I’m a conspiracy theorist. I have the strong belief that things aren’t always as they seem. This may be a bit ironic – given my adoration for politics. Even if I’m not right on my theories, they’re fun to come up with, right?
My finding entertainment in conspiracy theories could be labelled as disbelief in them, which isn’t true at all. I honestly hold the belief in some of them. Some ridicule the theories, as they don’t want to believe that the government may be tricking them. Others choose to adopt the theories to protect themselves from the horror that people could honestly be evil enough to commit heinous crimes.
A close correlation has been found between avid conspiracy theorists and the likelihood to deny proven scientific facts (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0075637). The five scientific facts most likely to be denied were climate change, vaccines, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the links between HIV and AIDS and smoking and lung cancer.
The likelihood of believing in a free market also increased (sorry Republicans and fellow Libertarians) with the belief of conspiracies. But that makes me curious. Why is there such a correlation? Is it a snowball fallacy? The government lies about one thing, therefore they must lie about everything? One thing is untrue, therefore, everything must be a lie? Or, is it more along the lines of trying to prove oneself? As in, this one belief I have is unproven, but if I believe several odd concepts, maybe one of them will be right and I will gain respect and notoriety.
Given, some theories are easier to believe than others. Por ejemplo (hey, my blog title is in Spanish, you can’t honestly expect me to always speak in English), I find the claims about the Sandy Hook shooting being a hoax (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzibL8UN0vo – it’s an hour and a half long if you find yourself sleepless and wanting to investigate whether or not the death of several first graders was real or not) to be more believable than the claims that Princess Diana faked her death (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8hAP23YPpM – although I do guess it is possible that she could’ve been been murdered, some of the claims against her are arguably void).
Some conspiracy theories have more reasoning behind them. The moon landing being faked because America wanted to impress the Russians? Okay, anything is possible, but I would like to believe that we are not that petty (you think not posting a picture with an ex is a petty way of trying to get back at your boyfriend/girlfriend? Try faking landing on the moon.) 9/11 being staged because the government wanted to pass the Patriot Act? That’s a little bit more believable.
To keep conspiracy theories in check, we need to also consider the latent and the manifest functions of the event. The manifest function is something that is intended. In the over-quoted example in any introductory sociology class, the example of public schools would be given. The manifest function of school would be the children learning and gaining knowledge. The latent function would be the children socializing and the parents not having to watch their children (let’s be real, I’m sure somewhere along the way this became a manifest function.)
The arguable mass of a theory would be whether or not the effects from the event would be latent or manifest. 9/11, for example. Allow me to look into two different circumstances, the first one being that IF 9/11 was a conspiracy and planned by the government, the second one being if 9/11 was actually a non-insider terrorist attack.
Case 1- The Government Caused 9/11
All of these would be manifest functions and were the ultimate goal of the event-
- The Patriot Act is passed
- September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/06/news/economy/911_compensation_fund/)
Case 2- The Attacks on September 11th Were Terrorist Attacks and Were Not Premeditated
All of these would be latent functions and there was no ultimatum of the event on the American side-
- The Patriot Act is passed
- September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
As you can see, in the world of conspiracies, the latent and manifest effects would ultimately be the same. From a governmental perspective, if a man really did use an assault rifle in a movie theater why would they not use it to push for stricter gun control laws?
Many conspiracy theorists refuse to acknowledge these components before analyzing an alternative theory. The Mandela Effect, por ejemplo, is one theory which even beginner psychology can debunk (maybe there are alternative universes or time travelers and the scientific field released fake studies to cover this up, who knows, but I seriously think that if this were the case, they would be invested in more that the misspelling of a children’s show where the main characters are overly-charismatic bears).
In conclusion, conspiracy theories are wonderful. I believe that to see the world than for more than what you’re told is a sign of intelligence. However, before we jump on the conspiracy bandwagon, we must first analyze ourselves and our motives for believing. At the end of the day, we will never know what was written in the emails of Hillary Clinton, if JFK was really shot by Oswald, if the Illuminati are still in existence, the true motives of HAARP (which is terrifying if you haven’t already researched it), if Area 51 is a cover-up for something more sinister, if there is life on other planets, if the catholic church is just modern day Babylonian paganism (I just heard about this one today, it’s interesting, to say the least), if David Miscavige (the leader of the Church of Scientology) actually enslaves people, if every governmental system kidnaps children for sex (but seriously, I read a really good Reddit type-out about it), or if Obama is the Antichrist. We may never know, but we can always speculate.
Would you guys be interested in hearing about some conspiracy theories? Leave a comment if so and which ones you’re interested in!