These truthful allegations do not matter, as the conspiracy theorist is not engaged in the business of uncovering suppressed facts as ve would insist, but in the repetition of a particular rhetorical structure. This structure as it exists today borrows elements from classic antisemitic tropes as well as from British and American security culture and from certain forms of academic historical revision as typified by Carroll Quigley. Aside from the antisemitic tropes, many of these other origins are respectable in their own right. It is their mixture and dilution into a particular structure of thinking that makes them conspiracy theory, thereby divorcing them from legitimate power analysis.
That structure is this: For a certain period of history, normal operations in a particular realm have been compromised. There is an organised group of people who have compromised this realm. This group manipulates the information regarding this realm in order to maintain the appearance of normality. However, they have particular signatures that give their activities away. The solution to this problem is personal awakening through a search for truth.
That last bit seems like it is incongruous with the rest but that is because it fulfils an important function in the structure. The conspiratorial structure is merely the inverse of technocratic liberalism and thus it reinforces the fundamental premise of capitalist realism: that there is no alternative. Where technocratic liberalism posits that existing institutions are basically good and that any problems with them are generally caused by bottom-up corruption, conspiracy liberalism instead begins, like radicalism, with the premise that existing institutions are basically corrupt and this corruption is thus top-down. The major difference between conspiracy liberalism and radicalism, however, is that the principles underlying these institutions are never questioned. The institutions thus require total restructuring to remove the malign influence but never truly radical change or abolition.
Thus, the conspiracy theorist takes on the function of controlled opposition to liberal society. Ve is not necessarily paid or controlled by the institutions ve rails against; in fact, this is most likely a very rare occurrence. Most conspiracy theorists are, in fact, relatively regular people. Rather, it is vis position of faux-radical posturing against institutions when in fact vis function is to safeguard them from truly radical critique that makes ver such. As August Bebel said, 'Antisemitism is the socialism of fools,' we may similarly say that conspiracy liberalism is the radicalism of fools.
Furthermore, the structure contains a important internal contradiction that underlies the logic of conspiracy liberalism. Let's take a moment to analyse a typical conspiratorial statement from a pseudonymous poster on a popular conspiracy forum:
I don't care who Q is, some saying he is an AI, some saying he's propaganda, etc... IF someone drops a name and I can go look up that person on my own, and see they are a bad person or into some shady shit, then that, to me is someone trying to get to the truth. You can't fool yourself if you do your own research.
The structure of this statement is personal and individualistic. It is framed in the first person, save for the last sentence, which is in the second person. The lack of third person language is important. It suggests not an impartial analysis of actually-happening events but rather a kind of occult initiation which happens through the personal transmission of information. The information making up the conspiracy theory is not presented as given factual information but rather takes the form of an arcane mystery. The message does not lie in the content of the conspiracy theory. The message lies in its form.
What, then, are we to do? The answer lies in the repetition of an idea that is phrased in three different ways. The first form is the phrase, phrased in first person, 'I can go look up that person on my own, and see that they are a bad person or into some shady shit'. The second, phrased in third person, is 'that […] is someone who is trying to get to the truth.' The third, which has become something of a meme to sceptics, is 'do your own research,' phrased in second person. As if it's a magical invocation, this thought is repeated thrice and in a different person each time, practically performing an alchemical transmutation.
The fact that it begins in first person and ends in third person is not coincidental, as this establishes a chain of initiation, a personal bond which is relevant to the propagation of the conspiracy structure. (This perhaps makes the conspiracy structure a good, if not perfect, example of a hyperstition: its purpose is primarily to repeat itself as much as possible.) The addition of the third person in between changes its form from the particular to the universal: not only are you and I trying to get to the truth, but anyone can try to get to the truth, and indeed, as the anonymous 'someone' suggests, it's a general law that there are people trying to get to the truth. Neither is the fact that it transitions from the third person in the middle to the second person at the end coincidental, for this immediately grounds and relates the universal back to the particular. You are joining with many others in a special journey of trying to get to the truth. Yet simultaneously this ends up being very individualist, as you must get to the truth by trusting your own intuition, your own judgement, your own research first and foremost. The neophyte is not expected to rely on the magus, but to become vis own magus.
This produces a fundamental contradiction. Although the conspiracy theory is presumed to be an objective and scientific body of information, access to it is primarily subjective and mystical. Thus the contradiction may be seen between the conspiracy theory as objective and final fact and the conspiracy theory as a subjective process of self-discovery.
Given the constant and unending nature of this self-discovery, the observed phenomenon of conspiracy theorists not being satisfied with one conspiracy theory but choosing to believe in many even when they contradict each other at the objective level begins to make sense as the necessary action of the subjective element of the conspiracy structure. In the structure, the objective element is subordinated to the subjective element. The 'search for truth' trumps the actual details of that truth, and as such the conspiracy structure draws into it all of history and all of culture as an attempt to satisfy this 'search'. The most sophisticated conspiracy theories are those which end up reinventing Gnosticism by positing the fundamental conspiracy as a metaphysical conspiracy—at this level, the nature of conspiracy liberalism as liberalism protecting itself against radical critique is fully disclosed, as the understanding of liberalism as natural law remains unchallenged and is, in fact, rendered fundamental. The conspiracy is no longer required to exist in a way that its existence can be proven by objective research, but it is shown to be a metaphysical construct which is presumed to exist before any evidence of it is presented. The only possible solution here is Buddhist-like transcendence of the world.
The conspiracy structure is endemic to liberalism; it is in fact required for liberalism to continue to reproduce itself. Although previously it was more moderated and empirical and helped to sustain republicanism, with the collapse of republican government and the triumph of technocratic liberalism, it has transmuted itself, joined with its purely reactionary twin, and become a stumbling block before those who would analyse systems and institutions for a truly radical critique.