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Political science professor Lance deHaven-Smith has documented in a soon-to-be-released book that conspiracy theories were considered as American as apple pie all through American history … up until very recently.
Indeed, the entire idea of democracy – going back to ancient Greece – is based on a conspiracy theory as well: that leaders who make decisions without input from the public will not treat the people as well as if they have a chance to vote. This is another form of “separation of powers”, as it creates checks and balances between the decision-making power of the government and that of the people.
Indeed conspiracy is a very well-recognized crime in American law, taught to every first-year law school student as part of their basic curriculum. Telling a judge that someone has a “conspiracy theory” would be like telling him that someone is claiming that he trespassed on their property, or committed assault, or stole his car. It is a fundamental legal concept.
Moreover, those who think that co-conspirators will brag about their deeds forget that people in the military or intelligence or who have huge sums of money on the line can be very disciplined. They are not likely to go to the bar and spill the beans like a down-on-their-luck, second-rate alcoholic robber might do.