Political Spectrum of Conspiracy Theories

Guest: Sam (AltMedia Watch)

Welcome to 'Some Dare Call It Conspiracy,' where we shed light on the tangled weave of politics and covert narratives. In today's post, we're diving into the complex relationship between conspiracy theories and the political spectrum. Drawing insights from our latest podcast episode with Sam from Alt Mediawatch and the critical perspectives of our hosts, we aim to unravel the political threads that stitch together the fabric of conspiratorial thinking.


Conspiracy theories are not a recent phenomenon, but their recent resurgence and intertwining with politics warrant a closer examination. With the backdrop of global events such as the COVID pandemic and the rise of movements like QAnon, it is increasingly apparent that conspiracy theories have significant political implications. Whether you lean left, right, or find yourself somewhere in the middle, understanding the allure and impact of conspiracies on the political landscape is crucial for navigating our reality.


As we embark on this exploration, it is essential to acknowledge our own limitations. The complexity of politics and human behavior defies simplistic categorizations, so while we aren’t seasoned political analysts, we are dedicated to presenting information with nuance and consideration for the diverse experiences that shape our perspectives. Stay with us as we discuss the historical context of political alignments and how conspiracy theories have evolved within these paradigms.


The Origins of Political Wings: Left vs Right


Delving into the historical genesis of the left and right, it's important to understand that these terms originated during the French Revolution. Those who sat on the left side of the National Assembly were proponents for change, seeking to overthrow the established social order, while the right upheld traditional hierarchies and resisted the transformative tides of revolution. These fundamental differences have shaped their respective ideologies ever since, with the left valuing progress through equality and internationalism, and the right emphasizing tradition and nationalism.


Throughout history, this dichotomy has influenced how conspiracy theories are internalized and propagated within political discourse. The left has been accused of being commandeered by subversive groups such as the Freemasons or the Illuminati, with these accusations often originating from conservative, right-wing quarters. In contrast, the appetite for change within left-wing politics, alongside the desire for inclusivity and social reform, aligns with progressivism, which is often viewed skeptically by conservative traditionalists.


In the context of our contemporary landscape, understanding these origins is essential in discerning why certain conspiracy theories gain traction within specific political circles. Traditionalist ideas, resistance to purported global plots, and the rejection of progressive notions are key narratives often exploited by contemporary right-wing movements. Meanwhile, the left's stance on diversity and social equity often triggers fears of globalist agendas, leading to an inherent tension that conspiracy theories exploit to thrive.


Conspiracy Theories on Both Sides of the Aisle


Conspiracy theories are present across the political spectrum, yet the nature and targets of these theories often mirror the ideological leanings of their adherents. On the left, conspiracies traditionally challenge establishment power structures and corporate greed, as exemplified by skepticism towards pharmaceutical companies during the COVID lockdowns. The right, meanwhile, has gravitated towards theories that amplify fears of societal control and diminishing personal freedoms, such as the anti-vaccine misinformation movement that Sam from Alt Mediawatch observed evolving into anti-Semitic and far-right topics.


Our guest Neil Sanders, a specialist in the psychology of politics, offered an extensive list of conspiracy theories that have been particularly weaponized by the right to evoke anger and a sense of threat. He highlighted Brexit, QAnon, and climate change denial as examples where manipulative tactics like emotional appeal and simplistic rhetoric serve to rally individuals around a reactionary cause. It's crucial to note that these tactics do not aim to uplift or educate but rather to stir discontent and exploit the resulting anger for political gain.


This dichotomy is evident in the way conspiracy theories are often disguised as advocacy for individual rights but upon closer scrutiny, reveal an undercurrent of toxicity aimed at upholding ancient prejudices and fears. When we examine movements such as the anti-lockdown protests in the UK and the narratives they invoke, one can discern the fingerprints of far-right ideologies and agendas. These events are rarely isolated happenings; they are deliberate strategies designed to galvanize people against perceived threats and align them with reactionary political views.


