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Help For Folks Fighting Conspiracies

Updated: Jan 22

Some conspiracies are real of course, but most are bullshit. As a past conspiracy theorist this is a resource, I hope, can help folks recognize which are which.

 

If you're curious about my experience as a conspiracy theorist, watch this short video, also the backgrounder to my new podcast. I figured there weren't enough of them in the world yet.



 

Our democratic world has been built from the ground up, over hundreds of years, to limit the damage liars can do. History has always had shameless liars working for money, control and power. Independent media, rule of law, the scientific method, all slowly built, bloody stone by bloody stone, to counterbalance bullshit. If you like simple, that's about as simple as it gets.



Democracy sucks, but it's better than the alternative.


Why are conspiracy theories catching on so fast? Because social media is making it very lucrative to lie. Anything to get clicks. Supply and demand. And the more shameless, the better of a liar you are, the more profitable you'll be. See the problem? Meanwhile, researching and reporting on the ground truths remains expensive. Knowing this, isn't it obvious that the internet would be full of liars? How many email phishing scams do you get a day? How many scam phone calls?


Mainstream media is far from perfect, but it takes resources to report truth and only they have them. They also have liability to consider. It's in their interests to make sure whatever they report could, if needed, stand up in court. The ultimate arbiter of truth in the free west.


The only things in this world that keep billionaires accountable are the courts, the free press and elections. All things conspiracy theorists say are deeply corrupt. If there's a real conspiracy here isn't it more likely to be the systemic undermining of those institutions?

The science of lying is explained well in the video below. Note the date. It was produced in 2011. Near the beginning of the social media age and at the beginning of the smartphone revolution - the dawn of everyone having a profile and staying connected all the time.



I'd suggest, if you have been convinced a grand conspiracy is at play by global elites, you watch more of Pamela's videos. Over time, I'm confident you'll see how some of the sources you have relied on, are PURPOSELY playing you for a fool.


If you're thinking that is just what THEY would say to throw you off their scent, STOP. Never go down the road of believing the more convincing the evidence against what you believe is, the more what you believe must be true. That's a tough cognitive loop to overcome.


Our brains work against us. It looks for patterns and meaning in everything. We want to see conspiracies because it gives us a sense of control and makes us feel special by having special knowledge others don't have. It's normal, and useful, to those who are looking to deceive us and keep us from straying onto other sources - to keep you on the hook.


Incompetence and coincidences are everywhere - despite what the bullshitters say.


No person or group of people in this world control everything or even a big part of everything. Not Putin, or Biden, or Xi Jinping. Everyone, billionaires, the pope, you and me - we all wake up everyday day, wondering what the fuck will happen next. In some ways this is scarier.


Even Xi Jinping, authoritarian ruler of over a billion plus Chinese people? Yes even him. COVID, climate change, economic strife - he has a better sense of the control he doesn't have than most. Reality assaults him everyday, just like the rest of us.

We're all afraid, competing, watching our own ass. That's it. Our world is competitive, not conspiratorial. Since comedy is quickly becoming the best troll proof way to discuss this breakdown in how our democratic systems are balanced, here is couple great pieces by John Oliver...



Want to know what real conspiracies look like? Look no further than Donald Trump. He's tried to build all the things he projects onto his adversaries - deep state, politicized justice department, military, foreign policy, a great reset - What does that look like in a country with rule of law - what we've seen - whistleblowers everywhere, investigations, charges, cronies getting convicted, crimes in plain sight.



If you believe wholeheartedly in a terrifying truth you've learned online - you owe it to yourself to type in the popular title of your 'conspiracy theory' followed by the word "debunked". If you're unwilling to do this then you are being driven by pride and pride can destroy more than just your life. Make smart decisions by understanding and countering, if you can, those who disagree with you,



Want to know what it looks like when a true authoritarian government operates in your country and is controlling the media. Look at Russia today. Overt laws that make reporting facts against the law, punishable by prison time. Big media companies never critical of current leadership. True authoritarianism is not hidden- it can't be - It is right out in the open.

CONCLUSION

Mainstream Media sources, for all their bias and faults and mistakes, are still our best sources of information today. Some are even getting better. Why? Scrutiny does that. That's a good thing. Many have simply come to understand the true nature of the game being played - that disinformation is now cheaper and easier to produce than real information. God help us.



Plus, mainstream media...

  • carries liability insurance

  • hires trained journalists

  • enforces standards before they broadcast or print.

  • competes with one another for scoops and dollars.

  • has to make sure their facts can hold up in court.

  • admits mistakes and issues retractions (Does your media source have a retractions page? No? Do you really believe they NEVER make mistakes? Organizations concerned with truth will have one, even though it's costly.)

  • understands their reputations are their business.

Their primary function is to deliver truth. Sure they all have their biases, but truth is their job. Research and fact checking. Most online sources do not have any of those standards or processes and they don't want them. Why would they, when baseless bullshit is more profitable and there is no downside. Well, other than the collapse of freedom.


Easy test of your media sources. Since everyone makes mistakes, professional news organizations will always have a corrections section. Here's CBC's. If your source doesn't have this section you should question their commitment to the truth.

And... finally, one final point.


If you still don't see that so many conspiracy theory sources online are just really good, great fucking, very convincing, leveraging your cognitive biases -


LIARS...


Think about it this way.




When they make money off you, whether you buy a product, pay a subscription or just follow and add views or authority to their account, what do they do with that money? Some will invest it in stocks or bonds or ETFs, etc., right? What information sources do you think they use to invest? Where does the investment advice that they trust their fortunes too come from?


Mainstream news motherfucker.


They, or their advisors, need the best versions of truth they can attain and that comes from mainstream, independent news sources, utilizing the points above.

They make their money off suckers - US - and laugh all the way to the bank.


I hope you have the fortitude to get off that bandwagon - or better yet, never get on - and really start thinking for yourself. Maybe, this can be that fresh start.


All the best and make sure you vote.


Bryan Bakker


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