The apparent growth, in number and potency, of pervasive conspiracy theories and may be a byproduct of the internet or social media, and may also be affected by the growing anxiety caused by increased globalization and global risks. I tend to believe that these two social forces combine to create conditions that allow for anxiety, a belief that conditions are worse than ever before, and that some individual, group, or force is responsible.
To cope with the stress and anxiety of late modernity, ever more available conspiracy theories produce a much needed order to the world. A nefarious order, although fearful and disturbing, allows for the illusion of an ordered world, a world under someone’s control.
Rather than a low-level (i.e. law enforcement accepting bribes to ignore specific criminal behaviors), mid-level (consider the real conspiracy between executives at Enron), or high-level conspiracies (nearly every JFK conspiracy theory would fall into this category), a new order of conspiracy theory exists that encompasses all life, government, and every global (or universal) system by definition. This is the Total Conspiracy Theory.
A Total Conspiracy Theory works differently from other ranges of conspiracies. Such a theory may never be disproved because any falsification would be seen as part of the conspiracy system (disconfirmation confirms). All reality and every aspect of existence is thought to be hijacked in a complete system; other conspiracy theories are absorbed into the Total Conspiracy (absolute conspiracy paradigm). All those who disagree with the specific Total Conspiracy are either deceived and need education (call to proselytize) or a part of the conspiracy themselves and need to be stopped (adversarial mentality), this includes anyone who believes in a rival Total Conspiracy.
As it would happen, two Total Conspiracy Theories are currently fighting for dominance amid various conspiracy theory options. David Icke‘s assertion of that the world is controlled by shape-shifting reptilians (known as the Annunaki from Assyrian myth) runs counter a Judeo-Christian-based theory that all alien and extraterrestrial encounters, UFOs and the Annunaki are actually demons and part of a Great Deception from Satan himself. Both of these theories are supernatural in nature but (arguably) a third, secular and terrestrial Total Conspiracy Theory exists and counts Alex Jones as its primary mouthpiece. I now have to point out that these are just the three most common Total Conspiracies in America alone. Though these theories exist within several English language speaking countries, other regional, language, ideological and religious groupings have different Total Conspiracy Theories.
The implication of the growing numbers of increasingly strident adherents to a complete adversarial paradigm is that it will incite violence. Conflating non-believers with demons can also lead to violence. Belief in secular conspiracies has led to bloodshed recently as well. One case, the call to proselytize ended in the brutal murder of a fast food worker in China. As these types of conspiracy theories gain adherents and traction, the threat of violence increases. Past the threat of violence, there will likely be more reason to observe these Total Conspiracy Theories. As globalization and growing modern anxieties increase, these belief systems may become increasingly important in understanding individual opinions, group movements, and political concerns within the democratic electorate.