Why are Conspiracy Theories going Mainstream?

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posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 01:05 PM
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This thread was inspired by another one, posted in Board Business and Questions by silent thunder, who says:


The kinds of ideas, issues, and whatnot that ATSers have been familiar with for years or even decades are still mostly unknown to non-fringe-dwellers, but this is changing before our eyes.

One of the most obvious and powerful examples is the way the "goldbugs" and "economic doomers" have been repeatedly proven right again and again. From the financial woes and now the gulf crisis, people are waking up and groping for not only new answers, but entire new perspectives and worldviews.

We take for granted being treated as cranky outsiders and edge-thinkers out of step with the conventional view...but the unimaginable is happening: the world is coming to *us.* Somehow I thought being "proven right" would feel better after all these years of condescending smiles. Instead I find myself more disturbed than ever.

I predict that this trend will continue and accelerate as our world falls apart in the coming dark years... How will ATS change along with this trend? What should it do? What should it not do? How can it make the most of what seems certain to be a massive shift in social perception? How can we help ever more people to Deny Ignorance?

This is certainly a subject worth discussing, but it raises another, possibly even more interesting question. That's the question I ask in the thread title. I'm sure my friends and - ahem - colleagues on ATS will have a lot to say about it.

To kick off, here's my two cent's worth on the subject:

  • Conspiracy theories usually multiply when people are kept in the dark. This I have observed when living or travelling in repressively governed parts of the world, places where dissent leads to intimidation, incarceration or execution. But the United States is not such a country, except in the eyes of the incorrigibly paranoid: in America, no-one needs to be in the dark if they don't want to be. Coverage of current affairs may be poor or bizarrely slanted in the consumer ('mainstream' to you) media, but speech is free and the sources are there if you look. So why are people in the dark? I submit that it is because the average American is suffering from information and stimulus overload. The multiplicity and sheer complexity of life in the twenty-first century are more than the average US citizen - or anyone else, for that matter - can process. Life has become too complicated for the average citizen to make sense of, so conspiracy theories (which are always much simpler than real life however convoluted they seem) gain ground. They are a kind of intellectual analgesic, paracetamol for the mind.

  • The other reason conspiracy is going mainstream is that the world - all of it, not just the West - has been growing more authoritarian since the late 1990s. All over the rich world, governments have been moving steadily to the political right. New Labour in the UK is more right-wing in its economic and social policies these days than the Conservatives. Economically successful countries with authoritarian governments, such as China and Singapore, have become more assertive in defence of their methods; they have been joined by a chorus of wannabe economic tigers from the Third World, including my own unfortunate country. Petty tyrants like Hugo Chavez and that Ahmadinajad fellow gleefully cackle, in chorus, that the West is done for, even as they repress and expropriate their own people.

So the world gets more complex, people long for security and simplicity. Tyranny grows out of this fear and confustion. So does the prevalence of conspiracy theories.




posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 01:23 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Conspiracies are going mainstream because the mainstream is dying and is forced to show a little truth. Because of the internet people now know the truth and want more. Also i think the New World Order is at a point where it is loosing control.



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 01:41 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


My theory..... because it's potentially emotional responses will keep people watching and keep the MSM going. After there's nothing to report you gotta find something even if it means nutjobs, whack theories and speculative propaganda because I think we all know if it bleeds it leads.

My partial 2 cents.



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 01:58 PM
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I think it goes beyond individual conspiracy theories. There's been a change in the public consciousness. I've been discussing this with friends for a while, and all of us have been surprised by just how many people, and in some cases, which people in particular, have started to seriously voice their doubts about a great many things.

I think more and more people are waking up to the actual realisation that we are being deceived. We may disagree on which things are lies and which things aren't, but a lot of the people I've been speaking to lately have been quite unabashed in their view that the government, the banks, and all the big businesses are deceiving the public blatently.

I think that group shift in perspective has created an interest in finding out for sure which things are lies and which aren't, which creates an environment where it becomes ok to question everything, because if you are aware that someone is lying to you, you must give greater scrutiny to every word they say, and take nothing on face value.

