Conspiracy Fueling

Glenn Reynolds, worth quoting in full:

SO THE TOPIC FOR MY USA TODAY COLUMN THAT I WOUND UP NOT USING was about how the story of the bogus translator at the Mandela funeral illustrates that everyday life is full of the kinds of inconsistencies and improbabilities that fuel conspiracy theories. Imagine if that guy had actually been a terrorist or an assassin, and had killed Obama and other leaders — suddenly his mental-health problems, his hiring by a fly-by-night company that vanished, his non-existent language school, the absence of security screenings at the event, would all look like some part of a coordinated plot, instead of general incompetence.

Just remember that in the future. Unless, of course, that’s what this was all about, which would prove that it really is a conspiracy!!!

Too bad he didn’t finish that column.

More here:

For a different example, I lived near Washington when the D.C. sniper attacks were happening in 2002, and I recall how we were told to be on the lookout for a white van that had been seen near several of the shootings. A friend at work tried an experiment while he was running errands in the area. He imagined hearing a gunshot, and he’d look around for a white van. He always saw one. Often more than one. The actual sniper had a blue sedan. The vans were just a coincidence.

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