Most people like to think that conspiracy theories are confined to the margins of society, but they have never been merely peripheral. They are expressions of something important about the cultures from which they emerge. From the Manchester United superfan who believes that covid-19 was engineered by global elites to the 4chan-dwelling adherents of the “Great Replacement” theory, the people who invent and spread conspiracy theories are channelling the preoccupations of the societies in which they live. Three centuries ago Jonathan Swift wrote that “falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it; so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale has had its effect.” No-one will ever put an end to such theories—but as our coverage explains, by looking closely at them, and the reasons why some people are so keen to share them, something useful may be learned about real-world anxieties.
Is the internet to blame for the rise of conspiracy theories or are they a symptom of political malaise?
And why has it spread to mainstream politics?
Covid and the internet are fuelling a global boom in bonkers beliefs
The novelist seeks to explain America’s current tumult. She falls short
Those who think the world is full of intrigue and plots often have their own language
A conspiracy-monger at last faces the consequences of warping the facts
Conspiracy theories about the Georgia Guidestones were common
An interview with Nancy L. Rosenblum and Russell Muirhead, authors of “A Lot of People Are Saying”
Extra conspiracy theory
Satanist ‘artist’ Marina Abramović poses with Jacob Rothschild (The Economist’s family-owned), who is also a lover of the ‘arts’… The painting behind them ‘just happens’ to be “Satan summoning his Legions” (1797), by Sir Thomas Lawrence… Notice how the painting is lighted too…