Thanks Susan! Actually, I just read an article in Slate, Conspiracy Theorists Aren’t Really Skeptics by William Saletan, that I wish I’d included. (Too lazy to go back and edit it in, but I thought I’d at least share it in case y’all found it interesting.)
How can this be? How can so many people, in the name of skepticism, promote so many absurdities?
The answer is that people who suspect conspiracies aren’t really skeptics. Like the rest of us, they’re selective doubters. They favor a worldview, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn’t about God, values, freedom, or equality. It’s about the omnipotence of elites.
Now, while psychologists and political scientists have found that most people “actively denigrate the information with which they disagree while accepting compatible information almost at face value,” conspiracy theorists are unique in that they apply selective scrutiny not “to the left or right, but to the mainstream.”
It’s more about alienation. People who fall for such theories don’t trust the government or the media. They aim their scrutiny at the official narrative
Maybe this is a stretch and maybe this isn’t a fair analysis, but I’ve read so many comments from those on the far left and the far right that seem to echo that description…
Anyway. Scary times we’re living in, but at least they’re interesting.