Marjorie Taylor Greene’s space laser — you can always blame the Jews!

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Let’s get this out of the way: First-term Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s claim that the 2018 California wildfires were ignited by a space laser controlled by a corporate cabal, including the Rothschild banking firm, is objectively ridiculous. It’s okay to laugh about it.

And yet it is, at the same time, kind of horrifying. It’s the latest in a long line of conspiracies about the Rothschild family, and those conspiracies are always, at root, anti-Semitic: Since the 19th century, people have used claims that this one particular wealthy family controls the world to cast aspersions on Jews in general…

There’s a reason Jews are so often the targets of conspiracy theories, even mainstream ones. Much of conspiracy theorizing as we know it — the enterprise of explaining the world’s woes by positing that a shadowy, all-powerful elite is behind them — arose out of the European anti-Semitic tradition…

This is a problem for conspiracy theorists of both left- and right-wing varieties. But in the United States, conspiracy theorists have become a dominant influence on only one of our two major political parties: the Republicans.

Most of our much-loved 2-party system is grounded in power sharing for the class of political opportunists who run our country. Almost profit-sharing. There’s usually a looney wing in either party. And in the conservative yard, it’s the one that wanders off into violence, the worst conspiracy theories, bigotry.