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A case study in current events changing people from normal, empathetic people into Qanon cult members in just 90 days.

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
53,464
5,766
126
This woman's Facebook profile is a perfect example of how a person's mind can be taken over by conspiracy theories and fear.

I had read an article detailing how the combination of the pandemic lockdown, and then Floyd protests set off a perfect storm for vulnerable people to be sucked into cults of fear, which is why the QAnonsense thing took off like fire since May.

This woman is a perfect example of just that and her profile is very, very instructive.

If you go back to February, she's a normal, midwestern American moderate religious conservative. Free from posting about conspiracy theories.

In March she's fully sane about the COVID-19 advice from doctors.

April is the same. Still not posting conspiracies and warning people about being reckless with COVID-19.

But May brings out her inner racist, reluctantly at first, which starts her descent down the rabbit hole. She starts freaking out about protests in her town of Fort Wayne, Indiana. At first she is calling for the cops who killed Floyd to be arrested... but from the end of May on, she goes deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of racism, conspiracies and fear mongering and switches from calling for the arrest of the cops, to claiming Floyd wasn't even dead and it was all a false flag.

By June she's calling for Fauci, Gates and others to be executed, calling BLM a communist plot and spreading vaccine conspiracies.

By July her racism intensifies. and by the end of July, she falls headlong into the Q cult with the month of August being full potato on Q.

It's actually sad to go back and watch. It's like watching someone descend into madness.

And here is the heart breaker: She was already fragile having lost a daughter to the opioid epidemic.

 
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sportage

Diamond Member
Feb 1, 2008
8,882
1,161
126
OMG... OH, MY, GOD... THIS explains exactly my Trumpie sister and her extended Trumpie family. I’ve been trying and trying to figure out what in gods name had happened to those once seemingly normal people like my sister, and so many others. Education people. Upper middle class people. THIS EXPLAINS IT. My Trumpie family was far more “MENTALLY UNSTABLE” than I had imagined. Before the pandemic and before Donald Trump, they were already heading into a total mental breakdown, and they could have sought out professional help. But then, the unexpected happened, Donald Trump came along. Without even realizing it, my Trumpie family and millions of others like them could relate to Donald Trump. The mental dysfunction of Donald Trump appealed to them. They connected. They realized that Donald Trump was one of them having the same mental illness. THAT’S IT. THAT’S IT. And now I know, we all know how this insanity could happen in America and could happen to America. These are sick peoples. Mentally sick peoples that have found a home together, that have found a home in Donald Trump. These people have been consumed with the cult of Donald Trump, rather than seeking the professional help they need so desperately. OMG... THAT’S IT.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
29,492
2,996
126
People are stupid. Social media gave stupid wings.
OMG... OH, MY, GOD... THIS explains exactly my Trumpie sister and her extended Trumpie family. I’ve been trying and trying to figure out what in gods name had happened to those once seemingly normal people like my sister, and so many others.
My local Trumpanzes are on equal footing as the example in the OP, and yours.

It is social media allowing infections of the mind to spread like wildfire. Or like COVID. Used to be there were filters in place with the media we consumed. They are diseases of the mind, and a terribly large segment of our population is vulnerable to infection. People who are in a state of mind of strictly preferring feelings over reason. Granted, that is simply the human condition. It is who we are as a species. But some people are a lot more vulnerable than others. That's just how we operate at a basic level. Facts are meaningless, feelings are everything. Thus a creature like Trump is President. And the people who elected him are still being hit with new and worsening viral strains of thought.

It is also why, I believe, folks are arguing so passionately that you have no right to defend yourself if you cross state lines. Nothing logical about it, but it feels bad when people you identify with get shot. Almost as if they died for no reason, despite all evidence to the contrary. I look forward to the evidence and the process of a trial helping demonstrate whether Liberals are any less insane than Conservatives at a basic level. Time will tell with that one... If our nation has any time remaining.

