Editor's Note: Dr. Joseph Parent and Dr. Joseph Uscinski are both Assistant Professors of Political Science at the University of Miami. They recently published the paper, Conspiracy Theories are for Losers.
Judging from the talk on New York stoops and in Cairo coffee houses, conspiracies make the world go ‘round. The Bush Administration planned the September 11th attacks, or perhaps it was Israeli secret agents, or perhaps it was Wall Street profiteers, or perhaps Dick Cheney was pulling the strings of all of these in a tangled scheme to make money for his old firm, Halliburton. And that is just the tip of the iceberg with 9/11 “truther” beliefs.
The world is awash in conspiracy theories. The “birther” conspiracy theorists claim Barak Obama became president unconstitutionally because he was born in Indonesia. Others believe Obama is a secret Muslim intent on instituting Sharia Law in the U.S. Last summer, many argued that the president blew up the Deepwater Horizon oil rig himself, in order to push his “green” agenda. With dizzying logic, others contend that Osama bin Laden is not dead and the Holocaust never happened. Still others say the world is run by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Freemasons or the Federal Reserve. The list sprawls on. FULL POST