Tuesday 10 May 2011

Why do we love conspiracies?

As soon as the world discovered that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, the conspiracy theories began to emerge immediately.

How did we know he was really dead? Where was the evidence? How convenient that the Americans buried Bin Laden out at sea.

America’s response was that they didn’t want to release pictures of Bin Laden’s dead body as the pictures were too gruesome and could antagonise Bin Laden sympathisers. American officials also didn’t want his body being buried somewhere, which could later become a shrine. For the conspiracy theorists this only raised more questions?

This got me thinking about some of the other famous conspiracy theories that exist such as:

  • Who killed JFK?
  • Who killed Martin Luther King?
  • Did the American moon landing really happen?
  • 9/11 – Did the US government order the destruction of the World Trade Centre?
  • The Birther movement – Was President Obama really born in the United States
  • Was Princess Di murdered?

  • The thing is, there’s never been any real evidence to prove without doubt that there was a conspiracy for any of these events.
    Why is it that whenever there’s a major event that’s seems so shocking or incredible, people immediately start believing there must be a conspiracy behind it.

    You may have noticed that almost all the conspiracies I’ve mentioned are American. It seems Americans love their conspiracies more than others.

    I read a theory suggesting it’s because Americans have a natural distrust of their government and state authority. It goes back to when the country was formed fighting a war of independence against the centralized control of Britain and the rule of King George III.

    Ever since then, Americans have always had a deep mistrust of government power and influence, which leads onto the idea of governments operating in secret away from the public gaze.

    Conspiracy theories don’t just flourish in America though – in many countries under dictatorship or heavy state control people believe more in conspiracies as they feel they don’t have much freedom or influence on how their own governments may act. In that type of environment people naturally begin to assume that state powers are working in secret, covering things up, working against the public interest.

    Another theory I was reading about, argued that when something incredible happens such as the death of JFK we struggle to accept the logical or straightforward explanation. It’s as if there has to be more to the story then the simple facts that have been presented to us.

    My favourite conspiracy theory is who shot JFK. Having always had a fascination for organised crime, I’ve always wanted to believe that the Mafia where somehow involved with the killing.

    Despite this, the evidence still suggests that the only killer was Lee Harvey Oswald. although I accept this, I’m almost disappointed that the Mob weren’t involved somehow, along with the CIA. But then I suppose my feelings support the fact that because the assassination of JFK was so shocking and unbelievable, you think there has to be more to it than just one crazed lone gunman.

    For Islamic extremists and enemies of America, it must be hard to accept that after all these years the Americans have finally got their man. Despite what some people might say, it’s a huge blow to Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. What better way then to try and undermine or deny America’s claims by starting a conspiracy theory.

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