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The top 5 conspiracy theories. Believe any?

Elvis is an anagram of lives. He must be still alive!

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.”

Nope. Quoll.

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’.

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We got thinking about this in the office this week after dealing with the Australian Vaccination Network and a litany of comments which pointed to the fact that vaccinations are controlled by ‘Big Pharma’ who are trying to make a motza by, you know, protecting us from serious disease.

Big Pharma (is a company that sells grain harvesters to men and women of the land known as Big Farmer?). The conspiracy theorists (aka the Meryl Dorey & the AVN) in this instance make no mention of the fact that if ‘Big Pharma’ really wanted to strip our pockets they’d create a vaccine we need every year. Or every month. A few jabs per person in a lifetime is an awful business model.

The whole truth and nothing but the truth?

In the age of Google, everyone’s an expert. When I interviewed the director of the Woodford Folk Festival to ask him why he believed Meryl Dorey wasn’t spreading misinformation (something she has officially been called out for) his answer? I Googled it. He said he found ‘pages and pages and pages’ of information of doctors against vaccination.

The truth is, if you’re looking for a conspiracy, you’ll find one. And on the Internet you’ll find people who think the same way. Yes, what if the kitty nibbles industry is controlled by Big Dog to subjugate felines everywhere? What if indeed.

The same money arguments crop up whenever anyone attempts to have a reasonable (HA HA HA) chat about climate change and how much of an impact humans are having on it. Heard the one about governments bribing scientists? Anybody who studies or researches climate change and finds evidence to suggest it’s real and humans are having an effect stand to gain from the ‘Big Con’.

In these arguments anything released by the Government is automatically ruled out as ‘evidence’ but anyone who has ever written a blog is an esteemed voice of reason whom you should listen to. Especially when they reference other blogs. Definitely.

What are the qualities of a conspiracy theorist? Fear. They fear being lied to, misled, punished, subjugated and otherwise contained. And they see collusion as a byproduct. Remember high school? Remember being excluded? They’re talking about me, I just know they are.

Some things, they never do change.

PS: Someone just told me that Barack Obama was indeed not born in Hawaii. He was raised under the ocean by a school of whimsical gropers with an interest in politics.

Do you know anyone with their own conspiracy beliefs? Anyone discussing faked moon landings and such at your family reunions? What about you?