Book Review: Conspiracy Theory in America (2013)

The Conspiracy Theory [and Proof] of 20th-21st Century ‘Conspiracy Theory’
by Lance deHaven-Smith (University of Texas Press)

conspiracy_theoryThis marvelous book is a deep, practical scholarly dissection of the origin and application of the term ‘conspiracy theory,’ particularly in America in the late 20th century. DeHaven-Smith is Professor in the Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University and former president of the Florida Political Science Association; he’s written several books and appeared on numerous national mainstream-media news and talk shows, as well as Alex Jones’ Infowars and other alternative outlets.

This investigation goes straight to the heart of the problem of the coercive state and its sycophants in mainstream academia and media (academedia) who dismiss causal ex- planations of political events with the simple utterance, “Well, that’s only a conspiracy theory.” From the book description on Amazon:

From the book description on Amazon: Ever since the Warren Commission concluded that a lone gunman assassinated President John F. Kennedy, people who doubt that finding have been widely dismissed as conspiracy theorists, despite credible evidence that right-wing elements in the CIA, FBI, and Secret Service—and possibly even senior government officials, and/or the Israeli state—were also involved. Why has suspicion of criminal wrongdoing at the highest levels of government been rejected out-of-hand as paranoid thinking akin to superstition?

Conspiracy Theory in America investigates how the Founders’ hard-nosed realism about the likelihood of elite political misconduct—articulated in the Declaration of Independence—has been replaced by today’s blanket condemnation of conspiracy beliefs as ludicrous by definition. Lance deHaven-Smith reveals that the term “conspiracy theory” entered the American lexicon of political speech to deflect criticism of the Warren Commission and traces it back to a CIA propaganda campaign to discredit doubters of the commission’s report.

He asks tough questions and connects the dots among five decades’ worth of suspicious events, including the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, the attempted assassinations of George Wallace and Ronald Reagan, the crimes of Watergate, the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages deal, the disputed presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, the major defense failure of 9/11, and the subsequent anthrax letter attacks.

Sure to spark intense debate about the truthfulness and trustworthiness of our government, Conspiracy Theory in America (CTA) offers a powerful reminder that a suspicious, even radically suspicious, attitude toward government is crucial to maintaining our democracy.

My Notes

You will learn, for example, that ‘conspiracy theory’ did not enter the American in routine conversation until 1964, and it was coined by Intelligence specifically as a shutdown of alternative interpretations of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That’s right, the phrase conspiracy theory, itself, is a bona fide mind-control conspiracy. Designed for  dismissal of those who question authority. CTA elaborates at length about the security- state origin and intent of the phrase.

“Most Americans will be shocked to learn that the conspiracy-theory label was popularized as a pejorative term by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a propaganda program initiated in 1967.” — pg. 21

The author ties in the country’s founders and founding as a result of well-grounded popular concern about the secret machinations of those in power:

“The Founders considered political power a corrupting influence that makes political conspiracies against the people’s interests and liberties almost inevitable. They repeatedly and explicitly called for popular vigilance against antidemocratic schemes in high office.” — pg. 7

Smith uses and develops a term SCAD = state crime against democracy. This term is far more useful for investigations and allegations concerning government and public official conspiracies:

“What gets lost in all these issues about definitions, plausibility, and the psychological basis for conspiracy belief and denial are the empirical questions about the events at issue, events that are gravely important and about which people everywhere want to know the truth. The question about whether President Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman or multiple shooters is a red herring. The real issue is whether the assassination was a SCAD, a conspiracy among political leaders to get rid of Kennedy and disguise the coup as a random murder.” — pg. 41

The SCAD foundation of analysis was used in the Nuremberg Trials:

“The International Military Tribunal (IMT) did not use the term ‘state crimes’ or ‘crimes against democracy,’ but its jurisdiction and judgments prefigured  the SCAD construct. The indictment said the defendants intended to use false-flag terrorism, faked invasions, and similar tactics to turn democratic Germany into a police state by fomenting social panic and mobilizing mass support for authoritarian government and war.” — pg. 71

Sounds like we can use another Nuremberg Trial for those behind the thrones of Western democracies, today. [Though my own discoveries and preferences, consistent with Kelly Mordecai’s seminal work, The Hidden 4th Branch, lead me to recommend reinvigorating the true American grand jury instead. Ref. Mordecai’s Grand Jury Project.]

Smith is relentlessly scholarly in his descriptions, probing deeply into the academedia groundwork of not only the conspiracy theory meme, but thought control in general. He cites and analyzes the views of Charles Beard, Karl Popper, and Leo Strauss with respect to validity of SCAD thinking. [Beard is old school, acknowledging SCADs in history and the need of the people to root them out; Popper and Strauss suggest popular queries of official misbehavior are irrational and/or dangerous to the state, thus to be discouraged.]

We the people are led down the garden path of acquiescence to Big Brother:

“The 1967 CIA propaganda program shows that the United States government has been actively engaged in engineering America’s civic culture and has been alarmingly effective at doing so. It appears that one of its methods is to insert memes into the culture through a global network of media contacts and assets.” — pg. 154

At this point I strongly urge the reader, if he has not done so, to view the following videos, which I give the mnemonic Thrive Rule Invisible Experts:

Thrive (New Paradigm nonaggression social philosophy),
Rule from the Shadows (technology of modern mind control),
Invisible Empire (New World Order expose),
Experts Speak Out (Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth magmum opus).

I’ve bolded the most directly pertinent documentary. They are all consistent with what Dr. Smith is striving for in the remarkable salient of his book in Universityville. He’s optimistic… as I am:

“So this is where things stand. On the one hand, there is growing pressure for American glasnost. It is no coincidence that the idea for SCAD research—the idea of looking at political crimes collectively and comparatively—emerged in the past decade. The nation is regaining its vision. It is becoming difficult not to notice the spiraling corruption that ‘somehow’ [my quotes] came with the war on terror. Each additional unconnected dot placed on the page makes pattern perception more likely. The Internet is also a factor…. The US citizenry is increasingly like the people in the story of the emperor’s new clothes. It would seem to be only a matter of time before the electorate sees what it is looking at.” — pg. 188


Conspiracy Theory in America, while a lively and entertaining read, also makes a fine reference. Sadly I checked it out from the library and will have to return it shortly; I’ll be sure to purchase a replacement. The appendix includes tables identifying leading SCADs in American history, qui bono, degree of evidence for government role, scholarly disposition. And so on. Smith’s writing style is clear and efficient: Consider CTA as a good present for the academics and mainstream journalists on your Christmas list.











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