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Are conspiracy theories destroying democracy?


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#31    Peter B

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:14 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 31 October 2013 - 01:00 PM, said:

There always has been and probably always will be (unless mental health vastly improves) a certain minority of the population who always interpret everything that happens in the most negative and conspiratorially possible way.  They are pretty miserable people too, and perhaps some of them should be watched, but for the most part the world gets along fine in spite of them.
This sort of thinking has certainly been going on for a long time...

Back at the start of the 5th century BC, the Greek states of Sparta and Argos had been fighting on and off for over a century for dominance in southern Greece. Then the Persian Empire made its move into Greece. According to Herodotus, the writer who chronicled the subsequent war, there were a number of Spartans who were convinced that the leaders of Argos had invited the Persians in simply for the purpose of helping Argos beat Sparta.

(The reality, for those who don't know it, was that 15 years earlier the Athenians had stuck their noses into what they thought was Greek business but which the Persians considered to be Persian-only business, and the Persians were determined to punish all Greeks for that action. Plus the Spartans had chucked the Persian ambassadors down a well, which just wasn't the done thing.)





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