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America -- and Western Civilization As a Whole -- Was Founded On a Conspiracy Theory

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"For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

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"He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenariesto compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

"He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands."

The American concept of "separation of powers" is also based on the conspiracy theory that those with unchecked power will abuse it. By creating three branches of government, the Founding Fathers hoped to reduce abuse of power.

Political science professor  Lance deHaven-Smith has documented in a soon-to-be-released book that conspiracy theories were considered as American as apple pie all through American history ... up until very recently.

The father of modern economics -- Adam Smith -- also believed in conspiracy theories. As the New York Times notes:

"Smith railed against monopolies and the political influence that accompanies economic power ...

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"He saw a tacit conspiracy on the part of employers 'always and everywhere' to keep wages as low as possible."

But the centrality of conspiracy theories in Western civilizations goes back much further  ...

The Magna Carta -- signed in 1215 -- was based on the conspiracy theory that the claim of the "Divine Right" of the king and his men to do whatever they wanted was false and oppressive.

Indeed, the entire idea of democracy -- going back to ancient Greece -- is based on a conspiracy theory as well: that leaders who make decisions without input from the public will not treat the people as well as if they have a chance to vote. This is another form of "separation of powers," as it creates checks and balances between the decision-making power of the government and that of the people.

Arguably, Western civilization would never have gotten off the ground with the core idea that those in power need to be checked and reined in, or they would abuse the people.

But Aren't Conspiracy Theories Nutty?

You may have heard that conspiracy theories are nutty. But the truth is that conspiracies are so common that judges are trained to look at conspiracy allegations as just another legal claim to be disproven or proven  based on the specific evidence:

"Federal and all 50 state's codes include specific statutes addressing conspiracy, and providing the punishment for people who commit conspiracies."

But let's examine what the people trained to weigh evidence and reach conclusions think about "conspiracies." Let's look at what American judges think.

Searching Westlaw, one of the two primary legal research networks which attorneys and judges use to research the law, I searched for court decisions including the word "Conspiracy." This is such a common term in lawsuits that it overwhelmed Westlaw. Specifically, I got the following message:

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Maybe we should rely on outsiders to evaluate our ... by Lon Jones on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 10:01:29 AM