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Do you ever wonder why some conspiracy theories, no matter how retarded they sound, seem to never die? Where do these things come from, anyway?

Well, it turns out that politicians have realized that in the Internet age, a good conspiracy theory can work wonders. So why not just start one? You know, like...

Barack Obama's Citizenship

The Theory:

Barack Obama isn't a natural born citizen of the United States and so legally cannot be president. He wasn't actually born in Hawaii and the Government is concealing this fact by refusing to release his Birth Certificate (or releasing a forgery).

Who's to Blame:

World Net Daily.

This one started spreading through chain e-mails during the recent Democratic primaries, when office workers the world over were reading about how Barack Obama couldn't be president (in-between learning how to increase the size of their penis for pennies a day). For some strange reason nobody seemed very concerned about his citizenship when he was a mere Senator, but that was probably just an oversight on the part of the rigorous journalists and fact-checkers who create chain e-mails.

What are you pointing to? Space? Are you secretly from space, Barack Obama?!?

However, it wasn't until the idea escaped the confines of the Internet and forced its way into the mainstream media that it truly emerged as a full blown conspiracy theory. This was in large part thanks to WorldNetDaily, an ultraconservative news site that was the first major media outlet to report the idea. After that, WND columnists brought the theory to radio talk shows, and then it spread to FOX News and other TV outlets, snowballing from a series of e-mails into a national talking point.

So, Why do People "Believe" It?

Despite the overwhelming physical evidence (the Obama campaign did in fact produce a copy of his birth certificate, and others even dug up the local Hawaiian newspaper from 1961 that has the Obama family birth announcement), it was promoted quite heavily by some Conservative commentators right up to Election Day and lives on in places like the Free Republic forums to this very day.

After all, you already had a guy with a foreign-sounding name, so what better way to influence a Presidential election than by suggesting the candidate is about as American as borscht?

Now that Obama has been elected and the Supreme Court has shot down legal challenges regarding his citizenship multiple times, the vast majority of political commentators quickly let this one die. A few committed critics of Obama still cling to it, though.

After all, conspiracy theories never really die, they just wait for people to forget the evidence against it and bring it up later (hell, they've kept the JFK assassination conspiracy theory alive for 46 years). Right up until the day Obama leaves office, there will be a pocket of those who hold out hope that one day a birth certificate will emerge that shows Obama was born in the mountains of Pakistan from the womb of Satan, and then he'll be forced to flee the White House, revealed to the world as the gay communist Islamofascist terrorist they've always known him to be.

The "Clinton Body Count"

The Theory:

While Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, with the help of Hillary, was involved in a cocaine smuggling operation and that he's had upwards of 60 people assassinated for threatening to reveal his secrets or for just generally annoying him.

Who's to Blame:

Richard Scaife, a billionaire who really, really hated Bill Clinton.

Scaife was really unhappy about Bill Clinton being president. And not in the "I'll voice my displeasure with his administration with a rant in the comments section of this YouTube video about kittens" way. He preferred the "I'll invest millions of my dollars in a campaign to discredit him" method.

"This is the best possible way I can spend my money!"

So Scaife created the Arkansas Project, which ran a series of investigations designed to damage and ultimately end Clinton's presidency. A lot of what they looked into was legitimate, or at least believable: shady real estate deals, Bill's raging libido, and so on. And then, there was the suicide of Vince Foster, and they took the project to a new, crazy level.

Vince Foster was the White House Counsel (legal guy) who turned up dead. Three separate investigations ruled it a suicide, but members of the Arkansas Project produced a 1994 film that suggested, with the help of sinister music and shadowy witnesses, the Clintons were responsible for the murder of Foster and many more, killing anyone who was getting too close to their secret, drug-fueled past.

Well he certainly looks like a Soprano in this picture...

So, Why Do People "Believe" It?

Vince Foster's death became a huge talking point in Republican circles, fueling speculation about Clinton abusing his power. More importantly, it got people talking about the legitimate, non-fake scandals Foster was connected to, which ended up damaging the Clintons' image. And once something works in politics, you don't drop it until your dying breath. Or until the election is over.

A number of people involved in the Arkansas Project would eventually admit they thought the Foster thing was bullshit, and Scaife himself would later endorse Hilary Clinton for president, which suggests that either he agreed that the whole theory was retarded, or he had no problems with a mass murderer running the country.

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The Jews Secretly Run the World

The Theory:

All of the "big" conspiracy theories, the ones that claim shady organizations secretly run the world, all seem to blame the Jews at some point (often this is coded into "international bankers").

Who's to Blame:

A Russian book called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This is supposedly a book written by a secret cabal of Jews that details how Jewish people will take over the world through trickery and deceit. Also through porn, there are two chapters about that.

The book is a hoax, generally believed to have been fabricated in 1895 by a Russian journalist named Matevi Golovinski. In an act of outstanding journalistic integrity, he wrote a fictional ancient document by plagiarizing a satirical work that criticized Napoleon III. All Golovinski really did was replace Napoleon with Jews and called it a day, making him the laziest anti-Semite in the history of the world.

This one has been proven to be a forgery and a hoax many times over, and there's also the fact that anyone who is serious about conquering the world probably wouldn't write their plan out and make sure it was widely distributed. In fact, it's been known that the book is a fake since 1905, after an investigation was ordered by the Russian government.

