Feb 13, 2016
In the age of the internet, the world seems to be full of conspiracy theories. 9/11 was an inside job. Obama is a secret Muslim. And Donald Trump is actually running for President as a favor to the Clintons. As Rule 1969 of the internet goes, if it happened then someone on the internet believes it was actually done by the government. Of course, while we think of the conspiracy theory as a modern phenomenon arising out of the internet, they’ve been around for a long time. Kennedy’s assassination and the moon landings inspired a host of them. And medieval Europeans were incredibly adept at believing that Jews were responsible for the most outlandish things possible. However, as today’s guest explains, even though conspiracy theories fascinate us very little work has been done to bring together the academic research on them and try and see the broad patterns that make them up. And as we’ll discover in this conversation, there are good evolutionary reasons why we are conspiracy theorists. And, yes, we are all conspiracy theorists but, of course, no conspiracy theorist thinks they are a conspiracy theorist. Instead, they believe that their view of the world is the real one. Joe Uscinski is the author of American Conspiracy Theories.