As a conspiracy theory in the broadest sense of the test is called a state, an event or a development by a conspiracy to explain, so by the targeted, conspiratorial interaction of a usually small group of actors in a mostly illegal or illegitimate purposes.
In the research literature, a distinction is often made:
- Conspiracy hypotheses (also central control hypotheses ) and
- Conspiracy ideologies (also conspiracy myths )
Conspiracy hypotheses make rational , verifiable and thus falsifiable or verifiable statements about assumed conspiracies; Examples of this are assumptions about the Watergate or Iran-Contra affair , which were drawn up and finally confirmed before they were resolved. Conspiracy ideologies immunize their stereotypical and monocausal ideas about conspiracies against critical revision; an example of this is the assumption that the moon landing in 1969 did not actually take place , that the images of the moon were taken on earth. The term conspiracy theory used by the general public is mostly used in the sense of conspiracy ideology and is therefore used critically or disparagingly.
Conspiracy theories, after precursors in antiquity and the Middle Ages, emerged more frequently during the time of the French Revolution . The conspiracy theory has been widespread since 1798, stating that these and numerous other phenomena considered to be evil are the work of the Bavarian Order of Illuminati , which was banned in 1785 . Similar accusations have been made against Jews since the second half of the 19th century . These anti-Semitic conspiracy theories contributed to the Holocaust . Anti-Semitic and other conspiracy theories have been widespread in parts of the Islamic world for a long time . Conspiracy theories were an important part of Stalinism's legitimation of rule . These examples show how conspiracy theories can be used to construct images of the enemy and thus to legitimize violence . Since World War II , they have been directed against the government, particularly in the United States . Examples of this are the assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy or conspiracy theories on September 11, 2001 . The emergence of the internet and right-wing populism have greatly encouraged the spread of conspiracy theories. In this context, misinformation and conspiracy theories on current scientific research results such as climate change and vaccinations spread quickly and uncontrollably and can therefore also influence political preferences.
The question of the conjunctions of the conspiracy theories, that is, why there were sometimes more, sometimes less of them at different times and in different countries, is answered differently in research. For example, they are seen as a symptom of a crisis , a remnant of mythical , unenlightened thinking or, on the contrary, as an accompanying phenomenon of the Enlightenment . Psychologically , conspiracy theories can be interpreted as paranoia , although the majority of researchers do not assume that the supporters of conspiracy theories have a mental disorder . Interpretations are more common than projections . Conspiracy theories serve overburdened people in overwhelming situations to reduce complexity and to maintain the belief in the transparency of reality and the self-efficacy of the subject. The tendency to believe in conspiracy theories appears to be a personality trait , according to several studies : People who believe in one conspiracy theory are significantly more likely to believe in others.
From a knowledge-sociological perspective, conspiracy theories are presented as a form of heterodox knowledge that is marginalized by the description as such. The word is used partly factually and analytically, partly disparagingly or as a battle term . In the post-modern literature and entertainment novels conspiracy theories are a popular subject .
Features and main types
In the literal sense of the word, a conspiracy theory is a theory about a conspiracy. However, this understanding is problematic in several respects: On the one hand, conspiracy theories according to the common understanding of the term are not theories in the epistemological sense of the word, i.e. not "systems of substantiated statements that aim to explain complex phenomena and are methodical, that is, more targeted and planned Proceedings come about ". The historian Katrin Götz-Votteler and the art historian Simone Hespers describe them as the “result of a subjective interpretation of selective perceptions” because they are neither based on an open-ended question nor on a comprehensible methodology derived from it. The term conspiracy theory is therefore misleading. Better to call them conspiracy ideologies or conspiracy myths. According to the American philosopher Brian L. Keeley, conspiracy theories understood in this way are certainly explanations of the causes of phenomena of the past, which is why the term theory is appropriate in a broader sense. The Norwegian religious scholar Asbjørn Dyrendal draws attention to the fact that conspiracy “theory” is used in everyday language to refer to a collection of loosely related ideas or stories about agents involved in evil deeds and often driven by nebulous but intrinsic motives.
On the other hand, “conspiracy” is a word with negative connotations : its English equivalent conspiracy denotes the criminal offense of the criminal organization . Conspiracy theories often go hand in hand with a dualistic worldview , they invite one to divide the world into good and bad , into “we” and “they”. Even if they pretend to proceed in a purely descriptive manner, they do not provide any positive statements, but rather act primarily in the field of normative statements.
The word conspiracy theory can be traced back to the 1860s. It initially only appeared in the singular to describe a statement about a community-planned crime. Since the assassination attempt on American President James A. Garfield , it has appeared more frequently in the press. Today, on the other hand, the word refers to statements about large-scale, sustainable influence on entire states and societies up to and including world conspiracies. With this in mind, conspiracy theories are defined differently.
The Austro-British philosopher Karl Popper contributed significantly to the popularity and negative connotation of the term conspiracy theory . In his work The Open Society and Its Enemies in 1945 he speaks of a "conspiracy theory of society". By this he means attempts to explain social phenomena and historical events by showing “that certain people or groups were interested in this [event] occurring and that they conspired to make it happen. (Your interests are sometimes hidden and have to be revealed first). "
For the systematic and formal theories, mostly of the political right of the USA, which are mostly in accordance with criteria of scientific relevance, which suspected groups of conspirators behind political or social developments from 1820 to the 1960s, the historian Richard Hofstadter suggested the designation “conspiracy fantasy ”And characterized it by a“ paranoid style ”of explaining the world. This style is characterized by an apocalyptic world of ideas, a Manichaean friend-foe thinking that only sees the absolutely good and the absolutely evil, which must be destroyed without compromise. That this does not succeed is interpreted as a further indication of the dangerousness of the imagined conspirators.
In 1972 the lexicon of sociology defined “conspirators” or “conspiratorial theories” as arguments with which political authorities would divert attention from their own failures and stabilize their rule in the sense of a scapegoat search . This would immunize their historico-philosophical predictions and political recipes against criticism : The guilt for negative developments and the failure of their own prognoses to come true would not be seen in the rulers, their mistakes and the utopian character of their ideology, but always in the pernicious work of the alleged conspirators to whom groups would be stylized against which there would already be prejudices in society .
In 1987, the German historian Dieter Groh defined a conspiracy theory as an attempt to explain why bad things happened to good people: For this purpose, a story-driven image of history is constructed in which history is conceived as something that can be planned. The conspirators who caused the evil are imagined as lords of the course of history who show solidarity and are identifiable with one another and who must be contrasted with a counter-solidarity of their supposed victims. This notion is contradicting itself, since the conspirators are portrayed as almost godlike and powerful at the same time as weak and defeatable.
In 1989, the British historian Geoffrey T. Cubitt used the term conspiracy theories for concretions of more general “conspiracy myths ”: he defined the latter as narratives held to be true that conveyed a certain basic understanding of the nature of things and the course of history, in this case the fateful Effects in the past can be attributed to a specific conspiracy. The conspiracy theory apply this basic understanding to individual current events or developments. Conspiracy theories and conspiracy myths are characterized by three specific aspects: They are intentionalistic because they see the intentions of the actors as powerful causes, they are dualistic because they completely divide the world into the supposedly uniformly acting evil conspirators and the supposedly equally uniform non-conspiratorial ones Majority, and they are occultist because they make a sharp distinction between the appearance of the world and its supposedly hidden “true nature” that needs to be exposed; this belief is expressed in the metaphors of pulling the wire and undermining often used by conspiracy theorists .
The American political scientist Daniel Pipes defined conspiracy theory in 1998 as "a real non-existent conspiracy feared out of fear". He differentiates between local and world conspiracy theories, that is, imagined conspiracies with limited and unlimited goals. The latter could develop into a view of life; then one should speak of “conspiracy thinking, paranoia attitude, mentality of the secret hand” or “conspiracy”. He differentiates world conspiracy theories according to their respective enemy images into two basic types: Against secret societies ( Freemasons , Illuminati etc.) and against Jews directed conspiracy theories.
In an essay from 2002, the German political scientist Armin Pfahl-Traughber suggests that the ambiguous word conspiracy theory should be dispensed with, and that a better distinction should be made between conspiracy hypothesis , conspiracy ideology and conspiracy myth. He defines a conspiracy hypothesis as a statement about the effect of a conspiracy, which is formulated, however, open to corrections and falsifications through empirical counter-evidence. A conspiracy ideology, on the other hand, is not falsifiable, it presupposes the conspiracy it wants to prove as certain, is stereotypical and monocausal. Finally, he defines the term conspiracy myth, unlike Cubitt, as an exaggeration and condensation of a conspiracy ideology that can do without real conspirators and is likewise incapable of correction: counter-arguments and empirical evidence are not taken into account or reinterpreted as evidence for the existence of a conspiracy whereby the conspiracy myth immunizes itself against any refutation.
In 1999, the American philosopher Brian L. Keeley described the term conspiracy theory as a suggested explanation for one or more historical events, shaped by the action of a relatively small group that acts in secret. Quite similar is the definition of the American philosopher Pete Mandik from 2007, who only emphasizes the deliberate nature of the actions of the conspirators. The Australian philosopher Steve Clarke also quotes Keeley's definition with approval and shows, using the example of the widespread conspiracy theory, according to which Elvis Presley only faked his death in 1977, that the actions of the assumed conspirators need not always be reprehensible. The Australian philosopher David Coady, on the other hand, described the explanations proposed by Keeley as mere "declarations of conspiracy" in 2003; He defines a conspiracy theory as a declaration of conspiracy that is in opposition to an official version of the event to be declared. With reference to Keeley and Coady, the German philosopher Karl Hepfer defines conspiracy theory 2015 as an “attempt to explain (important) events” as a result of conspiracies, that is, of secret agreements and actions for one's own benefit and to the detriment of the general public - of a “conspiracy for the good ”is said seldom.
The American political scientist Michael Barkun speaks of "conspiracy beliefs" or a "conspiracist worldview", which is characterized by the assumption that an organization acts maliciously and in secret. Typical of this way of thinking is the exclusion of coincidences - everything that happens is traced back to the deliberate actions of the conspirators -, doubts about everything that is obvious - nothing is as it seems, there is always a secret truth to be discovered - and the assumption that everything are connected - only the uncovering of "secret patterns" provides an explanation for what happened. This world view could be shown in assumptions of different ranges:
- in conspiracy-theoretical explanations for individual events such as the assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy in 1963 or the crash of Trans-World Airlines flight 800 in 1996,
- in systemic conspiracy theories, in which the conspiratorial group would be assumed to have broader goals up to world domination ( e.g. anti-Semitic , anti-Catholic or anti- Masonic conspiracy theories),
- in the belief in “super conspiracies” when several conspiracy theories are linked together in a global manner, such as in the complex ufological narratives of David Icke or Milton William Cooper .
The German sociologist Andreas Anton defines conspiracy theories in terms of the sociology of knowledge as “special or special knowledge ” that interprets events, collective experiences or social developments as the consequences of conspiracies. At the same time, he distinguishes them from other forms of knowledge such as ideologies , myths , everyday theories or mere opinions and assigns them four basic social-psychological functions: the reduction of complexity, the anticipation of situation developments, the understanding of borderline situations and the creation of social community.
The sociologist and political scientist Samuel Salzborn takes the view that these conspiracy myths are not believed because they are rational and cognitively convincing, but "because they consolidate a worldview that does not follow the principles of the Enlightenment ," and "only serves to To provide evidence of ideas that contradict all rational knowledge ”. Therefore it is also "not possible to refute a supporter of a conspiracy fantasy individually". In general, Salzborn does not consider these conspiracies to be “theories”, “because they do not want to explain and understand reality, but simply want to adapt it to their psychological deviance .” The “goal of affective mobilization strategies” is to “suspend the mind”. On the commercial “market of madness” everything is offered for sale “that only fulfills the condition not to withstand a reality check”. They are "fantasies of a regressed world, the dream of a harmonious and contradictory ( nationalistic ) self, in which everything obeys only one logic, namely its own - no contradictions, no ambivalences , only (common) identity". In addition, using the example of the belief in the existence of a Jewish conspiracy to achieve world domination or the murderous consequences of this madness in National Socialist Germany, Salzborn states “that what is accused and held up to others in the conspiracy myth is actually one's own - those repressed and denied parts of the self, one's own desires, which are also recorded as so monstrous [...] that they are initially only formulated in their projective form. "The conspiracy belief as" apparent fear of persecution and oppression "is ultimately" an expression and at the same time threats from those who want nothing other than to persecute and suppress. "
Katrin Götz-Votteler and Simone Hespers see what all conspiracy theories have in common is that they reject the declarations that have been issued by official bodies and are largely accepted "on the assumption that they were acting with conspiratorial intent". In this respect, conspiracy theories raise against people who are assumed to be powerful enough to spread the charge of systematically spreading fake news across the board . You distinguish three groups of such conspiracy theories:
- the denial of events, for example the moon landing , man-made global warming or the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany as a legitimate and sovereign state by the Reich Citizens' Movement ,
- the doubting of generally applicable explanations of events, often with a counter-declaration, for example regarding the assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy or the attacks of September 11, 2001,
- Explanations of greater or global reach, for example about alleged reptiloids , alleged chemtrails or the claim that the earth is flat .
So far, there is no consensus on a precise definition of what conspiracy theory actually is. Two terms of conspiracy theory are common in scientific discourse: a narrow one, more valuable, which criticizes conspiracy theories as irrational, incapable of correction, etc., and another, which subsumes all statements about conspiracies, whether they are worth discussing or not. Conspiracy theories are to be distinguished from (current) disinformation , i.e. from deliberately spread false reports that preferably deal with surprising topics with (potentially) great effects on society. “For one thing, conspiracy theories can include both true and untrue assertions, or even be so abstract that they remain in the mode of the speculative. On the other hand, conspiracy theories are often sincerely believed by the originator himself and are therefore not necessarily untruthful. It is only constitutive of their basic conviction in terms of content, 'to explain (important) events as a result of [...] secret agreements and actions'. Conspiracy theories or individual elements of them may fall into the realm of current disinformation, but the terms are by no means to be equated. "
In the following, the conspiracy ideologies and conspiracy myths, which are described as inadequate in terms of the theory of science, are presented, then statements worth discussing and the difficulties in distinguishing between the two.
Conspiracy ideologies and conspiracy myths
In the scientific literature various reasons are given for rejecting conspiracy theories (understood here as conspiracy ideologies and myths) from the outset as unsuitable explanations. Popper, for example, points out that events are generally not the result of intentions alone; To explain it, a whole network of other factors would have to be used, such as traditions, institutions , other framework conditions, possible counter-intentions and undesirable side effects of their actions that are not intended by the actors. In this respect, a conspiracy theory that explains an event solely from the intentions of the actors is inadequate. This is contradicted by Karl Hepfer, who argues that conspirators by no means need to have planned in advance all of the consequences of their actions that are relevant to their goal.
In the social sciences it is widespread to use Popper's demand for falsifiability to distinguish between rational explanations and irrational conspiracy ideologies: their advocates - unlike scientists who represent models - refused to explain their hypotheses and to name verifiable conditions which they could prove consider them refuted. On the contrary, counterarguments and contradicting evidence are seen by them as cunning manipulation of the conspirators and thus as confirmation of the conspiracy theory, which is thus immunized against any refutation. Armin Pfahl-Traughber and Helmut Reinalter see a decided and simplistic view of the world and history as the basis of such conspiracy ideologies and myths , which is based on the basic assumption that structures of social reality can be directly influenced by actions of people; these actions are monocausally regarded as the sole cause of the misfortune to be explained. Despite their apparently explanatory character, they are not an impartial explanatory instrument, but an ideological-political tool that serves to determine the enemy. Stereotypically, the same minorities would always be used and demonized as the personal perpetrators of all evil . The Berlin historian Wolfgang Wippermann sees belief in the devil as the personified evil as the root of all conspiracy ideologies in the history of ideas.
Dieter Groh and the German historian Rudolf Jaworski explain the main function of conspiracy theories with this drastic reduction in the complexity of historical events and the harmonization of cognitive dissonances in the historical picture; People in stressful situations felt relieved when they were given an explanation for the evil that happened to them. This is what makes them so attractive. In addition, there is the function that conspiracy theories in the propaganda of totalitarian regimes represent an explanation for the non-occurrence of the utopia predicted by theological or philosophical history.
According to the German political scientist Tobias Jaecker , conspiracy ideologies are characterized by an apparently great logic and coherence, but in truth they do not exist: connections between facts are arbitrarily constructed, coincidences are disputed, complex connections are greatly simplified, evidence is sometimes falsified or obtained relying on unnamed experts and insiders; the unquestioned working premise is assumed that whoever benefits from an event must also have caused it, which is why conspiracy theorists often say “ Cui bono? “Asked; Conspiracy theories would, on the one hand, always need a point of contact in historical reality in order to appear plausible; on the other hand, the interpretation they offer must match the prevailing interpretation patterns of a group, party, nation, religion or culture; in this respect, the conspiracy theory does not differ fundamentally from the majority opinions of its social environment, but only in degrees. In their stereotypical accusation of always the same groups, conspiracy theories contribute to the construction of images of the enemy .
