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it was only a matter of time before the engineers would try and attack again...,
what jack shafer misses about what ross douthat misses about fringe thinkers when he removes his western blinders:
Seeing that Aaronovitch's book deals primarily with Anglo-American-European conspiracy theories, Douthat isn't completely out of bounds insisting that today's conspiracy theorists hold "precious little direct power." But remove the Western blinders to gaze upon South America, the Middle East, and Africa, and a conspiracy renaissance comes into view!
[insert list of crazy things other peoples' leaders believe, or at least crazy things we believe about them]
The reason we're still occupying Iraq is because most elected officials in Washington were peddling a long string of jumbled fictions about how Saddam was conspiring to hide weapons from UNMOVIC so he could give them to Al Qaeda to vaporize America in a mushroom cloud. And of course, once the conspiracy theorists were forced to acknowledge that their pet conspiracy was false, they created new theories that spread.
The mainstream of the Republican Party thinks global warming is an impossibly elaborate, international conspiracy, and not just any conspiracy! The "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people". More than a few of them also believe the same thing about evolution. Did the Vince Foster shit make it into the articles of impeachment? That death panel fiction was pretty elaborate. It's almost a shame the FEMA trailer stuff never made it through the FOX filter of conspiracy-laden Republican beliefs.
And Slate senior editor Jack Shafer believes - in a clone of the Iraq-WMD conspiracy theory - that Iran is "currently incubating several nuclear weapons". This wouldn't merit mention as Shafer has precious little direct power, except that it's also the belief of the present Democratic administration.
Indeed, today's conspiracy theorists govern countries, command armies and deal out death and destruction on a vast scale.
update: And George Stephanopolous, too.