Thursday, August 04, 2022

Inside the mind of a former conspiracist

From the blurb for this podcast in the Conspiracy Games & Countergames series:

For 15 years Brent Lee not only believed in conspiracy theories but helped produce and popularize them. Today, he warns others about both the danger and the appeal of conspiratorial world-building.

We have been taught to imagine that people fall into the proverbial "rabbit hole" because of isolation, idiocy and paranoia. But in this interview, Brent explains how he and many others came to it from through critical thinking, scepticism towards the operations of social power and empathy with those who were suffering.

We explore with him why he stayed in the conspiracy world thanks, in part, to the sense of righteous community it provided. And we cover how the right-wing weaponization of conspiracy theories in the mid-2010s triggered Brent’s exit from the community. Today, motivated by contrition for what he helped create and compassion for those who, like him, are taken in, he dedicates his time to helping those inside and outside conspiracy worlds understand and challenge them.

This is a valuable podcast because it brings out that people can be led to belief in conspiracy theories through intellectual curiosity.

The modern left is too prone to believe that anyone who disagrees with it must be stupid.

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