Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists.
Vaccinations, fluoride, and birth certificates. Chemtrails, dictators, and big brother. Assassinations. Spree killings. CIA. FBI. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Global Warming. Nine Eleven, secrets, Masons and Illuminati.
An Onyx Truther recently made an article on the problem of people not vaccinating their children. When I read her informative column I couldn’t help to think about those who enable the level of ignorance she’s combating — People who assume vaccinations are causing some sort of harm: autism, emasculation, who knows. A conspiracy theory is an explanatory proposition that accuses two or more persons, a group, or an organization of having caused or covered up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an illegal or harmful event or situation. A Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist is a person who always sees patterns in random, rogue events, and propagates conspiracy theories to a fault. They even endorse conspiracy theories that contradict each other: The guy who says Bin Laden is alive sitting in Virginia somewhere is the same guy who will says Bin Laden died before Obama’s presidential tenure.
A psychological study has found that if the event is more catastrophic then people are more likely to assume a conspiracy. A thorough paranoid conspiracy theorist will always say, “I question everything,” and demand that you do the same. Ironically they do not like being questioned,or actually be made to critically think of their bogus claims. To the normal person, things exist in a question/answer format. A question is made to be answered, it’s only that simple.
“…it is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship… the Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy.” ~ Richard Hofstadter, Historian
It is not a moot point that PCTs tend to become the same monsters they make. In psychology, projection is the act of placing your own traits onto a specific target that you attack. This projection is manifested in the form of attribution of undesirable characteristics of the self to the conspirators. On careful examination, anti-communist cults will seem to admire communists. Anti-gay cults will watch gay porn before killing gay people. White racists males will allow black men to cuckold their white wives. And record it. Or marry a black woman. And record that, too. Israelis and Palestinians will look alike in regards to who lobbed what rockets at who. A PCT will end up being as just as fanatic as the big bad guv’ment they describe. A “free speech” advocate will certainly spend much time killing your free speech when you disagree with them.
What is Proof of a Conspiracy? Another Conspiracy.
One thing that you will find with a true PCT is that they will always reference another conspiracy whether it’s related or not. It doesn’t matter if the persons involved with the referenced material are dead. It doesn’t matter if the ideology or reason why the previous action took place is different. In the vaccination conspiracies for example, the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment is a solid, “PCT approved” reason why vaccinations are bad. It doesn’t matter if the scientists are different, the people are different, the ideology is different, medical law is different, the era is different, the needles are different, the vaccinations are different. It doesn’t matter how unrelated the two events are… all they have to be is comparable on some superficial level and that’s enough to swear off vaccinations. Absurd? Yes. And it will ruin our society if left unquestioned.
Logically inclined people will soon recognize that the PCT doesn’t really want proof for anything; nothing counts as proof in his eyes. What they really want to do is keep the conspiracy alive. This is evident from the fact that the PCT never provides proof himself, but rather offers speculations, and the speculations given are never given the same critical eye as evidence contrary. Ever. They don’t want literal proof of anything. They want to keep the conspiracy alive. They are tied too emotionally to the idea itself to actually engage in logical debate over. One of my personal favorite things to identify PCTs is the debate fallacies they tend to use. The biggest one? Appeal to ignorance and causation ≠ correlation. Others? Appeal to emotion (fear), false dichotomy, false dilemma, composition/division, ad nauseam, ad hominem, and acute confirmation bias.
In addition, the PCT likes to feel “smarter” than those who are less “enlightened”. True PCTs are narcissists. In short, everyone who agrees and subscribes to his linear line of thinking are smart ones while those who question their reasoning are the sheep. Quite the contrary in most cases; arrogance is no joke in a PCT. It’s the number one thing that prevents them from absorbing any information contrary to their own beliefs. There will be times when the PCT compares himself or others to Galileo, Socrates (without ever applying the Socratic Method) or other historical geniuses and philosophers who were doubted by masses. And of course if you are very skeptical of their speculations many will call your contrary evidence propaganda and call you brainwashed. And of course, the first person who claims someone is brainwashed is usually the most brainwashed person in the room.
