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"I tend to think of conspiracy theories in much the same vein as the old line about paranoia: just because they are usually bunk doesn't mean that conspiracies are not going on. Sometimes I think off-the-wall conspiracy theories are promulgated by people who have a vested interest in debunking conspiracy theories as a self-defense measure. How's that for a conspiracy theory?"  From Morgan On Facebook

Morgan, you bring up a great point, so I’m going to reveal to you a part of Underdogma that you brushed up against with your answer.  Conspiracy theories satisfy a psychological need that is particularly acute in the American psyche.  To quote from Underdogma:

In his book Empire of Conspiracy, Timothy Melley finds further evidence that a part of the American Character-tied to Underdogma’s “Axis of Power”-makes Americans more susceptible to conspiracy theories.

In his exploration of conspiracy theories, “Melley proposes that conspiracy thinking arises from a combination of two factors, when someone: 1) holds strong individualist values and 2) lacks a sense of control [aka power].”  No one holds stronger individualist values than Americans, with a Dutch study finding that “[t]he United States ranks highest in individualism.”  As Tony Robbins said in his interview for Underdogma, “Self-esteem comes, to a great extent, from feeling like you have power over events, versus events and/or people have power over you.” 

Therefore, when something happens that causes strongly-individualistic Americans to feel a profound lack of control (power)-like the 9/11 attacks-all the necessary elements are in place for a descent into conspiracism.

To discuss this topic, visit the discussion board on Michael's Facebook page, or you can send him a tweet, by clicking here.

Discover how Underdogma plays a role in conspiracy theories, and those who believe them.

{ Conspiracy Theories - November 2010 }                 >return to conspiracy theories main page