An extremely worthwhile read! I particularly loved Kay's chapter titled "Tin-Foil Mortarboards", where he argues that academia has been far from immune from conspiracy-friendly thinking. One example: Mary Daly, a feminist theologian I encountered during Divinity School. Specifically, he calls Daly out for her agreement with Sally Miller Gearhart's belief that "the proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race." Kay notes that this culling of males - something Daly lifted up as necessary for "decontamination of the Earth" - equates to Eugenics. By pointing out that respected scholars can be guilty of the most extreme forms of conspiracism, Kay refuses to let academia think that conspiracy is for the "unwashed, uneducated masses." Kay's an equal opportunity critic, calling out Noam Chomsky, Glenn Beck, Jacques Derrida, and everyone ever connected to the shameful Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion as well. Of course, the Truthers and Birthers receive plenty of scrutiny as well.
The main weakness of the book is the ending. After 307 strong pages, Kay presents his best idea for confronting conspiracism - preemptive education. Um, duh? (Sorry to pull a "duh" out of my hat.) Is there really no way for us to combat existing conspiracism, other than inoculating our kids against conspiracism through passing on the right knowledge? A bit defeatist in relation to current adults, I think. I have great hope that a more civil version of society can win out today rather than tomorrow.