People’s thoughts, especially their irrational thoughts, are affected by their era. In pre-modern times, schizophrenics were all talking to the Devil; in the middle of the 20th Century, their messages came from Mars; and nowadays it’s all about government conspiracies. Schizophrenics, of course, are at the extreme margin of thought, but they’re a useful illustration of how societal paradigms affect all thinking.
I’m blathering about this for a reason. A Marin resident who denies Islamist involvement in 9/11, and is pretty sure it’s a U.S. government conspiracy, explains why he’s comfortable looking for conspiracies:
[Dwight] Loop, a baby boomer who describes himself as “a history buff,” said, “I’ve been interested in things in U.S. history that have been unexplained. I was 11 when (President John F.) Kennedy was killed. That had an effect on my life.” [Emphasis mine.]
What we’re seeing playing out here is grassy knoll stuff writ large.