This week’s readings examined the role of conspiracy theory in influencing the radical right. Conspiracy theory is a complicated element of society. It is typically an indicator of mistrust directed either at groups, classes, or individuals who are deemed to be a threat to society. The readings examined what could be examined as two very different versions of the use of conspiracy theory. One version they examined was conspiracy propagated by government. The example focused upon was from Hungary and observed the Fidesz party’s use of conspiracy surrounding George Soros. The party depicted him as being the propagator of not only Hungary, but also many of Europe’s “problems”, such as multiculturalism, immigration, and cultural decay. Through utilizing this rhetoric, the party is able to portray itself as being the people’s protector against the threats that it creates. By diffusing these ideas to the citizenry, they can create support. The second version examined was conspiracies propagated by the people. These theories tend to be suspicious of governments and the establishment. They are often spread by word of mouth and though external sources. While some conspiracy theories are exchanged in closed groups, others have become so popular that political parties have formed and adopted their beliefs in order to appeal to greater groups of people. In this second version, it is therefore the accumulation of belief within the people which is adopted by the government.
Ironically, part of the reason that conspiracy theories spread so well is that they are often given credit due to persecution. When theories are actively denied or repressed, adherents to the conspiracies will often interpret repression as evidence that they were correct and are being persecuted to prevent the truth from being spread, thus increasing outsiders curiosity.