"At work, the subject of Ukraine came up. Someone I had worked with for years
and seemed reasonably intelligent went on an absurd rant about how Ukraine was
overrun with Nazis who were planning on using bioweapons against the U.S. He
added that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was really a terrorist who
overthrew the government to seize power. (Zelenskyy was democratically elected
in a landslide in 2019.) He also said Russians were liberating the Ukrainians
and he was there for it. For good measure, he threw in something about Hillary
Clinton being involved in all of this.
I have written before about the ridiculous nonsense I hear from otherwise
rational people. It’s a bit disarming during the course of a casual
conversation that the other person suddenly brings up FEMA camps, tells me that
vaccines are made out of babies, or that all school shootings are staged. A few
years ago, a nice man I sat next to on an airplane told me Obama was going to
unilaterally disband the Marine Corps. Just last year, I was told COVID-19
vaccines would make you magnetic. Recently, a manager I work with informed me
that Putin’s Ukraine invasion is really all about disrupting Bill Gates’ “New
World Order.” None of this is okay.
I can’t help myself, so I always engage. Yet I am as confused as I am appalled
that they repeat garbage without the slightest bit of critical analysis. I have
a lot of left-leaning friends as well, and though they believe Gov. Ron
DeSantis is evil, none of us believe he eats babies for breakfast. We don’t
have to make things up—he is awful enough on his own. The conservative
conspiracy theorists I keep running into aren’t lying because they really
believe the nonsense they are espousing. After coming across a recent
scientific study that gave insight into this phenomenon, I dug a little deeper.
It turns out, there are real reasons that right-wing adherents go so easily off
the deep end. Knowing the “why” can help you to counter the “how.”"
Via Kevin O'Brien.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics