Are conspiracy theorists paranoid?
The idea that conspiracy theorists have completely lost the plot and are suspicious of everyone and everything is a misconception. Of course this may be the case for some, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. When you realize that over half of Americans believe that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a conspiracy, it becomes difficult to maintain that every one of those people has mental issues.
Conspiracy theories don’t generally arise from paranoia, but from a critical stance towards dominant ideas and opinions. In other words: conspiracy theorists are simply doing something society has taught them to do. They critically assess what they are told. But in their case, this critical stance can lead to a distrust of science or of the government, which leads conspiracy theorists to seek alternative explanations.