Yes, conspiracy theory is a recognisable mode of thought. I’m thinking that it is necessary to a social species that routinely practices lying and collusion, but that on its own and applied unevenly it produces nonsensical, paranoid results.
Paul, you don’t employ conspiracy theory as a mode of thought when you assess Wakefield’s claims, for instance. You only apply it to the opposite side. It seems that to anything you regard as “official” you apply extreme suspicion, but anything you regard as “alternative” you just accept without scepticism. Maybe that’s not what you do, but that’s certainly how it looks to me.
Conspiracy theory as a mode of thought is necessary but far from sufficient. People are motivated by material self-interest, and they frequently collude to that end as well, so we need suspicion as a defence. But there isn’t just one big conspiracy controlling everything, with everyone else angels fighting it and being demonised by it.
Take Wakefield as an example. Remember what his press conference was really for. He didn’t argue against vaccines. He argued against one specific vaccine, MMR, and he argued for three separate vaccines instead. He was absolutely lauded in the corporate media, yet you always claim that’s a red flag – but since you’ve already reached your conclusion, you discount it on this occasion. Lorraine Fraser had a dozen articles about him including an exclusive interview in the Telegraph describing him as “a champion of parents who feel their fears have been ignored”. Justine Picardie did a glossy photo feature for the Telegraph colour supplement; “a glossy-haired hero”, suggesting a Hollywood blockbuster with Russel Crowe and Julia Roberts.
Wakefield ticks your boxes for distrust – he promoted vaccines, and the so-called MSM promoted him – yet for some reason you invert your usual values in this case. This isn’t scepticism; it’s gullibility.