Discipline: Political Science
Theory of political power.
In many or all social and political situations, there is a small group of people who deliberately, in concert, and in secret pursue an objective of their own. They do so under cover of the ostensible constitution or political arrangements.
Conspiracy theory has variously identified communists, Jews, the secret service, business, Masons, and many others as the principal actors. Paradoxically, conspiracy theory which attributes overwhelming power to small groups has often been used to justify the power of other groups and the persecution of minorities.
Roger Scruton, A Dictionary of Political Thought (London,1982)