ConspiraciesCommentary by Pete du Pont
January 15, 1997
Host intro: A piece in Newsweek magazine's year in review issue speculated why Americans have such a passion for conspiracy theories. Commentator Pete du Pont has his own ideas.
I think it's laziness and incredulity, mixed in with a perverse version of a healthy attitude: fear of government.
America was founded on the idea that government is, in a friendly sort of way, your opponent. Then, government asks more than it gives. Its tentacles reach farther and farther into our lives, people in government abuse their power and act illegally or ruthlessly, and it's easier to believe they're capable of things even worse.
Throw in a desire for easy explanations where real life rarely provides them, mix well, and what do you get?
The CIA takes time out from its far-flung, world-wide efforts, to hook South Los Angeles on crack.
The Council on Foreign Relations -- a bunch of policy wonks and out-of-work government officials who sit around and read papers to each other -- lead a vast cabal bent on world control.
The U.S. government secretly harbors thousands of foreign troops on American soil and builds concentration camps for its own citizens, primed for the day when it installs a police state.
You don't have to be crazy to believe stuff like this. Just incredulous. And a little nervous about the people you elected.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: On Thursday, Pete du Pont says government regulations are making your health insurance more expensive.