I started to develop an argument against "conspiracy theories" in the topic about ISIS, and it just made me ask myself "what do you people think about conspiracy theories ?".
I wanted to ask the question "what would be a good anarchist critique of conspiracy theories ?" but I realise the question was a bit rethorical.
So, I'm asking you folks : what do we, as anarchists, think about conspiracy theories ?
My opinion :
I could agree with the idea that one of the foundation of the state is to conspire. It's seems quite evident if you open any book from Machiavel or Clausewitz. But it's not the very principle of it, nor is it its major foundation.
And more than anything, I think that most of the infamous things that the states are actually doing doesn't need to be "hidden".
I also think that the "conspiracy theory mentality" tends to produce mostly obscure and uncheckable assumptions more than real theories or hypothesis that can be confronted with known facts (and by that I mean things that more or less make a kind of "inter-subjective consensus" -not to say "objective"-).
As I also had the opportunity to say it in the topic about ISIS, I think that conspiracy theories also reinforce the myth of invulnerability of the State, or of any power, and most of the time encourages apathy. Indeed, if everything is controlled and manipulated, and spied on : then, every thing is doomed. And so, what is to be done ?
Finally, I don't know much about conspiracy theories in the US, but what I know is that a big amount of conspiracy litterature (concerning "zionists", or the "reptilians", or "the Illuminatis", or "NWO", "9/11 was a hoax", etc) is not exclusively, but largely produced and/or edited by reactionnaries, fascists or far rights organisations and founds.
I would say that such theories have a link with the specific anti-scientific and anti-rationalist philosophical tradition of far-right, tending to reject any rationalist method or empirical approach.
That could also explain why even facing evidences : some of them are always ready to pretend that the french revolution was the fact of a "pedophile-satanic jewish-masons conspiracy", that the nazi holocaust didn't happen (or that gas chambers didn't exist), that dinosaurs were living at the same time than humans, or even that the moon doesn't exist (yes, some people actually believe that shit : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq1q4_ZzEUQ
Just like anywhere else. Just like in france :