David Aaronovitch Voodoo Histories Analysis

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'Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History' by David Aaronovitch is a piece about how conspiracy theories influence our modern society. The author analyzes reasons as to why people tend to be drawn towards believing in conspiracy theories. He argues that people don’t believe in conspiracies due to many common explanations that have been given. These include power relations, disenfranchisement, or ignorance; rather, he suggests the common belief in conspiracies is due to the fact that conspiracies make people believe that humans have ultimate control over events in our world, and furthermore, that it helps lonely and paranoid individuals feel as though they aren’t going through life unnoticed. Aaronovitch …show more content…
The author lists events like 9/11, McCarthyism, and alien abduction as common conspiracies that many believed or still believe. The writer attempts to convince the reader that conspiracies aren’t powerful, but the idea of conspiracies are by using persuasive appeals, scholarly diction, an analytic and sometimes scrutinizing tone, use of rhetorical questions to show absurdity of certain conspiracies, and anecdotes.
Aaronovitch utilizes persuasive appeals to attract people to his argument. He establishes ethos by showing he is very educated on the topic. He offers several other works of merit in his piece as evidence for his argument, and in many cases deeply analyzes and critiques these such works. For example he cites a lecture from an Oxford Historian titled “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” in which the historian attacks the post-McCarthyites who saw a communist behind every door. He goes on to analyze several other works as well as comments made by people who have also studied the subject matter. The author then uses logos when rebutting the idea that conspiracies are started by the disenfranchised and powerless. The question is asked to what extent
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He uses this excellently at the beginning of this section to highlight the absurdity of many conspiracies. To this point he says, “In what sense were or are Connecticut professionals, West Country hippies, Liberal Democratic MPs,...BBC TV drama producers, Senator Joe McCarthy,...and Alfred Rosenberg disenfranchised?” This question makes the reader inquire to the true nature of why conspiracies are made and believed. It implants the idea that many if not all conspiracies are total bogus. Aaronovitch then goes on to ask,” In what way does their experience of powerlessness inform those who believe, no matter what, that the British royal family executes its more awkward members,...or that the Catholic Church has for two millennia has been suppressing the truth about the secret bloodline of Christ?” This is posed to truly bring out the ridiculousness of these conspiracies and mock them in a way.This aids his argument by showing that these conspiracies are intellectually weak and unfounded. These questions help to illustrate the writer’s point that conspiracies don’t have power, but the idea of them

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