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Response to yardwork (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 12:04 AM

58. I suspect that people believed all of these lies because they were already biased against Clinton.

In my experience it is not just the poorly educated who believe these crazy conspiracy theories. I have an uncle who is an engineer and he thinks that the Clintons have been murdering people since the 1990s (remember the Vince Foster conspiracy theory?) and that Clinton allowed U.S. soldiers to die in Benghazi. He also believes that Sandy Hook was a false flag operation to soften up the American public for gun confiscation, that Obama is a Muslim and a communist and that he was nothing but an "affirmative action case" and had other people do his work for him through college and law school. This uncle also thinks that the Democrats want to put "hardworking Americans" in gulags as punishment for being successful. I have a friend who is a doctor who also believed the Benghazi conspiracy theory and thinks that the Democrats support giving handouts to poor people who then live in mansions, drive luxury cars and eat steak and lobster every night.

People believe this nonsense because it fits the preconceived narratives that they grew up with. If you grew up thinking that black people are intellectually inferior then Obama must have succeeded in school through the charity of liberal whites. If you think that all poor people are lazy and immoral then they all must fit the Welfare Queen stereotype and are out to scam the system. If you think that professionally successful women are all “bitches” who are ruthless and cruel, then it is easier to believe that Hillary Clinton is a murderer. On the flip side, if you think that powerful white men are destined to rule over others and that women are naturally attracted to them even if they claim not to be, it is easier to gloss over Trump’s bragging about groping women and other indiscretions as “locker room talk” or “boys will be boys.”

I mentioned that my uncle is an engineer and my friend is a doctor to point out that I am not sure if this is a problem with education. Both of the individuals I mentioned are well-educated and intelligent in an IQ sense at least. But they still believe in wacky conspiracy theories because it fits the narratives that they grew up with. In both cases they grew up in very conservative households.

I am not sure how you fix this problem other than through calling people out on their nonsense and putting an end to false equivalence in the media. The media is often quite bad at this. I am all for giving multiple voices a chance to speak but when one side is outright lying and cynically spreading misinformation they have to be called out on it. You will never convince everyone but you might be able to convince enough people to win elections.

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LineReply I suspect that people believed all of these lies because they were already biased against Clinton.
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