What is the prevalence and historical context of conspiracy theories in American society? Conspiracy theories have captured the public imagination in recent times, with examples like Robert Kennedy Jr. testifying about big tech censorship and David Grusch, a former intelligence officer, discussing government knowledge about UFOs.
The book "Under the Eye of Power" by cultural historian Colin Dickey is referenced, where he argues that the attraction to conspiracy theories is more mainstream than often acknowledged. The article highlights that conspiracy theories have a long history in America, dating back to events like the Salem witch trials and the American Revolution. It suggests that conspiracy theories are not isolated instances but are deeply embedded in the way many people perceive democracy.
Dickey's perspective challenges the notion that conspiracy theories are fringe ideas. He points out a recurring pattern where fears of secret societies or invisible groups perpetrating harmful actions behind the scenes resurface throughout history, albeit with different targets. Whether it's religious, political, or social groups, conspiracy theories tend to emerge in response to certain moments in American history.
The article underscores the idea that conspiracy theories are not confined to specific incidents but have a consistent presence in American culture and thought, evolving to fit the concerns of different eras.