Belief in conspiracy theories can be comforting. If everything that goes wrong is the fault of a secret cabal, that relieves you of the tedious necessity of trying to understand how a complex world really works. And you can feel smug that you are smart enough to “see through” the official version of events.You can read the entire article here.
Of course there are actual conspiracies, and always have been, but the Economist is quite correct when it warns that conspiratorial fantasy can have dangerous real-world consequences, from Timothy McVeigh to Adolf Hitler (and, I might add, some well known UFO cults too).
Those who believe in a particular conspiracy have the burden of proof of showing that their belief is backed up by the facts. In some cases, usually tied to more mundane matters of the real world, that is not only possible, but has been done. Accordingly, one can't just casually dismiss all claims of conspiracy, particularly in the private sector where oversight is less stringent, and where the profit motive can be a powerful motivator for greedy people to cross the boundaries of ethical behaviour, and then hide their malfeasance.
But those people who believe in vast, government-sponsored conspiracies, whether it's the Cosmic Watergate, or 9/11 "truthers", or anti-Obama "birthers", represent a different type altogether - they are predisposed to believe in almost any and all conspiracies, and should be viewed with extreme caution. People like this should be challenged at every turn to prove that what they say is true beyond any reasonable doubt.
In my experience, they usually don't even come close.