According to Brian L. Keeley, “unwarranted conspiracy theories” - that is, conspiracy theories that cannot claim to be believable and seriously discussed - are characterized by a concentration on “errant data”, i.e. the information contained in the official declaration either contradict what happened or did not appear in it: Incredible conspiracy theories always provided a single, coherent explanation for all information about the case to be explained. However, they would pay a high price for this high level of standardization, since conspiracy theories have a tendency to expand: if one assumes, for example, that a government agency was behind the bomb attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City , namely the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives , one has to assume not only that there are a lot of confidants, but also of cover-ups and disinformation campaigns, which in turn would produce even more confidants and would have to be covered up in turn. This immense number of co-conspirators, whose acceptance the conspiracy theory makes necessary, is implausible - one always speaks - and leads to a radical, downright nihilistic skepticism about all knowledge communicated by society: Then the government, science, all media would be part of the conspiracy or are seen as betrayed by her, a basic assumption that is not plausible on her part. In the social sciences, on the other hand, there is always "errant data", since no explanation here would completely and completely cover all secondary aspects of the event.
Steve Clarke describes conspiracy theories, which cannot claim to be discussed, as “degenerating research programs” in the sense of the Hungarian scientific theorist Imre Lakatos : Unlike “progressive research programs”, they would not make any successful predictions or explanations, but only their premises and when new facts emerged Modify auxiliary hypotheses ad hoc in order to protect the original theory against any invalidation. He also points to the fundamental attribution error that characterizes many indisputable conspiracy theories: This refers to the socio-psychologically proven tendency to attribute events more to dispositional factors such as the intentions, attitudes and moral qualities of the actors than to situational factors, i.e. to current circumstances, Framework conditions and the actions of third parties. The persistence with which American authorities refused to discuss the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico would therefore be traced back to their alleged propensity for conspiratorial, paternalistic behavior rather than the situational factor that no UFO crashed there. This widespread attribution error is the reason why many conspiracy theorists stuck to their constructs for so long.
The American philosopher Pete Mandik declares all conspiracy theories ipso facto to be out of the question: As intentional declarations of events that are only subsequently made, they cannot claim to be scientific, since the causation of historical events is in principle not observable. The numerous factors that precede the event in time cannot be individually switched off in the experiment in order to check without which of them the event to be explained would not occur. In this respect, conspiracy theories, like all other causal attributions of social events, are the results of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy . This problem is exacerbated by the fact that conspiracy theories methodically exclude the only causative factor that can be proven, namely the declared intentions of the actors: These are in principle considered to be lies by the conspiracy theorists, since a conspiracy theory is defined as the secret collaboration of a small group: If the conspirators were to tell the truth about their intentions, it would no longer be a conspiracy.
Statements about real conspiracies and problems of distinction
In fact, there are conspiracies, and they are often quite powerful in history. Examples are the assassinations of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. Chr., Tsar Alexander II. 1881 or Archduke Franz Ferdinand 1914, communist attempts in the 1920s to bring about a world revolution , the Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs or the worldwide machinations of the CIA and other American secret services. The American political scientist Jeffrey M. Bale cites as an example the Italian Masonic lodge Propaganda Due , which is said to have orchestrated terrorist attacks under “ false flags ” in the 1970s , and the Afrikaner Broederbond , a South African secret society that was important for the establishment and maintenance of the apartheid regime . Necessary research on these and other real conspiracies had not been carried out because scientists, in view of the widespread rejection of conspiracy theories, would not have wanted to deal with them in order not to be considered dubious. Statements about real conspiracies must not simply be dismissed as conspiracy ideologies or conspiracy myths. They are referred to as conspiracy hypotheses (Pfahl-Traughber), central control hypotheses (Reinalter), warranted conspiracy theories (Keeley) or declarations of conspiracy (Coady) and can expect a right to serious examination.
The distinction between whether a statement is a conspiracy ideology or a central control hypothesis is often difficult. As criteria, Armin Pfahl-Traughber and Helmut Reinalter propose the degree of isolation from other explanations and their function in the discourse on power politics: conspiracy theories that pursue a political purpose, that serve to secure rule or the call to violence, are ideologies. If you immunize a conspiracy theory and leave no possibility open to refute it by empirical counter-evidence, it should also be considered under conspiracy ideology. The distinction is only possible in a subjective decision-making process in which a distinction must be made between truth and untruth.
Keeley denies that a lack of falsifiability is the criterion for an “unwarranted conspiracy theory” that deserves discussion: in cases where a powerful actor tries to hide all the evidence of his involvement, falsifiability cannot be required; But this is the case with real conspiracies, as the Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs show, where Richard Nixon and Oliver North spared no effort to hinder the investigation. “Warranted” and “unwarranted conspiracy theories” differ in the degree of downright nihilistic skepticism towards all social institutions. Because this difference is only of degree, there is no reliable criterion for dismissing a conspiracy theory from the outset as not worth discussing. There is no avoiding a plausibility check in individual cases.
Steve Clarke contradicts this: One can clearly distinguish “warranted” and “unwarranted conspiracy theories” from one another, namely by avoiding or not avoiding the fundamental attribution error. Accordingly, doubts are appropriate from the outset when it comes to explanations that argue only from the actors' disposition.
Jeffrey M. Bale cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a perfect example of a classical conspiracy theory .
Karl Hepfer denies that one can distinguish fictional from real conspiracy theories (i.e. statements about imagined from those about real conspiracies) from the outset. However, there are indications of fictional conspiracy theories:
- he calls here an "asymmetrical argumentation", in the sense that conspiracy theorists broadly emphasize indications that speak in favor of their view, but do not use their absence as an occasion to doubt it. On the contrary, this absence is sometimes taken as confirmation of the suspicion, because only very powerful conspirators can suppress the evidence or make it disappear. Conspiracy theorists do not only assume that their statements are true when there are indications of their agreement with reality , but also when the statements fit without contradiction to the other statements of their theory: In philosophical terms, they do not follow a correspondence theory of truth, but a coherence theory . This and their selective reference to experience make a conspiracy theory a dogma about which any doubt is excluded from the outset.
- In his opinion, conspiracy theories exceed the demands that are commonly made on the scientific nature of theories: the number of evidence is often significantly greater than that in recognized scientific papers. Due to their under-complexity, these theories are often extremely economical in the sense of Occam's razor , that is, they can explain a very large number of phenomena with very few assumptions. The degree of completeness and lack of contradiction is higher than with conventional explanations, which always have an unexplained residue: conspiracy theories are "too good to be true".
- According to Hepfer, conspiracy theorists do not just make statements about things that one thinks they know (so-called epistemic statements ), but existential statements ( e.g. that there is a worldwide conspiracy of Illuminati, Jews, extraterrestrials, etc.). Such a statement, however, has much more far-reaching consequences for statements that one can logically make after agreeing to it.
- Conspiracy theories demonized their objects: The conspirators would be imagined as superhumanly evil, powerful and cunning, instead of simply seeing them as normal people with certain interests.
- conspiracy theorists would work with a condensed conception of reason . It is true that they would attest the conspirators whose actions they are trying to uncover a high degree of instrumental reason with which they sought to achieve their alleged goals, but they would not problematize the reasonableness of these goals themselves. The goal of inventing three hundred years of history, as the conspiracy theory of the fictionalized Middle Ages assumes, is no more rational in itself than the alleged efforts of the American government to cover up the UFO crash at Roswell, instead of propaganda in preparation for the impending war to use with the aliens.
The Americanist Michael Butter and Michael Barkun differentiate between a) event conspiracies , which Butter illustrates with the assumption that the Kennedy assassination, the death of Uwe Barschel or the attacks on the twin towers can be traced back to conspiracies, b) systemic theories (systemic conspiracies) , who accept conspiratorial groups (Illuminati, Jews, the CIA) as the cause of various events, and c) super conspiracies , which combine both types, such as the fairy tale of the Jewish world conspiracy or that of the communist world conspiracy, like them John Birch Society propagated. While event conspiracy theories could most likely have a real background, this can be ruled out for the other two types, since all real conspiracies that have become known have always pursued only short-term goals and always included a relatively small number of confidants. Conspiracy theories, on the other hand, would imply a five- to six-digit number of potential whistleblowers according to the mathematical model of the American physicist David Robert Grimes , which is why their estimated time to be exposed is a few years at most. In addition, history is the result of countless intentions, counter-intentions, unintended effects, dynamics of their own, coincidences, etc., whereas conspiracy theories always explain the events monocausally with the dark intentions of the conspirators. For these reasons, not a single case of a conspiracy theory is known that, in retrospect, has proven to be correct.
Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche and Michael Walter, on the other hand, based on the social constructivism of Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, reject formal and substantive distinctions between rational and irrational conspiracy theories, between those that deserve discussion and those that could be dismissed without closer examination , as essentialist. The common definitions of the term, which stigmatize the conspiracy theory as imaginary, ideological and inadequate to reality , criticize it as “part of the struggle for the power to define social reality”. From a sociological point of view, there is rather a continuum from orthodox to heterodox conspiracy theories, i.e. assumptions that are recognized as an interpretative model by the majority of the population, the leading media and other bodies, and those for which this is not or not yet the case. This “disqualified knowledge” in the sense of Michel Foucault could indeed contain the dangers listed above, but it could also be quite useful, for example by helping to uncover real conspiracies, conveying suppressed or discredited opinions and revealing connections that were previously unknown. In this respect, for theoretical and sociopolitical reasons, the three authors speak out against devaluing conspiracy thinking across the board and pathologizing its protagonists as paranoid .
Similarly, David Coady emphasizes that conspiracy theories, understood as assumptions that an event was caused by a conspiracy, can well be "true, beneficial and / or justified". The delegitimization of such assumptions as conspiracy theories in the negative connotation sense of the word is often propaganda with the aim of increasing the credibility of “herd opinions” or statements by the government. In this sense, such a "conspiracy baiting" harms the ideal of an open society .
Jack Bratich, citing Michel Foucault's knowledge-sociological study Power / Knowledge, takes the position that in cases of doubt, the decisive factor for the classification is who can make a public decision on the question of validity . Conspiracy theories could not only be identified as wrong on the basis of denotative and inherent properties, their relationship to the "truth regime" was crucial:
“Every society has its truth regime; their general politics of truth; these are the types of discourse it accepts and makes it function as true; the mechanisms and entities that enable one to distinguish between 'true' and 'false' statements; the meaning by which each is sanctioned. "
Butter agrees with Bratich, but, citing Mark Fenster, points out that, firstly, the plausibility criterion is decisive, but also that the possible government conspiracies have always only been event conspiracies.
Precursors in antiquity, the Middle Ages and the early modern period
Researchers like Dieter Groh regard conspiracy theories as an “anthropological constant”, which means that they occur at all times and in all human societies. It is noticeable, however, that before the beginning of the modern era, they only achieved isolated mass effectiveness. Several large conspiracies have come down to us from antiquity (for example the Catilinarian of the year 63 BC or the Pisonic of the year 65 AD). However, there are only a few examples of ancient conspiracy theories, and the modern concept has only limited applicability to ancient times. Conspiratorial thinking, for example, probably played in the year 415 BC. It played a role in the Athenian hermen crime when it drove Alcibiades into desertion , or when in 19 the illness of the popular Germanicus was seen as an all too trivial explanation for his early death, which was perceived as traumatic , and it was assumed instead that it was a plot to commit murder Fallen victim. A highly effective conspiracy theory can be called the arson theory that sparked the Neronian persecution of Christians .
In the Middle Ages , at the time of the Crusades, the Jews were supposed to be secretly in league with the Muslims or the Antichrist ; the plague was traced back to alleged well poisoning by Jews or was accused of kidnapping Christian children in order to ritually murder them . One also imagined secret and illegal (namely contrary to the teachings of the church) beliefs and actions of so-called heretics such as the Cathars , Waldensians or the Templars . The witch hunts of the early modern period partly worked according to the same pattern: an accident had happened, a tangible scapegoat was identified , who was then tried.
In general, however, conspiracy theories were rather rare in the Middle Ages, since most unpleasant events were explained not with the machinations of human conspirators, but with the inscrutable advice of God .
17th Century: Anti-Jesuit Conspiracy Theories
The full picture of a conspiracy theory as a historical picture can be demonstrated for the first time in England in the Elizabethan age , when Jesuits tried to come to England illegally in order to work for the re-Catholicization of the country. Under the torture these Jesuits then confessed to their involvement in various assassinations on the Queen or in the bomb attack on Parliament.
This model picture of the foreign-controlled Jesuit conspiracy reached its climax in 1678 in the papist conspiracy , the so-called popish plot : Allegedly, Catholics planned to kill the king in order to put his brother, who later became James II , on the throne. The Whig Opposition used these unfounded allegations as an opportunity to take a stand against royalists, conservatives and Catholics, 35 of whom were innocently executed for high treason . After the popish plot was uncovered as a hoax and after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 the opponents of the new King William of Orange described themselves as "his Majesty's loyal opposition" and were no longer suspected of conspiratorial activities, the political situation calmed down Public in England.
Already in 1614 the Monita secreta of the ex-Jesuit Hieronymus Zahorowski appeared in Krakow , a forgery of alleged secret documents of the order, which was reprinted again and again up to the 20th century as evidence of its supposed conspiracy activities. They also became the reference object of the anti-Jesuit conspiracy theories of the Enlightenment . The image of the Jesuit as a conservative Catholic conspirator who pulls his pernicious strings from Rome can be found, for example, in the Encyclopédie by Denis Diderot and Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert . The German Enlightenment and Illuminati Johann Joachim Christoph Bode and Adolph Freiherr Knigge published detailed anti-Jesuit conspiracy scenarios in 1781: The Jesuits had founded Freemasonry and its high-level systems to fight Oliver Cromwell and English Protestantism and for their order, which had been abolished in 1773 To continue secret; Knigge insinuated that they had infiltrated German Freemasonry with the Strict Observance and the Rosicrucians, and that their goal was the stupefaction of the people, the restoration of absolutism and the Counter-Reformation . In 1788, the French writer Nicolas de Bonneville published a similar conspiracy scenario in French.
Not least as a result of such conspiracy theories, the order was dissolved in 1773. In the 18th century, in connection with the Jesuit state of Paraguay and its destruction, some Jesuits had turned against the claims to rule of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns and thus seemed to confirm the anti-Jesuit conspiracy theory. In the USA, anti-Jesuit conspiracy theories can be proven well into the 19th century, when the well-known inventor Samuel FB Morse believed that the Austrian State Chancellor Metternich would smuggle Jesuit agents to America with the order to install a Habsburg as Emperor of the United States.
18th century: French Revolution
In the late 18th century, conspiracy theories played a major role. In educated, enlightenment circles, a way of thinking was widespread that, according to the cause-and-effect principle, traced many events back to the workings of hidden forces that were supposed to be "revealed" in appropriate writings. These forms of thinking were reinforced by social crises and accelerated international communication. In pre-revolutionary France rumors of hunger conspiracies flared up again and again among the rural population. The most famous and probably also the most momentous was the rumor that was spread en masse in the spring of 1789 that the nobility and king were deliberately reducing the grain supply in order to be able to dismiss the popular finance minister Jacques Necker in the following hunger crisis and to suspend the convocation of the Estates- General that he recommended . This conspiracy theory made a significant contribution to the delegitimization of the Ancien Régime and to the willingness of the masses threatened by famine to use violence.
On the basis of a conspiracy ideology, the guillotine justified the persecution of political opponents in the French Revolution . Maximilien de Robespierre, for example, justified the Welfare Committee's seizure of power with various conspiracies by absolutist foreigners and their accomplices who had already infiltrated the entire society:
“The foreign courts consult in our administrations and in our section assemblies; they gain access to our clubs. They even have a seat and vote in the sanctuary of the people's assembly. […] If you show weakness, they extol your caution; if you exercise caution, they will blame you for weakness. They call your courage daring, your legal sense cruelty. If you give them protection, they start conspiracies in front of everyone. "
These conspiracy theories had a real core insofar as France was at war with its neighboring countries and an uprising against the revolutionary government had broken out in the Vendée . Indeed , the royal family, the nobility and the clergy loyal to Rome were often secretly in contact with foreign countries and were downright Catholic. The ideological part of the conspiracy becomes clear, for example, in the so-called foreign conspiracy , when the Hébertists were executed in the spring of 1794 , radical Jacobins who allegedly had themselves paid from abroad to destroy the republic with deliberately excessive measures. The historian Geoffrey T. Cubitt therefore certifies Robespierre to be a “conspiratorial obsession”, an “obsession with conspiracies”.