That's how we'll beat the big bad New World Order (or whichever "They" you subscribe to), we'll collectively tell them to *ahem* off and in doing so, we'll rob them of their influence, and therefore their power.

Unless they kill us all with chemtrails or vaccines or chemicals in our food first, of course!



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:08 PM
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Because not every conspiracy is a theory? (That's a banner from a new show I caught an ad for the other day.) I agree that if people are kept in the dark and lied to enough this is the natural progression.



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Has it occurred to you that some conspiracy theories are real and becoming blatantly obvious to anyone with half a brain, that's not being paid to say otherwise, or without a swollen ego.

No it can't be, it's a psychological reaction to the times we live in.

Whatever prolongates your state of denial.



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Why are Conspiracy Theories going Mainstream?



Because finally, thanks to the www. people and the media are being forced to look at the truth; that there are actual conspiracies of manipulation and control of the masses. Propaganda machines, spin miesters, Madison Ave., A&R specialists, think tanks, govt. agencies, news outlets, etc. all spreading disinformation and lies.

Eventually common sense will rule over manufactured ideologies that people take comfort in and the mainstream knows this and is changing out of self interest.


God Bless all the whistleblowers and anyone with a camcorder or camera in a cellphone that points it at evil.




[edit on 17-6-2010 by whaaa]



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:35 PM
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Yesterday everything you did was covert, nobody carried a camera with them unless they were a reporter. Cellular phones were mounted inside of your car and they called them CB radio they could only dial out 40 channels well usually anyway.
But today is the day of technology, everyone carries a phone and attached to that phone is a camera, video camera, word processor, calculator and pretty much every tech idea ever thought of. Most important of these is the web connection. With this kind of technology I all the way over in Kalifornia USofA can know what a man in France had for breakfast, possibly even know what he had before he did.
With this technology we have nothing is covert.
So you ask why Conspiracies are going main stream, because the PTB need to find a way to explain the evil that men do.



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 03:13 PM
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Its from 9 11. the Conspiracies about 9 11 got in to the press. and people can see that some of the Conspiracies come true. the only big problem for us is. with so many people paying attention Them! will have to do some thin big to stop us... so expect some thing nasty and underhanded to discredit us. maybe make us look like terrorists of aliens!.



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 03:16 PM
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I think because the mainstream is actually the fringe, and with the failing economy and corrupt politics, people are finally caring enough to realize the establishment is corrupt. As little as five years ago, people were all USA! USA! Kill Bin Laden! the patriotism is running low and people are angry at real issues not the towel ban.

[edit on 17-6-2010 by filosophia]



posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 10:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far.

To those who say conspiracy theories are going mainstream because the conspiracies they propose are real, I put the question: where's the evidence? I don't mean the kind of 'evidence' conspiracy fans tend to present for their theoiries - all hints and links and what-if's and that-ain't-no-coincidence assertions - but real evidence that provides unambiguous proof of a wrongdoing. The Wikileaks kind of thing, you know.

The actual evidence for the conspiracies most discussed on ATS hasn't suddenly grown any more credible than it used to be.

I agree that technology, particularly the internet, has a lot to do with it. I once started a thread with a post about the effect of the internet on conspiracy theories: see here. But what about the factors I mentioned earlier - the baffling complexity of modern life and a global drift towards authoritarianism? Don't they play a role?



posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 01:25 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





The actual evidence for the conspiracies most discussed on ATS hasn't suddenly grown any more credible than it used to be.


The evidence has always been credible. If we had 100% proof, it wouldn't be conspiracy theories, would it?

People are just waking up to see the evidence.

Like I said, it's becoming more blatant for anyone to see.



posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 03:13 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 



People are starting to look into the federal reserve, there you have it.. a 'conspiracy' with 100% proof. You can read it on their own website.. and where can you go from there? Multiple conspiracies with evidence, not proof, but evidence.



posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 03:26 AM
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The economic downturn that was predicted here isn't just a theory but something a bit concrete that is backed-up by research and a lack of MSM brainwashing. The mainstream folks are smart enough to know that they're being lied to when they get the hurt themselves.

