Are Conspiracy Theories The Biggest Threat To Democracy?

Tyler Durden's picture

What is the common element between Liborgate, the Fed manipulating capital markets, China hoarding gold, and the recent ubiquotous NSA spying revelations? At one point, before they became fact, they were all "conspiracy theories" as were the Freemasons, the Illuminati, McCarthy's witch hunts, 9/11, and so many more. The same theories, which - don't laugh - are now part of a Cambridge University study titled Conspiracy and Democracy,  which looks at the prevalence of conspiracy theories and what they tell us about trust in democratic societies, about the differences between cultures and societies, and why conspiracy theories (ostensibly before they become fact) appear at particular moments in history. But, at its core, whether conspiracy theories will, as the BBC summarizes, it, eventually destroy democracy.

Because, supposedly, it is not the corruption at the top echelons of government, the ultimate usurpation of power by assorted globalist money groups "never letting a crisis go to waste", that plunder wealth from what is left of the middle class and hands it over, via latent inflation, asset bubbles and capital appreciation to the 1% peak of society's wealth pyramid (in the US), or kleptofascist, unelected bureaucratic groups seeking the "greater good" despite the complete tear of the social fabric (in Europe) that is a threat to democracy.

No - you see it is evil conspiracy theories and the theorists that spin them that are the biggest threat to the "democratic" way of life.

The BBC has more on this amusing, if potentially troubling, avenue:

"The reason we have conspiracy theories is that sometimes governments and organisations do conspire," says Observer columnist and academic John Naughton. It would be wrong to write off all conspiracy theorists as "swivel-eyed loons," with "poor personal hygiene and halitosis," he told a Cambridge University Festival of Ideas debate. They are not all "crazy". The difficult part, for those of us trying to make sense of a complex world, is working out which parts of the conspiracy theory to keep and which to throw away.


Mr Naughton is one of three lead investigators in a major new Cambridge University project to investigate the impact of conspiracy theories on democracy.


The internet is generally assumed to be the main driving force behind the growth in conspiracy theories but, says Mr Naughton, there has been little research into whether that is really the case. He plans to compare internet theories on 9/11 with pre-internet theories about John F Kennedy's assassination.


Like the other researchers, he is wary, or perhaps that should be weary, of delving into the darker recesses of the conspiracy world.


"The minute you get into the JFK stuff, and the minute you sniff at the 9/11 stuff, you begin to lose the will to live," he told the audience in Cambridge.


Like Sir Richard Evans, who heads the five-year Conspiracy and Democracy project, he is at pains to stress that the aim is not to prove or disprove particular theories, simply to study their impact on culture and society.

Impact on culture and society... and then judge: because if heaven forbid the fabled institution of higher learning that is Cambridge - the progenitor of many a statist thinkers - finds that conspiracy theories are a danger to fine, upstanding, democratic society... then what?

Why are we so fascinated by them? Are they undermining trust in democratic institutions?

No, but a far better question is do conspiracy "theories", at least until confirmed, simply provide the beholder with a far more skeptical view of a world than the one spoon fed by a complicit media, whose sole purpose is to perpetuate and multiply - hence enrich - the advertising dollars of the status quo? And is the long overdue questioning of everything that emanates from institutions of power a bad thing, or were people simply too lazy to think for themselves and let the government do it, at least until said "cognitive outsourcing" led to the second great depression of 2008?

David Runciman, professor of politics at Cambridge University, the third principal investigator, is keen to explode the idea that most conspiracies are actually "cock-ups".


"The line between cock-up, conspiracy and conspiracy theory are much more blurred than the conventional view that you have got to choose between them," he told the Festival of Ideas.


"There's a conventional view that you get these conspirators, who are these kind of sinister, malign people who know what they are doing, and the conspiracy theorists, who occasionally stumble upon the truth but who are on the whole paranoid and crazy. "Actually the conspirators are often the paranoid and crazy conspiracy theorists, because in their attempt to cover up the cock-up they get drawn into a web in which their self-justification posits some giant conspiracy trying to expose their conspiracy.

"And I think that's consistently true through a lot of political scandals, Watergate included."

Such a "complex" and profoundly introspective theory - truly something only a Cambridge professor could come up with.

[Runciman] is also examining whether the push for greater openness and transparency in public life will fuel, rather than kill off, conspiracy theories.


"It may be that one of the things conspiracy theories feed on as well as silence, is a surfeit of information. And when there is a mass of information out there, it becomes easier for people to find their way through to come to the conclusion they want to come to.


"Plus, you don't have to be an especial cynic to believe that, in the age of open government, governments will be even more careful to keep secret the things they want to keep secret. "The demand for openness always produces, as well as more openness, more secrecy."

You mean... like the NSA spying on everyone to be abreast of just what everyone knows?

