I found this level of research, its detail, and its scope impressive. Beyond this, we part company. When it comes to his analysis as to why ideas of conspiracy have proliferated, Knight is completely ahistorical. He posits the growth in the wider acceptance of conspiracy as policy to intellectual inferiority and sloppiness, poverty, and a spiritual paucity.
I was astounded at this polemic disguised as dispassionate deductive reasoning. I personally remember when, in the late 70's in Chicago, Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was murdered in his bed by Chicago police - police who were aided and abetted in that execution by moles paid by the FBI through the Cointelpro program of "neutralization."
Semiautomatic assassination appeared to be a fairly neutralizing force in the African American community and the community of social change as a whole. That level of challenge to the government, to capital, to imperialism and its domestic and international control has yet to be re-created, although perhaps we see the seeds of its rebirth in the resistance to the Iraq war.
Rather than Knight's position that a conspiracy theory's popularity is solely due to a lack of sophistication, education, and contemplation, I believe the proponents are literate, distrusting the narrative of authority, and suspicious of the authorized narrative as to the health of the body politic. In a nutshell, what message may be taking root in a deep and irrevocable way is: Trust no one.
See Scully, I told you this was coming.