Are Americans conspiracy theorists?

imagesJuly 25, 2014 – A juicy conspiracy theory is intriguing, so it is easy to understand why people can be caught up in them so easily.

We live in a world where our leaders are caught in scandals and lies, and we are fed both good and bad news 24/7. Therefore, if we engage in a good conspiracy theory now and then, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re cynical or crazy. We’re just trying to keep up.

According to the “New York Times”, conspiracy theories appear to be a way of reacting to uncertainty and powerlessness. That might be true, but it’s more pleasant to believe they feed the side of us that enjoys solving riddles and reading mystery novels. In addition, if the theory is credible, it makes us think from a different perspective. If it is far-fetched, at least it entertains us.

The Rasmussen Report recently conducted a national telephone survey to learn more about how American adults feel about conspiracy theories. Here is what they found:

  • It appears that conspiracy does continue to surround JFK’s assassination. Forty-five percent of American adults reject the theory President Kennedy was assassinated by more than one shooter, but 32% believe that more than one shooter was involved, and the remaining 23% are undecided.
  • Another popular conspiracy theory focuses on 9/11. One-in-four Americans or 25 percent believe the government knew in advance about the terrorist attacks and did nothing to stop them, and only 19% remain unsure. That means the majority of Americans, or 56% believe the 9/11 theory is a lot of hooey.
  • Other findings conclude that 40 percent remain unsure about President Obama’s citizenship, 70 percent believe we landed on the moon, 53 percent believe a UFO may have crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, and 67 percent reject the idea that Princess Diana was killed by the Royal Family.
  • Sadly, only 29 percent think America’s best days still lie ahead, and only 58 percent believe American society is fair and decent. I am not sure that these two polls could qualify as conspiracy theories, but they may prove Americans are skeptics, a trait most conspiracy theorists share.
  • The survey also found that men are more likely to believe conspiracy theories over women, and adults over 40 are more likely to believe theories over younger adults. Surprising? I think so. I expected the opposite on both counts.

Overall, the results prove the majority of Americans are not conspiracy theorists, after all, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good debate on the issue. One thing is certain. If the world’s events keep up at this pace, conspiracy theories aren’t likely to disappear any time soon.

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