The Psychology Behind Our Politics and Conspiracies


The psychology of conspiracy theories is as intricate as the narratives they convey. At the core of many conspiracies lies the dichotomy of portraying the 'enemy' as both overwhelmingly powerful and yet strangely weak. As Neil Sanders points out, this conflicting view is a hallmark of fascist thought, evoking both fear and a sense of duty to combat the purported threat. The conjured imagery of 'digital soldiers' and self-proclaimed 'alpha males' championing against these imagined adversaries offers a glimpse into the psychological appeal these theories hold for some individuals.


Furthermore, the allure of being part of a select group that 'knows the truth' can be intoxicating. Neil Sanders cites Jason Stanley's identification of fascism's key aspects: a mythic past, the use of propaganda to undermine truth, and an attack on the credibility of education and science. These aspects are not just historical footnotes; they are alive and well in today's political and media landscape, underscored by Sanders' examples of media outlets and political situations currently embracing such fascistic narratives.


The consequences of such psychological manipulation are profound. By promoting anger and fear, conspiracy theories not only create strong, polarizing emotional responses but also evoke dopamine hits that reinforce cognitive biases and echo chambers. This manipulation often leads to an unquestioning acceptance of far-right rhetoric and a dismissal of mainstream news, ultimately preventing meaningful dialogue and change. As we've seen with the organized anti-lockdown movements in the UK, which involved groups with far-right ties, the exploitation of anger and fear are strategic tools used to circumvent critical thinking and manipulate public opinion.


The Far-Right Connection: Movements and Media Manipulation


The intricate relationship between the far-right and conspiracy theories is one that carries significant implications for our political discourse. Neil Sanders discusses how contemporary movements and conspiracies are often tailor-made to target and capture right-wing audiences. By invoking themes of threat, victimization, and anger, these ideological marketing strategies resemble more of an emotional appeal rather than fact-based discourse. Examples such as the conspiracy theories surrounding the Clintons, Hunter Biden's laptop, and climate change denial are illustrative of a trend towards manipulating factual ambiguity for political leverage.


The media plays an essential role in the proliferation of these theories. As noted by our guest, media outlets connected to far-right think tanks and political organizations utilize fearmongering and anger to elicit strong, divisive reactions from their audience. Tactics like these contribute to the reinforcement of echo chambers, where opposing viewpoints are immediately dismissed and the status quo goes unchallenged. In this light, conspiracy theories act not just as misinformation but as instruments of ideological entrenchment.


The impacts of such a media strategy are far-reaching. By targeting the emotional rather than the rational, these theories tap into the primal parts of our psyche, creating a dopamine-driven cycle of anger and gratification that keeps individuals coming back for more. This cycle not only limits exposure to a wide range of viewpoints but also increases susceptibility to radicalization. Observing the alignment of movements like the anti-lockdown protests with far-right ideologies, we begin to see the political manipulation behind the narrative of fear and the deliberate use of conspiracy theories as tools for political influence.


From Left to Far-Right: An Unintentional Political Journey


One of the most intriguing discussions on our podcast centered around the seemingly unintentional migration of certain conspiracy theorists from left-leaning ideologies to far-right doctrines. Neil Sanders and Sam reflect on how individuals who once championed leftist values of equality and social justice can find themselves aligning with far-right ideologies that they previously would have opposed. This shift often occurs without the individual fully realizing the transformation, highlighting an irony that those who promote the credo of 'question everything' frequently fail to scrutinize their own shift in beliefs.


The co-option of conspiratorial skepticism, once a staple of the anti-establishment left, has been reshaped and repurposed by far-right groups to fit their narratives. Neil Sanders points out that the far-right practices selective skepticism, often dismissing evidence that contradicts their worldview while readily accepting unsupported theories that align with their ideologies. This cognitive dissonance is evident in the normalization of far-right rhetoric and behavior within online conspiracy groups, as individuals who feel disenfranchised turn to conspiracy theories as a means of explaining their situation and finding a sense of community.