They're kind of like animals (or people for that matter), they have to get knocked-up before they learn their lesson. Then again, maybe not... Some folks do get screwed over again and again without realizing that they're being screwed.



posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 02:11 AM
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I believe there are a number of cultural and sociological reasons for the proliferation of conspiracy theories. Mainly, the following:

1. Gullibility - I've noticed a genuine lack of regard for skepticism and critical thinking, which seems to have begun toward the end of the 1980's. Why this is happening, I'm not sure, but anyone who's been around since the 1970's can clearly see how real science has been drummed out of the mainstream culture in favor of psuedo-science. This is evident in the case of science magazines disappearing from the shelves(Popular Science magazine is one of the only ones left) and the dumbing-down of documentary series (Nova, for example) that once tackled serious, complicated topics but now seem like they're made for ten-year-olds. Also, the proliferation of cable shows like Monster-Quest and UFO hunters that present themselves as serious documentaries but are, in fact, pure entertainment.

2. Lack of education - this factor comes into play with regard to political conspiracies, which are - in a way - empowering to those who have no power over current events. Unless one is an engineer, one has little influence over the course of technological advancement. Unless one has a law degree, one has little influence over the legislative process. I suppose one could, if elected to office, have a great deal of influence over governmental affairs, but most people aren't in such a position.

However, if one truly believes that the entire system is rigged and the "mainstream media" is corrupt, then one feels empowered in being the holder of the ultimate "truth". No evidence is necessary, and no credentials need be checked.

3. Conspiracy theories are entertaining - in a time when originality seems a sparse commodity among popular movies, and the music industry is dying a miserable death, conspiracy theories fill a gap for those searching for any kind of enlightenment. Conspiracy theories are often dark, frightening, and dramatic, and this is why the public devours them at any given opportunity.



posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 03:58 AM
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reply to post by Flatwoods
 

You offer some persuasive arguments. But why should people suddenly become more gullible? Something in the water? Or could it have something to do with your second reason: lack of education?

Are educational standards falling, though? Particularly science education? People often say it is, but do the statistics bear this out? What is the picture like in your country?

The third reason makes even more sense to me. If conspiracy theories are entertaining, then there has to be money in them. And if there's money in them, someone's going to be making that money, and pushing conspiracy theories to do so.

Come to think of it, that's why Above Top Secret exists.

And ATS is pretty mainstream compared to the real nut sites out there.

Perhaps conspiracy theories are going mainstream because of ATS?

Heh heh.



posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 05:15 AM
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reply to post by Flatwoods
 


The reasons you mentioned are exactly the reasons why the majority of people DON'T believe in conspiracy theories.

The reasons why TPTB keep getting away with this stuff.

You guys are really something, out here on a conspiracy site, trying to come up with reasons why people believe in CT's, but too hardheaded to accept a simple truth, a lot of CT's are obviously real.

I'll give one example.

Swine Flu, we all called it here on ATS, a lot of people said it was a scam, it was so obvious.

It turned out it was, even the head a the EU health committee admitted to that and called it the biggest medical scandal of the last hundred years.

Conspiracy fact.

If you guys feel safer in a state of denial, by all means.



posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by Point of No Return
reply to post by Flatwoods
 


The reasons you mentioned are exactly the reasons why the majority of people DON'T believe in conspiracy theories.

The reasons why TPTB keep getting away with this stuff.

You guys are really something, out here on a conspiracy site, trying to come up with reasons why people believe in CT's, but too hardheaded to accept a simple truth, a lot of CT's are obviously real.




Actually, I agree with you to a point. There definitely are real conspiracies. The best example I can think of is the conspiracy surrounding the death of musician Glenn Miller in the 1940's. That, I believe, involves a genuine cover-up. Also, the Watergate scandal was a conspiracy, as was 911(as conspiracy of radical, angry Muslims to kill Americans).

