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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? Show more Show less
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Studies show that the majority of people believe in at least one conspiracy theory. They’re becoming increasingly pervasive in our everyday lives, with it not being uncommon to hear conspiracy theories coming from commanders-in-chief. Why would someone believe something that others perceive as crazy?

People believe in conspiracy theories because of distrust of the mainstream Show more Show less

Those who distrust the mainstream in some sense are far more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.
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People believe in conspiracy theories because they distrust the government

Governmental distrust is on the rise, meaning that people are more likely to subscribe to beliefs that characterise it as an evil entity.
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The Argument

While in the 60s roughly 77% of Americans trusted their governments, this has dramatically fallen to 19%.[1] Governmental distrust rising means that people are increasingly inclined to believe conspiracy theories that portray the government as an evil actor. While the perpetrator of conspiracy theories used to generally be groups of people (E.g. Jewish people, the Freemasons), the government is increasingly characterised as the perpetrator of conspiracies.[2] People who distrust the government have plenty of reasons to feel that their government could be participating in a conspiracy. Beyond this, it is easy to then continue to subscribe to conspiracy theories.

Counter arguments

Premises

[P1] More and more people distrust the government. [P2] This naturally leads to people believing conspiracy theories about the government.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. http://www.people-press.org/2015/11/23/1-trust-in-government-1958-2015/
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0267323111433566

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This page was last edited on Monday, 16 Mar 2020 at 17:31 UTC

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