You Are a Conspiracy Theorist!
I remember the first time I heard Alex Jones. I thought, “This guy is a kook.” When Jones got into a custody battle for his children in 2017, his lawyer claimed that Jones was just a performance artist, like Jack Nicholson, in his role as The Joker. Jones was placed in a difficult situation since he could neither deny his radio and television persona, thus tarnishing his brand, nor embrace it, as custody for his children was on the line. It is safe to say, however, that many people, despite their political leanings, see Alex Jones as a conspiracy theorist.
But what makes a person a “conspiracy theorist”? Let us begin by defining a “conspiracy theory.” Dr. Jade Wu states, “A conspiracy theory is a non-mainstream explanation for something about our society that involves a secret, powerful, and often sinister group.” You have likely heard of the Illuminati, an influential group ruling the world from the shadows. Maybe you have listened to stories about Freemasonry and the founding of the United States. Ergo, the Masons run things in the United States. Those are examples of “conspiracy theories.” And you do not have to be either a conservative or progressive to believe in a conspiracy theory.
Consider as an example the Trump-Russia Collusion theory perpetuated by some of the left-leaning talking heads at cable news networks for three years. As a result, there are even people who still adamantly cling to the lie that Russia stole the 2016 Presidential election for Donald Trump. Or what of the slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot”? Michael Brown never uttered those words in 2014 and was proven to be the aggressor. Even so, there are still those protesting the police chanting that slogan in 2020.
As for those of us on the Right, there is Qanon. Q, sometimes Q+, is a person or persons allegedly connected to the President who drop “breadcrumbs” that followers can follow to find the truth. In other words, Q veils the truth in code followers must decipher. However, to fully embrace the ideas espoused by the Qanon community, you have to believe that, rather than the Illuminati, you have a group of powerful Satanists running the show. These “Fausts” engage in pedophilia and even cannibalism. Admittedly, I have ventured into the rabbit hole, but I am unsure how far I want to venture into Wonderland.
I think the main reason that Qanon arouses the ire of the Left is that it defeats the goal of the dutiful radical following Saul Alinsky’s “rules.” That is, it gives people on the Right, who have been disenfranchised by the “mainstream” and social media a sense of belonging, thwarting the desired goal of the Alinskyite to isolate his or her target socially. I dare say everyone visiting the Q-boards or Q-post aggregation sites fully even understand everything Q. (I know I do not.) However, the expressions of patriotism and faith uplift the visitor of the same mindset.
Do you have to be crazy to believe a conspiracy theory? Dr. Joe Pierre reminds us that “normal” people hold “false beliefs.” For example, we might hold on to “unwarranted optimism about the future.” Humans seek to create order from the chaos. We cherish the idea we are in control. Thus, conspiracy theories allow for one to sate those desires. It likewise serves to confirm what we want to be true.
The main outcome one wants to avoid is becoming delusional and paranoid. If we can recognize our anxieties and the reasons we seek out conspiracy theories, we can find a nice balance between the emotional and rational minds. So, it is OK to want to believe that NASA faked the moon landing as long as you don’t allow that one belief to cause you to start questioning everything the government does as a result. As Sigmund Freud once said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” And one deception, even if true, does not make every significant event after that false.
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Hi, my name is Brent. Christian. 親日. ENFP. Music lover. I've channeled my ADHD into becoming a generalist. I enjoy writing and illustrating.