 years.
A few people have asked why I named this blog The Volokh Conspiracy. The blog began back in 2002 as The Volokh Brothers, but when I realized I wanted us to grow, I had to change the last word.
I thought "The Volokh Gang," but then I thought some people might see it as derivative of the then-running political talk show "Capital Gang." I thought "The Volokh Group," but then I thought some people might see it as derivative of "The McLaughlin Group." I also realized that the names were derivative of those shows, so I consciously looked for something different.
Conspiracy struck me as unusual, memorable and a little (okay, only a little) amusing. First, I liked the incongruity of a conspiracy actually publicly announcing itself as a conspiracy. Second, it echoed "The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy," to which we belong, and also "The Jewish Conspiracy," to which most of the charter members and since then many of the more recent members have also belonged. But at the same time, as a self-chosen label, it also slightly mocked the term (just as many conservatives' embrace of the label "The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" slightly mocks the term, which was apparently popularized by Hillary Clinton).
So that's how it came about, and I think it's worked well for us. Some people might be a bit put off by it, and think we're connected to some conspiracy theory (though people who distribute conspiracy theories, in my experience, don't call themselves a conspiracy); or they might just think it a bit undignified (which I suppose it is). On the other hand, it does seem memorable; on balance, I think it's done us more good than harm. And in any event it's how we're known, so there's no changing now.