9/11 was an inside job. Moon landings were hoaxes staged by the elite. The Earth is flat. Paul McCartney died long ago. The lizard people control the world. These are some of the most popular Conspiracy theories ever coined. There are thousands more. Some of them are absolutely ridiculous and "out there," and some of them are backed by solid proof -- so solid that they can hardly be called "theories."

End game

But, the ultimate conspiracy and a conspiracy that we can all witness happening right before our eyes is the tendency to label every thought that challenges the official narrative a Conspiracy Theory. By equating banal and long ago disproven theories with genuine critique, backed up by research and fact, we are doing incomparable harm to democracy and freedom of speech and thought.

The words "conspiracy theory" and "Conspiracy Theorist" have, long ago, morphed into pejoratives used to describe those who question authority in any way, shape, or form. Being labeled a conspiracy theorist is being compared to a paranoid, tinfoil hat-wearing nut with mental health issues.

But, some claims that were labeled conspiracy theories by the media and those who control it have been generally accepted and acknowledged as the truth. Let's take a look at some examples.

Conspiracy theories that turned out to be true

You are being spied on: This has become common knowledge thanks to the likes of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Once considered a crazy conspiracy theory, mass surveillance is a reality today.

The CIA tried to develop mind control: The CIA's mind control program, better known as Project MKUltra is one of the organization's most notorious programs ever developed. Illegal experiments on human subjects, hypnosis, interrogation, torture, and death are some of the things that mark this scary program, which was declassified in 2001.

The CIA was involved in cocaine trafficking: Another set of declassified (and heavily censored) CIA documents proved that the organization was indeed involved in cocaine trafficking during the Reagan Administration.

Distorting the truth

There are dozens more that you are free to search for yourself. But, the question remains: How many of the conspiracy theories that are currently being coined on various online forums will turn out to be true? Only time will tell. However, one conspiracy theory that will never die or fade away is labeling everyone who dares to criticize and challenge the official narrative a conspiracy theorist.