This is the most balanced and well-reasoned investigation available into why people believe today's highly divisive conspiracy theories, from COVID and QAnon to 5G scares, fake news and more.
Through their part in some huge controversies, conspiracy theorists are being branded the Number One Enemies of our times - the new heretics. They are seen to threaten the very fabric of modern society, spreading doubts and fears that result in Washington Capitol invasions, transmission mast burnings or the spread of anti-vaxx material. Yet the theorists prefer to call themselves "truth seekers" and see the mainstream establishment as the real disruptor, treating its increasingly harsh censorship as direct validation of their views.
In truth, the new heretics, whose numbers are swelling, are symptoms of a wider polarization splitting apart much of the world in ideological divisions. Many have lost trust in politicians and the media, while nuanced debate is crushed and information overload and manipulation breeds uncertainty, civil unrest and mental health issues. How does the age old strategy of divide-and-rule play out in such an environment? Using his extensive experience of negotiating disputes between cynics and truth seekers, Andy Thomas explores the proliferation of conspiracy thinking, peeling back unhelpful layers of biased thinking on all sides to find more insightful ways to bridge the polarised divides and create a better way forward.