In the 90’s I used to believe any and all conspiracy theories were utter rubbish. Over the years my confidence in my hard skeptic position has diminished.
The first knock came when Echelon turned out to be true. I was told about it by a drunken colleague at British Telecom a few years before it was publicly revealed. The same person also told me about the Five Eyes intelligence agencies tapping the core internet trunks, something Snowden confirmed nearly 20 years later.
Another knock came from the realization that the 40 year war on dietary fat turned out to be misguided at best, if not criminally negligent.
The book and later film the Merchants of Doubt exposed the unbelievable scale and boldness of the industrial disinformation campaigns waged against us all.
Recently I witnessed an anti-conspiracy staple take a fatal hit. “Conspiracies cannot be real because people cannot keep secrets”. I used to believe this until I was involved in the recent Specter and Meltdown response. For months, hundreds of not thousands of security professionals across the industry worked together – conspired – in total secrecy, to patch all major operating systems against the vulnerabilities.
Now it seems like every week I am hearing about conspiracy theories that turn out to be true.
Today the “baby powder causes cancer” conspiracy theorists appear to have been right. Reuters has revealed that the company did indeed find asbestos in some of its talk products as far back as 1971. I can remember dismissing that one too.
There are two good books that address this topic.