Also, let’s not confuse a PCT with a person with a legitimate question. But it’s also easy to identify the difference. The fundamental difference between the two is that the objective fellow asks question to conclude, gather answers. The PCT asks questions while not looking for answers…they want to keep the “question”, the “conspiracy”, alive. The person with the legitimate question is looking for a legitimate answer. They want to gather information. They don’t make one-sided assessments. They use the scientific method or the Socratic method. They are objective.
The PCT is a person who pretends to pose a legitimate question, who ignores answers because the question was fake — they already have their answer, and the answer is the question. Sounds weird, right? Because it is. But yes, it’s easy to confuse the two… because the PCT likes to hide behind the guise of the objective answer seeker. A conspiracy theorist can consider all possibilities. A PCT only considers one that supports their belief system.
Overall, the PCT will not for a fraction of a second consider their position is false. If they are a “truth seeker”, for example, this person will not ever imagine that the truth is exactly what’s known.
Open minds versus Closed Minds
An Open Mind is a mind that is receptive to new ideas and information. It is often compared to aClosed Mind which will reject ideas without any consideration.
While there is some philosophical validity to the distinction between open and closed, typically this comes up as an accusation. Being told to be “open minded” about something usually means to accept what is said without refuting it. Conversely, being told that you are “closed minded” is generally a code for “I don’t like the fact that you are proving me wrong, so I will pretend that your failure to agree with my claim is a dispositional factor, not a one based on my lack of reason.” This is where this document finds focus.
The scientific method (or the Socratic method) in debate demands open mindedness due to the fact that it requires consistency with available information and evidence, regardless of where it may lead. Sometimes evidence will lead to a conclusion that defies common knowledge, which an otherwise closed mind have have trouble with. Any way you slice it, if a person actually listens to everything you state as validation, and refute it soundly, that person cannot be considered closed minded; had they been, they wouldn’t give your claim due diligence of a sound rebuttal. It takes an open mind to diligently EVALUATE your argument in the first place.
Open Minded vs. Willfully Ignorant
“Suppose you are a chef, cooking meatloaf in a kitchen for 100 diners. You say to yourself, “Well I know if I put rat poison in this meal it’ll kill everyone. But hey, gotta be open minded!” And you go ahead and put rat poison in the meal. Are you being open minded or… just ignoring important information?”
Being willfully ignorant requires that one considers a proposed idea without rejecting it BEFORE sound evaluation is made. Having an open mind DOES NOT mean unconditionally accepting new ideas as soon as it’s presented, without further thought of evaluation. If you consider an idea, and reject it based on facts, evidence or similar criteria, you do not have a closed mind. The concept of a closed mind is based on the fact that one rejects an idea lacking due diligence of investigation and evaluation of data. Downplaying, or flat out ignoring important details isn’t… what being open minded is supposed to be about. It pays to not obfuscate “open mindedness” with “willful ignorance”. Yes, that needed to be said.
“No one can convince me that President Obama is a lawful U.S. citizen by birth…” ~ Birther PCT
Usually and quite ironically, people who go around accusing others as close minded are actually more closed minded themselves. A paranoid conspiracy theorist, for example, may say “no one can convince me that President Obama is a lawful U.S. citizen by birth.” This is a clear example of a closed mind; a mind unwilling to accept that, perhaps, everything about a person or event is actually how it’s presented — without lizards, aliens, overly elaborate plans by a omniscient council of vagueness, Illuminati, and so on. This type of person will accuse anyone who rejects their ideas as closed minded.
With the age of the internet, PCTs with all their memes, short YouTube references (yockumentaries), nonsensical controversies (manufactroversies), attacking and disregarding valid sources to support the narcissistic urge to facilitate some level of significance… They will continue to destroy society, as long as people continue to heed their thoughts unabated.
Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists always say, “question everything”. Well that includes conspiracies too.