Beliefs in non-existent conspiracies are as old as man --- losers in every sort of contest have always cried, "We was robbed! It's a conspiracy!" Why? Ego --- claims that the opposition had to resort to conspiracies reinforce self-image as a force to be reckoned with, as compared to accepting a loss at face value and reinforcing a self-image as an inconsequential loser.
People do NOT face realistic assessments of their own consequence, or the consequence of their heroes, to history gracefully. JFK? Whacked by a nut who got lucky rather than a giant conspiracy to rob the world of a great statesman? The nut got lucky, JFK was well on his way to being a "Who?" in the history books.
Perhaps less numerous, but in addition to the wild eyed, weak minded, rumor ridden world of wacky conspiracy theories, we do find an entire world of real conspiracies...all the way down to one child blaming another for his or her own actions. Perhaps the ratio of whacky conspiracy theories to real ones is about the same as the ratio of whacky physics theories to real ones. Okay, I'm not really suggesting the math here, the point is that we find extreme interpretations and frauds on nearly any genuine theme; physics, religion, politics, economics, insurance...all can be associated with their own variety of nuts, wild interpretations, or other "unsanctioned" claims.
Conspiracy is a part of human nature. Consider “the inside track” in business. Many jobs are filled before they are ever advertised [as is often required by law]. The spirit of the law is lost in the personal relationships of coworkers. This is a conspiracy that happens daily.
Also, conspiracy is a bedfellow to politics: Watergate, Iran Contra, Gulf II[?], any coo you care to name such as the one that left Gorbachev and his wife hostage, or the assassination of presidents such as Lincoln, these are just a few examples in recent history. I am sure that you can name dozens of examples at will. So I guess my point is obvious: We can’t dismiss all conspiracies as being implicitly bogus. I suggest that one reason we expect conspiracies is that we have good reason to do so.
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