Nearly every reference to “conspiracy“ is stupid.

People use “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracist” often incorrectly, and with baggage from their benighted instruction in public schools and from the hectoring of major media news readers.

It is common to accuse someone of [unwarranted] belief in [non-existent] conspiracies at the first drop of the hat, upon almost zero evidence. Mere association of an idea with even the whiff of “conspiracy” taints it like the lingering body odor of Seinfeld’s toxic valet.

The funny thing is, this inculcated fear of “conspiracy theory” is very likely the result of a conspiracy. Tales of Operation Mockingbird tell how the very term ”conspiracy theory” itself was encouraged by the CIA to its cadres of news readers and reporters, to dismiss anyone who brings up critiques of the Warren Commission Report on the JFK assassination.

Are these tales true? That is, are the reports that the CIA directly told its moles within the news media to dismiss those who question the Lone Gunman Theory as “conspiracy theorists” true? We hear this a lot online, especially from . . . conspiracy theorists.

Wikipedia belittles the lore of Operation Mockingbird as “an alleged large-scale program” of the CIA, despite quite a lot of evidence for the operation’s existence (most of it not mentioned), and despite the many, many links between the legacy media’s news staff and the CIA (not to mention the dominant Ethnicity We Must Not Mention), but I have had enough run-ins with Wikipedia’s editorial staff to understand that Wikipedia was long ago taken over by the same kind of propagandists who overrun most successful start-ups of influence-peddling. The history of non-profit foundations is littered with ideological takeovers. This shouldn’t be surprising. It is more class-based than anything else, and much of what is condemned as “conspiracy theory” is actually some sort of class-based analysis.

But in American intellectual culture only leftists are allowed to engage in class analysis. All others are “conspiracy theorists” — and even the left is controlled, somewhat, by the obsessive implementation of the “conspiracy theorist” charge.

It is nevertheless the case that all conjectures about conspiracies should be judged on their factual merits, with recognition that conspiracies are evasive phenomena that do not present evidence in the innocent manner that we see the phenomena of the natural world. Clues of a conspiracy often appear first as evidence of a cover-up. Elementary praxeology should warn scientists of the danger of using the smell test in these areas, pro or con, for scientists generally do not have to fight against consciously withheld data.

”The greatest trick the devil ever pulled”: successful conspiracies would hide behind a taboo against looking into conspiracies for the same reason that true, exploitative egoists would hide behind the smoke of official altruism.

Don’t be a stooge. Reject the lore that says ”conspiracy theory” must be the province of the psychotically paranoid.

For if “they” are out to get you, it is not paranoia to notice. And there are a lot of theys out there in the business of defrauding us, stealing from us, subjugating with us.

More importantly, we must not be shamed by the shameless.

To be a conspiracy theorist should be no more controversial than an “invisible hand” theorist. A conspiracy theorist is someone who has theories about conspiracies, and considers conjectures about conspiracies as legitimate subject for inquiry and disputation. Someone who believes in a conspiracy is not necessarily a conspiracy theorist. Someone who merely suspects a conspiracy lurks behind some observed events would better be labelled a “conspiracy conjecturer”!

The first question to ask an actual conspiracy theorist is not “what conspiracies do you believe in?” but “how can we learn which proposed conspiracies might be real?”