THEY made me write this.
Just kidding. No one made me write this.
Or did they?
All right, enough. We can all recognize the conspiracy theorist. Sometimes we’ve ended up trapped in a corner with them while they prattle on about how Barack Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii or how the Trilateral Commission got together with the Illuminati and smuggled 50,000 North Korean soldiers into strategic positions near Nanaimo, British Columbia, disguised as ice cream sales representatives so that they can smuggle specially formulated hypnotic sprinkles into the nation’s Ben and Jerry’s ice cream outlets. (Actually, you probably haven’t heard the second one. I just made it up…Or did I?)
But while we’re very good at spotting other people’s weirdo bullshit, our talents fall off dramatically when trying to spot our own. (It’s probably due to a malfunction in the chip the aliens implanted in our brains. You know about the aliens, don’t you?) So as a public service here at jimsnowden.com, I wanted to offer my own little self-diagnosis kit for spotting signs of conspicuous conspiracism. Everyone you know will thank me if you take this seriously.
1. Are you fond of saying “There are still a lot of unanswered questions”? Do you continue to say it after someone answers your questions?
2. Do you assert already debunked notions as if they were facts? And do you, when shown the evidence debunking your position, accuse the person you’re arguing with of having been brainwashed or manipulated (presumably by the guilty forces you’re trying to expose)?
3. Do you grant superpowers to those you believe are involved in the conspiracy. Do you assign them complete yet undetectable control over the media, the government, or business? Do you assert that they’re capable of managing improbable feats of timing and coordination?
4. When you cite the opinions of experts who agree with you, are these experts discussing a subject from outside their field? (e.g. “Nobel Prize winning economist Jeff Soandso agrees with me that the 9/11 crashes couldn’t have melted steel.”)
5. Do you make dark references to what you consider the aberrant lifestyles of those you think are part of the conspiracy? Do you spin feverish fantasies about their activities in bedrooms away from prying eyes?
6. Have you, at any point in the last week, thought of someone as a stooge or a dupe? (Larry, Curly and Moe excepted)
7. When analyzing any event that can be explained by coincidence, incompetence or malevolence, do you always opt for malevolence?
8. When criticized for your belief, do you often comfort yourself with idea that since no one has disproved your conspiracy, it must therefore be true?
If you’ve answered yes to more than a couple of these questions, you’ve probably taken leave of at least a few of your senses. To get back on track, I suggest that you try to remember that even the worst people are people. Like everyone else, they’re prisoners of their past, their environment, their upbringing. They make enormous mistakes, and it’s often the mistakes they’re covering up, not crimes. They don’t command limitless resources. Their personal lives are (probably) not mirror images of your (ostensible) moral rectitude. Criminal conspiracies do happen, and sometimes they succeed, but their perpetrators don’t have superpowers or control the world. They’re ordinary people who, at best, control one small piece of the world, for a brief period, before the law, a rival, or the grim reaper snatch it from them.
Of course, that’s just what THEY want you to think.