Still, I would like to return to Hitchens’s essay. ‘Conspiracy theories’, he wrote, are:

‘…the white noise which moves in to fill the vacuity of the official version. To blame the theorists is therefore to look at only half the story, and sometimes even less.’

Even the most innocent – the most innocent – interpretation of the Epstein case is that a boorish windbag was allowed to penetrate grand halls of intellectual, cultural and political influence solely on the basis of his mysterious wealth, and then died because of a failure to establish even the kind oversight one might expect from a convenience store owner. In such a dysfunctional society people cannot be blamed for overworking their imaginations. The kindest non-conspiratorial explanation is that American elites roll out the red carpet for any fool or scoundrel who has something to offer them and drops them down the memory hole once they are inconvenient.