A War on Rational Thought

How has the belief in conspiracy theories become normalized? I remember a time when believing in alien coverups, faked moon landings, and rigged elections were relegated to stoners and people who live in log cabins.

Why do I feel as if there is a war on rational thought?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that the Chinese genetically engineered the COVID-19 virus in a lab, that there’s a government plan to track people’s whereabouts, and that Trump is not going to leave office if the election doesn’t go in his favor. What worries me is that I hear these things from sober-minded, established, and educated people.

How did we get here?

Is it social media’s fault? Are we unable to tell the difference between our crazed distant family member ranting about climate change and the entire global scientific community?

Is it the media’s fault? Are journalists more concerned with the clickbait title of their article, than the content that sits below it?

Is it religion’s fault? Is the belief that a man walked on water 2000 years ago, undermining our ability to trust science today?

Is it my fault? Have I forgot how to empathize, listen, and support an opposing viewpoint?

I’m not asking these questions to insight fury. I accept everyone should have the freedom to think, believe, and worship whatever they want, and that might be the problem. Doesn’t that inadvertently normalize the belief in the fantastical?

I don’t know what to say to people who ask me if Trump is going to leave office if he loses. There’s nothing I can say. At the end of the day, if you can’t prove it’s false, then it must be true, and if it’s on Facebook, then it must be real.