Having read Cass Sunstein’s opinion piece “Conspiracy theories are swirling all around us” (March 22, Page A11), I agree, particularly with regard to the missing Malaysian airliner, that there are a number of wild conspiracy theories. However, just because you can dismiss some conspiracy theories as wild doesn’t mean you can (or should) dismiss them all. Conspiracy theories provide alternative, sometimes unpopular, explanations that counter “official” explanations furnished by media outlets that seem more concerned with disseminating spin than facts. Considering different perspectives, while doing one’s own research, isn’t a bad thing; thinking for oneself, even if it follows a theory of conspiracy, doesn’t alone make it a “dangerous idea,” as Sunstein argues.
Many conspiracy theorists are born from a mistrust of information provided by official entities. Wasn’t the invasion of Iraq in 2003 predicated on the (false) conclusion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction? Was it not a president of the United States who lied to America when he vehemently declared: “I did not have sex with that woman”?
While there’s many bizarre theories that attempt to explain the unexplainable, or perhaps raise questions about “official explanations,” just remember not all conspiracy is theory.