19th century: revolution versus reaction
The massive anti-Catholic attacks by the Enlightenmentists and the persecutions in the Revolution led some conservative theorists to simply turn the conspiracy theory upside down. The former Jesuit Abbé Augustin Barruel and the Scottish scholar John Robison put forward the counter-thesis in 1798 that it was not the Jesuits who had started a conspiracy, but their enemies, the enlightening philosophers, the Freemasons and above all the Illuminati . This anti-illuminatic conspiracy theory soon reached a wide range; In Germany, the court preacher Johann August Starck was particularly prominent in this. The Illuminati order of Adam Weishaupt was particularly suitable because - in contrast to the politically and religiously generally tolerant Freemasonry - its goal was actually the radical democratic transformation of society with the means of a secret society . Although it had already been smashed in 1785, i.e. four years before the revolution (otherwise Barruel and his German sources would not have been able to quote from his secret papers), there were some things that seemed to speak for its continued existence: On the one hand, the former member was Johann Joachim Christoph Bode , a Saxon-Weimar privy councilor , traveled to Paris just a few weeks before the outbreak of the revolution - a coincidence that no conspiracy theorist can ignore. On the other hand, there was a Masonic-like brotherhood called Les Illuminés in France itself , which was rather conservative and mystical in orientation and only had the name in common with the Bavarian Illuminati, but that seemed to be sufficient.
In any case, since the beginning of the 19th century, the image of the political conspirator from the left, who is internationally networked, has undermined values such as fatherland, faith and family and tries to instigate revolutions, has been an integral part of the conservative discourse. This image is also clearly behind the Karlsbad resolutions of 1819, with which the Austrian State Chancellor Metternich had so-called demagogues persecuted, censored and imprisoned everywhere . In connection with the bourgeois fear of revolution after the Russian October Revolution, an alleged conspiracy by dark, Bolshevik powers was imagined, for example in the misinterpretation of the Swiss national strike of 1918 as an attempted revolutionary overthrow.
20th Century: Anti-Semitism and Its Consequences
A transfer of this conspiracy theory to the Jews can only be proven with certainty for the last third of the 19th century. In 1869, the Russian journalist Jakow Alexandrowitsch Brafman (1824–1879) presented his work Книга Кагала ( Kniga Kagala , "The Book of Kahal"). In it he claimed that the Kehillahim , the Jewish community organizations, were part of a world Jewish conspiracy controlled by the Alliance Israélite Universelle . That same year, the French law Catholic explained Roger Gougenot des Mousseaux 1869 in his book Le Juif, le judaïsme et la judaïsation des peuples chrétiennes the Freemasonry to a front organization of the Jews. This combined conspiracy theory was further expanded in 1921 by the British author Nesta Webster , who combined all non-orthodox or non-orthodox Christian currents since antiquity from the Gnostics , through assassins , Illuminati and free thinkers to Lenin and the Russian revolutionaries into a single global conspiracy put together under a Jewish or Satanic auspices. This conspiracy-ideological large-scale construction was expanded in the twenties by Erich Ludendorff , the former quartermaster general of the imperial army, to the delusion of a "Jesuit-Masonic-Jewish world conspiracy".
Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories gained their entire murderous potency at the beginning of the 20th century, as an unknown author using horror literature and a French liberal polemic against Napoleon III. that was simply turned over, fabricated the Protocols of the Elders of Zion . This falsification should become one of the key texts of anti-Semitism . In this anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that is still strong in the core similarity with their anti-Jesuit archetype has been after the October Revolution with the slogan of Jewish Bolshevism nor anti-Communist elements inserted.
The rumor that arose that world Jewry was imagined as a single entity and that its enemies were in the “pincer attack” by American financial capitalism on the one hand and Soviet communism on the other, formed the core of Hitler's worldview , which in Mein Kampf explicitly referred to the protocols of the Elders of Zion . Therefore, National Socialism is viewed by some historians as a major conspiracy theory, which assumed that the alleged conspirators did not become part of the conspiracy through collusion, but through descent. This biological ideology of the National Socialists called for the physical extermination of the Jews and ultimately led to the Holocaust with genocidal consequences .
The anti-Semitic conspiracy thesis was also fatally charged by the stab-in- the-back legend : shortly after the First World War , the Supreme Army Command had spread that the German defeat was not due to the material, technical and numerical superiority of the Allies at the latest since the USA entered the war, but the burrowing activity of the German Social Democrats , which had stabbed the German army, which was said to be "undefeated in the field," with the November Revolution. The legend of a “Jewish declaration of war” on Germany, which Chaim Weizmann is said to have pronounced in 1933, also served as a justification for the Nazi persecution of Jews.
The conspiracy ideological thinking of the National Socialists was also evident during the war. For example, Hitler always explained the outbreak of World War II with the alleged machinations of Judaism, whose “agent” was Winston Churchill : “The man who mixed it up is Churchill; behind him Judaism, which makes use of him ”.
In his well-known Poznan speech of October 4, 1943, Heinrich Himmler justified the "extermination of the Jewish people" with the fear that the Jews would otherwise function as the fifth column of enemy powers:
“We know how difficult we would be if we still had the Jews as secret saboteurs, agitators and agitators in every city today - with the bombing, the burdens and the privations of war. We would probably now have reached the stage of 1916/17 if the Jews were still part of the German national body . "
Until the end of his life, Hitler was convinced of the necessity of the fight against “World Jewry”. His political testament , which he wrote on April 29, 1945, the day before his suicide , closes with an appeal "for merciless resistance against the world poisoner of all peoples, international Judaism".
21st Century: Since the September 11, 2001 attacks
Even today, right-wing extremists and Islamists are mostly spreading conspiracy theories about Israel and "the Jews" on the Internet : They are said to kill Palestinians captured for the purpose of organ trafficking , they are to blame for the plane crash near Smolensk , in which several members of the Polish political elite in 2010 died from swine flu and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake , they invented the Holocaust to keep Germany dependent, and they were also behind the so-called chemtrails.
Set pieces from the text Protocols of the Elders of Zion are still used today to support anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. You are e.g. B. an integral part of Hamas ideology . In Russia, an apocalyptic interpretation of the protocols is widespread and is in some cases promoted by high-ranking representatives of the Orthodox Church . Another version of the theory of the “Jewish-Masonic-atheist world government” can be found in the context of the Catholic Pius Brotherhood . The Catholic Scouting Society of Europe , which is close to the Engelwerk , claims that Freemasonry strives for world domination and that the increasing globalization tendencies in politics of our day are largely borne by the Masonic lodges ; The main enemy of the Freemasons is the Roman Catholic Church .
Since the beginning of the 21st century, accusations of conspiracy have been circulating in numerous groups regarding the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 ; the accusations are directed against a wide variety of associations and people, depending on their respective representatives.
Conspiracy-theoretical elements in Marxism-Leninism
As early as 1945, Karl Popper drew attention to tendencies in Marxism according to which greed, greed, and other psychological phenomena were not understood as symptomatic consequences of the existing social system, as was the case with Karl Marx , but as its causes: According to this, wars, economic crises, etc. would be “the result a cunning conspiracy of 'big capitalists' or 'imperialist warmongers' ”rather than as undesirable side-effects of actions that were aimed at completely different goals. Popper describes these tendencies as " vulgar Marxist conspiracy theory".
Between the world wars, the verschwörungsideologische zeitigte worldview in the Soviet Union of Stalin devastating. During the Great Terror of 1934 to 1939, especially during the Moscow Trials , almost all of the old Bolsheviks and the vast majority of the Red Army officer corps confessed to being part of an anti-Soviet regime, controlled either by Trotsky or by capitalist foreign countries, under the influence of torture in show trials Conspiracy.
It is unclear whether Stalin was actually convinced of this conspiracy theory, which fell victim to several million people, or whether he only allowed his conspiracy theory to be propagated according to calculation in order to be able to eliminate potential rivals. In 1948, Stalin launched an anti-Semitic campaign against so-called rootless cosmopolitans, which was also ideological in conspiracy .
In recent times there have been isolated attempts to understand all of Leninism as a conspiracy theory. The German historian Gerd Koenen, for example, argues that Lenin's theory of imperialism , like the related stamokap theory, essentially consists of the assertion that representatives of banking and industrial capital who have merged, as so-called monopoly rulers, are increasingly influencing the state and its decision-making structures . Through secret lobbying , mutual exchange of personnel between business and politics as well as institutionalized alliances ( social partnership ), the monopoly rulers would gain increasing influence over the state leadership in order to finally subordinate it completely to its dubious purposes. One of these purposes is also to compensate for the trend in the rate of profit predicted by Marx through economic and territorial expansion. This would lead the imperialist state acting in this way into conflicts with other imperialist states, which almost inevitably led to armed conflicts such as the First World War .
Lenin and other theorists who followed him would have assumed that z. For example, imperialism and the First World War caused by it are the results of illegitimate and secret influences from a comparatively small group of people, namely the "agents of monopoly capital". So saw z. B. the Communist International of 1919 an international, imperialist conspiracy of capital:
“On the other hand, world capital is preparing for the final battle. Under the guise of the "League of Nations" and a torrent of pacifist phrases, it is making the final efforts to glue the spontaneously disintegrating parts of the capitalist system back together and to direct its forces against the ever-growing proletarian revolution. The proletariat must respond to this immense new conspiracy of the capitalist class with the conquest of political power, direct this power against its class enemies and set it in motion as a lever for economic upheaval. [...] Down with the imperialist conspiracy of capital! "
Although attempts to describe Leninism as a whole as a conspiracy theory hardly met with a positive response in research, the political scientist Reinhard Kühnl sees individual conspiracy-ideological elements in later forms of these theories. In the 1970s and 1980s, so-called cartel or agency theories were often discussed, according to which the bourgeois state and its representatives are nothing more than the recipients of instructions from personal representatives of industrial interests. This - according to Kühnl - simple and personalizing description of the relationship between the state and capital interests is rejected today by most Marxists, who do not deny the influence of industrial interests but do not regard it as the only reason for Hitler's takeover .
An example of such an agent theory is, for example, the unanimous view of the GDR historical scholarship that large-scale industry in particular financed the NSDAP in the Weimar Republic and brought it to power through direct influence on decision-makers such as the industrialists' petition of November 1932. Therefore the personal actions of the big industrialists are the most important factor that contributed to the handover of power to the National Socialists. Here, in the sense of a conspiracy ideology, a central world historical event is traced back to the purposeful, hidden work of a small minority. The chancellorship of Hitler is explained in this view with a "monocausal purchase act" of secretly acting capitalists, who allegedly wanted to preserve their expansion interests. Other factors such as the National Socialist mass movement, the global economic crisis , the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles , which was perceived as a national disgrace, and the lack of sufficiently determined defenders of the republic are ignored. However, historical research today assumes that the share of large-scale industry in the financing of the NSDAP was small, irrespective of the fact that it played an active part in the destruction of the Weimar Republic. The influence of individual large industrialists is not denied, but is classified in a complex, multifactorial network of causes consisting of institutional framework conditions, economic development, political culture, social structure and ideological influences.
Conspiracy theories in the US since 1945
While conspiracy theories after 1945 received little response in Western Europe until the 1990s, they became a widespread explanatory pattern in the cultural and political life and thinking of many in the USA after 1945 and even more so after the Kennedy assassination in 1963 and the attacks of September 11, 2001 People. Until the 1950s, anti-communist conspiracy theories were represented by the government apparatus itself; they were part of the official mainstream. The Un-American Activities Committee, chaired by Richard Nixon, and Senator Joseph McCarthy's Government Operations Committee, for example, produced prime examples of conspiracy theories in the early 1950s. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover claimed in 1958 that during the American-Soviet alliance of 1941–1945, communists had taken control of central social institutions in the United States, such as the mass media, administration and elite universities. It did not stop at these suspicions: Nixon, McCarthy and Hoover persecuted communists within the American establishment and who they believed to be, violated their fundamental rights and ruined the lives and careers of many innocent people. On April 27, 1961, American President John F. Kennedy said to American newspaper publishers:
“Because we are facing a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy all over the world that relies above all on hidden means to expand its sphere of influence - on infiltration instead of invasion, secret overturns instead of elections, intimidation instead of freedom of choice, guerrillas at night instead of armies on days."
As a result, their number and distribution in the USA did not decrease. Since 1963, the assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy has given rise to various conspiracy theories, which attempt to prove, for example, that the CIA , together with the mafia , Cuban exiles , Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and representatives of the military-industrial complex , was responsible for the president's murder. Behind it is a coup that wanted to stop Kennedy's policy. Some also see the mafia as the sole mastermind behind the assassination attempt, because the American government under Kennedy presented an acute threat to organized crime . Another version sees the Castro regime behind the murder , which wanted to eliminate the constant adversary Kennedy, in analogy to the actual assassination attempts against the Cuban leader.
Nevertheless, there was a clear change in these years: the American government has no longer advocated conspiracy theories since the early 1960s. On the contrary, she uses the term to delegitimize her unwelcome, heterodox knowledge. The American political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith interprets the CIA's Dispatch 1035-906 from 1967 as an instruction that whispered criticism of the Warren Commission's report, which identified Lee Harvey Oswald as Kennedy's sole murderer To make the designation as a conspiracy theory implausible. The historian Andrew McKenzie-McHarg calls this interpretation tendentious. Conspiracy theorists exaggerate it to claim that the CIA "invented" the term conspiracy theory in 1967 with manipulative intent, which in itself is a conspiracy theory.
The government as a conspiracy
Since then, conspiracy theories have also been marginalized in the United States, which has led to a change in their structure: if all American conspiracy theories were accepted until then that there were secret and malicious plots against the United States and its government, American conspiracy theorists have since asserted that the government is part of the accepted Conspiracy. Real scandals such as the publication of the Pentagon papers , the Watergate or the Iran-Contra affair contributed to this mistrust. The fact that the government, academia, and the mainstream media had moved to delegitimize conspiracy theories as out of the question contributed to the belief among their supporters that conspiracy theories were at least partially true, given that the establishment had an interest in preventing them from spreading.
Conspiracy-theoretical suspicions against the government are also widespread among the Afro-American population of the USA: They played a central role in the race riots in the United States in the 1910s: The black community often explained the widespread racism from which it suffered in real life conspiracy theory with evil intentions of the whites, which is why rumors of lynchings in 1917 in East St. Louis or 1919 in Chicago sparked riots that were bloodily suppressed. The exact death toll in turn became the subject of new conspiracy theories because many blacks suspected the authorities of publishing too low numbers. Within African American communities, intelligence agencies or the government are often suspected of being behind the murders of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King . The theses that the abuse of firearms, crack consumption and AIDS - phenomena that are above average among the Afro-American population - were deliberately brought into their residential areas for racist reasons are also widespread.
In the 1980s, a moral panic developed over child sexual abuse allegedly committed en masse by satanic sects ( ritual violence ). This conspiracy theory was widely spread by the evangelical anti-cult movement . The appalling details about nameless cults , torture , human sacrifice and cannibalism came from intensive, often suggestive questioning of young children or from reports from adults that had come to light in a recovered-memory therapy . Before that, they had no memories of what had happened. At the center of the conspiracy theories were the brainwashing and mind control techniques that would dominate the alleged perpetrators. These were partly attributed to human experiments by the CIA or the Nazis . The satanist perpetrators were accused of camouflaging themselves in established churches and being in league with the CIA, the FBI, Washington or the military-industrial complex . Police investigations, however, did not find any corpses, body fluids or underground passages that had played a role in the patients' stories. At the beginning of the 1990s, reports of satanic abuse decreased noticeably: Since then, such reports have been seen as the products of a vivid American-Christian imagination.
The conspiracy theory of the “New World Order” has found supporters in the USA since the 1990s : in the ideology of the right-wing militia movement , a conglomerate of right -wing libertarianism , Christian fundamentalism and anti-Semitism, the government in Washington is subordinate to, in league with the UN or the Jews (see ZOG ) to work with other supranational powers or even extraterrestrials to undermine the freedom and morality of the population and to want to establish a “new world order”. A first step in this direction is the restriction of the right to bear arms guaranteed to every citizen in the second amendment to the constitution . The massacre in Waco (Texas) in 1993, which was triggered by an attempt by the federal police to enforce the current gun laws even with the small sect of Davidians , gave rise to these fears .
In the course of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 , conspiratorial suspicions were raised against the American government. They also found distribution in Europe. According to this, the Bush administration itself was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, either by allowing them to happen with full knowledge of the bombers' plans or by ordering them to be carried out itself. The aim is said to have been to implement the American war plans against Afghanistan and Iraq and to establish unilateral dominance - see conspiracy theories on September 11, 2001 .
Conspiracy theories in the Islamic world today
A similar argument is made in the conspiracy ideologies that have been flourishing in parts of the Islamic world for several decades and have found their way into political discourse there. The Second Intifada , the terrorist attacks of September 11th and, above all, the Iraq war have helped to cement a global Muslim identity that is accompanied by an anti-Western attitude. A lack of historical knowledge and an emotional and one-sided identification in the Middle East conflict lead to misunderstanding of Jewish suffering and are accompanied by conspiracy theories up to and including Holocaust denial .