But back to the point. This is humanity. Social media is allowing you to see it for what it is. It is also allowing dangerous thoughts to spread rapidly. Maybe there are better nations and societies out there without our preexisting conditions. I hope there are, because America is certainly going to be lost to this.
 
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Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
7,873
4,874
136
Not to oversimplify things, but it's a classic example of "if you stand for nothing, you'll fall for everything."

A lot of people don't really apply critical thinking and skepticism as a matter of course in their lives. They're easy to sway one way or another because there's no intellectual grounding, no checks to see if things pass sniff tests. And conspiracy theories feed on this weakness -- they create a belief system that tells you to avoid questioning things.

Sadly, it'll probably take some sea-change event for her to wake up, like another QAnon claim not coming to pass or losing connections with her family. And even that last one I'm not so sure about.
 

tweaker2

Lifer
Aug 5, 2000
11,505
2,714
136
Far easier to fall for the horror stories that pique one's inner desire to look for the worst in people than to pursue the legwork it takes to search for the truth and the facts of why things are the way they are.

It begins with planting the seeds of suspicion and mistrust followed by suggestions of why fear and hate should be the answer to justifying that fear and hate and then providing the solution for quelling that fear and hate in a package that not only sustains itself, it spirals out of control taking on a life all its own.

This is what the Repub Party has done in order to remain relevant to its constituency. On the one hand they lie to their rank and file party members to keep them in a state of near panic, providing them with every conceivable tale of monsters and demons coming after them when they go to sleep at night in the dark, exploiting their base instincts for survival.

On the other, the party's only wish is to keep their working class demographic ignorant of the world around them so as to keep them from paying heed to their own best interests supplanting that with the party leadership's best interests. That being whatever it is those few very wealthy power brokers desires are of whom do not answer to the will of the citizenship at large.

Those few "chosen ones" are the real and actual dictators the nation is controlled by.

edit - added content
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,503
3,260
126
Guess what. Everybody you know hates themselves, doesn't know it, doesn't want to know it, and doesn't want to know they don't want to know. We all survive in the world via a more or less tenuous breathing tube, a connection to the inborn innate joy we once experiences being alive. Some of us have been trained intellectually, critically, morally, self reflectively to demand proof of fact rather than rationalizing emotions according to our base emotions and instincts. So the greater the feelings of threat and danger that we become aware of in the world, conditions which have always been true but amplified by media awareness, the more cult like or conservative we become. Psychopaths and narcissistic egotists with reasonable IQ easily pick up on this as a method to gain wealth and personal power. Wolves thrive best where there are lots of sheep. By the way, you can be sure that the bias against training a nation of critical thinkers is an anathema to a capitalist system where everything is sold by creating some sense of greedy envious personal need. Industry knows you feel like a piece of shit so they sell you things they promise will fill the hole in our souls where real self love should be. The economy is served by a vast army of sleep walking dreamers and the morally bankrupt who will take them for everything they have. Have a bleach cocktail, two aspirins and call me in the morning.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
29,492
2,996
126
People are people. Most are susceptible to such extremism if conditions are right. See: Stanford Prison Experiment.
Unfortunately one of those conditions is easy access to unfiltered "information". Example... Alex Jones.
AKA, most of planet earth today.

China might be ahead of the curve on what it takes for nations to survive the current storm of human turmoil.
 

interchange

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
7,287
2,000
136
Unfortunately one of those conditions is easy access to unfiltered "information". Example... Alex Jones.
AKA, most of planet earth today.

China might be ahead of the curve on what it takes for nations to survive the current storm of human turmoil.
I think we have learned that, under the right social conditions, information need not be accurate nor moral to operate.

The part that I think almost everyone is missing is that:
1. exposing the inaccuracy and immorality of the information is of very little value
2. changing the social conditions will change the operability of the information regardless of any efforts to expose its inaccuracy and immorality
 
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pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
6,946
2,256
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I think we have learned that, under the right social conditions, information need not be accurate nor moral to operate.

The part that I think almost everyone is missing is that:
1. exposing the inaccuracy and immorality of the information is of very little value
2. changing the social conditions will change the operability of the information regardless of any efforts to expose its inaccuracy and immorality
I'm inclined to agree with this. Rational argument is of very limited use, what matters is changing the material conditions and changing people's experiences and the incentives and costs they are subject to.

However, I also think I'm predisposed to think like that due to having been raised by true-believing far-leftists, for whom "being determines consciousness" was a central principle (or tenet of faith).

I think philosophical materialism is the only part of their beliefs that I seem to have retained and which seems to affect how I think about almost everything (e.g. it's proably why I instinctively favour Dutch-style infrastructure over 'improved education for road users' as a way to make cycling safer...in fact it's probably why I think 'education' is in general overrated as a solution for problems).

But I find myself wondering if there is something contradictory in that or not.

I get very confused when I try to apply that reasoning to itself. Do I think objective conditions of life are primary because of my objective circumstances or because of the influence of the ideas I grew up with? If it's the latter is that not self-contradictory?
 

nickqt

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2015
6,023
4,089
136
Social media isn't to blame for right-wing authoritarianism. All it does is allow right-wing authoritarians to find other right-wing authoritarians and further refine their own in-group beliefs.

We going to go back and find how Facebook and Linkedin allowed the Nazi party to create anti-semites out of good conservative Germans in the 1930s?
 

cytg111

Lifer
Mar 17, 2008
14,355
4,627
136
OpenAI and GPT-3 to the rescue.
I’ve “seen” it in action, given a set of parameters as free guidelines it will create free form stories with context sub context narrative and a motive... some of it fact some of it fiction, it does a better job at misinformation than current human made efforts.
And thats a good thing.
When this thing goes live current disinformation is gonna DROWN in misinformation. People will be FORCED to source and fact check.
It was a moment of relief for me. This is hope.
 

alexruiz

Platinum Member
Sep 21, 2001
2,745
386
126
The "flat earth" Q cult is getting really dangerous!
The democratic campaign needs to attack it full force, because a lot of people are getting sucked into that BS of "the real pandemic is the missing children"

So, how do we attack the cult?
By pointing out, with links to the official documents, that the one who has formally faced lawsuits the most for sexual misconduct is trump. Yeah, the one they are praising as trying to "save the children"

On the other hand, many of these people don't give a sh*t about the children. All they needed was an excuse to justify their support for the cheeto.
Many will go on denial and claim that "trump kicked out epstein out of mar-a-lago..."
 

ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
30,936
9,718
146
Social media isn't to blame for right-wing authoritarianism. All it does is allow right-wing authoritarians to find other right-wing authoritarians and further refine their own in-group beliefs.

We going to go back and find how Facebook and Linkedin allowed the Nazi party to create anti-semites out of good conservative Germans in the 1930s?
Yup, just a different method of spreading propaganda. I would say it makes it easier to spread it faster, yet the printing press was around back then
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
28,051
2,549
126
Not to oversimplify things, but it's a classic example of "if you stand for nothing, you'll fall for everything."

A lot of people don't really apply critical thinking and skepticism as a matter of course in their lives. They're easy to sway one way or another because there's no intellectual grounding, no checks to see if things pass sniff tests. And conspiracy theories feed on this weakness -- they create a belief system that tells you to avoid questioning things.

Sadly, it'll probably take some sea-change event for her to wake up, like another QAnon claim not coming to pass or losing connections with her family. And even that last one I'm not so sure about.
Pretty good analysis there. The way I heard that many years ago:

"If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything."