Or does that mean that the Fed's faux transparency affair is nothing but a red herring designed to redirect attention from the Fed's true intentions somewhere else?


That said, having been accused of a conspiratorial bent on a few occasions, we kinda, sorta see where this is going, and will go so far as to venture that in a few years, the Cambridge study's conclusions (which certainly will cast all paranoid and crazy conspirators in a culpable light and worth of "social isolation"), will be escalated to enforce that anyone found of harboring "conspiratorial" thoughts will be bound and shackled in whatever WIFI-free dungeon the local host Big Brother government has created precisely for this ulterior subclass of humans.

But for now - conspire away... and upon exposing the deep lies beneath the surface of "democracy" - since the mainstream media simply refuses to be painted in the same paranoid and crazy brush - remember to promptly depart for the "evil undemocratic empire" that is Russia...

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Duc888's picture

No. Our government is the biggest threat to "democracy".

FreeMktFisherMN's picture

democracy is not desirable in the first place. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding on dinner. It is somebody else or the collective deciding what is 'good' for me. If something is good for me I will do it of my own accord.

I am an anarcho-capitalist. I am against the state. No state is legitimate. The state is nothing but an organized system of theft and violence. In a voluntaryist society there would be voluntary governance with direct accountability as opposed to 'delegation', and other natural institutions such as the family, and just the respect of private property and personal  liberty to keep order,  as opposed to artificial constructs of fiat of the state. 



dryam's picture

"When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

El Oregonian's picture

Is it true that our president is an illegal alien. Is that true?

If it is, then obviously we're all screwed.

Conspiracy: fact or fiction.



Future Jim's picture

Obama said he was born in Kenya, but I don't believe him ... because he is a liar.

bunzbunzbunz's picture

I like that your link couldn't have been anything of a reputible nature. Moron.

Skateboarder's picture

What do you expect? He's from the future. No source is reputable in the future.

Peter Pan's picture

Fascinating stuff. The word TRUTh shows up only once in the whole piece and the word LIES does not even make an appearance.

So what are we really trying to get to?

putaipan's picture

bring on the new libtard gatekeeping ebay funded greenwald/chompski wiki-wiki !!!!!

Manthong's picture


It all boils down to where your education, experience, indoctrination and/or faith lies.

There are lots of arguments that paint decent folks as evil doers and evil doers as decent folks.

I do not have personal experience seeing cyanide gassing and mass burials at Auschwitz, the lunar landing, the Tonkin Gulf incident or the purported demolition wiring of the WTC or WTC 7, but my education, intuition and faith leads me to certain dispositions.

It keeps me faithful, but skeptical.

Follow your bliss and information-based intuition, but remain skeptical of the fringes..

Oh, one thing I know for certain,,

The monetary system that was forced upon us is a scam.

GetZeeGold's picture





...but I don't believe him ... because he is a liar.


I know......damn that guy can lie. He does it everyday without fail.


I stand in awe of him really.

johnQpublic's picture

wasnt obamacare once just a conspiracy theory?

and he isnt coming for your guns either

nmewn's picture

I think you're on to something here.

Going Forward! I'm going to consider ObamaCare just one big ass conspiracy theory. Because clearly, no sane government would compel a person by law to buy a flat screen TV or force them to subsidize their neighbor in buying one.

BoNeSxxx's picture

I think you are onto something here nmewn... the operative word in you missive is 'sane'...

One might muse that it isn't conspiracy at all but simply the output of an insane leadership within the government.  The political and oligarch classes are plagued by psychopathy.  

Or, as the Fun Boy Three once sang, The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum.

nmewn's picture

The operative word is sane ;-)

As an aside, I've forgotten my damned password on the email account we have used in the past. So, if you have tried to contact me there, thats why I haven't responded. I keep that crap in my head instead of written down, for obvious reasons...maybe I'm getting

BoNeSxxx's picture

I'd hate to lose touch my friend.  You know you can contact me at my username @ gmail.

Holla when you get set up again.  

Stackers's picture

Conspiracy Facts are much more dangerous


"We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries." David Rockefeller [June, 1991]

"For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure -- one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it." -David Rockefeller, from his own book, Memoirs.

"The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining supercapitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control.... Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent." Congressman Larry P. McDonald, 1976, killed in the Korean Airlines 747 that was shot down by the Soviets

"This present window of opportunity, during which a truly peaceful and interdependent world order might be built, will not be open for too long... We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis, and the nations will accept the New World Order." - David Rockefeller speaking at the United Nations Ambassadors' dinner. [Sept. 23, 1994]

Dick Buttkiss's picture

Democracy, as in the rule of the people, has never existed and will not exist until the Unlimited State of America and its counterparts around the world are history.

