12 December 2006
Why do people want to believe conspiracy theories?

Saturday I read about the theory that Litvinenko was killed by his own side.  Sunday I watch a BBC documentary on the Diana conspiracy.  Monday, I hear that a man has been denied entry to Iran for Holocaust denial denial.

Why do people believe this stuff?  More to the point, why do they want to?  Is it because they want to be initiated into some sort of secret society - those who know the truth - and thus feel special?  Is it because they distrust their governments?  This worries me because they simultaneously believe their governments to be all-powerful.

Is it just sheer boredom with being rich? a desire to smash up the system that underpins prosperity so that something more “interesting” can come along.

Is it because people have read too many Agatha Christie novels and got used to the idea that the answer is not the easy and obvious one right in front of your face?

I probably shouldn’t let it bother me - it’s just that I have an uneasy feeling about it.

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  1. “Is it because they want to be initiated into some sort of secret society - those who know the truth - and thus feel special?” In a word, yes, although the inclination might not be so overt as to make them aware of it themselves.

    Posted by James Hamilton on 12 December 2006 at 05:26pm

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