A label that can be affixed to any argument or point that one doesn't like to avoid having to provide a valid response to it. Much like "that's just your opinion", "I don't actually care" and "I was joking", this card is frequently played by the debater who has been outwitted and defeated, but thinks if he doesn't directly admit it, he still might be seen as the overall winner. This remains a powerful tactic though, due to the extremely negative connotation of the term "conspiracy theory", given to it by people who think it's impossible that anyone would ever do something that's not good for us then cover it up, so insisting something is a conspiracy theory is still an alarmingly effective way of getting people to side with the person without a point, regardless of how little sense calling it a conspiracy theory actually makes. Remember, labels are powerful things and can easily affect what people perceive something as actually being.
(Not to be confused with the more traditional meaning of the belief that a secret group would perform an extremely complicated operation that's of no benefit to anyone and somehow keep it all secret. These are usually more worthy of derision. Usually.)
Use of it in this sense:
"It's unbelievable the manufacturer used these cheaper materials in this product. I guess they'll do whatever they can to make a few more bucks."
"Ha, yeah, right, it's all a big conspiracy. Of course."
"Anyone with sense knows that corporations always do what's best for us. Go write a blog and leave your conspiracy theory there, nutjob."
The reason it works:
"The Pazzi conspiracy was an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Medici in Florence in the 15th century."
"That's impossible, it has the word 'conspiracy' right in it!"
"It's a well-documented historical event. It's a conspiracy that actually happened, it's not like denying the moon landing."
"Bullshit, conspiracies aren't real! It's a made up thing just like unicorns and evolution!"
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