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This entry is part 29 of 100 in the series Today's Tidbits

I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but even I agree that things are getting a little out of hand.

Once upon a time, you had to either already be looking for them or meet someone who was a little “off” in order to really get a line on a conspiracy theory. Then they really started getting used on TV shows (like The X-Files) a lot more. Then along came the Internet and, suddenly, even the most outlandish, poorly conceptualized conspiracy theory had a place where it could find a vehement audience.

It’s only grown from there.

Right now, we have thousands of people who genuinely buy into the most unsubstantiated claims of conspiracy (usually against their personal interests) by either the government, corporations, or some mysterious foreign power. And these people are loud and proud about it. They slow down, if not completely derail a number of legitimate discussions when they get involved by refusing to adhere to even the most basic rules of logic. The only good news is, it’s easy to spot them so you can dismiss them.

One step down from them are the really dangerous group, though. The wingnuts who have just enough actual information in their theories to sway the opinion of people who are on the fence. In small doses, they don’t sound crazy… but after prolonged exposure to them and their arguments, the holes in their logic (usually at the basic premise level) become evident. By that point, though, there’s a high chance a number of people have already bought into and acted on the ideas. This is how we see measles make a comeback after being virtually wiped out in the U.S.–through people buying into the idea that vaccines are somehow worse than the diseases they prevent.

Down in the stream report, there’s an article that goes into a whole lot more detail. I highly recommend it. I’m left wondering how much further it will all go. We’re already seeing public discourse that’s more polarized than we’ve seen in generations… and it already swings with a heavy set of conspiracy theories. How much more can the argument for sensible discussion take before it’s rendered completely non-viable?

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About Kier

I've been on the web since about 1994. I have a background in a lot of things, including a five year stint as a journalist and over a decade of helping people get their message out to the world.

I write on a number of subjects--everything from relationships to personal development to politics and every day life. I hope you get something worthwhile out of it.

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