Wednesday 20 November 2002

Conspiracy theories go mainstream

Conspiracy theories have always abounded on the Internet, as a medium it's perfectly suited to wacky ideas. At the moment there's a lot of debate on the validity (or not) of many of these theories, it's very interesting to watch. A lot of the conspiracies which are mentioned you'll have seen on as posted stories -- if you're a regular visitor that is. There are a lot of criticisms levelled at the community in general and I agree that there are some far-fetched ideas, but better that they exist and our freedom of speech is maintained, rather than that they are censored and we all become information poor. At the end of the day if you think it's all BS then you have the choice to visit whichever websites you want to; that's the whole point. One sane contributer to the debate can be found here I may not agree with what the flit says but the arguments are non-vitriolic, well laid out and, dare I say it, rather amusing too!

My own view on it is that it's always better to have more people questioning the official line than not. Even if a lot of them talk codshit at least it's stimulating an interesting debate rather than everyone simply tuning out and watching Eastenders. It's also good to have people who question the people who question the official line, and of course people who question the people who question the people who question the official line :-)

ewars golden rule: When it comes to the media; question everything, trust no-one.

It's been a banner year for conspiracy theories. Forget the old days when the panic seemed confined to crop-circle farmers and alien-friendly hippies -- today, conspiracy theories are not just for the kooky fringe. The practice of outlandish hypothesizing has gone mainstream.

Everyone from your local bartender to the Queen of England is citing dark "unknown forces" that control society from the shadows. Consider it equal-opportunity paranoia.

This year, The New Statesman compiled a list of recent international opinion polls revealing that an extraordinary number of people believe that world events are being controlled by shadowy off-stage elements.

Among the revelations: A near-majority of the Arab world believes that Jews were warned of the World Trade Center attacks; an actual majority believes that the Princess of Wales was murdered because she had a Muslim boyfriend; more than 50 per cent of all black Americans believe that the Central Intelligence Agency approves of widespread drug use in their community because of its pacifying effect, and one-fifth believe that the AIDS epidemic was introduced by the CIA; 80 per cent of all Americans believe that the U.S. government is deliberately concealing the true explanation behind Gulf War syndrome.

Full story...