Covid might help kill off conspiracy theory. Last spring, in some places lots of people got infected and other places hardly any; after the first wave serology surveys indicated less than 6% had been infected at all. People who hadn’t encountered it could believe it was all a hoax, just something on TV and in the “news”.
The “news” is constantly full of “other people’s disasters”; I think people become inured to it. Additionally the scale of reproduction ranges from small to tiny; we are presented with other people and their suffering literally in miniature, often as little as 1/100th or even 1/10,000th scale; is it so surprising that many viewers often trivialise other people’s suffering?
But covid is touching more and more people’s lives now, and a greater and greater majority are telling the denialists to STFU; they’re understandably angry. Node sees this as conformity enforced by threat, but he lives way out in an area of low population density, mostly untouched by covid. So far.
Conspiracy theory might be telling us something about how people relate to news. We use the same media to obtain fiction and non-fiction; there’s massive overlap in the production of each, and even some deliberate cheating. And mostly, “news” shows us something happening far, far away (just like the intro to a fairy tale). But covid will bring it to a friend or relative near you (as they say in the adverts).
Sorry to say, but humanity needs the lessons covid is bringing us.