A mixture can be observed here, which is composed of the conspiracy theories of September 11th, of partly classical, partly anti-imperialist modernized anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and of attempts at conspiracy theory, one for the small development successes that the Arab world has achieved in the last hundred years Find scapegoat. Although these anti-Semitic conspiracy theories can be linked to some anti-Semitic passages in the Koran (e.g. Sura 4, Verse 155), some Islam scholars do not interpret them as a genuine fruit of Islam , but as an import of originally European ideas. These conspiracy theories became virulent especially after the Six Day War in 1967 - at the latest since then Israel has been portrayed as an agent of the imperialist USA, whose goal it is to establish world domination and to destroy either Islam or the peculiarities of the peoples. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are e.g. B. an integral part of the ideology of Hamas , and in 2003 the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad claimed at a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that “the Jews” rule the world by proxy and that they have socialism, communism and democracy to that end and invented human rights. Israel, as a Jewish state, has always been the focus of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, often in connection with Holocaust denial, such as the claim that Israel invented the Holocaust to legitimize the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The issue of conspiracy is mentioned twice in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran : once in the preamble, where the White Revolution of 1963 is declared an American conspiracy, and later in the guarantee of rights only by those non-Muslims who “do not get involved in conspiracies against the Islamic Republic of Iran ”. High representatives of Iran, including the previous religious leaders , Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei , repeatedly affirmed hostility to Israel. Iranian politicians spread the conspiracy theory that the Jews would strive for world domination, using the protocols of the Elders of Zion . For example, the then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech to the United Nations on September 23, 2008 :
“The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European peoples are being manipulated by a small but insidious number of people, namely the Zionists . Although they represent a tiny minority, they have taken an important part of the financial and currency centers and also the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the USA under their rule in a cunning, complex and stealthy manner. "
In December 2005, Ahmadinejad publicly questioned the history of the Holocaust as part of a confrontation course against the West (see Holocaust denial ). As a result, so-called Holocaust conferences were held several times in Iran, with which he attempted to underpin his claim to leadership over the Arab states.
According to the American sociologists Martin Orr and Ginna Husting, the allegation of adhering to conspiracy theories as regularly found in the American mainstream press serves to dismiss concerns in Muslim majority countries about the war on terror .
Esoteric conspiracy theories in Europe today
Since the 1990s, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have been received again in Europe, in esoteric guise. The British former sports reporter David Icke spreads the myth that the world has been infiltrated by "reptilian" aliens , some of whom he portrays as Jews and others as Illuminati. He quotes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with approval . Icke himself denies being anti-Semitic, as he does not polemicize against all Jews, but only against the Rothschilds , "one of the most notorious black-occult bloodlines of medieval Europe". They were also the secret masterminds behind Hitler, whom they built up and paid for. Icke's website, on which he spreads these and similar claims, claims to be clicked several hundred thousand times a week.
The German author Jan Udo Holey achieved a bestseller with similar claims : In his 1993 book Secret Societies and their Power in the Twentieth Century , which was mainly sold through esoteric bookshops, he claims that Mayer Amschel Rothschild came up with the plan in 1773 with twelve other Jewish donors to clear the way for their world government by the year 2000 . He drafts a comprehensive conspiracy theory, which ranges from ancient Mesopotamia to the myth of the Nazi flying disks to an allegedly imminent Third World War, according to which the Jews themselves were to blame for the Holocaust. In doing so, he explicitly refers to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and to the works of Holocaust deniers like Germar Rudolf . Holey's "esoteric transfiguration of National Socialism" was subject to confiscation from 1996 to 2001 by order of the Mannheim Regional Court for incitement to the people .
These and similar anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are spread in Europe today by the German Jo Conrad and the Dutch Robin de Ruiter , among others . The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution sees the danger that readers who are in themselves apolitical, mostly formally highly educated, come into contact with right-wing extremist ideas through reception of these right-wing esoteric conspiracy theories, which in the future could contribute to a higher social acceptance of anti-Semitic resentment beyond the right-wing extremist scene.
The question of why those interested in esotericism in modern Europe are susceptible to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is answered differently in research. The Berlin historian Wolfgang Wippermann believes that esotericism offers a simple and at the same time binary world explanation model through the concept of holism : The universe is thought of in a state of quasi-natural stability and harmony, but this only occurs when people “get through with their Descent, gender, class and race determined place ”. Every breaking out of the supposedly cosmic destiny is interpreted as the cause of instability and disorder, which is why it makes sense to denounce people who rejected this order and placed themselves outside the community. The Swiss sociologists Chantal Magnin and Marianne Rychner , on the other hand, assume that both esotericism and conspiracy theory are based on a feeling of powerlessness on the part of the recipients: here vis-à-vis the conspirators thought to be all-powerful, there vis-à-vis the mysterious cosmic forces that supposedly control the world. The magical practices recommended by esotericism to influence these forces, however, regularly lead to experiences of frustration, which in turn contribute to the acceptance of conspiracy-theoretical explanatory models: “Someone will probably be behind it if one does not succeed in finally mastering the cosmic forces in everyday life, if fate does not want to become an opportunity. "
Conspiracy theories on scientific research today
Conspiracy theories that have been heard in the Western world have also affected the natural sciences for several years . The claim has been widespread since the 1980s that the HI virus , which causes the immunodeficiency disease AIDS, did not, as is generally assumed today, naturally originated in Africa several thousand years ago through the exchange of genes between two monkey viruses, but rather in the 1970s artificially created by scientists in an American military laboratory for biological warfare .
Other conspiracy theories relating to natural sciences are put forward by those who oppose vaccinations . Participation in vaccination programs is voluntary in most countries in the western world, but the state exerts considerable pressure on parents and the programs are lucrative for companies producing vaccines. Since a study by the British doctor Andrew Wakefield in the journal The Lancet in 1998 (withdrawn soon after its publication) , there has been speculation in Internet forums that the allegedly considerable dangers of vaccinations were deliberately concealed in order not to diminish the profits of the pharmaceutical industry . Opponents of vaccination name learning and development disorders , neurological symptoms and autoimmune diseases and especially the development of autism as vaccination risks. The American vaccination critic Robert Kennedy Jr. cited the funding of vaccination research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , i.e. by the American health authority, whose purpose is, among other things, to fund health research, as an indication that the researchers were in agreement with the American government would be under a blanket. These claims made a significant contribution to reducing the willingness to vaccinate and exposing children to infectious diseases again, the eradication of which would be technically possible today.
In the Pusztai affair , too, both sides accused each other of “conspiracies” in 1998: The Hungarian-British biochemist Árpád Pusztai had announced preliminary results of a feeding study in which six rats were given genetically modified potatoes for ten days . This was propagated by opponents of green genetic engineering as evidence of its harmfulness, the delayed publication of the study in The Lancet after a controversial peer review fueled the controversy. In this context, the American sociologist Ted Goertzel advocates making peer reviews more transparent, since the reviewers represent a small, mostly anonymous group, to which one would easily assume political or other non-technical motives.
Another set of science-related conspiracy theories concerns the denial of man-made global warming . Either global warming as such or the fact that it is man-made is denied here. In the different variants of this conspiracy theory, the motives assumed by climate researchers for their alleged falsifications change : Sometimes they would only promote their own careers and themselves with supposedly alarmist research results - a much-cited example is Michael E. Mann's hockey stick diagram published in 1999 want to secure further third-party funding , sometimes they would have their own ecological- ideological agenda. In the 2009 hacker incident at the University of East Anglia's climate research center , over a thousand private e-mails from climate researchers were released, apparently urging editors not to publish articles by "climate skeptics" and discussing how data can be presented in such a way that that they would conform to an alleged agenda. This gave further fuel to the conspiracy theory, although it later emerged that the published passages were quotations taken out of context and several independent committees of inquiry stated that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the researchers. A group of Australian and Swiss psychologists found a 2013 survey among recipients of “climate-skeptical” blogs, a clear correlation between doubts about global warming, belief in conspiracy theories (including those without scientific reference) and a strong trust in free markets . The future American President Donald Trump tweeted in 2012 that the concept of climate change was " invented by and for the Chinese in order to damage the competitiveness of the US industry".
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, numerous misinformation and conspiracy theories were spread, according to which the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 would have been created as a biological weapon in the gene laboratory. US investor George Soros and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are portrayed as masterminds of the pandemic. Statements by Gates on the dangers of overpopulation are taken as evidence. There is also the conspiracy story that the new 5G mobile communications standard is responsible for the corona pandemic by weakening the immune system, or even the trigger. Many countries with corona cases do not yet have 5G networks, for example in Iran.
Other conspiracy theories claim that a “ Zionist lobby” or an American-Jewish conspiracy is behind the pandemic . From far-right side was Israel assumed it steer the disease since it was a vaccine and would benefit from it. Others claimed that in the course of the crisis the abolition of cash should be enforced, that a possible vaccination should achieve mind control or that the virus actually does not exist: With the media hysteria, the elites only wanted to distract from their sinister plans.
Populism in the 21st Century
An example is the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez , who in 2011 publicly voiced the suspicion that both his own cancer and that of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner , Dilma Rousseff and Fernando Lugo were caused by machinations on the part of interested parties. In Poland , among supporters of the ruling party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, the conspiracy theory is widespread that the plane crash near Smolensk on April 10, 2010, in which, in addition to President Lech Kaczyński, large parts of the national elite were killed, was due to a Russian attack, according to Prime Minister Donald Tusk had been covered up by the liberal citizens' platform . The Hungarian right-wing populist Fidesz party is spreading the conspiracy theory that the Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros , with the help of his Open Society Foundation and the refugee crisis allegedly orchestrated by him, is pursuing the secret plan to destabilize the political order in Hungary from 2015 onwards . This conspiracy theory clearly has anti-Semitic overtones. In German right-wing populism, too, the view is widespread that the refugee crisis is the work of secret elites who are up to a change of population ( large exchange ) or the destruction of the values of the Christian West . In the party program of the AfD , the "undesirable developments of the last few years" are not blamed on the institutions and constitutional organs named in the Basic Law , but on an unspecified "small, powerful political leadership group within the parties" that is actually the "secret sovereign ". Prominent AfD politicians such as Wolfgang Gedeon , Alice Weidel and Peter Boehringer are ascribed even clearer conspiracy theoretic statements.
The use of conspiracy theories in the presidential campaign of Republican candidate Donald Trump was very clear . He had been using the " Birther " conspiracy theory for a long time , according to which his predecessor Barack Obama was not actually born in the USA and was therefore not entitled to exercise the office. In December 2015, he was interviewed by the prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones , thereby signaling to his electorate that he had no reservations in this regard. In the closing stages of the election campaign, he flatly claimed that his rival candidate Hillary Clinton had conspired with international bankers to destroy American sovereignty and to provide opportunities for the global financial forces whose donations support it.
This closeness between populism and belief in conspiracy theories common today is explained by the structural parallels between them: both criticized the elites, both radically reduced the political situation by accepting very few actors, and both could be right or left. It is true that conspiracy theories are not a necessary element of populist discourse, insofar as this can do without conspiracy theories; Populist movements succeed in integrating conspiracy theorists and non-conspiracy theorists. In two socio-psychological studies, the political scientists Bruno Castanho Silva, Federico Vegetti and Levente Littvay examined whether there was a correlation between populist and conspiracy theoretic beliefs and came to the conclusion that populists do indeed have a significant tendency to believe in malicious global conspiracies where small groups control world affairs and access to information at the public's expense. They found no significant correlation with conspiracy theories that accuse their own government of crime and terrorism. They found a negative statistical relationship with those on the subject of physical and mental health (mind control, anti-vaccination). They explain this by the fact that health-related conspiracy theories are widespread in better-off social settings that are less prone to populism. However, not all features of populism have been shown to be correlated with conspiracy theories: The assumption that the conspirators, in this case the elites, are morally evil, is not shared in populism: This only subordinates the elites to theirs, greedily and egotistically - To enforce interests - which are recognized as rational: Here the strong moral condemnation of the conspirators, which is otherwise common in conspiracy theories, is missing. A conspiracy-theoretical worldview, on the other hand, is a strong predictor of the basic populist convictions of anti-elitism and a popular will, which is imagined as a unified volunteer générale .
The political scientist Nancy L. Rosenblum and Russell Muirhead argue that Donald Trump both populist and verschwörungsideologisch argue if he himself as a defender of the people, for example against illegal immigration and at the same time presenting victims of conspiracies about the assertion that the National Park Service would keep the true number of visitors secret at his inauguration . Common to both argumentation models is the rejection of pluralism . Nevertheless, they also see fundamental differences: Populism focuses on the allegedly spontaneous, authentic voice of the people , while conspiracy theorists claim that they alone understand what is really about false flag operations and machinations of the “ Deep State “Go ahead. In this respect, they see themselves as a new elite with privileged access to secret knowledge. Populism is basically amenable to arguments, evidence and common sense; the new conspiracy ideology that Rosenblum and Muirhead see, rely solely on repeated assertions. In this respect, unlike populism, it represents an attack on representative democracy .
The popularity of conspiracy ideologies fluctuates: in some societies they appear as a mass phenomenon over a certain period of time, in others they appear to be a constant feature of political culture, while still others are only slightly affected by it. As the historical overview has shown, z. B. the epoch of the French Revolution or years around the Second World War times of conspiratorial boom. There are several explanations for these phase changes:
Conspiracy ideologies are represented precisely where more or less large sections of a society feel threatened from the outside. In this respect, their frequent occurrence can be understood as a symptom of a crisis . This was just as much the case with the plague of the Middle Ages as it was in Elizabethan England, in revolutionary France at the end of the 18th century, in the 1920s, as the unexpected defeat in the World War and the Versailles Treaty , which was disreputed as a national disgrace, as well as the search for a scapegoat motivated like the real or perceived threat from Bolshevism, during the Cold War and in the current confrontation with jihadism .
Conspiracy theories in the conspiratorial sense reduce complexity : They resolve confusing and diffuse situations by tracing them back to individual known phenomena and thus making them workable. The situation may still be threatening, it is no longer inexplicable. The myth as a processing form of reality is by Hans Blumenberg is to find the subject of a story in the sense of orientation knowledge and name. This is exactly what conspiracy theories achieve: What happens is no longer inexplicable or due to mere chance , but the result of the purposeful activity of the presumptive conspirators. In this respect, they make a contribution to coping with life and orientation. They do this on an intermediate level between the world-explaining classical myths and the modern sagas , which are more related to the individual case , with which they are structurally related: Unlike the classical myth, both make an explicit claim to truth and revolve around prejudices and fear-inducing experiences in one's life Group that should be made comprehensible and manageable by embedding in a narrative structure. Wolfgang Wippermann describes the frequent occurrence of conspiracy theories as a "turning away from the Enlightenment", as a return of belief in miracles and demons, which the triumphant advance of rational explanations of the world had actually long overcome. Norman Cohn suspects not only phenomenological parallels to the chiliastic movements of the Middle Ages, but a certain continuity, whereby the old religious forms of expression have been replaced by secular ones.
This thesis has not gone unchallenged. In fact, a decline in conspiracy theories in the course of increasing enlightenment cannot be found in all societies. Especially in the 18th century, the age of reason, there was a significant accumulation of conspiracy theories. Something similar can be observed in the USA, a society with a good, albeit inhomogeneous, educational system: Here the popularity of conspiracy theories seems to have remained constant since the end of World War II, if not to increase, which is why Richard Hofstadter adopted the “paranoid style” in 1964 described as a feature of the political culture of his country. There does not seem to be a decline in conspiracy ideologies with increased education.
"Dialectic of Enlightenment"
The connection between conspiracy ideology and reason can also be reversed. Various scholars see a “ dialectic of Enlightenment ” in the sense of Adorno at work: Conspiracy theories are interpreted as “the other of reason”, as the shadow side and at the same time counter-movement to a too fast modernization and rationalization of all social relationships: With the dissolution of all clear meanings With a clear claim to truth by science, with the increasing differentiation and growing complexity of all social relationships, with the progressive existential uncertainty of the modern individual, for whom no reference to God any longer explains the contingency of his world, the inclination to simple, narrative and community-building models of interpretation is also growing. When everything can no longer be explained by the work of an almighty God , there is a growing tendency to attribute unpleasant phenomena to the machinations of a group of conspirators, since someone must be responsible for them. Both the apparent gain in knowledge about the causes of one's own malaise and the shifting of responsibility for it onto the presumptive conspirators have a relieving effect. Here conspiracy theories are also understood as symptoms of crisis, albeit in a broader sense: not for political or economic crises, but for the "crisis of the modern subject". According to the American historian Gordon S. Wood , conspiracy theories became so popular in the Age of Enlightenment precisely because, in the wake of rampant secularization, people no longer believed in God as the cause of all events and instead now all social effects mechanistically on the corresponding intentions of People returned:
"Since they only had ' Providence ' as an alternative to describe systemic connections of human actions, the most enlightened minds of the time could only come to the conclusion that regular behavior patterns were the consequences of concerted human intentions, that is, the result several people who would have come together to promote a common plan or conspiracy. "
In the 19th century, conspiracy thinking then declined as a result of the evolving theories of social life. Michael Butter contradicts this: Conspiracy theories were rather widespread throughout the 19th century and were considered legitimate knowledge, as can be seen in the so-called slave power conspiracy theory (see Abraham Lincoln's House Divided speech ) or in the Kulturkampf could see in the German Reich. It was only in the 20th century that the social sciences increasingly saw them as delegitimized and stigmatized, with the Frankfurt School's studies on authoritarian character and Karl Popper's The Open Society in particular becoming influential. As a result, conspiracy theories continued to exist, but they wandered from the center of social discourse to the fringes, as can be seen in conspiratorial anti-communism: in the McCarthy era, this was still a majority in the United States, and has been going since the 1960s only distributed by the right-wing extremist John Birch Society .
