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The elements which underpin some conspiracy theories

Reader comment on item: Did a Conspiracy Theory Just Collapse?

Submitted by Dave (United States), Aug 18, 2022 at 15:03

The Sandy Hook conspiracy theory serves the interests of dire hard Second Amendment enthusiasts, since outright denial of the event is one way to avoid facing the ugly truth that legal gun ownership can sometimes lead to mass killings. The glaringly obvious physical evidence in this case shows just how far people will go to fantasize on behalf of their cause. This lawsuit verdict is constructive because now the pro-gun crowd will be encouraged to come up with some real solutions to such recurring tragedies beyond blaming gun-control advocates.

The Russia, Russia, Russia hearings about Trump's imputed collusion with Russia to win in 2016 were a lot murkier, but they showed just how far the Trump haters were willing to go discredit their target's success. Here, a better approach would have been forget the gimmicks, and instead to have simply criticized Trump's consistent praise of Vladimir Putin, and to have honestly debated the Democrats' reasons for their electoral failure. Trump's embrace of the stolen 2020 election conspiracy is the other side of the same coin. In this case, his belief in his inherent superiority has impeded his ability to accept his loss and introspectively face the reasons for it. Republicans would do well to have that discussion before history repeats itself.

Perhaps some of the strongest convictions exist among those who want to eliminate Israel. Here, we see Holocaust denial from Islamists in Iran, as well as from Mahmoud Abbas of the PA, dating back to his PhD thesis from his days at Patrice Lamumba University. There is also the related conspiracy theory that Jews have no historical connection to Israel, that Solomon's Temple never existed. It would be much better to face these realities and deal with them in a civilized way, but that's probably asking too much from the winged monkey crowd.

Fear, ignorance, denial and frustrated outcomes are some ingredients of conspiracies. Please read Dr. Pipes's book on conspiracies (on Amazon): "Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From". It goes into it all much more deeply and is fun to read.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Thank you for the plug. It was NOT fun to write.

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