Monday, April 16, 2018

The Storm

I suppose I've been interested in conspiracy theories ever since 9/11. Well, interested would be the wrong word. Irritated is more like it. Keenly irritated. Immensely so. So irritated, in fact, that I've gone to the trouble of making a particular study of these things--where they come from, what sorts of people believe them. An entirely new field of psychology has grown up around these theories and the findings are readily available on the internet, 

A new theory has cropped up since 2017--a complicated, confusing jumble of the usual shadowy villains and secret societies. The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories posts the following description.

A new conspiracy theory called “The Storm” has taken the grimiest parts of the internet by, well, storm. Like Pizzagate, the Storm conspiracy features secret cabals, a child sex-trafficking ring led (in part) by the satanic Democratic Party, and of course, countless logical leaps and paranoid assumptions that fail to hold up under the slightest fact-based scrutiny. However, unlike Pizzagate, the Storm isn’t focused on a single block of shops in D.C., or John Podesta’s emails. It’s much, much bigger than that.
As most terrible things do, this story begins with a post on /pol/, a sub-board of the more-or-less-anonymous, anything-goes website 4chan. Over the last few years, /pol/ — which technically stands for “politically incorrect” — has slowly but surely become a top contender for the ever-coveted title of the most upsetting community online. It’s the sort of place where neo-Nazis and people who believe women shouldn’t have basic human rights used to meet before we started verifying them on Twitter and electing them to public office. And as of late, it’s expanded its ranks to include fringe members of all shapes and sizes.
And so on. We are, it seems, at the mercy of "the Deep State", a generally Democratic, and therefore Satanic plot to overthrow President Trump. But it gets more complicated than that. So much more so that any sane person would be challenged just to make some bit of sense out of the senselessness. And that, apparently, is part of the intention of the writers on these websites--to create a dizzying maze of cryptic hints and suggestions, often endowing meaning to a nonsensical code word or phrase or string of numbers and symbols and then inviting their readers to 'interpret' the message. Which, of course, they happily do--for they are the beneficiaries, they believe, of uncommon knowledge, the knowers of secrets selfishly guarded by the powers that would control the world. Or whatever. 

Psychological studies find that the people who tend most to believe in conspiracy theories are people who tend also to suffer from low self esteem--a feeling that life has treated them unfairly, that the odds are stacked against them. They tend to see themselves as victims, and, like all victims, they seek to identify an oppressor. If you have ever spoken with a conspiracy theory enthusiast, you will note that the terms they and them are very often used. Ask the theorist to identify whom they and them are referring to, and you will be likely to receive only an echo for an answer. They! Them!

And of course it will do no good to confront these folks with "facts", because facts have become falsehood, truths are lies, and all you are doing through what you thought to be sober counsel is falling into the cunning schemes of 'the dark powers', the Rothschilds, the bankers, the Jews, the illuminati, the new world order. 

The conspiracy theory becomes a psychological complex, and complexes such as these are very hard indeed to break down--for the host more and more requires the complex to sustain his identity as a person, his conception of meaning.

So anyway ... watch out for "The Storm".

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