General Question

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

How come people completely dismiss "conspiracy theories" without actually looking into it?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (9189points) July 24th, 2008

It seems my parents generation, do not believe anything that doesnt come from MSM. If they havent heard it on tv, its a conspiracy theory. What makes people think this way?

May I assume that after the Kennedy assassination, MSM made a fool of ‘conspiracy nuts,” so now ppl are afraid of questiong things in fear of being nuts??

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40 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I do not accept that people dismiss conspiracy theories without looking into them. How would you know that? People is a generalization.

shilolo's avatar

What, exactly is MSM? Is that an acronym for main stream media? Maybe its because conspiracy theorists are (for the most part) nuts. I’m not from that generation, but most conspiracy theorists have arguments that they can’t prove, and, of course, will reject outright arguments and data that do disprove their theories as just another part of the conspiracy. So, they cannot be convinced. Its like a fixed delusion.

nikipedia's avatar

Because we’re all brainwashed. Isn’t that the answer you’re looking for?

Lightlyseared's avatar

What made everyone ignore the Kennedy assassination conspiracy nuts was the evidence!

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


You are right. I apologize. Why do MOST people?

Indy318's avatar

Conspiracy theory are usually created in efforts to explain a freak or otherwise unaccepted reason. Conspiracy theories don’t neccassarily resolve an event but to look at an event through a different prospective. They may be ridicolus or laughable but they fill the void left after a tragedy. For example, most of the evident links Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin in JFKs murder. However, people found it hard to believe that such an oridinary low-life could have killed of the most iconic figures of the 60s. Conspiracy theory arose in order to apply a fitting ending to such a person. Americans wanted to believe there was more to the death but came up dry when trying to prove the thoeries. Our emotions allow conspiracies to take root but our minds ultimately prevail and rationalize the situation.

scamp's avatar

There are some things we will never know the complete truth about. If we did know the truth, it could create a type of mass hysteria that would not be healthy. Also there is absolutely nothing I could do about these things except becoming a quivering paranoid mass, and beleive me, it wouldn’t be pretty.

kevbo's avatar

It has been my experience. My dad, in fact, sat me down for three hours to determine whether I was in touch with reality over my “conspiracy laden” opinion of 9/11. I found out two hours into our coversation that he hadn’t watched the videos I sent him, because he knows that our system of checks and balances hasn’t failed and that the media would surely have broken this story if it were true. So he didn’t need to look at a video that “one guy” posted on the internet. I had the same reaction from a lot of family. (I’d also recommend this video.) I guarantee you if you watch Improbable Collapse, your mind will change.

Of course, I buried my lead (the videos) with a rather grand proclamation of what I now believe to be true. I think that’s the problem. So called “conspiracy theorists” or even better “truthers” are so overwhelmed by having pierced the veil that they can barely contain themselves. It’s much better, I think to plant a small question in a conventional thinker’s mind and let them figure it out from there.

My other answer is that to reach a conclusion of conspiracy one has to turn their outlook upside down. It’s easier to believe that someone made a mistake, or that they’re dumb, or that there was a coincidence, because we assume that other people try as hard as we do to get it right or at least follow a more forthright agenda that we might not agree with. It is much harder to imagine that, for example, a faction of our government would invent (or perhaps pay) an enemy and the orchestrate mass murder of American citizens for the purpose of advancing a war agenda that would mask the draining the U.S. Treasury. It’s much easier to believe that Osama and his posse slipped into Pakistan through the mountains of Tora Bora because the military made the mistake of surrounding them on three sides and guarding only one of two escape routes (see 9/11 Press for Truth) than to believe that we’re really not in pursuit of Osama because the whole al-Qaeda charade is simply a way to knock off Iraq and get the ball rolling.

“Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber—a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms—our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” – Dubya

“I can hire half the working class to kill the other half.” – Jay Gould

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

the draining link does not work

allengreen's avatar

When someone says “conspiracy theories” it allows them to avoid thinking about the topic, and allows them to return to their PlayStation’s and Big Mac’s.
This is an example of heuristic processing of information, where “A” therefore “Q”. Thinking requires energy and motivation, and after years of TV programming and high-fructose
corn syrup, and perscription medication, crying “conspiracy” allows one to go forward bubble intact.
It is an excuse to not be analytical, intellectual laziness.

kevbo's avatar

I’d disagree completely. Accepting the mass media story is laziness of thought. So called “conspiracy theorists” have to spend a lot of time digging up and analyzing information.

kevbo's avatar

Tell me if you consider this un-analytical, intellectual laziness.

allengreen's avatar

Kevbo—I think you are on the money

allengreen's avatar

Kevbo—check this blog out, it is not mine, but I think the author is on to something, and is a great writer as well…...

btko's avatar

People are scared, there are fewer and fewer things that people can hanging on to and trust. People don’t trust their neighbors. People don’t trust the guy walking behind them on the street. People trust news less and less.

As people lose these foundations they grasp even tighter to the ones that are left.

Look at the horrible food we eat. People trust the government and corporations. They ask “Why would the government let us eat toxic food?”. People eat at McDonalds because they won’t truly accept the complete lack of ethics involved in distributing this so called “food”.

If people can’t trust the government what options do they have left? When people start to question the reality that they depend on they become scared and defensive.

kevbo's avatar

and @allen i think i misread your tone/POV. My apologies

allengreen's avatar

no apologies, I push the envelop sometimes, OK a lot. But, it is fair that I should take as much as I give—since I don’t live in a glass house, I sometimes throw stones…..

allengreen's avatar

And yes, as a real estate person, and a finance pro., I am indeed scared and defensive as the markets spiral. BTKo you nailed it

Crabby_Appleton's avatar

JFK…RFK..fake moon landing….MLKjr…World Trade Center…New World Order…Vince Foster…
There’s a conspiracy theory for everyone! All you have to do is look. They’re sort of like Urban Legends…those who are “in the know” are always shadow figures with no real credence behind them. Still, they make great fiction and are good for a smile.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


Don’t you notice a little pattern, just by the events you listed? They all fit together very well. Do you think it is all by coincidence?

Lightlyseared's avatar

so are you suggesting a grand unified conspiracy theory that suggests that….
a. we are all living in a matrix type construct
2. there is a secret shadow government so powerful as to be able to control everything yet keep it self totally secret (yet can’t manage the economy)
D. aliens did it.

btko's avatar

to me:

a) no

2.) possible

D.) possible

kevbo's avatar

@lightlyseared, we are living in a matrix-type construct. All of the world religions would agree with that statement. Saying “Matrix” connotes a sci-fi interpretation of that idea, but as The Police would say, we are spirits in a material world.

Manage the economy for whom? Halliburton seems to be doing very well. CEOs seem to be doing very well. Big pharma seems to be doing very well. Agribusiness seems to be doing very well. Blackwater seems to be doing very well.

I don’t know about aliens. I have enough evidence and inkling though to suggest that a cadre of elite regard average joes as cattle to be milked and slaughtered at their connivance convenience.

shilolo's avatar

Right this way, Kevbo, right this way. Your future is right behind that door… ;-)

kevbo's avatar

@shilolo, if you would, please articulate how you disagree with those statements. Personally, I’d prefer to believe that these things aren’t true.

What is your point of view and how would you explain the chain of world events in recent history?

shilolo's avatar

Well, since you asked… I don’t believe in shadow governments or conspiracy theories. I think they have been used historically to scapegoat numerous groups, without any evidence (thus the conspiracy theory). For example, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a fabricated document purporting to show a massive worldwide Jewish conspiracy to control the world. It is still in heavy rotation today in the Arab world, where it is believed to be true. Thus, whenever I hear about secret shadow groups (FreeMasons, Jews, etc.) running the US and the world, I get nervous.

As far as recent events are concerned, we live in a capitalist society. Some companies use their influence to enhance their competitive position. This is nothing new and has been going on throughout history.

kevbo's avatar

@shilolo and anyone else who is on board with “anti-conspiracy” (for lack of a better term), please watch 4 minutes of this Charlie Rose video of him interviewing Stephen Gagnan, director of Syriana. Click on the link and skip ahead to 48:35.

