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HISTORY, POLITICAL THEORY, INTERNET

Monthly Archives: December 2015

A note on privacy

The standard definition of a conspiracy is ‘a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful’. The first working term is ‘secret’. This then raises the question of whether a collective action is protected by positive or malign secrecy. In the language of our times, secrecy is usually a pejorative term, whereas […]

23 December 2015
How do conspiracy theories relate to non-democratic regimes?

One of the striking features of ‘conspiracy theory’ in the advanced democracies is how marginal it is. Conspiracy theory is a term of derision, and political leaders tend to be wary of being associated with any claims that could plausibly be called a conspiracy theory. The anxious liberals of the 1950s who gave us terms like ‘conspiracy theory’ […]

21 December 2015
Can we distinguish conspiracies from other forms of collective action?

It is not hard to come up with some formal tests that ought to distinguish conspiracies from other forms of collective action. Conspiracies are secret, intentional, malign schemes agreed among a small group of named (or nameable) individuals. A more synoptic test might be that a conspiracy only exists where a secret scheme would unravel […]

19 December 2015
How do conspiracy theories relate to non-democratic regimes?

In their now infamous paper on conspiracy theories, Sunstein and Vermeule write that ‘in a poll conducted in seven Muslim countries, 78 percent of respondents said that they do not believe the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Arabs, the most popular account, in these countries, is that 9/11 was the work on the US […]

17 December 2015