"Conspiracy Theories Are for Losers"
The American political scientists Joseph Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent state: "Conspiracy Theories Are for Losers" ("Conspiracy theories are for losers"). In a content analysis of letters to the New York Times from 1890-2010, they found that when a Republican was president, conspiracy theories were being voiced that suspected the Republican Party and large business corporations. If, on the other hand, a Democrat was president, the conspiracy theories were directed against his party and alleged socialist conspiracies. In wartime and during the Cold War, they looked more closely at enemies abroad than in peacetime. In this sense, conspiracy theories acted as early warning systems for vulnerable groups and helped initiate collective action in the face of a threat. At the moment when this action would have been successful, they decreased significantly.
The Internet is believed to be a cause of the rise in conspiracy theories that some researchers believe in. The reason given is that social media facilitate contact between people with non-mainstream views, that they allow large amounts of information to be disseminated anonymously, and that the Internet offers the possibility of making connections between apparently unrelated issues. Because the latter is precisely the property of conspiracy theories, the American anthropologist Kathleen Stewart puts it pointedly: "The Internet was invented for conspiracy theories: it is a conspiracy theory". The attacks of September 11, 2001 contributed to making the Internet an important medium for gathering news and information, and thus also to the spread of the relevant conspiracy theories. " Google WTC 7" was a slogan of the 9/11 Truth Movement . Regardless of the filter of the established media, interested parties should use the Google search engine to form their own picture. However, important websites such as Google and Wikipedia in particular soon came under fire because they proved to be the new gatekeepers against the unchecked dissemination of alternative explanations.
The Australian philosopher Steve Clark objects to the thesis that the Internet would encourage conspiracy theories that it only helps with their dissemination, but not with their development. In addition, it could also limit conspiracy theories, as critical voices could immediately refute them. Joseph Uscinski points out that conspiracy-theoretical websites are not the most visited, on the contrary. Conspiracy theories have a bad reputation on the Internet. There is no evidence that since the invention of the Internet, the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories has increased.
Michael Butter finally points out that even in Internet times, conspiracy theories are still a long way from regaining the status of mainstream knowledge they had until the 1960s. Rather, a fragmentation of the public can be established: In the German-speaking region, conspiracy theorists have established a counter- public with digital platforms such as KenFM , telepolis or the NachDenkSeiten , which first made the conspiracy-theoretical discourses visible to the mainstream. Important conspiracy-theoretical media such as the right-wing populist magazine Compact or the publications of the Kopp Verlag would continue to be distributed primarily in printed form.
Conspiracy theories are structurally similar to paranoia , a mental disorder in which those affected delusively perceive persecutions and conspiracies against themselves. In both cases, distrust and suspicion are increased to the unrealistic, in both cases an anxious-aggressive attitude towards the perceived as threatening environment follows. Richard Hofstadter, for example, pathologizes the propensity for conspiracy fantasies, although he emphasizes that the term paranoia is not used in a clinical sense; various scientists interpret the conspiracy theories widespread in totalitarian systems as a direct result of the paranoia of their dictators. The historian Rudolf Jaworski contradicts this approach , since a conspiracy theory, in order to be effective on the masses, must retain stronger references to external reality than an individual delusion; it is also geared towards communication and propaganda dissemination, while delusional patients keep their imaginations to themselves for as long as possible; after all, this interpretation misunderstood the instrumental character of conspiracy theories, which are often disseminated against better judgment in order to achieve certain goals. The German psychiatrist Manfred Spitzer points to statistics that roughly half the population of the United States believe in at least one conspiracy theory. Describing all of them as mentally ill is neither useful nor effective; rather, the belief in conspiracy theories is part of the normal "arsenal of human world conditions", even though the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms on which it is based are structurally related to those of madness.
In terms of depth psychology , conspiracy theories can be explained as projections : the alleged conspirators are assumed to have personality traits that the receiving individual rejects or does not have at their disposal: They are unscrupulous, cruel, selfish, extraordinarily intelligent and sometimes have a godlike abundance of power. The demonization that goes with it is often superfluous to explain the phenomenon which the conspiracy theory is supposed to serve; it fulfills less historical than psychological needs. In this interpretation, conspiracy theories say something about the mistakes and wishes of their authors and readers.
In 1994, the American sociologist Ted Goertzel examined the influence of various social factors on belief in conspiracy theories. According to this, belief in a conspiracy theory increases the tendency to classify others as plausible: it correlates with a tendency to distrust state institutions and in the interpersonal environment, with uncertainty with regard to the workplace and with ethnic origin. People who perceived their life situation as unfair and felt left alone by politics were significantly more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, as did Afro- and Hispanic-Americans , which the author connects with their status as ethnic minorities . On average, younger people were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories than older people . With regard to educational level , gender or occupational field, only a few statistically significant results could be determined. Conspiracy theories that particularly affected certain ethnic groups achieved a higher level of approval among their relatives: Afro-Americans disproportionately agreed to allegations that the government in Washington deliberately circulated drugs in cities, and that the HIV virus had deliberately spread among blacks would be involved in the murder of Martin Luther King . This observation coincided with the results of an earlier survey of African American church members.
According to the American psychologists Jennifer Whitson and Adam Galinsky, mentally healthy people are more prone to conspiracy theories and superstitions if they believe they have no control over the situation in which they find themselves - i.e. people with a situationally low expectation of self-efficacy . They then tend to see patterns and connections everywhere - even where none exist - or to associate superstitious rituals with a situation. If you suggest to people that they have lost control of a situation, they also look for support in the apparent chaos. Loss of control is perceived by the psyche as an extremely strong threat. The strong attempt to restore it can also affect the perception of reality; one creates an imaginary order with the help of “mental gymnastics”. One possibility is to look for structures in order to better understand the situation and to be able to predict future developments. You look for patterns - and if there aren't any, you build them in through hallucinations . One sees patterns and connections that do not exist intersubjectively or objectively. In order to rule out that the test subjects were generally unsettled people who are looking for structures to organize independently of the context, they were suggested to be safe. Then the results no longer differed from those of other test subjects. If control is lost, simple connections and solutions offered are gratefully accepted. The social psychologist Karen Douglas also points out that - although increased engagement would also be possible - supporters of conspiracy theories tend to feel powerless.
In addition to such a low level of self-efficacy and the perception of having no control over relevant developments, studies by the American political scientists Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent found the level of education to be a significant factor in the likelihood of believing in conspiracy theories 40% of subjects without a high school diploma showed a high propensity to believe in conspiracy theories, the corresponding proportion of those with a university degree (postgraduates) was well below 30%. The British social psychologist Virus Swami and his team published a study in 2014, according to which an improvement in analytical thinking (as opposed to intuitive thinking) through prior training reduced the willingness to believe conspiracy theories.
The German psychologist Sebastian Bartoschek also comes to the conclusion that women from low levels of education in particular tend to explain conspiracy theory. Michael Butter, on the other hand, states that belief in conspiracy theories is most common in (white) men over forty. The British clinical psychologists Daniel Freeman and Richard P. Bentall found in a 2017 study that the typical conspiracy theorist is male, unmarried, with little formal education and low income or unemployed, a member of an ethnic minority and without a stable social network. The perception of a low level of social participation also contributes to a conspiracy mentality, according to a study by the American psychologists Alin Coman and Damaris Gräupner. According to Götz-Votteler and Hespers, the question of the socio-demographic characteristics that correlate with conspiracy is still unanswered. There is only consensus that people with politically or religiously extremist views also have a significant tendency to believe in conspiracy theories.
However, believing in conspiracy theories can also be a means to the end of feeling unique and standing out from the crowd. This is suggested by a study by the University of Mainz, in which the participants were presented with a fictitious conspiracy: once with the remark that the majority of Germans believe in the theory, and once with the remark that the majority doubt it. Participants who had a conspiracy mentality were more likely to believe the theory if it was presented as unpopular. This result was surprising insofar as people intuitively tend to trust a majority opinion more.
According to a study published in 2011 by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas at the University of Kent , people who believe in a conspiracy theory are more likely to believe in others, although their content is less important than the fact that it is It is a conspiracy theory: For example, the test subjects examined, who believed that Osama bin Laden was still alive, that his spectacular killing by American Navy SEALs in 2011 was only faked, had a high probability that they also believed that he was already before them Mission been dead. Similarly, a correlation could be shown between the assumption that Diana, Princess of Wales was murdered by British intelligence in 1997 and that she had only faked her death and is still alive. The fact that both assumptions are logically mutually exclusive played a subordinate role for the test subjects.
Wood and Douglas explain this with a "conspiratorial worldview" that shows itself less in positive belief in the content of certain conspiracy-theoretical narratives than in doubt and mistrust of the "official" version. Their statistical ( psychometric ) examination of over 2000 online comments on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on UK and US news websites found that users who favored the conventional explanation were more likely to argue for it than to disprove the arguments of the conspiracy theorists; On the other hand, those who believed that the attacks were the result of a conspiracy by the American government, the Illuminati or others, the reverse is true, that they argued against the official version rather than in favor of a closed alternative narrative. Taking a term from the American neurologist Steven Novella, Wood and Douglas describe this procedure as "anomaly hunting", as "hunting for anomalies ": The fallacy is drawn from unexplained findings , they cannot be explained at all and would lead to a refutation official version force. These users would also have argued less aggressively, resorted to other conspiracy theories more often and rejected the term conspiracy theory as stigmatizing in itself .
In 2017 Douglas revised her thesis of the conspiratorial worldview. Now she believes that people prefer conspiracy theoretic explanations if they offer them epistemic , existential and social advantages. Conspiracy theories were particularly attractive to people who had an increased epistemic need for accuracy and meaning, but who were prevented from satisfying this in a more rational way by a lack of competence or other problems. Existential conspiracy theories would allow those who believe in themselves to compensate for fears and the perception of their own powerlessness. The social benefits relate to the need for all people to maintain a positive self-image . Belief in conspiracy theories allows them to believe they have exclusive inside knowledge and to satisfy other narcissistic needs. The awareness of belonging to an underprivileged or threatened group, whether it be an ethnic group , a party or a religious community, increases the likelihood of believing in conspiracy theories. This explains their increased occurrence among African Americans and Muslims.
Sociology of knowledge
According to Andreas Anton, conspiracy theories are “a special form category of social knowledge”, “at the center of which are explanatory or interpretation models that interpret current or historical events, collective experiences or the development of a society as a whole as a result of a conspiracy.” Building on this definition, insists According to the knowledge-sociological perspective of Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche and Michael Walter, the most important function of conspiracy theories is to “ meaningfully interpret events or processes that would otherwise be difficult to classify , so that they can be integrated into existing worldviews, structures of meaning or a certain background knowledge to let". According to Anton, Schetsche and Walter, modern conspiracy thinking is essentially influenced by five interdependent factors: First of all, there must be cultural knowledge about the existence of real conspiracies; In connection with this, there must be mistrust of the social, economic and military power elites , for example through knowledge of their involvement in illegal activities - they cite the “ Gladio affair” as an example ; thirdly, there must be a strong desire for an explanation for an unexpected event in society that is not satisfied by the official explanation; Fourthly, there must be a need to relieve individual responsibility for an event or undesirable social developments: Anyone who assumes that the real decisions are only made in a small, uninfluenceable circle of conspirators does not need to blame themselves for having chosen the wrong party ; after all, it is necessary to be able to spread such heterodox interpretations en masse and unhindered, for example via the Internet . Anton, Schetsche and Walter welcome this medium as the possibility of "open-ended competition between orthodox and heterodox knowledge and concepts of reality (including conspiracy theories)".
Michael Butter also assumes that conspiracy theories are considered heterodox knowledge. From the 1960s onwards, they had no place in the mainstream, were ostracized and stigmatized, so that supporters of conspiracy theories had difficulty finding conspiratorial texts and like-minded people and publishing their theories. This has changed significantly since the 2010s due to the Internet and social media . A veritable counter-public from alternative media such as KenFM , Telepolis , NachDenkSeiten , Rubikon or the Swiss Infosperber have formed, which have explicitly positioned themselves against the traditional quality media and public broadcasting and thereby used the conspiracy theory of the “ lying press ”. Since this is perceptible to everyone on the Internet, the traditional public reacts with great concern about the increase in conspiracy theories and their danger, while the alternative media perceive this with analogous concern as a conspiracy and an attempt to isolate and muzzle them: two filter bubbles collide , from which a "spiral of excitement" emerges: The fragmentation of the social space of discourse leads to the fact that one is increasingly irritated to communicate with one another, but "not with one another across the boundaries of the two publics".
The linguist Clemens Knobloch takes the view that the term conspiracy theory has no analytical function in contemporary political and media communication, but rather serves to stigmatize positions and those who represent them: “With a follower of conspiracy theories one does not discuss that you don't need it, and it's not worth it. By definition, he is resistant to advice and unwilling or incapable of learning ”. The word is used to exclude him from the discourse; the quality media use it to abuse the public in response to the loss of hegemony that they suffered due to their, as Knobloch believes, predictable and insufficiently dissident comments. This threatens to trigger opposite effects, however, since the accusation that one spreads or believes in conspiracy theories stamps the audience across the board as immature and incapable of discourse. Subsequently, the linguist Friedemann Vogel criticizes the use of language in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia : With a few exceptions, the terms conspiracy theory and conspiracy theorist are used in internal communication there to stigmatize positions that “do not conform to the common ground of the respective ingroup ” . This is connected with a “disciplining of what can be said” internally and externally, whereby the accusation does not need any further specification. Anyone who only invokes such a position, or worse, who tries to put it into perspective, runs the risk of being banned. This use of the expression as part of a power communication could lead to whoever uses it being perceived and treated as a political actor.
Conspiracy ideologies and violence
The historical overview of the conjunctions of the conspiracy ideologies shows the immense willingness to use violence that often goes hand in hand with this thinking: the alleged exposure of supposed conspirators and enemies of the people was all too often followed by their elimination. Daniel Pipes points to the life advocate John Salvi, who shot around in two abortion clinics in 1994 for believing in a Masonic conspiracy against the Catholic Church, and to the Oklahoma City bombing in which 168 people were killed in 1995. Due to the experiences of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829), when a Christian minority had forcibly separated from the Ottoman Empire with the help of Great Britain , the Young Turkish government feared something similar in 1915: It suspected that the Christian Armenians were secretly with Russia , that had long had an interest in controlling the straits , in league. Therefore they switched off this supposed fifth column of the enemy with massacres and death marches in the Mesopotamian desert .
But violence is not only the result of state conspiracy theories “from above”: In the two great struggles for freedom of the 18th century, conspiracy theories “from below” played a role that should not be underestimated in motivating revolutionaries. From George Washington as it is known that he that behind the conflict-prone actions of the British government to the Revolutionary War led a conspiracy smelled: in 1774 he claimed the British followed "a regular, systematic plan [...] to tame us, common slaves close". The taxation of the colonists without their representation in Parliament appeared to him not as a rational pursuit of British interests, which only contradicted his own and which had to be regulated politically, that is, through negotiation and compromise, but as deliberate malice that had long been kept secret from the Americans that must be fought - an interpretation that the fighters for independence certainly attracted more supporters than if he had presented them purely rationally. In 2015, the climax of the Pegida demonstrations, where the right-wing populist conspiracy theory was popularized via a “lying press”, was accompanied by a significant increase in violence against journalists in Germany.
In fact, the use of violence is the logical consequence of conspiracy ideologies : If the threat posed by the conspirators presented as overpowering is so great and if there are no means of refuting this fantasy because of the ideological self-sufficiency, then literally every means - in this world of ideas - must be right to fight them off. The demonization of opponents, which conspiracy theories bring with them, legitimizes violence as well as the impression, which is widespread in several violent groups, that the outside world has conspired to destroy them. This can be proven, for example, for Jim Jones ' Peoples Temple , who caused the Jonestown massacre in 1978 , and for Ōmu Shinrikyō , a Japanese neo-religious group that carried out a devastating poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995 . Anders Behring Breivik , the perpetrator of the 2011 attacks in Norway , was firmly convinced of a Muslim conspiracy aimed at taking over Europe. To prevent this, it was necessary to wipe out the next generation of the Norwegian Labor Party .
The Mitte studies by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in 2019 showed a significant connection between a “conspiracy mentality” and a willingness to use violence: 23.9% of those who believe in conspiracy theories are willing to use violence, and a further 11.4% approve of violence. The British social scientists Jamie Bartlett and Carl Miller show in a study by the think tank Demos that conspiracy theories in various extremist groups, whether left, right, religious or other, play the role of a “radicalizing multiplier”, a radicalizing multiplier that defines the group's identity increased by strict isolation from the outside world, all criticism delegitimized and contributes to crossing the threshold to violence. At the same time, however, they also point out that belief in conspiracy theories is not a necessary condition for extremist violence: there are violent groups in which conspiracy theories do not play a role, e.g. B. the Irish Republican Army with its various splits, and there are groups that gather around a conspiracy theory without being violent, like the 9/11 Truth Movement or the followers of David Icke.
