If you’re a conspiracy theorist, then you’re crazy, right? That’s been the common belief for years, but recent studies prove that just the opposite is true.
Researchers — psychologists and social scientists, mostly — in the U.S. and United Kingdom say data indicate that, contrary to those mainstream media stereotypes, “conspiracy theorists” appear to be more sane than people who accept official versions of controversial and contested events.
The most recent study was published in July 2013 by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent in the UK. Entitled “‘What about Building 7?’ A Social Psychological Study of Online Discussion of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories,” the study compared “conspiracist,” or pro-conspiracy theory, and “conventionalist,” or anti-conspiracy, comments on news websites.
The researchers noted that they were surprised to find that it is now more conventional to leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventional ones.
“Of the 2174 comments collected, 1459 were coded as conspiracist and 715 as conventionalist,” the researchers wrote.
‘The research showed that people who favored the official account of 9/11 were generally more hostile’
So, among people who comment on news articles, those who discount official government accounts of events like the 9/11 attacks and the assassination of John F. Kennedy outnumber believers by more than two-to-one. That means the pro-conspiracy commenters are those who are now expressing what is considered conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters represent a small, beleaguered minority that is often scoffed at and shunned.
Perhaps becoming frustrated that their alleged mainstream viewpoints are no longer considered as such by the majority, those who are anti-conspiracy commenters often showed anger and disgust in their posts.
“The research… showed that people who favored the official account of 9/11 were generally more hostile when trying to persuade their rivals,” said the study. Also, it seems that those who do not believe in the conspiracies were not just hostile but fanatically attached to their own conspiracy theories as well.
The researchers said that, according to the anti-conspiracy holders, their own theory of 9/11 — one which says 19 Muslims, none of whom could fly commercial airliners with any proficiency, pulled off an amazing surprise attack under the direction of a man on dialysis (Osama bin Laden) who was living in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan — is unwaveringly true.
Meanwhile, “conspiracists,” on the hand, did not have to pretend to have a theory that completely explained the events of 9/11. “For people who think 9/11 was a government conspiracy, the focus is not on promoting a specific rival theory, but in trying to debunk the official account,” the researchers said.
As reported by Veterans Today:
In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests that the negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist — a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory — accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it.
A conspiracy theory about a conspiracy theory
The study also found that conspiracy believers discuss historical context, like viewing the JFK assassination as a precedent for 9/11, more than the antis. It also found that conspiracy believers do not like to be labeled as such.
These and other findings are contained in a new book, Conspiracy Theory in America, by political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, which was published last year by the University of Texas Press. He explained why people don’t like to be labeled as “conspiracy theorists.”
“The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time,” he said.
He further noted that, essentially, those who use the term as an insult are doing so as the result of a well-documented, undisputed and historically accurate conspiracy by the CIA to cover up the JFK assassination.
You be the judge.