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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/21/21

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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