There is no shortage of conspiracy theories, and people come up with new ones all the time. What's up with that?
Perception of reality is key to getting your finances in order. People who believe in elves or angels don't tend to be financially astute - or very happy. They live in a fantasy world, and are constantly bludgeoned by what they perceive to be mean, old reality, which refuses to comply with their fantasy-wishes. As a result, they retreat further into fantasy and delusion.
Reality, however, is value-neutral. It is what it is, and don't buy into this metaphysical crap they teach at Liberal Arts colleges that reality varies, depending on the viewpoint of the person perceiving it. You can perceive all you want, reality remains constant. Only your perception changes - from either more accurate or to less accurate.
Conspiracy theories are a particular departure from reality, in that they take up a lot of the victim's time and emotional energy, devoting themselves to this nonsense, and they skew the victim's perception of reality. And by "victim" here, I don't mean a victim of the conspiracy, but a victim of the conspiracy theory - the person who spends tons of emotional energy, time, and often money, trying to follow or become expert on conspiracy theories.
Take, for example, the tax protester (or tax denier). Against all logic and common sense, these folks claim that the tax system in the United States doesn't exist and that people who pay their taxes are fools as the entire system is fictitious or unlawful or some other nonsense. And I have seen smart people fall for this nonsense - even Attorneys. Even Wesley Snipes.
This is one conspiracy theory where perception of reality directly affects your finances. Not only will you be hit with tax liens and judgements, you may end up in jail. And yes, I have seen this happen, to a friend of mine, who really believed this nonsense. Conspiracy theories are evil, period. They destroy the lives of the people who believe in them.
You see, even if you don't end up in IRS jail, believing in conspiracy theories can damage your life in a number of other ways. They are time bandits, to be sure. And the money you spend on DVDs, Books, and the like is just money down the drain. But in addition, they also mark you as a loser and a kook, which means that you are far less likely to advance at your job, or find a good spouse. You will end up lonely, depressed, and unemployed.
And for what? So you can regale people about the Kennedy Assassination? It ain't worth it.
A lot of drug users fall for these conspiracy theories. They have a lot of time on their hands, and their perception of reality is warped. Back when I smoked a lot of pot, one of my more paranoid po-thead friends started going off about "black helicopters" flying over his house. He was certain they were using infrared technology to spot his grow-room. This was back in the 1980's, before a lot of that nonsense became popular, too.
But between bong-hits, I've heard every conspiracy theory there is, and today, a new generation of po-theads is impoverishing themselves, financially and mentally, with a whole new slew of conspiracies:
Chemtrails: For some reason, we never thought much about the contrails left by airliners back in the 1960's and 1970's. Until deregulation, not many people traveled by air. Today, airliners are the Greyhound Bus of America - everybody uses them, and many more fly. Conspiracy theorists claim that the increased number of trails left by airplanes are "evidence" of chemicals being sprayed on an unsuspecting populace, for various nefarious reasons (cue: scary theremin music).
9-11 Truthers: 9/11 was a compete fake, even through thousands of people saw the planes hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Amateur metallurgists tell you that "fire can't melt steel" - ignoring that fire can indeed remove the temper from steel, causing it to soften and bend. Apparently they've never been to a forge.
FEMA Detention Camps: Various scary videos are circulating on YouTube, purporting to show FEMA Detention Camps, or "FEMA Coffins" being prepared for the day of the apocalypse, when the government will take over and put the "brave resistors" (conspiracy theorists) into death camps for extermination. Of course, these "death camps" are just videos of construction sites, and the "FEMA coffins" are actually burial vaults stacked up next to the factory that makes them. But hey, why ruin a good story?
And that is the problem with conspiracy theories right there - trying to "disprove" them is pointless, as any logical argument you can make will be met with an illogical one. Grainy photos and sensationalist headlines are "proof", while actual hard data is "just part of the conspiracy".
Conspiracy Theories are like Religion - it is a Belief System, not Science or Logic. And you can't prove or disprove belief, which is the really neat thing about it, from the believer's point of view. Over the years, whenever some tenet of any religion is shown to be a bunch of hooey, the religion just modifies their tenet, or says it is a metaphor for something, and they soldier on.
So don't bother wasting your time arguing with a Conspiracy Theory Nut - just run away in the opposite direction as fast as possible. You don't want to deal with these people, as they are emotional vampires and will bring you down. You don't want one as a co-worker, you don't want one in your family, and you certainly don't want one as a spouse. These are scary people who will get themselves into trouble, and will likely expect you to bail them out.
You don't have to be a bloody genius to get ahead in the USA. You just have to stop believing in Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the idea that "Leasing a car improves your cash flow!"
Stop believing in silly nonsense, and the rest comes easily.