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How an element of truth helps make useful lies

Reader comment on item: Fellow Conservatives, Please Reject Conspiracy Theories

Submitted by Dave (United States), Apr 22, 2022 at 22:21

While most rational people can recognize the absurdity of conspiracy theories, here's a list of some actual reasons which lend a soupcon of plausibility to some of them:

-The election was stolen from Trump: The obvious hostility of the much of the mainstream media to Trump gives credence to the claim, however farfetched, that the liberal establishment conspired to deny him his rightful victory:

-Vaxxing is dangerous: A very small number of people were sickened or even died from the covid vaccines, which were rushed into service. And the push for mandatory vaccination, along with lockdowns, made it seem like an evil government power play, not a real prophylactic, to the more paranoid anyway..

-Russia was genuinely alarmed by secret US biolabs in Ukraine: There were US supported biolabs in Ukraine. That was enough for some people outside the Kremlin who have a soft spot for Putin.

-Trump and the Russia, Russia, Russia hearings: Trump never once criticized Putin. That didn't help with his negative fan club.

-The Georgia election accusations: Georgia did make voting more difficult in order to verify voter legitimacy and placate the Trumpites. Some saw that as a racist conspiracy - you know, it's the South, etc.

The interesting thing about this is how just a smidgeon of truth about something can be siezed on by ideologues to justify their prejudices. One can see this in the case of Israel, where even minor infraction are brought to the attention of the UN. Contrast that with China, where real horrors inflicted on the Uyghurs barely merit a peep out of the same anti-Zionist crowd.

Conclusion: Conspiracies are dishonest exaggerations meant to justify fears, beliefs and prejudices. Geobbels knew all about that.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

"just a smidgeon of truth about something can be siezed on by ideologues to justify their prejudices": Yes, I discuss this at length in my book Conspiracy.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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