One must take into consideration, however, what I like to call the inverse law of disclosure vs. secrecy. The larger a conspiracy gets, the less likely it is to stay secret. Watergate is a perfect example. All it took was a little digging, and leaks started springing all over the place. There were just too many people involved. It is for this reason that I doubt the legitimacy of the more widely held conspiracy beliefs.

Finally, one should consider just how easy it is to create a conspiracy theory in the first place. Anyone with the slightest bit of imagination can do it. For instance, I could say that while all the major conspiracy theories about the Illuminatti, the New World Order, and all the rest are false, there is a genuine group of extremely powerful individuals who are secretly exerting major influence on world events. They are doing this through clandestine technology that involves time-travel. For confirmation, one only has to look at the number of freakishly unlikely disasters and events that have turned the tide of history in recent years. I would love to sit and watch ATS to see how many posters dig through the news and find justification for my theory, but I have to go to work this morning.



posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 08:12 PM
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Originally posted by Flatwoods

Originally posted by Point of No Return
reply to post by Flatwoods
 


The reasons you mentioned are exactly the reasons why the majority of people DON'T believe in conspiracy theories.

The reasons why TPTB keep getting away with this stuff.

You guys are really something, out here on a conspiracy site, trying to come up with reasons why people believe in CT's, but too hardheaded to accept a simple truth, a lot of CT's are obviously real.




Actually, I agree with you to a point. There definitely are real conspiracies. The best example I can think of is the conspiracy surrounding the death of musician Glenn Miller in the 1940's. That, I believe, involves a genuine cover-up. Also, the Watergate scandal was a conspiracy, as was 911(as conspiracy of radical, angry Muslims to kill Americans).

One must take into consideration, however, what I like to call the inverse law of disclosure vs. secrecy. The larger a conspiracy gets, the less likely it is to stay secret. Watergate is a perfect example. All it took was a little digging, and leaks started springing all over the place. There were just too many people involved. It is for this reason that I doubt the legitimacy of the more widely held conspiracy beliefs.

Finally, one should consider just how easy it is to create a conspiracy theory in the first place. Anyone with the slightest bit of imagination can do it. For instance, I could say that while all the major conspiracy theories about the Illuminatti, the New World Order, and all the rest are false, there is a genuine group of extremely powerful individuals who are secretly exerting major influence on world events. They are doing this through clandestine technology that involves time-travel. For confirmation, one only has to look at the number of freakishly unlikely disasters and events that have turned the tide of history in recent years. I would love to sit and watch ATS to see how many posters dig through the news and find justification for my theory, but I have to go to work this morning.

The big question about that what are there goals, and what are they trying to accomplish?
Conspiracies have became more mainstream because of the media was trying to beat him up (Bush). Whether "Bush lied people died" about Iraq, or "no war for oil" they all led to the rise of one side of the media trying to push it, and one side of the media trying to debunk it.



posted on Jun, 29 2010 @ 03:23 AM
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reply to post by Point of No Return
 


Swine Flu, we all called it here on ATS, a lot of people said it was a scam, it was so obvious.

It turned out it was, even the head a the EU health committee admitted to that and called it the biggest medical scandal of the last hundred years.

Conspiracy fact.

This post is a fine example of a conspiracy-theory meme: a vague, ill-defined claim, inspired by a paranoid interpretation of garbled media reports further garbled by imperfect understanding, unsupported by any kind of documentary evidence.

So which 'swine flu conspiracy' were you referring to?

The Bioterrorist Virus conspiracy?

The Illuminati Endgame Killer Virus conspiracy?

The NWO Beta Test conspiracy?

Or was it the Wolf-Crying Big Pharma conspiracy?

Surely it can't have been the Chip Implant conspiracy, or any of the others mentioned here and here?

It seems the 'scam' isn't as obvious as you claim it is. Or perhaps it's several different, contradictory kinds of obvious all at once - the kind of obviousness that is only obvious to conspiracy theorists.

Worry not. Your contribution is appreciated. The clear bent for conspiracist thinking evident in your posts, together with your obvious eagerness to devour such theories and pass them on, make you a paradigmatic victim of the current conspiracy-theory epidemic. There is much we can learn from you.


[edit on 29/6/10 by Astyanax]





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