Conspiracy theories in literature
Conspiracy theories, even when seriously meant, are often received for their entertainment value. Discovering new connections or ironically constructing them yourself, giving historical events a different meaning and unfolding an exciting narrative is perceived as great pleasure. Conspiracy narratives therefore play a role in both upscale and popular literature . For a long time, conspiracy theories have been the main topic of discussion in American literature. Three aspects can be identified here that make it interesting for the author and readership: suspense, satire and postmodernism ; In many books, several of these aspects come into play:
Conspiracy theories are used to create tension: the hero penetrates deeper and deeper with the reader into the secrets of an outrageous conspiracy, and as a result of this he is in great danger several times and only barely escapes, if at all, from the dark secret alliances. This dramaturgy obey z. B. the novels of Dan Brown . Another example is the novel World in Fear by Michael Crichton , in which the fear of a conspiracy by environmentalists is a motive of the plot. In his conspiracy novel Noah 2013, Sebastian Fitzek creates a scenario in which a small group of wealthy eco-activists are determined to save the earth and thus humanity with a radical cure. The Bilderberg conference and a Room 17 committee that was supposedly split off from it are cited. The oddities of the world ( chemtrails and more) are tried and a concerted action of the billionaires of the world is said to have planned and brought about all of this over decades. Substances added to aircraft fuel are said to have contaminated mankind. Media campaigns are staged to prepare the world for the great plague that may come, and drugs are being developed that are supposed to do exactly the opposite of what they are supposed to do.
Conspiracy theories are satirically treated, for example, in William S. Burroughs ' famous short story 23 Skiddoo , which describes in flippant inside jargon how an obscure secret service gets its telepathically controlled murderers out of hand. Also the Illuminatus trilogy! by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea often uses satirical moments, for example when at the beginning of the first volume thinking in conspiracy theories is exposed as ideology with the motto parodying the Communist Manifesto : "The history of the world is the history of wars between secret societies."
The conspiracy theory motif is particularly common in postmodern literature. Here it serves to prove that everything that is commonly held to be reality is ultimately a construction and a mere agreement: Every conception of reality is therefore as obviously constructed as a conspiracy theory . This will be in Illuminatus! With the term “tunnel of reality” borrowed from Timothy Leary , it is even explicitly explained: From the almost infinite number of possible interpretations of the world, a society agrees on one that is then indoctrinated as binding . The protagonists of the novel trilogy experience enlightenment through a so-called mindfuck , which destroys their tunnel of reality and enables them to construct their own. Umberto Eco is less optimistic in his novel The Foucault Pendulum , in which he describes how curious scientists themselves spin a conspiracy theory that thereby gains reality and costs one of them their lives in a gruesome way - he dies hanging on the eponymous Foucault pendulum . Basically, Eco's novel The Cemetery in Prague is about the emergence and spread of conspiracy theories and the effectiveness of what is merely asserted against the background of the gullibility of people in the 19th century. His protagonist, Simon Simonini, as a secret mastermind - based on prejudices and the unchecked adoption of rumors that come from the mostly historical characters of the novel - develops the Protocols of the Elders of Zion , whereby their fantastic and slanderous sources become clear.
In the early novels of Thomas Pynchon such as V. or The Crying of Lot 49 , conspiracy theories are both ironicized and used as a cipher for the underground connections of the world. Here, however, Pynchon takes up the tradition of literary modernity - far removed from Wilson's postmodern pop eclecticism; the incomprehensibility of the threat in The Crying of Lot 49 is reminiscent of Kafka's nightmare worlds, and the “mythological method of order” from Joyce ' Ulysses is also reflected, in which mythology becomes a second level of reality that articulates the colorful surface. In The Crying of Lot 49 , the protagonist Oedipa Maas encounters more and more evidence of the existence of a mysterious post-conspiracy, until she is finally faced with the alternative of either positioning herself outside of what other people believe to be reality, or within social consensus, which means that they can no longer trust their own perception - they would then have to declare themselves crazy. The conspiracy theories experience a more positive portrayal in Pynchon's novel The Ends of the Parable : Here, similar to Wilson, they serve as self-constructed escape routes, as ways out of the gigantic context of death, indoctrination and exploitation of the world described. Conspiracy theories, on the other hand , are viewed negatively in Don DeLillo 's work: In the novel Seven Seconds, the focus of which is the Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald , it is described how he is manipulated by CIA agents to show himself responsible for a murder, which he did not commit: Conspiracy theory here becomes a metaphor for external determination and manipulation of people. At the same time, DeLillo's version of the events itself ties in with a well-known conspiracy theory.
Radio and television
- Attention conspiracy! Yves Bossart in conversation with Eva Horn (cultural scientist, Vienna) and Dieter Sträuli (psychologist, head of InfoSekta, Zurich) about conspiracy theories, broadcast on June 25, 2017 from the series Sternstunde Philosophie of the SRF
- Causes and motives for conspiracy theories: Richard David Precht in conversation with Harald Lesch : Conspiracy theories - invented truths? , ZDF from April 9, 2018
- Conspiracy Theories - Who Believes That? BR, September 11, 2019
- Stefan Fries: Why it shouldn't be called “conspiracy theory”. Deutschlandfunk , May 11, 2020 ( audio version ).
On May 17, 2019, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as its patron, opened the exhibition “ Conspiracy Theories - Past and Present ” in Dalheim Monastery (Paderborn district) with exhibits from nine centuries.
- Richard Hofstadter : The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays . London 1966 (Reprinted: Chicago 1990, ISBN 0-226-34817-2 ).
- JM Roberts: The Mythology of the Secret Societies. Secker & Warburg, London, New York 1972, ISBN 0-684-12904-3 .
- Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein : The thesis of the conspiracy 1776-1945. Philosophers, Freemasons, Jews, liberals and socialists as conspirators against the social order 1776–1945 . Bern 1976, Flensburg 1992, ISBN 3-926841-36-2 (new edition under the title: The Myth of the Conspiracy . Marix, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-86539-162-9 ).
- Daniel Pipes : Conspiracy. How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From . Free Press, New York 1997 (German: Conspiracy. Fascination and Power of the Secret. Gerling, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-932425-08-1 ).
- Ute Caumanns, Mathias Niendorf (ed.): Conspiracy theories. Anthropological constants - historical variants. Fiber Verlag, Osnabrück 2001, ISBN 978-3-929759-47-1 .
- Helmut Reinalter (ed.): Conspiracy theories. Theory - history - effect. Studienverlag, Innsbruck 2002, ISBN 3-7065-1510-5 .
- Michael Barkun : A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. University of California Press, Berkeley 2006, ISBN 978-0-520-24812-0 .
- Wolfgang Wippermann : Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today. Bebra, Berlin 2007, ISBN 3-89809-073-6 .
- Juliane Wetzel : Conspiracy Theories . In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . Volume 3: Concepts, ideologies, theories . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2008, pp. 334–337, ISBN 978-3-598-24074-4 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Helmut Reinalter: The World Conspirators: All of the things you should never know. Ecowin Verlag, Salzburg 2010, ISBN 3-902404-85-X .
- Ute Caumanns, Lars Gronau, Christian Lange, Tim Mörsch (eds.): Who pulled the wires? Conspiracy theories in the picture. Düsseldorf University Press, Düsseldorf 2012, ISBN 978-3-943460-13-1 .
- Andreas Anton , Michael Schetsche , Michael K. Walter (Eds.): Conspiracy. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-531-19323-6 .
- Joseph E. Uscinski, Joseph M. Parent: American Conspiracy Theories. Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2014, ISBN 978-0-199351-80-0 .
- Sebastian Bartoschek : Awareness of and approval of conspiracy theories - an empirical groundwork. Inaugural dissertation . jmb, Hannover 2015, ISBN 978-3-944342-60-3 .
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason. transcript, Bielefeld 2015, ISBN 978-3-8376-3102-9 .
- Marius Raab, Claus-Christian Carbon , Claudia Muth: In the beginning there was the conspiracy theory. Springer Verlag, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-662-53882-1 .
- Helmut Reinalter (Hrsg.): Handbook of the conspiracy theories. Salier Verlag, Leipzig 2018, ISBN 978-3-96285-004-3 .
- Michael Butter : "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2018, ISBN 978-3-518-07360-5 .
- Kim Meyer: The conspiratorial thinking. For the social deconstruction of reality. Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist 2018, ISBN 978-3-95832-139-7 .
- Joseph E. Uscinski (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them. Oxford University Press, New York 2019, ISBN 978-0-19084-407-3 .
- Karen M. Douglas, Joseph E. Uscinski, Robbie M. Sutton et al .: Understanding Conspiracy Theories . In: Political Psychology 40 (2019), Supplement 1, pp. 4-35 ( online ).
- Conspiracy theories - then and now . Catalog for the special exhibition of the Dalheim Monastery Foundation. LWL State Museum for Monastery Culture from May 18, 2019 to March 22, 2020. Published by the Dalheim Monastery Foundation and Ingo Grabowsky. Ardey-Verlag, Münster 2019, ISBN 978-3-87023-442-3 .
- Michael Butter, Peter Knight (Eds.): Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories . Routledge, London 2020, ISBN 978-0-81536-174-9 .
- Literature on the subject of conspiracy theory in the catalog of the German National Library
- Tobias Jaecker: Text collection on conspiracy theories
- Carsten Pietsch: On the sociological topography of 'conspiracy theories' and 'conspiracy theorists' with special consideration of the 9/11 attacks (sociological master's thesis on VS theories)
- Pete Mandik: Shit happens (PDF; 158 kB), Episteme 2007
- Conspiracy theories: "Nothing is what it seems" . A conversation with the Americanist Michael Butter . In: Die Zeit , No. 48/2016
- Philipp Hummel: 8 facts about conspiracy theories. Spectrum of Science, August 11, 2017
- Jürgen P. Lang : Conspiracy ideologies. Anti-liberalism and totality fantasy from Metternich to modern extremism , July 17, 2018
- With twelve steps into the conspiracy galaxy , column by Sascha Lobo at Spiegel Online from September 11, 2019
- Boris Holzer: One can still ask questions! , FAZ from February 6, 2020
- Brochure on conspiracy theories of mobile counseling against right-wing extremism Rhineland-Palatinate, 2020 (PDF; 2.97 MB)
- Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter , Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): About back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories past and present (3/2020)
- Social psychologist: "Conspiracy theories can also apply" , Interview with Roland Imhoff , MDR, June 14, 2020
- Issue 45 of the science podcast of the University of Innsbruck - ZfW_045 - Conspiracy theories with the historian Claus Oberhauser
- Helmut Reinalter : The World Conspirators: What You Should Never Know . Ecowin Verlag, Salzburg 2010, p. 35.
- Katrin Götz-Votteler, Simone Hespers: Alternative Realities? How fake news and conspiracy theories work and why they are timely . transcript, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-8394-4717-8 , p. 43 ff. (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Brian L. Keeley: Of Conspiracy Theories . In: The Journal of Philosophy 96, No. 3 (1999), p. 116, similar to Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, p. 23.
- Asbjørn Dyrendal: Conspiracy Theories and New Religious Movements . In: James R. Lewis and Inga Tøllefsen (Eds.): The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements , Vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016, ISBN 9-780-19061152-1, p. 201.
- Daniel Pipes : Conspiracy. The fascination and power of the secret . Gerling Akademie Verlag, Munich 1998, p. 42.
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, p. 147.
- Andrew McKenzie-McHarg: Conspiracy Theory. The Nineteenth-Century Prehistory of a Twentieth-Century Concept. In: Joseph E. Uscinski (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them. Oxford University Press, New York 2019, pp. 62–86, here pp. 63–68.
- See David Coady: Rumors, Conspiracy Theories and Propaganda . In: Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche and Michael Walter (eds.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, p. 286.
- Karl R. Popper: The open society and its enemies. Volume II: False Prophets. Hegel, Marx and the Consequences. 7th edition, JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen 1992, p. 119.
- Richard Hofstadter: The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays. London 1966, Chicago 1990 (reprint), pp. 77-86.
- Günter Hartfiel: Dictionary of Sociology . 3rd edition, revised by Karl-Heinz Hillmann , Alfred Kröner Verlag, Stuttgart 1972, p. 787.
- Dieter Groh: The Temptation of Conspiracy Theory, or: Why do bad things happen to good people? Part I: Preliminary Draft of a Theory of Conspiracy Theories. In: Carl F. Graumann and Serge Moscovici (eds.): Changing Conceptions of Conspiracy . Springer, New York / Berlin / Heidelberg 1987, p. 2 ff.
- Geoffrey T. Cubitt: Conspiracy Myths and Conspiracy Theories . In: Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 20 (1989), pp. 13-17.
- Daniel Pipes: Conspiracy. The fascination and power of the secret . Gerling Akademie Verlag, Munich 1998, pp. 45–53.
- Armin Pfahl-Traughber: “Building blocks” for a theory about “conspiracy theories”. Definitions, manifestations, functions and causes . In: Helmut Reinalter (Ed.): Conspiracy theories. Theory - history - effect . Studies-Verlag, Innsbruck / Vienna / Bolzano 2002, p 31 f, quoted by Helmut Reinalter. The world conspirators: What you should really never know everything . Ecowin Verlag, Salzburg 2010, p. 20 f .; similar to Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule: Conspiracy Theories. Causes and Cures . In: Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (2009), pp. 202, 210 fu ö.
- Brian L. Keeley: Of Conspiracy Theories . In: The Journal of Philosophy 96, No. 3 (1999), p. 116.
- Pete Mandik: Shit happens. In: Episteme 4 (2007), p. 206.
- Steve Clarke: Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theorizing . In: Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32/2 (2002), p. 149.
- David Coady: Conspiracy theories and official stories. In: International Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2003), pp. 199-211.
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, p. 24.
- Michael Barkun: A Culture of Conspiracy. Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America . University of California Press, Berkeley 2013, pp. 3-6; Michael Butter follows him : "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, p. 22 ff.
- Andreas Anton: Unreal Realities. On the sociology of knowledge of conspiracy theories . Logos Berlin, 2011, p. 77 f .; see. the same, Michael Schetsche and Michael Walter: Introduction. Construction of reality between orthodoxy and heterodoxy - on the sociology of knowledge of conspiracy theories . In: the same (ed.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, p. 12.
- Samuel Salzborn: Attack of the anti-democrats. The Volkish Rebellion of the New Right. Beltz Juventa, Weinheim 2017, p. 119 f., P. 126 f.
- Samuel Salzborn: "Anti-Semitic conspiracy thinking in right-wing extremism." In: ders. (Ed.): Antisemitism since 9/11. Events, debates, controversies. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2019, p. 158.
- Katrin Götz-Votteler, Simone Hespers: Alternative Realities? How fake news and conspiracy theories work and why they are timely . transcript, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-8394-4717-8 , pp. 31–34 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas: "What about building 7?" A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories (University of Kent, published 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology ), PMC 3703523 (free full text).
- Matthias Kohring, Fabian Zimmermann: Current disinformation: definitions - consequences - countermeasures. In: Landesanstalt für Medien NRW (Ed.): What is disinformation? Considerations from six scientific perspectives. March 6, 2020, pp. 15–22, here: footnote on p. 18.
- Karl R. Popper: The open society and its enemies. Volume II: False Prophets. Hegel, Marx and the Consequences. 7th edition, JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen 1992, p. 119.
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, p. 153 f.
- See for example Günter Hartfiel: Dictionary of Sociology . 3rd edition, revised by Karl-Heinz Hillmann, Alfred Kröner Verlag, Stuttgart 1972, p. 787; Helmut Reinalter : The world conspirators. Which you should never know . Ecowin, Salzburg 2010, pp. 10-14; Michael Barkun: A Culture of Conspiracy. Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America . University of California Press, Berkeley 2013, p. 6 ff.
- Helmut Reinalter: The world conspirators. Which you should never know . Ecowin, Salzburg 2010, pp. 10-14.
- Wolfgang Wippermann: Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, pp. 7-13.
- Dieter Groh: The Temptation of Conspiracy Theory, or: Why do bad things happen to good people? Part I: Preliminary Draft of a Theory of Conspiracy Theories. In: Carl F. Graumann and Serge Moscovici (eds.): Changing Conceptions of Conspiracy . Springer, New York / Berlin / Heidelberg 1987, pp. 8-11; Rudolf Jaworski: Conspiracy theories from a psychological and a historical point of view . In: EZW -tex 177 (2004), p. 44 f.
- Tobias Jaecker: Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories after September 11th. New variants of an old interpretation model . Lit Verlag, Münster 2004, p. 16 f.
- Brian L. Keeley: Of Conspiracy Theories . In: The Journal of Philosophy 96, No. 3 (1999), pp. 117-125.
- Steve Clarke: Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theorizing . In: Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32/2 (2002), pp. 144-147.
- Pete Mandik: Shit happens. In: Episteme 4 (2007), p. 206.
- Daniel Pipes: Conspiracy. The fascination and power of the secret . Gerling Akademie Verlag, Munich 1998, p. 43 f.
- Rudolf Jaworski: Conspiracy theories from a psychological and historical point of view . In: EZW -tex 177 (2004), p. 46.
- Brian L. Keeley: Of Conspiracy Theories . In: The Journal of Philosophy 96, No. 3 (1999), p. 116.
- Rudolf Jaworski: Conspiracy theories from a psychological and historical point of view . In: EZW -tex 177 (2004), p. 46.