But don't tell the conspiracy sites, Neo-Nazis and the world's angrier Muslims who still quote it as their key piece of evidence against the Jewish conspiracy. To them, that shit is as sacred as The Torah.

So, Why Do People "Believe" It?

Remember when we said that conspiracy theories never really die? Well it's even truer when they involve the Jews, who have been persecuted pretty much everywhere they've lived since, we don't know. Abraham?

And these days there's this little Jewish state called Israel that isn't on the best of terms with some of its neighbors. Well, the book was the perfect piece of propaganda and soon after Israel was established surrounding governments started cranking out copies. It's a best seller in Syria and Iran. Saudi Arabia teaches it as fact in their schools, and organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah give away large numbers of copies.

Strangely enough the book is also very popular in Japan, but in that translation the Jews are all 12-year-old schoolgirls that pilot kosher robots, so it's difficult to make any comparisons.

Water Fluoridation is a Communist Conspiracy

The Theory:

Fluoridated water is the first step of a Soviet plan to conquer America by either poisoning people or controlling their minds, depending on which crazy guy you ask.

Who's to Blame:

The John Birch Society.

This theory first emerged after World War II and really took off during the 1950s. There were many variations: Fluoridation had first been developed by Nazis to control their prisoners, the United Nations was in on the plot, etc. They all agreed on one thing though:

You were better off shitting in your water before every drink than you were adding fluoride.

Of course, according to the Center for Disease Control, "Better use of fluoride can lead to considerable savings in public and private resources. But fuck all that noise, the John Birch Society, a conservative group with a far more colloquial sounding name, opposed fluoridation because they saw it as an involuntary medical treatment that violated individual rights. They also really, really hated communism. Guess which one of those stances got more press?

Water: The silent killer. Except when it's on. Then it makes that whoosh sound.

So, Why do People "Believe" It?

Most anti-fluoridation campaigners based their beliefs on less wacky grounds, either on the rights issue or because they saw it as part of a larger social welfare program that was expensive and unnecessary. But wow, that's boring. Rights? Saving money? Man, who cares? This was the era of McCarthyism; the best way to stop something was to tie it to communism and yell a lot. And that's precisely what happened.

But, for real, Monkey Polio is a serious problem.

The fluoridation debate was huge, and it was mostly fuelled by Red Scare politics rather than scientific evidence (media reports focused on controversy rather than science, and many people didn't even know what fluoridation was supposed to achieve). It may all sound silly now, but consider this: In the 50s and 60s hundreds of communities held referendums that decided not to introduce fluoridation.

It fact, it wasn't until the mid 90s that the majority of Americans were drinking fluoridated water, and there are still some people against it today. The communists are never going to take over at this rate.

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Global Warming is a Socialist Hoax

The Theory:

Global warming is a hoax being perpetrated by scientists to attract funding, and by undercover Socialists/Communists to tax and destroy world industry. Meanwhile, scientists critical of global warming are being repressed.

Who's to Blame:

The Heartland Institute, and others.

The earliest version of this theory emerged in 1990 in a documentary called The Greenhouse Conspiracy, back when nobody outside of the scientific community had any idea what global warming even was. The idea drifted around for a while until climate change started making major headlines at the turn of the millennium, at which point the conspiracy theories really started to take off.

Which brings us to the Heartland Institute.

Occasionally you'll see a headline on right-leaning blogs or news portals like Drudge boasting that "500 Scientists File Protest Questioning Global Warming Theory!!!" That's the Heartland Institute. It's a conservative "think tank", funded by a number of conservative foundations and corporations (donors include the American Scaife Foundations--recognize that name from the Clinton entry?) and their board of directors had included executives from ExxonMobil and Philip Morris (coincidentally, their other big cause is convincing everyone cigarette smoke isn't dangerous).

But still, what does it matter how the organization itself leans, as long as it has 500 scientists saying global warming is a sham? That's got to count for something, right?

Well, as soon as the list was published, many of the scientists were shocked to find their names on it. Forty-five members immediately asked to have their names removed, saying they had no idea what they fuck the Institute was talking about and that they fully believed in global warming. A handful of the other names are either deceased or made-up, and thus haven't been doing a great deal of research lately. Finally, one is an astrologist, whose expertise in the field is probably questionable.

So, Why Do People "Believe" It?

Regardless of the realities of global warming, it's true that any action taken against it would harm industry in some way. And while it's not going to be in a "turn it over to the commies" conspiracy way, it's still looking like solving it would take the one thing conservatives hate: government regulation.

"Sir, your Communism levels are dangerously low."

Their whole deal is that the private sector just does things better (that is, FedEx works way better than the post office) and their problem with believing in global warming is that no private company is going to voluntarily cut back and go green while their competitors continue to cash in on highly profitable yet dirty fossil fuels. Thus, cleaning up the air will take lots of that government interference that conservatives hate.

Still, it seems like they'd have had a better chance at going along with the global warming theory and then debating the least painful way to fix it, rather than just inventing a fake club full of a bunch of scientists who have never heard of them. It's like the pathetic kid in school who was always lying about how many friends he had. No matter what you think about global warming, you have to admit that's probably not a great way to arrive at the truth. Also, it's kind of sad.

Pictured: The Scientific Method.

For more nuthouse insane theories, check out The 6 Best 2012 Apocalypse Theories (Are All Bullshit) and 5 Scientific Theories That Will Make Your Head Explode.

And go to our Top Picks to see our theory on why the Interwebs is out to get us.

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