Fortunately, that day is not far off and will begin later in this decade, led by the departure of one or another US state (my guess beingTexas):

Milestones's picture

Very interesting and informative posting. Thak you much for submitting it.               Milestones

Milestones's picture

Very interesting and informative posting. Thak you much for submitting it.               Milestones

malikai's picture

I hope you don't mind, but I just phoned your city council. We all agreed that drinks are on you. Forever.

therevolutionwas's picture

I'll go with the not sane gov't.

Race Car Driver's picture

> and he isnt coming for your guns either

Nope ... just the ammo.

therevolutionwas's picture

The MSM is not calling him on it.  If calling out his lies appear in their script, they will call him a liar. 

thestarl's picture

And how there could be only one tiny bit of grainy cctv footage of the Pentagon strike available as well as the supposed airliner hitting the mostly vacant side of the building which even for a top gun pilot would have been some feat.







fonestar's picture

Mr. Naughton writes...."The minute you get into the JFK stuff, and the minute you sniff at the 9/11 stuff, you begin to lose the will to live,"


No.  Mr. Naughton, we have instead reached into the recesses of our souls to find an unmovable conviction and a passion for truth, liberty and justice for all.  Mr. Naughton far from losing the will to live, we have found something greater than ourselves.  Something we are willing to trade our lives for.  Mr. Naughton, we have found the will to fight and to live as free men.

therevolutionwas's picture

Perhaps it was a warning; if you look too deeply you may lose your life......?

StandardDeviant's picture

I doubt it.  It's a common British expression, typically used when forced to deal with something you find intolerably inane or tiresome.

BigJim's picture

Guys like Naughton spend their entire careers... lives, even... picking up the balls the status quo hands them, and running with them.

The idea the balls might be unreliable red herrings utterly terrifies them.

Mainstream economists are typical in this regard. They'll cheerfully go on and on about GDP and talk about inflation and unemplyment and whether there's a recession... suggest to them that GDP, CPI, and unemployment statixstics are rigged and a look of pure panic sweeps across their features.

jimmytorpedo's picture

Hey Bunz, if you're hungry try consuming a dictionary.

It's more filling than down votes.

Svendblaaskaeg's picture

"Don't feed the trolls"

Trolls dont care, trolls on food stamps

Wahooo's picture

We don't need a book to figure out that obama is not an American.

IndyPat's picture

When All Fear Me, then THEY will know it is I, Lord Gothar! And that they don't know shit about fear! Imma bring it! Salah!

Better run bitchez. Or sue me.

StychoKiller's picture


I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Al Gorerhythm's picture

When capital conglomerates, its first purchase is government.

orez65's picture

"When capital conglomerates, its first purchase is government."


"When CROOKS conglomerate ..."

Real CAPITAL is simply SAVINGS.

Diogenes's picture

Has everyone forgotten that the US government was founded on a conspiracy theory? From the Declaration of Independence


But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
FeralSerf's picture

"When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

The government DOES fear the people. It fears the people will find out the truth. That's why it spends a HUGE amount of resources to keep the people from finding out the truth.

The truth may set us free, but in Cheney's (and his ilk's) case, the opposite might happen.

90's Child's picture

Democracy is just a word when the people are straving.

The Gooch's picture

"Democracy" IS a "conspiracy theory".

Groundhog Day's picture

A sure fire way of knowing it is a good conspiracy which has merits is there is a movie whipped up very quickly right after, to kinda factualize the conspiracy questions

FeralSerf's picture

DISinformation is an important tool in the keeping of a conspiracy secret. TPTB are still spending money on JFK disinformation.

Those that own history control the future.

mick_richfield's picture

I wonder how far back that history-owning stuff might go?

FeralSerf's picture

A very long way. The Church zealously guarded the "history" they created. Heresy got you executed by the most feared methods. Lots of wars were fought and lots of people killed to maintain acceptance and belief of their "history".

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Russian historian and chronologist Anatoly Fomenko says we don't have any original documents older than about 1000 years old.  Everything else (that is claimed to be of an older origin) is a 'copy' that was made in the 1300s or later.  Most of the falsifying happened in the late 17th century.

Any way, at the heart of his theories is the idea that the 'Mongols' were actually Turkic/Slavic, not from Mongolia, per se.  The Horde was able to lay siege to cities, and conquer armies, but holding territory was difficult, as the army (and its horses) always had to be on the move.  So mainly they demanded tribute.   The Black Plague occurred after a basically East to West Empire-wide trade network was set up, before this it wasn't possible to safely transport goods (every border you cross means paying duties, and/or being subject to pirates). 

So basically, his idea is that Turkey (the Ottomans) and Russia (the Kievan Rus, Golden Horde, Volga kingdoms etc) were friends, 500+ years ago, and only became enemies afterwards.   He goes on to posit that the Reformation was a political reform, or revolution, with the different European nations striving for their independence...

You can see how it would not benefit any European royalty to have this version of history circulate, back in the day.