Conspiracy nuts despise official knowledge. What they relish is their own knowingness. Just when you think you’ve refuted their canards, they dance away. One mark of this sort of conspiracy theory is that it never says die. Blocked at the end of one cul-de-sac, it reverses field and rushes off to find another one.
This is not a post about Donald Trump or even politics, really. It’s just that something struck me while reading this article. Conspiracy theorists puzzle me, whether it’s a fixation on vaccines causing disease, or our president not being a “real American,” or Monsanto creating the Zika virus. It’s easy to dismiss these believers as ignorant fools, but I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. I wonder if they seek out and cling to conspiracy theories because, despite being intelligent, they don’t have confidence in their intelligence. If you aren’t confident that you’re smart, you might defensively hit out at anything and everything that makes you question your smartness. You might feel compelled to go the extra mile to assert your own personal knowledge over that of others, including (or especially?) folks the rest of us concede are far more knowledgeable than we are in their given fields of expertise.
(As for Mr. Trump, I don’t think he’s particularly intelligent. Someone has to fill out the fat part of the bell curve, yes? But I also am not convinced that he believes half the dog whistles that emit from his angry little pie hole. I was born cynical, and I am convinced Trump is playing a role.)