There was a time when conspiracy was a simple legal term.  Conspiracy is defined as “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.” It describes an action that indisputably happens in the real world.  It is still used in courts today, but now it also carries an alternative meaning.

The term started to be overused in the media in the wake of the Kennedy assassination.  It was applied to anyone who questioned the veracity of the claim, which, by now, has become most people.

Today it is used to describe anyone who questions any official story, and conspiracy theorist is becoming synonymous with crazy person or idiot.  Many people self-sensor because they’re afraid of being labeled conspiracy theorists.

As people are following the bread crumbs and connecting the dots, there will often come a time when they are faced with a dilemma: they realize their mind is beginning to wander into conspiracy territory.  How one responds to this dilemma, I think, is one of the most defining challenges of their moral character.  Are they willing to risk ridicule in the pursuit of truth?  This separates the brave from the weak.  Sadly, many people give up their inquiry.  Their reputations are more valuable to them than knowledge and integrity.  It’s almost as if someone designed it that way.

Some claim the term was promoted by the CIA.  They usually site this document and claim it as proof, but all the document does is say that it’s worried about the rise in JFK conspiracy theories and gives some talking points for people who don’t trust the official JFK story.  But you can’t deny that the proliferation of the term plays into the intelligence community’s  hands perfectly.  I can’t imagine it not being a product of social engineering.  If it isn’t, it’s a gift from the gods to the ruling class of the world.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard  sentences begin with “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but…”  Another common one is “I don’t mean to sound conspiratorial, but…” It’s sad that people feel the need to apologize for their opinions.  You should own your thoughts.  What’s more you than your thoughts?

I once had a Facebook friend tell me that they “don’t believe in 99% of conspiracies on principle.” Well then.  There’s really no use in talking to that guy anymore.  He has surrendered his critical thinking ability.  Principles have their place in moral decisions, but not in the formation of your worldview.  Principles are one of the last things a logical, thinking person would base their beliefs on.  I prefer to go with logic and reason.

Another friend (I guy from Portland) posted on Facebook soon after the Trump inauguration that there were literal “bus loads” of agitators being shipped into the city and destroying property.  Another friend commented something like “do you think it could be George Soros related?” And the original poster responded with “I don’t get into conspiracy theories.” I’m making no comment on whether or not George Soros organizes violent protests. (It’s not high on my list of concerns, and I’ve never looked into it.)  But this was a startling revelation.  The man recognized a problem in his hometown, was concerned enough about it to post on social media, but refused to look into the case with an open mind.  This is another case of someone being bullied into giving up on thinking.

The Epstein saga was a step in the right direction towards honest discourse.  Everyone seems to be a conspiracy theorist when it comes to this case.  It could be because it involves both Democrats and Republicans, so people can use it to stroke their egos no matter their tribal affiliations.  But it was still reassuring to see people questioning conventional wisdom on such a scale.  It remains to be seen whether it was a one off or if the tides are changing.

It’s important to note that not all conspiracy theories are taboo.  There are establishment conspiracy theories, they’re just not called conspiracy theories.  A prime example of this is Russiagate.  This is literally a theory about people conspiring.  It fits the definition like a glove.  But people who subscribe to it don’t consider themselves conspiracy theorists, and they even use the term to deride others.

Many people also lump all conspiracies together.  They think, “If you believe in one, you’re a conspiracy theorist.” They struggle to accept the common sense position of taking it on a case-by-case basis.  They refuse to accept that Assad didn’t “gas his own people,” because some conspiracy theorists also think the world is flat.  Apparently they think conspiracy theories are a dogmatic religion; you must accept it all or stay away from it.  What a brilliant little mind trap they’ve been caught in.

People, please!  Life is short.  Stop caring what people think about you.  Follow your hearts.  Whether or not you sought the truth, stood up for it and pushed for justice are good measures of a life lived.