One of my readers told me to go check out new research about the psychological profile of a conspiracy theorist. I am eternally grateful for that tidbit.
We have this idea that conspiracy theorists are whack job loners sitting in their parents’ basement eating ice cream while trying to find proof that Oswald didn’t act alone. New research says that image is completely wrong.
There seem to be two critical things that almost every conspiracy theorist has in common. The first is a tremendous amount of self doubt. They either aren’t confident in their abilities, even the things they are good at or they suffer a touch of low self esteem.
The second is that conspiracy theorists actually aren’t loners, in fact they are the exact opposite. Being involved in a Truthers’ Movement gives them a sense of belonging. Which is kind of neat. Also, conspiracy theorists as a social group is among the more accepting social groups… They rarely care about physicality. So someone looking for acceptance in society, could find it among conspiracy theorists.
I’m mostly paraphrasing articles in Psychology Today and Modern Psychology. Meaning it’s possible that your slightly nutty cousin who believes the Moon Landing was faked, isn’t all that nutty, they have just found acceptance within a social group where the only requirement for membership is that you believe in at least one conspiracy theory.
The article in Modern Psychology went a little more in depth about how intelligence and conspiracy theories have a tenuous link. To quote my primary care physician dumb people are too dumb to be mentally ill. The same holds true here. Not that conspiracy theorists are primarily mentally ill, they are just people smart enough to think, sometimes way outside the box.
Interestingly, nearly half of all Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory. You can also tell a great deal about a person’s biases based on which conspiracy theories they believe in. For example, someone with a deep mistrust of the government, is more likely to believe Roswell was a cover up, JFK was assassinated by the US government, that the US masterminded September 11, 2001, the Moon Landing was faked, and that the US was secretly supporting Nazi Germany in an attempt to thwart the Soviet Union.
Not surprisingly, I do believe in a conspiracy theory regarding the Soviet Union and US… I believe the US and most of the Western Europe ignored Stalin’s death toll because we expected Russians to rise up and overthrow the Soviet Government, it’s why Stalin wasn’t assassinated by the US or UK, even though we were well aware of what was going on in the Soviet Union.
See, my bias showed through. I believe Stalin was left in power in an attempt to get the Soviet Union to self destruct because in the 1940s and 1950s, the US was not above organizing assassinations of world leaders, and yet Stalin wasn’t assassinated. Nor did the US take a hard nose stance against the Soviet Union. One could argue the Cold War was a hard nosed stance, but it was nothing compared to our positions against other communist countries and nuclear war really isn’t enough of a threat to render us impotent, like we were against the Soviet Union when Stalin was leader.
As a matter of fact, our position against the Soviet Union grew stronger after Stalin’s death. Making me wonder why we felt the need to walk on eggshells when Stalin was in power. We haven’t felt that need since then with any leader and Chairman Mao had nuclear weapons, as does North Korea.