Why do Americans love conspiracy theories? Blame the government!

If the government weren't so opaque and incompetent, we wouldn't be in this mess

Conspiracy
(Image credit: Illustration by Sarah Eberspacher | Image courtesy CORBIS)

It often seems like we're living in the golden age of wild-eyed conspiracy theories. Sandy Hook was a hoax. George W. Bush was behind 9/11. Barack Obama's birth certificate is a forgery. And on and on. All bafflingly bonkers, all false — and all troublingly persistent.

Then again, in America, it's always a golden age for wild-eyed conspiracy theories. As Jesse Walker convincingly showed in The United States of Paranoia, freaking out over imagineered shadowy plots is one of our most durably American habits.

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