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Video: What America's conspiracy theories say about us

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In this photo reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, a U.S. flag waves above the the Camp Justice compound, during day three of pre-trial hearings for the five Guantanamo prisoners accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001 attack, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012. The the five Guantanamo prisoners face charges that include terrorism, conspiracy and 2,976 counts of murder, one count for each known victim of the attacks at the time the charges were filed. They could get the death penalty if convicted. Credit: AP

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:

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