Critical thinking isn't something you find a lot. Some people have it, it's not exactly rare, but it's not really common in a lot of circles. In some circles it's practically nonexistent as we've been witnessing. Now, Facebook, I don't mess with that much. Very little. I mean, if you follow me, you're going nowhere on Facebook or Twitter. Probably the best way to find out who I am is to check me out right here on these forums. And I'm not the least bit nervous about that.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
28,051
2,549
126
Far easier to fall for the horror stories that pique one's inner desire to look for the worst in people than to pursue the legwork it takes to search for the truth and the facts of why things are the way they are.
"Look for the good in others and they will look for the good in you." - Song by The Chills (New Zealand band)

 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
28,051
2,549
126
Guess what. Everybody you know hates themselves, doesn't know it, doesn't want to know it, and doesn't want to know they don't want to know. We all survive in the world via a more or less tenuous breathing tube, a connection to the inborn innate joy we once experiences being alive. Some of us have been trained intellectually, critically, morally, self reflectively to demand proof of fact rather than rationalizing emotions according to our base emotions and instincts. So the greater the feelings of threat and danger that we become aware of in the world, conditions which have always been true but amplified by media awareness, the more cult like or conservative we become. Psychopaths and narcissistic egotists with reasonable IQ easily pick up on this as a method to gain wealth and personal power. Wolves thrive best where there are lots of sheep. By the way, you can be sure that the bias against training a nation of critical thinkers is an anathema to a capitalist system where everything is sold by creating some sense of greedy envious personal need. Industry knows you feel like a piece of shit so they sell you things they promise will fill the hole in our souls where real self love should be. The economy is served by a vast army of sleep walking dreamers and the morally bankrupt who will take them for everything they have. Have a bleach cocktail, two aspirins and call me in the morning.
If I hated myself I'd be dead. I do some dangerous things, such as roller skating on dangerous streets. One false step, one moment's failure to pay close attention to my well being can have disastrous results. Johnny Cash walked the line, I skate a not straight line, and thrive doing so.
 
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JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,273
2,971
126
If I hated myself I'd be dead. I do some dangerous things, such as roller skating on dangerous streets. One false step, one moment's failure to pay close attention to my well being can have disastrous results. Johnny Cash walked the line, I skate it.
for some reason I already knew that.......;)
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,503
3,260
126
If I hated myself I'd be dead. I do some dangerous things, such as roller skating on dangerous streets. One false step, one moment's failure to pay close attention to my well being can have disastrous results. Johnny Cash walked the line, I skate a not straight line, and thrive doing so.
Why do you think you risk death to feel alive. For me it was racing my Triumph Bonneville through the winding hill roads in the fog above Berkeley, burning the pegs, in the middle of the night. Back then I would have never believed I hated myself.
 

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,485
3,814
136
We're watching modern warfare unfold before our eyes. It's not being fought with 90 million dollar planes but with ultra cheap facebook bots and Russian paid trolls. The purposeful spread of misinformation and propaganda is the war for minds, in the service of advancing agenda.
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,273
2,971
126
We're watching modern warfare unfold before our eyes. It's not being fought with 90 million dollar planes but with ultra cheap facebook bots and Russian paid trolls. The purposeful spread of misinformation and propaganda is the war for minds, in the service of advancing agenda.
OH THE IRONY.......HAHAHAHAAA
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
28,051
2,549
126
Why do you think you risk death to feel alive. For me it was racing my Triumph Bonneville through the winding hill roads in the fog above Berkeley, burning the pegs, in the middle of the night. Back then I would have never believed I hated myself.
I'm not skating as a thrill seeker. It's not some manifestation of neurosis. It's joyous activity.

Many years ago I did the same racing for me with my Triumph TR4A on probably the same winding roads above Berkeley! I was lucky to not get killed, or at least have some accident. I gave it up when the justice system forced me to watch video of what happens to people who don't drive responsibly after I had a few speeding tickets in L.A. I became an exceptionally safe driver! I may have some self hate, I am sure that almost everybody does at one time or another, although hopefully not deep and problematic, just some temporary issue they're working through. Mostly I really like myself. I have my issues, for sure, though. Of course, I'm working on them.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
28,051
2,549
126
Why do you think you risk death to feel alive. For me it was racing my Triumph Bonneville through the winding hill roads in the fog above Berkeley, burning the pegs, in the middle of the night. Back then I would have never believed I hated myself.
Self hate happens, I don't think it's as ubiquitous as you do.
 

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