The Only Acceptable Conspiracy Theory

Patrick Koske-McBride
4 min readDec 8, 2022


Well, Ye, The Artist Formerly Known as, weighed in with a defense of Hitler arguing that Hitler never got to tell his side. Which is odd, given that he was recently in the company of people with copies of “Mein Kampf” on the nightstand. Also, the assorted speeches, policies, primary historical sources, and a few fossilized footprints.

I will admit that I’m not shocked by racism in Americans, of any ethnicity, but the specificity of a black anti-Semite is startling. It’s like discovering that Japanese Americans loathe Mexicans. I mean it’s possible, but not the likeliest thing.

In this weird development; it’s not that surprising, given the company West keeps; conspiracy believers are inherently prone to anti-Semitism, because all conspiracies not involving Bigfoot or Elvis are innately anti-Semitic in nature.

I was recently discussing various conspiracies with friends — more in the “No, do the Scientologists really believe that?!” way than seriously. I have a shocking familiarity with conspiracy theories. In my defense, if you grew up as a nerd in the 90’s, you experienced X-Files and all the numerous paranormal pop-culture events that could only occur pre-Twitter. Anyway, the central conceit of every conspiracy theory in existence is that a group of shadowy individuals occasionally meet to plan the fate of the world. No, not the WTO. No, not financial regulation conventions! Not the Federalist’s annual Christmas party!

Right, in the fantasy conspiracy theories involve a shadowy cabal who routinely meet to plan the fate of the world. The only problem is; they’re always Jewish. So, the nagging belief that Jewish people control the world has been around since the 13th century, which predate most conspiracy theories. So, they’re a natural stand-in, having been cultural scapegoats that much longer. Henry Ford published the Elders of the Protocols of Zion in the early 20th century. It’s not much of a cultural leap to associate Judaism with insane “They* rule the earth in secret!” fantasies. As someone who knows a few practicing Jewish folks; the most-delusional aspect of that fantasy is that Jewish people would uniformly agree to anything other than latkes (and, even then, when one asks about sides and/or condiments, there are vastly differing views).

Anyway, to return to my own aptitude with conspiracy theories and their unstated anti-Semitism, conspiracy theories in America abound, largely because we have an abusively negligent government that never bothers to step in and give us the real talk on who killed the Kennedies, or what’s really in cigarettes, or what the legality is on Flint’s water pipes. So, stomping out a nativist belief that predates capitalism is right out. Instead, like other forms of American bigotry, it’s just become more subtle and sophisticated.

As I said, the 90’s were a bizarre era in which information was just becoming democratized, but before there were any respected, readily-available sources of information to debunk or prove anything. If you’ve seen the first few episodes of “Generation Kill” in which COs have to tell the Marines that J-Lo isn’t dead before getting on with the briefing, you’ve seen this phenomenon on film.

Into this void stepped David Icke, a man who clearly read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (which, in a sane universe, would be the name of a Bob Marley tribute band, but I digress), and was bold enough to nakedly plagiarize them (in a way, it’s kind of a shame that anti-Semitism predates modern IP law, because I would pay money to see an IP suit on the issue). Icke, a self-published lunatic since 1994, when his publishers detected notes of saurkraut in his writing, posited that we are ruled by shadowy, shape-shifting reptilian overlords. Just toss in an unconvincing mustache and “MY WIFE” and he’s a less-charismatic Borat. However, this is more or less the skeletal frame of most modern conspiracy theories, which involve a shadowy cabal meeting in a broom closet to plan humanity’s fate. And, because humanity is designed for maximal intellectual laziness, that’s been recycled and rebuilt into “The Clintons drink children’s blood to stay young!” (which, not to look-shame, but, for that sort of effort, one would expect significantly better results than the Clintons got) So, you can understand why there’s a distinctive Reich-influenced bent to almost every conspiracy theory out there. The fact that bigots and white supremacists embrace conspiracy theories should be a corroborating sign that we’ve gone from “Did the CIA know about Lee Harvey Oswald” to, “King Edward hereby expels all Jews from England.”

Which is why I am utterly delighted to offer you, dear reader, a non-bigoted conspiracy theory that has the backing of the Illuminati and the Loch Ness Monster: billionaires don’t exist. They’re as real as unicorns. I will grant you the existence of people who own stuff currently valued at a combined billion dollar level, but even that’s a questionable proposition. Donald Trump values his name recognition at $300 million, and I suspect that Elon Musk values his personal genitals at $100 million; so, until they’re ready to go in front of a Sotheby’s appraisal board, they get to be worth what’s in their bank account. And, predictably, they somehow never have a cool billion in hard currency. That’s the conspiracy: they aren’t billionaires, they’re just garden-variety multimillionaires with a billion-dollar credit. No scapegoats needed for that conspiracy, just basic arithmetic and the New York Times. That’s it. That’s the secret nobody wants you to know; none of the rich and powerful have any wealth or power that we do not grant them. They’re just con-men who distract us from the very real issues our species’ survival depends upon — global warming, war, famine, pestilence (again, COVID is still a thing, and, if my contacts are to be believed, global cancer rates are rising), and the other Gentiles of the Apocalypse.

*They to be defined based on available, perceived enemies



Patrick Koske-McBride

Science journalist, cancer survivor, biomedical consultant, the “Wednesday Addams of travel writers.”