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We’ve all been there – at the dinner table surrounded by family, for what’s supposed to be a special holiday meal. But inevitably, Uncle Ken or Aunt Karen brings up politics or current affairs, and by the time the pie is served, they’re deep into shouting about their conspiracy theories and extreme ideologies. In some families, dinner’s simply over at that point. But in even less fortunate families, topics such as Qanon, “The Plan-demic”, the Insurrection at the Capitol, election fraud, immigration, and anti-vaccination have led to significant pain and much deeper divides.
While it’s of course easy to blame the conspiracy theorists themselves, it’s more important to understand what conspiracy theories are fueled by – fear, anxiety, mistrust, uncertainty and feelings of powerlessness. These feelings have, unfortunately, been harnessed by social media platforms and the news media to drive profits – all while furthering Ken or Karen’s extremist views.
Luckily, and not a minute too late, Red Pill Rehab provides a powerful, non-political explanation of how technology and media have been crafted in ways that specifically exploit psychology and radicalize conspiracy theorists’ ideas.
But most importantly, the book provides an incredible collection of tools to help you debate conspiracy theories and deprogram your loved ones. Its “Deradicalization Checklist” also includes ways in which to make changes to your search, browser, and social media settings so they’re protected from the types of echo chambers and predictive algorithms that result in the further adoption of conspiracy theories.
Ultimately, deprogramming a conspiracy theorist family member is an incredibly difficult task. But with Red Pill Rehab’s help to understand where they come from and how to revert their views, fewer families will feel that pain and deep divide – and family meals will be conspiracy-less once more.