Part 3. Leading a person out of conspiracy thinking.

Challenging the way

Because we are not dealing with the conspiracy itself but rather an intricate self-protecting identity, helping your loved one find freedom becomes a delicate issue. I have heard many stories of evidence being explained away or ignored, reports of failed attempts to challenge the foundations of a belief, encountering hostility, and one that I have personally dealt with repeatedly, unabashed deflection. The truth is, we cannot disprove a conspiracy theory to a conspiracy theorist for two reasons.

Part 2. The relief that conspiracy theories offer

Why Conspiracy Theories?

Part 1. What leads a person to believe conspiracy theories.

It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love and marries girl. Boy starts staying up late watching YouTube videos and becomes increasingly convinced that a cabal of nefarious Jewish businessmen controls the world. Hollywood is in on it, and America is ground zero for a possible lizard-human republic led by the Illuminati. Girl feels alone and confused as to what happened to boy.

The Pain is Real.

Reading through support groups such as Reddit’s r/QAnonCasualties demonstrates just how non-farfetched this scenario is. With well over 50% of Americans believing conspiracy theories today, there is a good chance that…

My first flight.

The Irresponsible Child

I was nervous as we walked to the plane that day in August, not because I was scared of death or injury, but because deep down, I didn’t believe I had it in me to be a pilot even though it was my childhood dream. I grew up in a small town after my Dad retired from the Air Force as a truck mechanic. I would often watch the planes flying overhead in wonder. …

The story of a country built on very different views, and how that unites us.

Like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, increasingly, our country bifurcates into two houses predicated on moral mandates intrisic to who we are: House Conservative and House Liberal.

The Original Rift

Early on, deeply held beliefs divided us into two camps. Federalism and statism competed for control to shape our…

It can be hard to talk to someone that you believe is a racist. How do you even do that?

You don’t.

The moment the word racist enters the conversation in reference to another person or something they believe, even if it’s a loose association, the brain releases a stress hormone in the body of the person that you are asserting is a racist. We identify this hormone as shame. The brain always protectively responds to this hormone to avoid harm to our psyche. In response to this shame hormone we have to dominate and regain control to re-establish mental equilibrium. We…

Statistics can be one of the most divisive and harmful misinformation tools, and I have seen it all over Facebook. I have attempted to make sense of the apparent conflict of reality that statistics represent. I knew nothing about data science when I began to write this, and after researching, I realized that I am woefully unprepared for this attempt. That said, I decided to give it a try. (Note: I know that I have a bias towards the existence and ubiquitousness of systemic racism. This article is a general critique, but on second reading, my examples betray that bias.)

The Impetus

We are becoming increasingly polarized. Not since the Civil War have we been so far apart ideologically in our country.(1) Even during the lead up to the Civil War, we often found more in common then we do today.

How America’s Ministry of Propaganda is decentralized and highly active.

When I boarded the bus in rural Arkansas to go to a new school in the Seventh grade, I was extremely nervous. Raised as a military brat, this would be my first time attending school off-base, and I wasn’t sure I would fit in. I didn’t make it far down the school bus aisle before I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder. I turned to see four older boys, probably 9th graders. They forcefully lead me down the aisle, finally stopping at the back of the bus. I can still remember the eyes of the bus driver in the rearview mirror, watching as the leader of this group picked me up by my neck against the rear door and asked me:

“Are you a Ni**er?”

Years before that encounter, I remember walking the clinical and dark grounds of the Auschwitz concentration camp with my Grandfather as a 3rd grader. I had never seen him cry before that day. I had one question when we entered the gas chambers and saw the pictures of the bodies of murdered Jews. How?

Many people that I know are looking around with confusion at why our fellow countrymen are waging a ground offensive in our cities and towns. It may feel like out of nowhere, we are expected to just accept our “white privilege” and acknowledge “systemic racism.” __________________________________

We are wondering why we can’t go back to the normality that we enjoyed a mere three weeks ago, others just don’t see what all the fuss is all about. Instead of investigating, we argue about the Confederate Flag over morning coffee and get into semantical debates about hashtags. I believe now is the right time to look back at how the hell we got here.

Jonathan Taylor

A Creative Director in Austin, a pilot, an ordained minister, and a centrist researcher trying to find a way to connect the intangible to the tangible.

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