Quotations about   conspiracy theory

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So why, then, does truth sometimes engender hatred? Why does the servant of God come to be an enemy of those who want a happy life, even though true happiness is joy in the truth? The reason must be this: Our love of truth is such that when we love something that’s not the truth, we pretend to ourselves that we we love is the truth. Then, because we hate to be proved wrong, we’re unwilling to be convinced that we’ve deceived ourselves. In this way, then, people hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is that they love more than the truth. They love truth when it shines warmly on them, and hate it when it rebukes them.

[Cur autem veritas parit odium et inimicus eis factus est homo tuus verum praedicans, cum ametur beata vita, quae non est nisi gaudium de veritate, nisi quia sic amatur veritas ut, quicumque aliud amant, hoc quod amant velint esse veritatem, et quia falli nollent, nolunt convinci quod falsi sint? Itaque propter eam rem oderunt veritatem, quam pro veritate amant. Amant eam lucentem, oderunt eam redarguentem.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
Confessions, Book 10, ch. 23 / sec. 34 (AD 400)
    (Source)

Original Latin. Alternate translations:

Why, then, doth truth beget hatred, and that man of thine, preaching the truth, became an enemy unto them, whereas a happy life is loved, which is naught else but joy in the truth; unless that truth is loved in such a sort as that those who love aught else wish that to be the truth which they love, and, as they are willing to be deceived, are unwilling to be convinced that they are so? Therefore do they hate the truth for the sake of that thing which they love instead of the truth. They love the truth when she shines on them, and hate her when she rebukes them.
[tr. Pilkington (1876)]

But why does "truth beget hatred," and why is that man of Thine, preaching the truth, made an enemy to them, whereas a happy life is loved, which is nothing else joy in the truth; unless the truth is so loved, that whoever loves something else, wants that which they love to be the truth, and because they are unwilling to be deceived, are unwilling to be convinced that they are imposed on? Therefore do they hate the truth, for the sake of that thing which they love instead of it. They love truth when it shines; hate it when it rebukes.
[tr. Hutchings (1890)]

But why doth "truth generate hatred," and the man of thine, preaching the truth, become an enemy to them? Whereas a happy life is loved, which is nothing else but joying in the truth; unless that truth is in that kind loved, that they who love any thing else would gladly have that which they love to be the truth: and because they would not be deceived, would not be convinced that they are do? Therefore do they hate the truth for that thing's sake which they love instead of the truth. They love truth when she enlightens, they hate her when she reproves.
[tr. Pusey (1909)]

Why, then, does truth generate hatred, and why does thy servant who preaches the truth come to be an enemy to them who also love the happy life, which is nothing else than joy in the truth -- unless it be that truth is loved in such a way that those who love something else besides her wish that to be the truth which they do love. Since they are unwilling to be deceived, they are unwilling to be convinced that they have been deceived. Therefore, they hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is that they love in place of the truth. They love truth when she shines on them; and hate her when she rebukes them.
[tr. Outler (1955]

Why does truth call forth hatred? Simply because truth is loved in such a way that those who love some other thing want it to be the truth, and precisely because they do not wish to be deceived, are unwilling to be convinced that they are indeed being deceived. Thus they hate the truth for the sake of that other thing which they love, because they take it for the truth. They love truth when it enlightens them, they hate it when it accuses them.
[tr. Boulding (1997)]

Added on 8-May-21 | Last updated 8-May-21
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Any historian of warfare knows it is in good part a comedy of errors and a museum of incompetence; but if for every error and every act of incompetence one can substitute an act of treason, many points of fascinating interpretation are open to the paranoid imagination. In the end, the real mystery, for one who reads the primary works of paranoid scholarship, is not how the United States has been brought to its present dangerous position but how it has managed to survive at all.

Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) American historian and intellectual
“The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Herbert Spencer Lecture, Oxford (Nov 1963)
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Reprinted in Harpers (Nov 1964).
Added on 6-Jan-21 | Last updated 6-Jan-21
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Anti-Catholicism has always been the pornography of the Puritan. Whereas the anti-Masons had envisaged drinking bouts and had entertained themselves with sado-masochistic fantasies about the actual enforcement of grisly Masonic oaths, the anti-Catholics invented an immense lore about libertine priests, the confessional as an opportunity for seduction, licentious convents and monasteries.

Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) American historian and intellectual
“The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Herbert Spencer Lecture, Oxford (Nov 1963)
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Reprinted in Harpers (Nov 1964).
Added on 2-Dec-20 | Last updated 2-Dec-20
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Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.

Bernard Ingham (b. 1932) British journalist, civil servant, press secretary
Quoted in The Observer (17 Mar 1985)

Often paraphrased, "Cock-up before conspiracy." Cf. Hanlon.
Added on 1-May-20 | Last updated 1-May-20
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RIPPER: I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) American film director, screenwriter, producer
Dr. Strangelove (1964) [with T. Southern, Peter George, based on Red Alert by Peter George]
Added on 31-Jul-18 | Last updated 31-Jul-18
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People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
“The Planet that Wasn’t,” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (May 1975)
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Added on 10-May-16 | Last updated 10-May-16
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The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true desserts. He ascribes all his failure to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity and damnfoolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street, or some other such den of infamy. If these villains could be put down, he holds, he would at once become rich, powerful and eminent. Nine politicians out of every ten, of whatever party, live and have their being by promising to perform
this putting down. In brief, they are knaves who maintain themselves by preying on the idiotic vanities and pathetic hopes of half-wits.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Baltimore Evening Sun (15 Jun 1936)
Added on 8-Mar-16 | Last updated 8-Mar-16
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The higher paranoid scholarship is nothing if not coherent — in fact the paranoid mind is far more coherent than the real world.

Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) American historian and intellectual
“The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Herbert Spencer Lecture, Oxford (Nov 1963)

Reprinted in Harpers (Nov 1964).
Added on 19-Jun-15 | Last updated 19-Jun-15
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When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) American computer inventor, entrepreneur
Interview, Wired (Feb 1996)
Added on 1-Nov-12 | Last updated 27-Aug-20
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