Where there are more “conspiracy theorists” – new study

A large-scale scientific study was devoted to “conspiracy theorists”, conspiracy theories, it analyzed the data of 100,000 people in 26 countries, including Greece.

As the analysis of the data showed, most of all “conspiracy theorists” are among the far left and the far right. According to the Athens Macedonian News Agency, conspiracy theories have been circulating in virtually all cultures for years and even centuries. They “bloom wildly” in times of great events and great upheavals: elections, large-scale terrorist attacks, or, as now, during pandemics. Currently, social networks are actively helping to spread them.

In his work, published in the journal human behavior, scientists led by Roland Imhoff, professor of social psychology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (Germany), have expressed an opinion based on research that hidden dark forces are working against ordinary people with an ultimate goal: either occult or to advance their own interests.

The results of the study showed that of the respondents, “those at the far end of the political spectrum expressed a stronger belief that the world is ruled by secret forces operating in the dark. The left and the extreme right share a worldview based on Manichaean demonization”*, which leads to the fact that “hostile” groups of people are considered immoral and dangerous.

Conspiracy theories consider the “enemies” to be representatives of Evil, presenting history as a battle between the forces of Good and Evil that are trying to control societies. At the same time, the extreme left or the extreme right, for the most part, does not tolerate disagreements. Both of these extreme views believe in simplistic solutions associated with conspiracy theories.

Supporters of the extreme right have a stronger propensity for conspiracy theories in the states of Northern and Central Europe – France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland. In Southern Europe and the Balkans (e.g. Spain, Romania) the extreme left dominates.

According to a scientific study, conspiracy theories are widely accepted by people who support non-governmental opposition parties. This is especially pronounced in the case of the far-right representatives of the political spectrum, who support traditional, nationalist and authoritarian political views. Professor Imhoff says:

“We are seeing a greater propensity for those who vote for opposition parties towards a conspiratorial mentality because they feel deprived of their personal influence and believe it has little effect on society.”

Much more often than not, conspiracy theories, regardless of political persuasion, are found among people of a lower educational level. If someone has a conspiracy theory, it indicates that along the way they will acquire another one, thus creating a whole network of similar views that mutually reinforce each other.

Help.Term “Manichaeism” is used to denote philosophical currents that absolutize the opposition of Good and Evil, as if all good were on one side (say, the political camp), and all evil was on the other (the enemy camp). This second usage is always pejorative. Of course, one camp can represent absolute evil (Nazism is a convenient example), but it does not follow from this that the second camp is capable of representing absolute good. Even if the devil himself appeared in the guise of Hitler, this does not give any reason to consider Stalin and Roosevelt angels. That is why in politics all Manichaeism is stupidity, and, moreover, dangerous stupidity. It makes you worship your camp, when in reality it only needs to be supported.

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