Conspiracy Theories and State Secrets

Posted in Weird Beliefs

Introduction

During the 1990s, conspiracy theories went from fringe belief to mainstream assumption. Confidence in establishment stories collapsed to such a degree that everything from Princess Diana's death to a slip of a ministerial tongue caught on tape was seen through a prism of conspiracy.

And while many of these things are misunderstandings, paranoia and an overextension of mistrust, there is no doubt that the country - like all countries - harbours secrets that it would rather not see brought, blinking into the light.

Of course the phrase "conspiracy theorist" itself has passed into the common lexicon as a dismissive phrase - an effective ad hominem to deploy against anyone who asks uncomfortable questions of the powers that be. Rather than address troubling questions in official accounts, it has become easy for those powers to label the questioners as borderline mad - reflected in the phrase that often accompanies conspiracy theorist: "the tin foil hat brigade."

And yet, we now know that the police did cover up crimes. We know that government have, do and will continue to lie to us. We know that corporations will try to evade their legal responsibilities by cosying up to politicians, the media and power. We even know that the media itself - the very institution that lays claim to 'speaking truth to power' - has often failed to ask questions and swallowed official untruths.

Without wishing to slip into cynicism, it is difficult for the open minded observer to be certain that there is "nothing to see here."

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