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Conspiracy Theories: A Guide to the World's Most Intriguing Mysteries

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When you believe in a conspiracy theory, you’re not just accepting a new idea, you’re joining a community of like-minded people who share your beliefs. Foolproof explains the origins and mechanisms of misinformation in a clear manner and provides concrete strategies to overcome it. The project is a reading of conspiracy theory as an index of a certain strain of late 20th-century American despondency and malaise, especially as understood by people experiencing downward social mobility. Fenster's careful examination of conspiratorial beliefs as evidence by right-wing groups, by various media, and even by those who devise such theories as a form of ludic or satiric endeavor (like Robert Anton Wilson) is revealing. The idea that the elites may actually believe the conspiracy theories they propagate is too often overlooked.

With his trademark flair, brilliance, and hawk-eyed clarity, Michael Shermer helps us make sense of a world run amok. When Barkun was writing around the turn of the millennium, apocalyptic fervor had gripped both the extremist fringe and the mainstream population; Barkun saw how this yearning for some kind of End Times was sliding into conspiracy theory and paranoia and offered a roadmap for understanding our current paranoid moment. Their 'paranoid style,' according to Fenster, is just old-school populism refitted for the media age.In this volume, six penetrating essays explore the dynamics of the law and illiberal quests for power, examining the anti-liberalism of neoliberalism; the weaponization of “free speech”; the role of the administrative state in current crises of liberal democracy; the broad and unstoppable assault on facts, truth, and reality; and the rise of conspiracism leading up to the Capitol insurrection. With seeming coincidences piling up around significant events, its no wonder so many theories have emerged over the years.

The authors were associate editors at Playboy and claimed to have been inspired by the letters they received from readers, filled with bizarre plots and paranoid rants. The crisis threatens the integrity of our democracies, our ability to cultivate trusting relationships, even our physical and psychological well-being-yet most attempts to combat it have proven insufficient.Hachette Australia acknowledges and pays our respects to the past, present and future Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Library Journal Best-selling author Michael Shermer presents an overarching theory of conspiracy theories—who believes them and why, which ones are real, and what we should do about them.The essays examine conspiracy theories as historical phenomena, psychological quirks, expressions of power relations and as political instruments. As the world tumbles down into a pandemic shaped rabbit-hole Ascher is wracked with guilt that her aunt was buried without the Jewish burial rights of purification. Though we may think conspiracy theories appeal only to the naïve or uneducated, Shermer dispels that myth, showing how pervasive they really are.

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