The Freudian roots of Conspiracism

Money quote from an article at Slate. I think when you combine this with cognitive dissonance reduction, you begin to get at the roots of conspiracism.

Conspiracy theories arise not only when they “fit” with certain mixes of personality traits but also when they fill psychological and ideological needs. Freud long ago distinguished between “errors” on the one hand and “illusions” and “delusions” on the other…..Illusions and delusions are based on conscious or unconscious wishes….Although Freud is out of favor with many contemporary psychologists, modern cognitive psychology suggests that Freud was on the right track here. The tenacity of many conspiracy theories in the face of facts suggests that these beliefs are not merely alternate interpretations of facts but are rooted in conscious or unconscious wishes, in what cognitive psychologists call “motivated reasoning.”

Conspiracy theorists are people who have a deep-seated need to have the world explained to them in moral terms, and who wish for an authority figure to enforce its categories–a cult leader, a Pope, a king, a populist leader who epitomizes all of the national virtues. To allay the cognitive dissonance that this causes (we are a Democratic, Protestant nation, after all), they project those forbidden wishes onto their enemies: the Jesuits, the Illuminati, the Jews, international Communism, the Deep State, Islam.

The New World Order that they fear is a funhouse reflection of the New World Order that they secretly wish for–the dictator who will free them from tyranny.

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