There are plenty of views on the meaning of this expression, which has been around for over a century. Here are three fairly typical ones:
The generally accepted meaning of Conspiracy Theory is the promotion of an unwarranted idea, without credible evidence (but with the implication or assertion that there is such evidence, without its production or reference), that there is group of interests – an association that is usually covert or occult – working on a plan or plot that is contrary to the interests of the public or a vulnerable public group, and usually contrary to one or all of ethics, morals or law.
However the expression is largely abused in its use, and that is because it has for years been a term of abuse of opposition employed by those in the dismal human speciality of propaganda. Attacking your opponents is one of the four key limbs of this black art.
A conspiracy theory may be a libel of course. But users of the expression tend, for a variety of usually discreditable reasons, not to wish to bring the matter to the open forum of a court.
If, of course, the idea is supported with credible evidence, or if it is expressed by the promoter to be speculation for which evidence is being sought, it is not a conspiracy theory, but an assertion of fact-based inquiry and/or complaint. In the theatre of propaganda war in which we find ourselves, confronting the New Axis, a very great deal of fact-based inquiry and complaint has been and is being made. For the New Axis is not a Conspiracy theory; it is Conspiracy practice, it is operating in plain sight, commands vast wealth and by use of it controls most information sources, public health authorities here and in the US, and very many politicians of all stripes.
To avoid tedious repetition I will here simply mention one demonstration alone, of the hundreds, of a fact which has been starkly clear since the tragic farce started last year. That is the vast majority of so-called scientific advisors to government in the US and here have very well documented and overwhelmingly compromising conflicts of interest, (many shown on the Resources page here) with connections to the pharma industry and the Gates organisation. An examination of the antecedents and activities of Dr Fauci, and his de factor stranglehold on the pharma industry alone (a recent post here) is perfectly astonishing. No honest observer could fail to see the association with government of these commercial, not to say dubious, individuals as being totally against the public interest, while independent and eminent authorities are ignored or abused by government.
In my view a candid response to any assertions that are unsupported made by anyone is simply to say so or ask for evidence for the assertion or both, or take legal action if appropriate. The use by any person of the expression Conspiracy Theorist, on the basis of all this, as I see it, means in practice only one of two possibilities:
- The user holds opposing views/aims and wishes by abuse to discredit the individual accused, or
- The user has abdicated the personal responsibility of independent thought to adopt the identity politics offered by others opposing the accused person for their own comfortable ignorance of reality.
To conspirators in practice, theory is the gift they wish to keep on giving…