Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis?
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Something that is never studied is how youth feel pushed out of rural communities to urban areas because of their social/ political beliefs.
I returned to my rural hometown twice. The first time, I came home for the summer to work at my families' dairy and study for the LSAT. As a youth, I had never noticed how rigid and uptight the older generations of both my family and community were.
After law school, I returned home ready to hang a shingle in my small West Texas town of 35,000. Everywhere I went I heard people using the "n" word and it made me bristle.
I went with my family to church the first Sunday I was back and the preacher was preaching about Satan infiltrating our government through Muslims and how we needed to be prepared for "the last days." I went back a second time and the preacher "had received some disturbing news on Facebook" about how the gay agenda was being pushed on our children through the "lies of science and evolution" at school. I do not remember these sort of messages just a few years ago--it seems that the preacher is channeling Fox News from the pulpit.
But it is not that I despise my former town and friends for their political beliefs. I understand that rural America leans more conservative than urban America--and I am not a person who is uncomfortable being around others with different beliefs. But when I see old friends/ family and they ask me if I "caught the gay" in college because I drive a Prius; or they begin talking about how "Obammy" tried to destroy the country and thank God "Trump is going to make them evil libtards pay" it makes it uncomfortable.
I think what makes many of us run in terror from our rural roots--is seeing how our friends that did not go to college, and stayed around our hometown, have morphed into younger versions of their parents and are carrying concealed handguns "in case the end times come" and many are stockpilling goods and joining prepper and nationalist movements.
Many of these young people thoroughly believe that a war is comming and that it will be between them (they view themselves as true patriots) and urban people who they view as being a danger to America because of their more liberal beliefs.
This fear of "snowflake liberals" or "cuks" has caused these young people to view simple things like recycling, eating vegetarian, or driving an environmentally friendly car as being an act of evil. To many of my childhood friends a person who is gay, a socialist, or a "hippie liberal snowflake" is a person that is trying to destroy the rural way of life.
These younger rural people who never left their small towns often view their former friends who left to go to college as being traitors or "un-American." Much in the same way that a person from an inner city area might be accused of acting "uppity" and "forgetting about the hood"-- the person who went off to college in "the city" is often viewed suspiciously.
I decided to permanently leave my hometown after going to a pancake breakfast and my high school basketball coach came up and said that it was probably a good idea if I took my pancakes to go because there were some families who did not feel comfortable with me being there. It turns out that at "prayer group" there had been some concern about whether I supported the "liberal agenda." When I asked why people thought that or were concerned my former coach said: "well people have been seeing you galavanting around in a Prius" and the cashier at the grocery store said that I had been spotted buying organic produce and I brought my own cloth bags which were probably made out of marijuana.
I packed all of my stuff up and left two days later. I told all of my family and friends that I just didnt think I could afford to stay there and they all said how sorry they felt for me having high student loans "because I fell for the governments lie."
I just nodded, hugged them, and drove away.
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