It’s been clear to me for years that conspiracy theories are addictive. I don’t mean this figuratively. In the case of conspiracy theories it has to do, I think, with hormones released in the brain, under the influence of powerful fantasies about the real world–probably similar to what was felt by followers of Hitler. Thrilling, stimulating hormones arising entering stimulating psychological frameworks: frameworks of titillating falsehoods. To me, Qanon is to the usual addiction to conspiracies as crack is to cocaine. It’s a more powerful blast, a more efficient delivery system than standard cocaine use. It’s even more addictive.
A very famous chess player was a believer in anti-Semitic conspiracies. How could this happen to so intelligent a man? I’ve noticed that people prone to bigotry and conspiracy theories, regardless of their IQ, will eagerly set their reasoning faculties aside, as well as a common sense grasp of what is wildly improbable, in order to get their “hit”, their reward for believing. And they get another hit for defending their belief no matter what evidence you offer to the contrary. A corollary is found in heroin addicts; they are surrounded by evidence that the drug is destroying their lives. They are able to fence it off, to fend it off, to argue that they have it all under control–and yet they’re often quite innately intelligent people. People will cherry-pick facts, they will ignore the evidence, to justify their pleasures. And make no mistake, the illusion of being the keeper of secrets, the excoriation of some scapegoat–Big Government, “Antifa”, liberals–is deeply satisfying. It doesn’t matter who their scapegoat is. All that matters is how their ritualistic verbal sacrifice of it makes them feel. Like powerful little gods.