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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/22/21

Education Won't Stop Conspiracy Theories

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Formal education is often a mark of privilege, not intelligence.

Conspiracy Theory
Conspiracy Theory
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Conspiracy theories like QAnon are outlandish, dangerous, and often absurd. So why do people believe them?

Some say it's a lack of education. "They can do QAnon, or they can do college-educated voters," Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) said about Republicans. "They cannot do both."

In the U.S., higher education is tied more to your parents' income than your brains. Intelligence and work ethic play a role, of course, but the roadblocks between people in low-income families and a college degree are well-documented.

Take my school for example.

This school year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, students from the poorest 50 percent of Wisconsin families made up only about 20 percent of the freshman class.

The school covers full tuition for these low-income students, which is commendable. But in a world where your parents' income didn't affect your shot at a college education, students from the poorest half of the state would account for, well, half of the freshman class.

Then look at Donald Trump. He paid someone to take his SATs, called in a favor in the Wharton admissions office, and apparently had a lackluster record while at the school. Then he speculated on TV about the benefits of injecting bleach into the human body and became the country's leading election conspiracy theorist.

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Jill Richardson is pursuing a PhD in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments  Post Comment


Michael Morrissey

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(Member since Mar 8, 2008), 16 fans, 36 articles, 73 quicklinks, 2488 comments, 75 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)

"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
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The problem is that there are good (intelligent, informed) conspiracy theories and bad (stupid, ignorant) conspiracy theories, and everything in between. For example, the official conspiracy theory about 9/11 (19 Arabs defeat the US Air Force with box-cutters) is bad one, as opposed to the intelligent and well-informed ones promoted by people like David Ray Griffin.

What we are seeing nowadays with QAnon et al. is indeed a proliferation of very bad conspiracy theories, which can only be explained by the ignorance and irrationality of the people who believe them or the cleverness of the individuals - or agencies - who propagate them.

Please note that this proliferation of "conspiracy theories," whatever their value, serves to denigrate ALL of them, regardless of their degree of truthfulness. This works heavily on the side of the Establishment (the government, vested interests in the status quo, what former CIA officer Ray McGovern calls the MICIMATT (Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Media Academia Think Tank) complex. They can then call whatever they don't like a "conspiracy theory."

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 4:12:17 PM

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Nels Wight

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Reply to Michael Morrissey:   New Content

You certainly named two of the best chaps in David Ray and CIA Ray.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 5:47:56 PM

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