This! ... is why I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories in general. I'll acknowledge that conspiracy thinking can be fun and games to high-information voters who are capable of evaluating the merits of a hypothesis. Like a good mystery novel. Or a what-if scenario. Anyone posting on these forums tend to be a high-knowledge/information person and so we can see CTs for what they are.ZAFCorrection wrote: ↑Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:07 pmBy motte and bailey I mean that people defend the merits of conspiracy theorizing based on legitime concerns (e.g. Epstein), and then two minutes later it's the Islamic-Atheist-Progressive agenda being discussed. Sometimes there are legitimate concerns and sometimes it is just mudslinging and crackpottery. Hopefully, each case can be considered individually and then categorized according to its validity.
However, for low-information voters there's no such evaluation going on and they do not see it. When someone's entire political understanding is based on A/B-tested facebook memes and talk show hosts and "who is saying it"/"it hurts the other team" is more important than both internal logical consistency and external consistency, conspiracy thinking does a lot of damage because there's literally nothing to check against disinformation. Low-information voters lack both an external framework for basic facts AND a framework for internal consistency (logic) and CT thinking actively/mentally undermines such frameworks.
In particular, the motte and bailey comes about because to most conservatives (except the high-trust ones) all conspiracy theories are equivalent and all good as long as they hurt the other team.
To use a football analogy, it used to be that the difference between low- and high-information fans would be a matter of degree of how many rules and formations, etc. they knew about the game. Yet now it's a difference of kind where game knowledge is becoming irrelevant because all that matters is pwning the sportsfans on the other team. The attention has moved from the game to whatever crazy signs the spectators are holding up to own the sportsfans on other side regardless of what's going on in the actual game. Basically, the actual game has moved from the field to the spectator seats. Rules be damned. If someone breaks a rule ("there's no 5th down"), they just make up some alternative rules ("sure there's a 5th down"). For many the spectator section is now considered more important than the actual game on the field. Actually, it's very similar to European soccer hooliganism where games just serve as an excuse/event for the hooligans to meet and go beat up on the hooligans on the other team.
Whether that's perceived as a good thing or a bad thing comes down to what "game" people are still playing. But it's clearly not "your father's game" anymore. Politics is different from football in that the actual winner of the game is determined by the spectators voting every once in a while and not the point score. A fractured media universe (social, blogs, youtube, and micro sources) has made it possible for low-information voters to watch completely different versions of the same game. This makes it really hard to preserve any semblance of the original game.