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...