Think conspiracy theories are a relatively new phenomenon in history? Think again.

“Political paranoia, and conspiracy theories in particular, have been a part of the United States since before there was a United States,” says Reason magazine books editor Jesse Walker, author of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory. “Even when a conspiracy theory says absolutely nothing true about the object of the theory, if it catches on, it says something true about the anxieties and the experiences about the people who believe it.”

Interesting stuff, via ReasonTV: