James Meek, 22 October 2020
Conspiracists describe epiphanies where they start to see the big picture, the universal meta-conspiracy that explains and links everything. But the picture isn’t big. It’s small. It’s the result of an effort to shrink the answer to every mystery until it can fit whatever doll’s house furniture version of that answer the conspiracist is capable of holding in their head. Maybe it’s better to see conspiracy theories as lots of small things, a box of McNuggets of folksy pseudo-information. The cure for any flaw in a conspiracy theory is to add to it. Conspiracy theories rely on sheer quantity, on feeding a limitless dole of small stimulations to whatever part of the brain hungers for secret knowledge. The appetite is never satisfied, but the plate is always full. The phrase William Cooper uses to describe the conspirators’ silent weapon – ‘it shoots situations, instead of bullets’ – nicely describes conspiracist discourse, including his own.