EP 251 The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy

 Conspiracy theories are as old as politics.  But, according to Russell Muirhead, the Robert Clements Professor of Democracy and Politics at Dartmouth College and Nancy Rosenblum, the Senator Joseph Clark Research Professor of Ethics is Politics and Government at Harvard University, in their new book, ‘A Lot of People Are Saying’, there is a new twist–conspiracies today have introduced these shadowy tales with no theories attached to them at all.  The intention is not to explain events, but to engage in a political take down. Classic conspiracy theory insist that things are not what they seem and gathers evidence–especially facts ominously withheld by official sources–to tease out secret machinations. The new conspiracism is different. It demands no evidence, doesn’t connect dots and doesn’t examine shadowy plotters. Through repetition(like the President’s penchant for the phrase that constitutes the title of the book)and bold one word assertions(‘rigged’, ‘fake’, ‘witch hunt’)they target the foundations of the democracy to de-stabilize our politics for their advantage.  It is a political trend that we have caught up with and lay bare in this episode.