- Jeffrey M. Bale: Political paranoia v. political realism: On distinguishing between bogus conspiracy theories and genuine conspiratorial politics (PDF) In: Patterns of Prejudice 41, No. 1 (2007), p. 47 f. and 56 ff .; accessed on June 24, 2017.
- So also Tobias Jaecker: Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories after September 11th. New variants of an old interpretation model . Lit Verlag, Münster 2004, p. 14 f.
- Helmut Reinalter: The World Conspirators: What You Should Never Know . Ecowin Verlag, Salzburg 2010, p. 12 f.
- Brian L. Keeley: Of Conspiracy Theories . In: The Journal of Philosophy 96, No. 3 (1999), pp. 121-126.
- Steve Clarke: Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theorizing . In: Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32/2 (2002), pp. 133 and 143-147.
- Jeffrey M. Bale: Political paranoia v. political realism: On distinguishing between bogus conspiracy theories and genuine conspiratorial politics (PDF) In: Patterns of Prejudice 41, No. 1 (2007), pp. 50–56. (Accessed June 24, 2017).
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, pp. 31 ff., 75 ff. and 146.
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, pp. 87 and 144 f. (here the quote).
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, pp. 41 f., 46–69 and 145.
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, pp. 132 and 145.
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, pp. 107–111 and 145.
- Michael Butter: Plots, Designs, and Schemes. American Conspiracy Theories from the Puritans to the Present. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2014, ISBN 978-3-11-034693-0 , p. 57 f. (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Michael Butter: "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, pp. 33–43; David Robert Grimes: On the Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs . PLOS ONE from January 26, 2016, accessed March 28, 2017.
- Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche and Michael Walter: Introduction: Constructing reality between orthodoxy and heterodoxy - on the sociology of knowledge of conspiracy theories. In: the same (ed.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, pp. 12-17.
- David Coady: Rumors, Conspiracy Theories, and Propaganda . In: Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche and Michael Walter (eds.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, p. 294 f.
- Jack Z. Bratich: Conspiracy Panics. Political Rationality and Popular Culture . SUNY Press, Albany 2008, ISBN 978-0-7914-7334-4 , p. 3 f.
- Michael Butter: Plots, Designs, and Schemes. American Conspiracy Theories from the Puritans to the Present. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2014, p. 295 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Dieter Groh: The temptation of conspiracy theory, or: Why do bad things happen to good people. In: the same: Anthropological Dimensions of History. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1992, p. 267 ff .; the same: conspiracies and no end. In: Kursbuch 124 (1996), p. 22; Ute Caumanns (Ed.): Conspiracy theories. Anthropological constants - historical variants . Fiber, Osnabrück 2001; see. Daniel Pipes: Conspiracy. The fascination and power of the secret. Gerling Akademie Verlag, Munich 1998, p. 45; John David Seidler: The Conspiracy of the Mass Media. A cultural history from the bookseller plot to the lying press. transcript, Bielefeld 2016, ISBN 3-8376-3406-X , p. 47 f. (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Jannik Lengeling: "... the great dragon, the old serpent, called the devil or Satan and seduced the whole world" (Rev 12,9). Conspiracy theories in ancient Rome . In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In dialogue. Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart ). 2020, ISSN 2698-5446 , p. 25–37 , doi : 10.25787 / idadrs.v0i3.250 ( uni-tuebingen.de ).
- Andreas Hartmann: Germanicus and Lady Di. On the public processing of two deaths. In: Waltraud Schreiber (Ed.): The comparison. A method of promoting historical skills. Selected examples , ars una Verlagsgesellschaft, Neuried 2005, pp. 61–126.
- Juliane Wetzel : Conspiracy theories . In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . Volume 3: Concepts, ideologies, theories. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-598-24074-4 , p. 335 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Werner Tschacher: The witchcraft stereotype as a conspiracy theory and the problem of the epoch boundary . In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In dialogue. Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart ). 2020, ISSN 2698-5446 , p. 39–58 ( uni-tuebingen.de ).
- On anti-Jesuit conspiracy theories, see Stephen Luckert: Jesuits, Freemasons, Illuminati, and Jacobins. Conspiracy Theories, secret societies, and politics in late 18th century Germany . Diss. Binghamton University 1993, pp. 75-96.
- Douglas C. Green (Ed.): Diaries of the Popish Plot . New York 1977.
- Ralf Klausnitzer: Poetry and conspiracy. Relationship Sense and Sign Economy of Conspiracy Scenarios in Journalism, Literature and Science 1750-1850 . de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-097332-7 , pp. 184 ff. (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- so z. B. Denis Diderot: Jesuit . In: Anette Selg, Rainer Wieland (ed.): The world of the Encyclopédie . Eichborn Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2001, p. 183 ff.
- Ralf Klausnitzer: Poetry and conspiracy. Relationship Sense and Sign Economy of Conspiracy Scenarios in Journalism, Literature and Science 1750–1850 . de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-097332-7 , pp. 193-215 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Samuel FB Morse: Conspiracy Against the Liberties of the United States. Leavitt & Lord, New York 1835, cit. with Richard Hofstadter: The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays. London 1966, Chicago 1990 (reprint), pp. 77-86 ( online , accessed September 21, 2014).
- Ralf Klausnitzer: The formation of modern conspiracy thinking in the Enlightenment . In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In dialogue. Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart ). 2020, ISSN 2698-5446 , p. 59-76 ( uni-tuebingen.de ).
- Steven L. Kaplan: The famine plot persuasion in eighteenth-century France. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, Volume 72, Philadelphia 1982.
- Quoted from Walter Markov : Revolution in the witness stand. France 1789-1799 . Volume 2, Leipzig 1982, p. 566 f.
- Geoffrey T. Cubitt: Robespierre and Conspiracy Theories. In: Colin Haydon, William Doyle (Eds.): Robespierre. Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 75-91, reference p. 83.
- Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann, Johannes Kuber: Conspiracy Thoughts in Past and Present. Introduction . In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In dialogue. Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart ). 2020, ISSN 2698-5446 , p. 5–24, here pp. 5–8 ( uni-tuebingen.de ).
- Volker Jordan: The Protestant early conservatism in Germany in the second half of the 18th century , p. 105 ff.
- Roland Sonntag: Conspiracy Theories - On the Variability of a Current Phenomenon , p. 11.
- Claus Oberhauser: Barruel - Robison - Starck. Features of conspiracy theories in the Late Enlightenment . In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In dialogue. Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart ). 2020, ISSN 2698-5446 , p. 77-91 ( uni-tuebingen.de ).
- Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein: The thesis of the conspiracy 1776-1945. Philosophers, Freemasons, Jews, Liberals and Socialists as conspirators against the social order. Bern 1976, p. 139 f.
- Daniel Artho: "A company for violent overthrow". How the conspiracy propagandist Serge Persky manipulated the interpretation of the Swiss national strike of 1918 . In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In dialogue. Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart ). 2020, ISSN 2698-5446 , p. 107-120 ( uni-tuebingen.de ).
- So Wolfram Meyer zu Uptrup: Fight against the "Jewish world conspiracy". Propaganda and anti-Semitism of the National Socialists 1919 to 1945 . Metropol, Berlin 2003, and Wolfgang Wippermann: Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, pp. 78-93.
- National Socialism. Documents 1933-1945. Ed., Introduced and illustrated by Walther Hofer . Fischer Library, Frankfurt am Main 1957; Revised new edition: Fischer Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1982, ISBN 3-596-26084-1 , p. 268 f.
- Juliane Wetzel: Conspiracy theories . In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Volume 3: Concepts, ideologies, theories. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-598-24074-4 , p. 335 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Werner Jochmann : Monologues in the Führer Headquarters . Hamburg 1980, p. 93.
- Text of the Poznan speech on www.nationalsozialismus.de ( Memento from April 15, 2004 in the Internet Archive )
- Juliane Wetzel: Conspiracy theories . In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Volume 3: Concepts, ideologies, theories. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-598-24074-4 , pp. 335 ff. (Accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Michael Hagemeister: The "Wise Men of Zion" as agents of the Antichrist . In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In dialogue. Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart ). 2020, ISSN 2698-5446 , p. 139–153 ( uni-tuebingen.de ).
- Andreas Hönisch : Fatima 2007. ( Memento from January 6, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Pathfinder Mariens 2007/4, p. 2.
- Karl R. Popper: The open society and its enemies. Volume II: False Prophets. Hegel, Marx and the Consequences. 7th edition, JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen 1992, p. 119.
- cf. Oleg Gordievsky , Oleg and Christophe Andrew: KGB: The Inside Story . Hodder & Stoughton, 1990, ISBN 0-340-48561-2 , p. 114; Dimitri Volkogonov : Stalin. Triumph and tragedy. A political portrait. Econ Taschenbuch Verlag 1989, ISBN 3-612-26011-1 , p. 18.
- Gerd Koenen : Marxism-Leninism as a universal conspiracy theory. In: Neue Gesellschaft, Frankfurter Hefte. Dietz, Bonn 1999,2, pp. 127-132; similarly also Daniel Pipes: Conspiracy. The fascination and power of the secret. Gerling Akademie Verlag, Munich 1998, p. 153 ff. And Wolfgang Wippermann : Agents of evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, pp. 109–117.
- Guidelines of the Communist International - adopted by the Congress of the Communist International in Moscow (March 2-6, 1919).
- Reinhard Kühnl: Theories of fascism. A guide. Updated new edition, Distel Verlag, Heilbronn 1990, p. 249 f.
- An example for many: Eberhard Czichon : Who helped Hitler to power? On the share of German industry in the destruction of the Weimar Republic. Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag, Cologne 1967.
- Eike Hennig : Industry and Fascism. Notes on the Soviet-Marxist interpretation. In: NPL 15 (1970), p. 438.
- See Reinhard Neebe: Großindustrie, Staat and NSDAP 1930–1933. Paul Silverberg and the Reich Association of German Industry in the crisis of the Weimar Republic. Vandenhoeck and Rupprecht, Göttingen 1981; Henry Ashby Turner : The Big Entrepreneurs and the Rise of Hitler. Siedler Verlag, Berlin 1985.
- Peter Knight: Conspiracy Culture. From the Kennedy Assassination to the X-Files . Routledge, London 2000, p. 2.
- Michael Butter: Conspiratorial Thinking in the USA . In: Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche, Michael Walter (Eds.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, p. 267 f.
- Herbert Hoover: Masters of deceit. The story of communism in America and how to fight it. Holt, New York 1958 ( online , accessed October 20, 2014).
- David Hecht: Hoover, Herbert . In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia . ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, Vol. 1, p. 324.
- Text of the speech on www.jfklibrary.org : “ For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence - on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. ”
- James D. Perry: Kennedy, John F. Assassination of . In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia . ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, Vol. 1, pp. 383-397; Larry J. Sabato: The Kennedy Half-Century. The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy . Bloomsbury, New York 2013, pp. 160-240.
- Michael Butter: Conspiratorial Thinking in the USA . In: Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche, Michael Walter (Eds.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, p. 268.
- Lance DeHaven-Smith: Conspiracy Theory in America. University of Texas Press, Austin 2013, pp. 25-32 and 197-203; quoted from Andrew McKenzie-McHarg: Conspiracy Theory. The Nineteenth-Century Prehistory of a Twentieth-Century Concept. In: Joseph E. Uscinski (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them. Oxford University Press, New York 2019, pp. 62–86, here p. 62.
- Michael Butter: Conspiracy (theory) panik. “Filter Clash” of two publics . In: Heiner Hastedt (ed.): Power of interpretation of diagnoses of the time. Interdisciplinary perspectives . transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-8376-4592-7 , pp. 197–211, here 210 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Michael Butter: Conspiratorial Thinking in the USA . In: Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche, Michael Walter (Eds.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, pp. 268–272.
- Ted Remington: African Americans . In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia . ABC Clio, Santa Barbara, Denver and London 2003, Vol. 1, p. 36.
- Daniel Pipes: Conspiracy. The fascination and power of the secret . Gerling Akademie Verlag, Munich 1998, pp. 245 ff. And ö .; Jack Z. Bratich: AIDS , and Ted Remington: African Americans and Cocaine . All three in: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia . Vol. 1. ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, pp. 34-40, 45 f. and pp. 178-184.
- David Frankfurter: The Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic as Religious-Studies-Data . In: Numen 50, No. 1 (2003), pp. 108-117, here p. 109; James R. Lewis: Satanic Ritual Abuse. In: derselbe and Inga Tøllefsen (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements , Vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016, ISBN 9-780-19061152-1, pp. 210-221.
- Asbjørn Dyrendal: Conspiracy Theories and New Religious Movements . In: James R. Lewis and Inga Tøllefsen (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements , Vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016, ISBN 9-780-19061152-1, pp. 200 ff.
- Kenneth J. Lanning: A Law Enforcement perspective on Allegations of Ritual Abuse. In: David K. Sakheim, Susan E. Devine: Out of Darkness. The Controversy Over Satanism and Ritual Abuse . Jossey-Bass, Hoboken 1997, pp. 109-146.
- Jason Lee: Satanic Ritual Abuse. In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia. Volume 2, ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, p. 642.
- Claus Leggewie : Fed up with the Feds. News about American paranoia. In: Kursbuch 124: Conspiracy Theories. Rowohlt, Berlin 1996, pp. 115-128; Alasdair Spark: New World Order. In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia . ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, Vol. 2, pp. 536-539.
For the following see Bassam Tibi : The Conspiracy. The trauma of Arab politics . dtv, Munich 1994.
Matthew Gray: Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World: Sources and Politics. Routledge, London 2010, ISBN 978-0-415-57518-8 , pp. 1-3.
- Helga Embacher , Bernadette Edtmaier, Alexandra Preitschopf: Anti-Semitism in Europe. Case studies of a global phenomenon in the 21st century. Böhlau, Vienna 2019, pp. 182, 192.
- Vanessa Walker: Constructions between Islamic tradition and European modernity. About the genesis and significance of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in the Muslim context. In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In dialogue. Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart 3/2020). Pp. 155-169; Wolfgang Wippermann: Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, p. 119 f.
- Daniel Pipes: The Hidden Hand. Middle East Fears of Conspiracy . St. Martin's Press, New York 1998, pp. 49-74.
- Jeff Jacoby: Rousing Muslim bigotry . In: The Boston Globe, October 23, 2003, accessed October 10, 2012.
- Mitchell G. Bard: Allegations and Facts. Negative Arab / Muslim attitudes towards Israel. 2011 ( online ( memento of March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on May 4, 2011).
- Helmut Reinalter: The world conspirators. All of which you should never know. Ecowin Verlag, Salzburg 2010, p. 142.
- "The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but decent number of people called Zionists. Although they are a miniscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner. " Quoted from Christina Ruta: Conceptual conflicts in international politics. On the logic of the controversy between the USA and the Islamic Republic of Iran. V&R Unipress, Göttingen 2012, p. 55 f .; Matthias Küntzel : Iranian Antisemitism and the International Response. In: Robert S. Wistrich (Ed.): Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism, and Delegitimizing Israel. University of Nebraska Press, Lawrence 2016, p. 248 ff.
- Katajun Amirpur: Ahmadinejad, Mahmud. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Vol. 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 9 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Martin Orr and Ginna Husting: Media Marginalization of Racial Minorities: “Conspiracy Theorists” in US Ghettos and on the “Arab Street”. In: Joseph E. Uscinski (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them. Oxford University Press, New York 2019, pp. 82-93.
- Ulrike Heß-Meining: Right-wing Esotericism in Europe . In: Uwe Backes , Patrick Moreau (eds.): The Extreme Right in Europe. Current trends and perspectives . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2012, p. 398 ff., The quote (“One of the most notorious black occult blooodlines of middle age Europe”) p. 399.
- Wolfgang Wippermann: Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, p. 148.
- Klaus Bellmund, Kareel Siniveer: Cults, leaders, light figures . Esotericism as a means of right-wing propaganda. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1997, p. 199.
For Conrad see Wolfgang Wippermann: Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, pp. 149–152;
on de Ruiter see Ulrike Heß-Meining: Right-wing Esotericism in Europe. In: Uwe Backes , Patrick Moreau (Eds.): The Extreme Right in Europe. Current trends and perspectives . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2012, p. 400 ff.
- Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution: Patterns of argumentation in right-wing extremist anti-Semitism ( Memento of November 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.4 MB) , November 2005, p. 10 f., Accessed on May 31, 2014.
- Wolfgang Wippermann: Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, p. 146 f.
- Chantal Magnin, Marianne Rychner: Structural similarities between two interpretations of the world: esotericism and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory . In: Tangram. Bulletin of the Federal Commission against Racism , No. 6 (1999), p. 43 ( online (PDF) accessed on May 31, 2014).
- T. Goertzel: Conspiracy theories in science. In: EMBO reports. Volume 11, Number 7, July 2010, pp. 493-499, doi: 10.1038 / embor.2010.84 , PMID 20539311 , PMC 2897118 (free full text); Michael Butter : Who really rules the world? International Politics and Society , May 8, 2017.
- Jack Z. Bratich: AIDS. In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, pp. 42-48.
- Margit Stange: Health Scares. In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, p. 309.
