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Eight Kinds of Conspiracy Theorist

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The Failed Historian

Type: "For this group," writes Kay "conspiracy theories are a tool to eliminate the cognitive dissonance that arrives when the course of human events doesn't cooperate with the results demanded by their ideology."

Example: Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that Shakespeare was not the Bard of Stratford-Upon-Avon but someone else entirely. His famous Oedipal interpretation of Hamlet depended on the idea that the play was in part a response to the death of Shakespeare's father; when it turned out  the father had died after the writing of Hamlet, Freud changed the history underlying his reading, not the reading itself – he bought into the theory that the play's author was an English aristocrat whose father had died in the right time frame. As a Freud biographer put it, Freud wished that "a certain part of reality could be changed."

Related

Paranoid Nation: How Conspiracy Theories Are Destroying America

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