As more and more historical conspiracies come to light, the government guard dogs are set on those who have methodically exposed them:
The more information we have about what governments and corporations are up to the less we seem to trust them. Will conspiracy theories eventually destroy democracy?
What if I told you I had conclusive proof that the moon landings were faked, but I had been told to keep it under wraps by my BBC bosses acting under orders from the CIA, NSA and MI6. Most of you would think I had finally lost my mind.
But, for some, that scenario – a journalist working for a mainstream media organisation being manipulated by shadowy forces to keep vital information from the public – would seem entirely plausible, or even likely.
We live in a golden age for conspiracy theories. There is a growing assumption that everything we are told by the authorities is wrong, or not quite as it seems. That the truth is being manipulated or obscured by powerful vested interests.
And, in some cases, it is.
“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 lack of faith in democracy has nothing to do with the electorate being provided with more information about the behavior of its government regardless of how accurate that information is. The growing loss of belief in democracy as a system of government is a direct result of the electorate observing that no matter for whom and for what it votes, the ruling elite imposes whatever laws it wants.
And, as it happens, the Conspiracy Theory of History is the only one that can be supported by the historical facts.
My central belief with regards to all the various conspiracies is simple. The only thing you can be completely 100 percent certain of is that the one thing that absolutely did not happen is the government-approved, media-reported Official Story. The one and only thing that makes me suspect that the Moon landings were faked is the way various government employees and officials take the charges so seriously.
Well, that and the fact that Moon landings appear to be the one thing that 40+ years of technological advancement have rendered both more expensive and less possible.