- T. Goertzel: Conspiracy theories in science. In: EMBO reports. Volume 11, number 7, July 2010, pp. 493-499, doi: 10.1038 / embor.2010.84 , PMID 20539311 , PMC 2897118 (free full text), p. 495.
Paul Offit : Deadly Choices. How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All . Basic Books, New York 2011;
Daniel Jolley, Karen M. Douglas: The Effects of Anti-Vaccine Conspiracy Theories on Vaccination Intentions . In: PLOS , February 20, 2014, doi: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0089177 .
- T. Goertzel: Conspiracy theories in science. In: EMBO reports. Volume 11, number 7, July 2010, pp. 493-499, doi: 10.1038 / embor.2010.84 , PMID 20539311 , PMC 2897118 (free full text), pp. 495 and 498.
G. Thomas Farmer, John Cook: Climate Change Science. A Modern Synthesis. Vol. 1: The Physical Climate. Springer, Dordrecht / Heidelberg / New York / London 2013, p. 454 ff .;
Jan Willem van Prooijen, André PM Krouwel: Mutual suspicion at the political extremes. How ideology predicts conspiracy beliefs. In: Michal Bilewicz, Aleksandra Cichocka, Wiktor Soral (eds.): The Psychology of Conspiracy. Routledge, New York 2015, p. 90.
- T. Goertzel: Conspiracy theories in science. In: EMBO reports. Volume 11, number 7, July 2010, pp. 493-499, doi: 10.1038 / embor.2010.84 , PMID 20539311 , PMC 2897118 (free full text), p. 497.
- Haydn Washington, John Cook : Climate Change Denial. Heads in the sand. Earthscan, 2011, pp. 43-45.
- Stephan Lewandowsky, Klaus Oberauer, Gilles E. Gignac: NASA Faked the Moon Landing - Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax. (PDF) In: Psychological Science 24, Issue 5 (2013), pp. 622–633.
- Kari De Pryck, Francois Gemenne: The denier-in-chief: Climate Change, Science and the Election of Donald J. Trump . In: Law and Critique 28, Heft 2 (2017), doi: 10.1007 / s10978-017-9207-6, pp. 119–126, here p. 124.
- Jakob Simmank: Bill Gates, the world conspiracy and me. Zeit Online , June 8, 2020, accessed June 12, 2020; Wulf Rohwedder: philanthropist or business man? In: Tagesschau.de, April 15, 2020, accessed on June 19, 2020.
- Wulf Rohwedder: Corona conspiracy myths. 5G under fire. In: Tagesschau.de, June 3, 2020, accessed on July 31, 2020.
- Patrick Gensing : Conspiracy theories: Corona as God's punishment. tagesschau.de/ffektenfinder , March 9, 2020; Michael Butter: The virus doesn't exist? Conspiracy theories are spreading quickly - and can have fatal consequences , tagesspiegel.de , March 13, 2020, accessed on March 22, 2020; Keno Verseck : Coronavirus in Orbán's Hungary: Soros, the migrants and the epidemic. www.dw.com, March 17, 2020; Maria Fiedler: Conspiracy theories, propaganda, chaos: How right-wing extremists ignite in the corona crisis. tagesspiegel.de , March 27, 2020.
- See, for example, Jovan Byford: Conspiracy Theories. A Critical Introduction . Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2011, p. 9 and ö .; Karin Priester : Right and left populism. Approaching a chameleon. Campus, Frankfurt am Main / New York 2012, p. 42; Jan-Werner Müller : What is populism? An essay. Suhrkamp, Berlin 2016, p. 63.
- Bruno Castanho Silva, Federico Vegetti, Levente Littvay: The Elite Is Up to Something. Exploring the Relation Between Populism and Belief in Conspiracy Theories. In: Swiss Political Science Review 23 (2017), Issue 4, pp. 423–443, here p. 423.
- Helmut Fehr: Elites and civil society. Legitimacy Conflicts in East Central Europe. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, pp. 328-335; Bruno Castanho Silva, Federico Vegetti, Levente Littvay: The Elite Is Up to Something. Exploring the Relation Between Populism and Belief in Conspiracy Theories. In: Swiss Political Science Review 23 (2017), Issue 4, pp. 423–443, here p. 424.
- Yanis Varoufakis : The Whole Story. My engagement with Europe's establishment. Antje Kunstmann, Munich 2017, p. 92 ff., Michael Butter: “Nothing is as it seems”. About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, p. 174.
- Michael Butter: "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories. Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, pp. 9–12, 23–28, etc.
- Program for Germany. The basic program of the Alternative for Germany (PDF) p. 15, accessed on May 21, 2018; Michael Butter: "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, pp. 166 f., 179, 198 and 252.
- Michael Barkun : A Culture of Conspiracy. Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. University of California Press, Berkeley 2013, p. 187; Michael Butter: "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, p. 135 f. and 212-217.
- Michael Butter: "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, p. 135 f. and 212-217; Bruno Castanho Silva, Federico Vegetti, Levente Littvay: The Elite Is Up to Something. Exploring the Relation Between Populism and Belief in Conspiracy Theories. In: Swiss Political Science Review 23 (2017), Issue 4, pp. 423–443, here p. 427.
- Bruno Castanho Silva, Federico Vegetti, Levente Littvay: The Elite Is Up to Something. Exploring the Relation Between Populism and Belief in Conspiracy Theories. In: Swiss Political Science Review 23 (2017), Issue 4, pp. 423–443, here pp. 432 f. and 437.
- Nancy L. Rosenblum, Russell Muirhead: A Lot of People Are Saying. The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy . Princeton University Press, Princeton 2019, ISBN 978-0-691-20225-9 , pp. 62-67 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Wolfgang Wippermann: Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, pp. 160-163; Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, p. 17 fu ö.
- Hans Blumenberg: Work on the Myth . Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1979.
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, p. 120 ff.
- Peter Knight: Making Sense of Conspiracy Theories . In: (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia . ABC Clio, Santa Barbara, Denver and London 2003, Vol. 1, p. 22; Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, p. 119 f.
- Wolfgang Wippermann: Agents of Evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to today . be.bra. Verlag, Berlin 2007, p. 151 f. and 159 (here the quote) - 163.
- See the list by Helmut Reinalter: Die Weltverschwörer: What you should actually never know . Ecowin Verlag, Salzburg 2010, pp. 31–40.
- Richard Hofstadter: The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays. London 1966, Chicago 1990 (reprint), pp. 77-86 ( online , accessed September 21, 2014).
- Dieter Groh: The temptation of conspiracy theory, or: Why do bad things happen to good people . In: ders., Anthropological Dimensions of History , Frankfurt am Main 1992, pp. 287–304; Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, p. 17 (here the quote), 101-104, etc.
- Gordon S. Wood: Conspiracy and the Paranoid Style. Causality and Deceit in the Eighteenth Century. In: The William and Mary Quarterly 39, Heft 3 (1982), pp 401-441, the quote (in the original: “Having only the alternative of 'providence' as an impersonal abstraction to describe systematic linkages of human actions, the most enlightened of the age could only conclude that regular patterns of behavior were the consequences of concerted human intentions-that is, the result of a number of people coming together to promote a collective design or conspiracy. ”) p. 419.
- Michael Butter: Conspiratorial Thinking in the USA. In: Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche and Michael Walter (eds.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, pp. 259-276; the same: "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, pp. 151–157, etc.
- Joseph E. Uscinski, Joseph M. Parent: American Conspiracy Theories. Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2014, pp. 131–153.
- Gundolf S. Freyermuth : The Internet of the conspirators . In: Kursbuch 124 (1996), pp. 1–11; David P. Weimann: Internet . In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia . ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, Volume 1, p. 347 f.
- Kathleen Stewart: Conspiracy theory's worlds . In: George E. Marcus (Ed.): Paranoia Within Reason. A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation . Chicago University Press, Chicago / London 1999, pp. 13-20, here p. 18, quoted from David P. Weimann: Internet . In: Peter Knight (Ed.): Conspiracy Theories in American History. To Encyclopedia . ABC Clio, Santa Barbara / Denver / London 2003, Volume 1, p. 348.
- John David Seidler: The Conspiracy of the Mass Media. A cultural story from the bookseller plot to the lying press . transcript, Bielefeld 2016, ISBN 978-3-8376-3406-8 , pp. 275 ff. (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- René König: "Google WTC-7" - On the ambivalent position of marginalized knowledge on the Internet . In: Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche, Michael Walter (Eds.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, pp. 203-220.
- Steve Clarke: Conspiracy Theories and the Internet: Controlled Demolition and Arrested Development . In: Episteme 4 (2007), Issue 2, pp. 167-180.
- Referred to by Karen M. Douglas, Joseph E. Uscinski, Robbie M. Sutton et al .: Understanding Conspiracy Theories . In: Political Psychology 40 (2019), supplement 1, pp. 4–35, here p. 15.
- Michael Butter: Conspiracy (theory) panik. “Filter Clash” of two publics . In: Heiner Hastedt (ed.): Power of interpretation of diagnoses of the time. Interdisciplinary perspectives . transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-8376-4592-7 , pp. 197–211, here p. 205 (accessed from De Gruyter Online).
- Richard Hofstadter: The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays. London 1966, Chicago 1990 (reprint), pp. 77-86, here p. 77 ( online , accessed September 21, 2014); Michael Butter: "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, p. 14 f.
- Oliver Brachfeld : On the psychopathology of the "world conspiracies" . In: Wilhelm Bitter (Hrsg.): Massenwahn in past and present. Klett, Stuttgart 1965, pp. 111-117; Daniel Pipes: Conspiracy. The fascination and power of the secret . Gerling Akademie Verlag, Munich 1998, p. 48 f.
- Rudolf Jaworski: Conspiracy theories from a psychological and historical point of view . In: EZW -tex 177 (2004), pp. 37–42 ( online (PDF) accessed on September 21, 2014).
- Manfred Spitzer: Conspiracy theories - quite normal and yet a problem. In: Nervenheilkunde 3 (2015), p. 195 f. and 201.
- Karl Hepfer: Conspiracy Theories. A philosophical critique of unreason . transcript, Bielefeld 2015, pp. 104, 131 f.
- Ted Goertzel: Belief in Conspiracy Theories . In: International Society of Political Psychology (Ed.): Political Psychology . No. 15 , 1994, pp. 733–744 ( unedited original version by the author in DOC format ).
- Jennifer A. Whitson, Adam D. Galinsky: Lacking Control Increases Illusory Pattern Perception . Science 322. No. 5898, October 3, 2008, pp. 115-117.
- Elke Ziegler: Loss of control allows conspiracy theories to flourish ( Memento from January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), science.ORF.at, October 3, 2008.
- Meg Washburn: When seeing IS believing. eurekalert.org, October 2, 2008.
- Karen Douglas: They all lie! How conspiracy theories undermine confidence in politicians and democracy. In: Ipg-journal , May 29, 2017, accessed on October 27, 2017.
- Joseph E. Uscinski, Joseph M. Parent: American Conspiracy Theories . Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2014. Quoted by Manfred Spitzer: Conspiracy theories - quite normal and yet a problem. In: Nervenheilkunde 3 (2015), p. 200.
- viruses Swami, Martin Voracek, Stefan Stieger, Ulrich S. Tran, Adrian Furnhamd: Analytic thinking Reduces was in conspiracy theories. In: Cognition 133, Edition 3 (December 2014), pp. 572-585.
- Katrin Götz-Votteler, Simone Hespers: Alternative Realities? How fake news and conspiracy theories work and why they are timely . transcript, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-8394-4717-8 , p. 39 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Michael Butter: Dark Plots. On the history and function of conspiracy theories . In: Politikum 3 (2017), Heft 3, pp. 4–14, here p. 14.
- Daniel Freeman, Richard P. Bentall: The concomitants of conspiracy concerns. In: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 52 (2017), Issue 5, pp. 595–604.
- Marie-Thérèse Fleischer: Superstition: Exclusion reinforces conspiracy mentality. In: Spektrum.de. Retrieved March 5, 2019 .
- Katrin Götz-Votteler, Simone Hespers: Alternative Realities? How fake news and conspiracy theories work and why they are timely . transcript, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-8394-4717-8 , p. 39 (accessed via De Gruyter Online); on the correlation between belief in conspiracy theory and political extremism, see also Karen M. Douglas, Joseph E. Uscinski, Robbie M. Sutton et al .: Understanding Conspiracy Theories . In: Political Psychology 40 (2019), supplement 1, pp. 4–35, here p. 11.
- Roland Imhoff , Pia Lamberty : Too special to be duped: Need for uniqueness motivates conspiracy beliefs. In: European Journal of Social Psychology , 47 (2017), pp. 724-734.
- Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas, Robbie M. Sutton: Dead and Alive. Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories . In: Social Psychological and Personality Science (2012), pp. 767-773. Quoted from Manfred Spitzer: Conspiracy theories - quite normal and yet a problem. In: Nervenheilkunde 3 (2015), p. 201 ( Online , PDF).
- See also Steven Novella: Anomaly hunting. From NeuroLogica Blog , April 27, 2009, accessed October 26, 2015.
- Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas: "What about building 7?" A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories . In: Frontiers in Psychology 4 (2013), Article 409, pp. 1–9 PMC 3703523 (free full text)
- Karen M. Douglas, Robbie M. Sutton, Aleksandra Cichocka: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories . In: Current Directions in Psychological Science 26 (2017), Issue 6, pp. 538-542; Karen M. Douglas, Joseph E. Uscinski, Robbie M. Sutton et al .: Understanding Conspiracy Theories . In: Political Psychology 40 (2019), supplement 1, pp. 4–35, here pp. 7–10.
- Andreas Anton: Unreal Realities. On the sociology of knowledge of conspiracy theories. Perilog, Berlin 2011, p. 119. Quoted from: Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche and Michael Walter: Introduction. Construction of reality between orthodoxy and heterodoxy - on the sociology of knowledge of conspiracy theories . In: the same (ed.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, pp. 9–25, here p. 15.
- Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche, Michael Walter: Introduction. Construction of reality between orthodoxy and heterodoxy - on the sociology of knowledge of conspiracy theories . In: the same (ed.): Konspiration. Sociology of Conspiracy Thinking . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2014, pp. 9–25, here pp. 15–19.
- Michael Butter: Conspiracy (theory) panik. “Filter Clash” of two publics . In: Heiner Hastedt (ed.): Power of interpretation of diagnoses of the time. Interdisciplinary perspectives . transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-8376-4592-7 , pp. 197-211, the citations p. 210 f. (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Clemens Knobloch: Who's Afraid of Conspiracy Theory? In: the same: Critique of the media moralization of political conflicts (= Philosophical Conversations , Issue 49). Helle Panke, Berlin 2018, pp. 5–25, the quotation p. 5 f.
- Friedemann Vogel: Jenseits des Sagbaren - On the stigmatizing and excluding use of the expression conspiracy theory in the German-language Wikipedia. In: aptum 14 (2018), Volume 3: Conspiracy Theories - Linguistic Perspectives , pp. 259–287, the quotation p. 282.
- Daniel Pipes: Conspiracy. The fascination and power of the secret . Gerling Akademie Verlag, Munich 1998, p. 276 f.
- See e.g. B. Salahi Ramadan Sonyel: Greco-Armenian conspiracy against Turkey revived. Cyprus Turkish Association, London 1975; B. Donald Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide. Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians. Oxford University Press, New York 2005, pp. 116, 118, 196, 199 and ö.
- “A regular, systematic plan […] to make us tame and abject slaves”, quoted from Michael Butter: Plots, designs, and schemes. American conspiracy theories from the Puritans to the present . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2014, ISBN 978-3-11-030759-7 , p. 32 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Katrin Götz-Votteler, Simone Hespers: Alternative Realities? How fake news and conspiracy theories work and why they are timely . transcript, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-8394-4717-8 , p. 43 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Jamie Bartlett, Carl Miller: The_Power_of_Unreason_Conspiracy_Theories_Extremism_and_Counter-Terrorism The Power of Unreason. Conspiracy Theories, Extremism and Counter-terrorism . Demos, London 2010, pp. 24-29.
- Liz Fekete: The Muslim conspiracy theory and the Oslo massacre . In: Race & Class 53 (2011), Issue 3, pp. 30–47, here pp. 30 f.
- Mitte study on fes.de , accessed on September 29, 2019.
- Jamie Bartlett, Carl Miller: The Power of Unreason. Conspiracy Theories, Extremism and Counter-terrorism . Demos, London 2010, p. 4 f.
- Jamie Bartlett, Carl Miller: The Power of Unreason. Conspiracy Theories, Extremism and Counter-terrorism. Demos, London 2010, p. 4; Michael Butter: "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, p. 221 f.
- Asbjørn Dyrendal: Conspiracy Theories and New Religious Movements . In: James R. Lewis, Inga Tøllefsen (Eds.): The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements , Vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016, ISBN 9-780-19061152-1, p. 206.
- Walter Delabar: Eco-Terror: Sebastian Fitzek draws conclusions from the overpopulation and turns it into a violent spectacle in his thriller Noah . literaturkritik.de , accessed on July 5, 2017.
- Federal President opens exhibition on conspiracy theories , WDR, May 17, 2019.