Thanks to the internet, one can find conspiracy theories under every virtual rock overturned. Like the printing press before it, which decentralized, dare we write, democratized, publication of the written word, the internet acts as an amplifier of non-mainstream ideas. It is the medium through which Dostoyevsky's fire currently jumps from mind to mind.
As one who believes that ultimately the truth (or whatever variant thereof which comfortably fits in the vessels of the times) wins out, I think we live in exciting, albeit dangerous times. Any idea can be amplified and the death throes of certain ideas have human costs.
But my focus today is not on the new medium but on the content therein. I've been thinking about causal factors behind government conspiracy theories. One, as noted above, is merely the ease, by virtue of the new medium, with which such ideas can be transmitted.
Another causal factor might be a desire for the world not to be the way it seems. That is, it may well be easier to imagine government involvement in, say, 9/11 than to imagine that a group of otherwise unspectacular humans pulled off such a tragic event. Contemplation of the latter leads one to accept the ease of repetition.
As Hitler seems to be a topic of conversation in the mass media these days let's use his example as foil. There were many "conspiracy theories" surrounding Hitler's Third Reich. I think some arose because it was easier to imagine a conspiracy with greed, revenge or other self-serving notion as driving factor than to take him seriously. Surely he couldn't believe what he wrote years before he came to power and what he was saying at rallies...it was all just a ploy to seize power....right?
Alas, in Hitler's case, it was worse than a conspiracy, it was the truth. He believed his own bullsh!t..(a.k.a. becoming one's own God)....and that is really scary.