A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who is not politically astute sent me a text asking if anyone ever got arrested for that “pizza thing.” I had no idea what he was talking about so I pressed him. He said, “You know, that child sex ring.”
Oh yeah. That.
Granted, he sent me this text two months after some gun-bearing idiot had gone to that pizza shop looking to solve things for himself. My friend, again who is not politically conscious, was referring to the famous right-wing conspiracy that the Clintons and the DNC were running the sex ring out of the pizza place based on an intentional misreading of leaked emails.
If David Aaronovitch were ever to update this book, that would be a great example. People dig conspiracies for a variety of reasons, namely how it helps explain their world. My apolitical friend, who definitely doesn’t care for liberals like me, found it easier to believe some bs on the news to justify his worldview than actually do research for himself. As do many.
What Aaronovitch does a stellar job of is showing how fringe conspiracy theories work themselves into the public consciousness. From Nazi Germany to Soviet Russia to Britain and finally, to the home front here, no empire is too powerful to resist the lure of the easy answer. Aaronovitch debunks them but he also autopsies the political circumstances that allow conspiracy theories to enter the political arena.
This book definitely needs an update for the times we live in, especially since the internet has gone into hyperdrive by making everyone even more conspiracy-obsessed than before.