My goodness, Jason Kottke took a second or a thousand to address the growing conspiracy-laden culture infecting culture faster than covid.
Go take a read and marvel at the Covidiocy that so many are consuming and spreading.
Kottke makes the point that I keep thinking about: if we don’t start with and agree to the same basic facts, it distorts our ability to discuss the solutions.
If you look at 195,000 American deaths with shrugged shoulders and I mindbogglingly scratch my head at it as being large number, there’s a huge hurdle to jump to even begin a problem solving dialogue.
Kottke is disturbed by the 1 in 5 people (20%) accepting and repeating conspiracies. And rightly so. The thing is, many people who aren’t supposedly associated with Qanon or the like are accepting conspiracies like Biden supports full-term abortions. I can still see the look on a friend’s face when Tina and I both said that he does not. This is a person who would repeat a hundred times he isn’t a conspiracy theorist, and yet simple searching would provide with simple answers to the question.
Or am I the conspiracy theorist for accepting Biden is not a pedophile, baby-blood drinking psychopath?
It’s reminding me again of this quote I fell in love with:
“Treating different things the same can generate as much inequality as treating the same things differently.”
― Kimberlé Crenshaw
One bit from Kottke’s post I want to share, but go read the whole thing yourselves.
This matters not just because of what these voters believe but also because of what they don’t. The facts that should anchor a sense of shared reality are meaningless to them; the news developments that might ordinarily inform their vote fall on deaf ears. They will not be swayed by data on coronavirus deaths, they won’t be persuaded by job losses or stock market gains, and they won’t care if Trump called America’s fallen soldiers “losers” or “suckers,” as the Atlantic reported, because they won’t believe it. They are impervious to messaging, advertising or data. They aren’t just infected with conspiracy; they appear to be inoculated against reality.
Democracy relies on an informed and engaged public responding in rational ways to the real-life facts and challenges before us. But a growing number of Americans are untethered from that. “They’re not on the same epistemological grounding, they’re not living in the same worlds,” says Whitney Phillips, a professor at Syracuse who studies online disinformation. “You cannot have a functioning democracy when people are not at the very least occupying the same solar system.”
And this little moment, too:
“He’s done a great job, he’s got everyone back to work. I’m pretty much 100% for him,” said Kyle, a 30-year-old electrician. “He shoots his mouth off but at least that shows he’s honest,” said Jason, a pipe-fitter, who said he especially liked Mr Trump’s commitment to reducing the national debt. “He’s done more for our country than the past ten presidents put together,” said an older builder, Jeff, skimming wet concrete on a new road. “He’s made — who is it, China or Japan? — pay our farmers billions of dollars. He got health care done, which the Democrats could never do. He built the wall.”
Kottke responds: “None of this is true, aside from Trump shooting his mouth off. These lies aren’t as spectacular as the blood-drinking pedophilia, but in some ways they’re even worse because they’re so easily fact-checked (e.g. Trump has increased the national debt) but still believed.“