Thursday, January 28, 2021

Deprogram Trumpian Conspiracy Theorists?!?! Bring Jeffrey Epstein's Clientele To Justice!!!!

WaPo |  For the past four years, the United States was governed by a conspiracy theorist in chief. Whether by retweeting QAnon accounts from the Oval Office or painting himself as the victim of shadowy “deep state” plots at rallies, President Donald Trump injected the toxin of baseless conspiratorial thinking straight into America’s political bloodstream. On Jan. 6, America saw how far that venom had spread, as a ragtag group of militias, racist extremists and flag-waving disciples of Trumpism stormed the Capitol.

The insurrectionists were unified by their support for Trump. But many of them shared another crucial trait: They were conspiracy theorists. And while hundreds of people stormed the Capitol, there are millions of Americans who share their views. There is no doubt: The United States has a serious problem with pathological political delusions.

So, do we have any hope of deprogramming the millions of Americans who are devoted to dangerous lunacy? Don’t hold your breath.

Psychologists and political scientists have been interested in conspiracy theories for decades, but their research has taken on new urgency. And what is clear from their findings is this: Once people have gone far enough down the rabbit hole of conspiratorial thinking, it can be nearly impossible to get them back out.

There are a few reasons conspiracy theories are so “sticky” once they’re in someone’s head. First, conspiracy theorists are far more likely to have a Manichaean worldview, meaning they interpret everything as a battle between good and evil. That makes it harder for dispassionate evidence-based arguments to break through. (For QAnon believers, Trump is the central superhero in an epic saga to vanquish a shadowy cabal.)

Second, those who seek to debunk conspiracy theories are precisely the people that true believers distrust. If someone believes the media is controlled by sinister but unseen puppet masters, fact checks from CNN will never convince them they’re wrong.