Conspiracy theories have been around since mankind first started forming groups and questioning the intentions of other groups they could see on the horizon. Paranoia, it could be argued, is an ingrained survival trait that has helped us to become the dominant species on this planet, but in the relative safety and comfort of modern-day America, that same inherent desire to look for threats even when there are none can be responsible for some pretty off-the-wall lines of thought. In some people, that paranoia manifests itself as anxiety or depression, in others, in a desire to prepare for potential threats before they come–for a large sect of the internet, that paranoia bubbles to the surface in the form of conspiracy theories.
“Conspiracy theories” is a loaded phrase, of course, because the connotation seems to infer a lack of credibility, and let’s be honest, not every conspiracy theory is created equal. Over the years, real conspiracies have been discovered, often ones that, in some way, paralleled the lunatic ravings of internet mad men that maintain the types of blogs that feature neon green text against a black screen. Sometimes, this is because a paranoid fellow came across some damning evidence, but more often than not it’s because if you spend years of your life blindly throwing conspiracy spaghetti at the wall, sooner or later something will stick.
Nonetheless, these victories have bolstered the conspiracy theorist communities the world over, and thanks to our modern click-bait mentality, new conspiracies really require only a loose basis in fact to garner a great deal of attention. In what would certainly make for an interesting (and morbid) case study into human nature, it would seem that the more traumatic an event or tragedy is for a community, the more fervor that event will be met with in conspiracy-minded circles. If you’re not sure I’m right about that, grab a bottle of whiskey and type “Sandy Hook conspiracy” into Google. You’ll need the whiskey to get through the slew of lunatics accusing parents of dead children of not showing enough grief on television, thereby proving that they’re all lying about the shooting even taking place.
Yeah, the internet’s a pretty crappy place sometimes, and nowhere is that more evident than on the thousands of web pages devoted to the idea that 9/11 was an “inside job.”