Conspiracy. Conspiracy culture. Conspiracy theories. Just hearing those words can make some people cringe and others embrace them. Conspiracy theories are as old as the hills. But today, thanks to social media algorithms that push users toward ever more emotional, fact-adverse content, it’s never been easier for wild implausible ideas and hate to go viral. It’s a rabbit hole that detracts attention from predatory economic policies that have created a gargantuan gap in wealth and power. Instead of focusing on what elites are actually doing, people are diverted into cultural wars about all-gender bathrooms, anti-racist education, non-white immigrants, and LGBTQ athletes which are all part of a deep-state cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who control the world. Conspiracy culture makes the ruling class secure in knowing societal anger isn’t aimed at them.
Naomi Klein is a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, the founding co-director of UBC’s Centre for Climate Justice, and Honorary Professor of Media and Climate at Rutgers University. Her writing has appeared in leading publications around the world, and she is a columnist for The Guardian. The New York Times says, “She is that nearly extinct breed of activist: one who never stops questioning orthodoxies and interrogating her own beliefs.” She is the award-winning author of such bestsellers as This Changes Everything, The Shock Doctrine, No Logo, No Is Not Enough, and On Fire. Her latest book is the highly acclaimed Doppelganger.