We’ve been had! Haven’t we? That’s what conspiracy theorists believe; that a group of powerful people (somewhere! somehow!) have colluded into making the world believe something that isn’t true.
Like the fact that Elvis isn’t REALLY dead. Or that the moon landing was faked. Or that September 11 was ‘an inside job’ by either the Americans or Israel.
And now, these people have access to the Internet. (But why does it always look like their web sites were designed by a ClipArt fanatic in 1998?)
I’ve never quite understood how people can snatch nonsense from the jaws of reason.
It’s a conspiracy, they’ll tell you. Probably IN ALL CAPS LIKE THIS. But why?
My mum believes – not just thinks but believes – a spotted quoll (an extremely rare and exotic, carnivorous, Australian mammal almost never seen in rural Queensland) dragged one of her chickens to an early demise.
She has literally no evidence to suggest this, of course, except for some drag marks on the ground. In the absence of hard data she didn’t just leap to the spotted quoll conclusion but threw herself under it.
“Was it a cat, perhaps?” I asked. No. It was a quoll. “But they’re very rare, you know.”
And so the Great Quoll Conspiracy was born. And it was a conspiracy. The very definition of one, if we grant that somewhere out there a bunch of rare mammals were plotting to flummox my mother. Mum does not yet have her own website nor much of a following for her conspiracy theory.
But plenty do. Here are the most popular (feel free to add your own in comments)
1. The September 11 attacks were an ‘inside job‘, orchestrated by the Government (or Israel) to start a war in the Middle East.
2. Climate change is not human induced and everyone who says it is has been paid off.
3. Elvis is alive and never died and has assumed a secret identity to live somewhere else, away from the spotlight. Either that or ‘the aliens took him’.
4. Princess Di was murdered. By the Royal Family because her impending nuptials to a Muslim man would have been an embarrassment.
5. The moon landing was faked, staged in some NASA basement to trick us all.
If you take the genre of conspiracy theories from 911 truthers (did the Government bring down the twin towers on purpose? Was it orchestrated by Jewish people to start a war with the Middle East?) to ‘Elvis is alive’ the alleged motives for conspiring to dupe us all usually involve money, politics or power or a combination of all three. Which makes as much sense as anybody trying to explain why Princess Di was killed by ‘the Arabs’.