God, how many journalist flunked out of psychology courses? Here’s one, Jonathan Kay, holding forth in the National Post…
When the phrase “conspiracy theorist” is used, most people imagine an anti-social, mentally unstable nut, along the lines of Mel Gibson’s taxi-driving paranoiac in the 1997 movie Conspiracy Theory.
From what I remember of Conspiracy Theory Gibson was only an “anti-social…paranoiac” as he’d been an MK-ULTRA test case, pumped full of hallucinogens. Seems that Kay is so disdainful of “conspiracy theories” he can’t even quite believe that they exist in movies.
…by far the biggest category of conspiracy theorist is what I call the “failed historian.” He is someone who views human history through a rigid and all-encompassing ideological template. Some are Marxists. Others are Islamists, or Chomskyites, or radical Tea Party conservatives, or white supremacists. Whatever the details of their belief system, they all have a shared need to reconcile everything they know about the world with their totalizing world view.
No, they don’t. Really. Promise! Hell, at one time or another two-thirds of the U.S. public thought that JFK fell victim to some kind of machination. Were they “all” expressing this “shared need“? No, I think that Kay’s just trying to reconcile everything he knows about conspiracies with his banal, selective and moderate world view. For the rest of us, however, it should be quite obvious that conspiracies can exist, have existed and, it’s near certain, will continue to arise.