Hopefully the profundity of what he is saying is self-explanatory.

Lightlyseared's avatar

sorry guys I was just being flippant (I have had the day from hell, blood dripping from the ceilling and so much on the floor it washed out into the corridor, don’t ask)

as to the theories I suggested

a) It’s possible but you could never prove it. (at least not while still being a part of it)

2) I find it unlikely that any organization could fulfill the requirements to run everything without being noticed. Somebody would talk, somebody always does.

D) its possible (again) however I would hope aliens would have better things to do (although….)

As for conspiracy theories I take each on an individual basis. There is a basis of fact in some while others are the ravings of the clinically insane (Bacon wrote Shakespeare for example).

shilolo's avatar

@kevbo. With all due respect, a screenwriter who is embellishing stories to promote a movie/script may not be the best person to cite. His points are entirely unsubstantiated, which makes it difficult to assess their veracity.

I don’t deny that governments and companies often act secretly to promote their interests. After all, we do have the CIA for that. However, in general, my problem with conspiracy theorists is that it seems that every event known to man must have been orchestrated by someone else. Just because the CIA orchestrated the Bay of Pigs operation doesn’t mean that it was also responsible for 9/11.

kevbo's avatar

@shilolo, I don’t know what seal of approval you require, but I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree then.

btko's avatar

“Just because the CIA orchestrated the Bay of Pigs operation doesn’t mean that it was also responsible for 9/11”

That’s true – but it’s only true because the two don’t reference one another. If you cite the fact that the CIA trained Osama Bin Laden you would be on firmer ground regarding the conspiracy. Certainly not fact.. but it does allude to something..

shilolo's avatar

@Kevbo. An actual researcher perhaps? Someone with notable national security or espionage experience who legitimately cites his/her work?

@Btko. Again, this is where conspiracy theorists operate, in the loose connections. So what if the CIA provided training for Osama Bin Laden when he was fighting the Soviets. Actions often have unintended consequences, and even the brightest minds cannot predict the future actions of people. That he survived the war with the Soviets, and then turned his attention to the US is not news. More likely is that the CIA screwed up in backing/supporting the wrong guy (or didn’t eliminate him when they had the chance).

kevbo's avatar

@shilolo, you mean someone like this guy (a former CIA operative) or this guy (a former CIA operative) or this guy (a former LAPD narcotics officer) or this guy (a former FBI senior special agent in charge) or these guys (various professors and researchers) or this lady (career feminist and intellectual)? Those kind of actual researchers who cite their work and have some notable national security or espionage experience?

btko's avatar

I think one problem is national media outlets and government agencies have turned “conspiracy theory” into a dirty word, which immediately discredits a theorist in the mass-publics eye.

A theorist does just that… creates theories on possible conspiracies whereby government officials lie to the public in order to gain support. The theorist will often use examples from history to back up the claim. They are not using them as fact… they are citing the past to point out similarities. And often you will find that if something has happened once it just means we don’t know about the other times.

What draws me into conspiracy theories is the questioning of authority. Often times people will pose a question about possible conspiracy and be faced with ridicule and not an answer. That alone leads me to believe there must be at least some merit in the question.

kevbo's avatar



“All the Democrats are coming together and I think Independents and Republicans watch those two speeches today and say, you know what, these are the two gentleman we want to take over this government and take us into the new world, change the world, bring things together, work together, get us health care, get us out of this mess in Iraq. So we’re all very excited about it. I think it’s a great pick.”

Terry McAuliffe, Democratic National Committee Chairman, August 24, 2008

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I mean, to be perfectly honest, I looked into a few books and videos a while back about the whole 9/11 thing(meaning government was behind it). And there’s one thing that never made any sense, or I just never read or am forgetting. To what ends? Say the government did orchestrate two plains into the trade center one into the white house and one in Penn. where did it get them? A drawn out war in Afgan. that couldn’t be for any resources or strategic positioning, that has already far outweight any profit we could make. A shaken economy spiraling into the biggest depression since the ‘30s? I mean, Conspiracy theorists always talk about stories “not adding up” but that never added up with there story in my mind.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Because, even if any of these theories were true, what hell are you going to do about it?

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