The Shady Agendas Behind 5 Popular Conspiracy Theories

#2. 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.

#1. 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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