Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures*

Sunstein, Cass R.; Vermeule, Adrian
Journal of Political Philosophy

The truth is out there”: conspiracy theories are all around us. In August 2004, a poll by Zogby International showed that 49 percent of New YorkCity residents, with a margin of error of 3.5 percent, believed that officialsof the U.S. government “knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act.” In a Scripps-Howard Poll in 2006, some 36 percent of respondents assented to theclaim that “federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center or took no action to stop them.”Sixteen percent said that it was eithervery likely or somewhat likely that “the collapse of the twin towers in New Yorkwas aided by explosives secretly planted in the two buildings.”