Conspiracy Theories?

Language matters!

You’ve heard of the Soup Nazi. Some call me the Language Nazi. He doesn't much cotton to the loose lingo that leftists love.

Hillary Clinton spoke of a "vast right wing conspiracy" directed against her husband.  Maybe that's where the linguistic mischief started. How can a conspiracy be vast and composed of half the population?

A conspiracy is a clandestine agreement among a small group of people to achieve a nefarious end, typically by means of treason or treachery. The members of a conspiracy are called conspirators. They meet in secret and in small numbers. The etymology of the word suggests an intimate ‘breathing together.’   Hillary's abuse of English is plain: conservatives do not form a secret organization; they are not few in number; and their opposition to Bill Clinton and his policies was not nefarious, treasonous, or treacherous. 

A conspiracy theory alleges that a conspiracy is under way or has occurred to bring about some event. An example is the theory that 9/11 was an 'inside job.' It is a conspiracy theory because it alleges a conspiracy. Some conspiracy theories  are true, and some false; some are well-supported by evidence, others are not.  None of the 9/11 conspiracy theories are well- supported in my opinion. But that is not the present point. The present point is that it is a mistake to assume that every conspiracy theory is false or baseless.

It is also a mistake to refer to any theory or any  bit of groundless speculation as a conspiracy theory.   Not every theory is a conspiracy theory.  A conspiracy theory alleges a conspiracy where 'conspiracy' is  defined as above.

Finally, it is a mistake to oppose theories to facts, as if no theory can be true.