The political journey from left to far-right is not just a personal evolution, but it's tangled within the broader socio-political fabric. The anti-lockdown movement in the UK, a phenomenon which many might associate with the cause of personal liberties, was notably organized by groups with far-right affiliations such as the Heritage foundation and the Church of Scientology. When we consider the widespread appeal of certain conspiracy theories and how they resonate with certain political movements, it becomes clear that this journey reflects a larger trend of political disillusionment, seeking solutions in simplicity and certainty.


The Lure of Populism: From Trump to Brexit


Populism is a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups. Our guest Neil Sanders shed light on how populism can serve as a vehicle for far-right ideologies, particularly when leaders like Donald Trump proclaim themselves as representatives of the 'common folk' against the supposed 'deep state.' The rise of populism has been a potent tool for conspiracy theorists, who capitalize on the reactionary sentiments of disenfranchised voters to promulgate simplistic solutions to complex problems.


The parallels between right-wing conspiracy theories and the marketing strategies of multinational corporations are striking. Just as brands like Starbucks and McDonald's have created an oversaturated market that somehow sustains demand despite product quality, far-right ideologies, according to Sanders, saturate the political marketplace with seductive narratives. They sell the idea of a traditional hierarchy, justified by natural law, appealing to an instinctual bias for the familiar and the established.


As conspiracy theories become interwoven with populist rhetoric, they form a more radical right agenda that embraces the inherent value of businesses, traditional authoritarian structures, and a strong opposition to communism. Brexit serves as a prime example where populist sentiment was harnessed to drive an anti-establishment movement, with far-reaching implications. Neil Sanders highlighted the role of organizations like Turning Point UK and their association with figures like Mark Collett and Tommy Robinson, indicating a trend where conspiracy theories are not just a matter of fringe beliefs, but tightly interlinked with the mechanics of mainstream political movements.


Conclusion: Seeking Truth in a Polarized World


In our journey through the political spectrum of conspiracy theories, we have witnessed how these often obscure and convoluted narratives hold much more than meets the eye. They are not merely reflections of individual beliefs, but rather instruments of political strategy, shaped and manipulated to craft a world that conforms to certain ideological frameworks. Whether it’s the manipulation of fear to uphold far-right ideologies or the co-option of skepticism for political gain, these theories contribute significantly to our polarized discourse.


Our collective examination with Sam from Alt Mediawatch, Neil Sanders, and the thoughts shared by our co-hosts brings us to a sobering reality: in a world where political ideologies are increasingly weaponized, it is imperative that we promote critical thinking and objective analysis. The act of seeking truth becomes more than just an intellectual exercise; it is a safeguard against the divisive and often destructive power of conspiracy theories.


We at 'Some Dare Call It Conspiracy' are committed to encouraging our listeners and readers to think critically and conduct their own research on conspiracy theories. This is necessary to navigate the formidable landscape of politics and truth in our current age. We thank you for joining us in this exploration and hope that our discussions inspire inquiry and a balanced perspective in the search for understanding. Remember to follow our Twitter account and support us on Patreon for further insights. Together, let us strive for a world where truth prevails in a discourse untainted by fear and manipulation.


Contact Sam AltMedia Watch

1. "Politics & Conspiracies"

Understanding political biases behind conspiracy theories offers insight into their origins and appeal across the political spectrum.


2. "Left-Wing Politics"

Left-wing values prioritize equality, social reform, and government intervention in economics for a more equitable society.


3. "Right-Wing Politics"

Focused on tradition, nationalism, and free-market economics, with less emphasis on government intervention in the private sector.


4. "Fascist Characteristics"

Fascism involves extreme nationalism, contempt for democracy, and the creation of a mythic past to unite and mobilize followers.


5. "Conspiracies Manipulate Emotions"

Right-wing think tanks utilize fear and anger in conspiracy theories to rally support against perceived enemies and solidify power.


6. "Evolving Ideological Allegiances"

Individuals may unknowingly shift from left-leaning views to embracing far-right conspiracies due to their seductive, manipulative narratives.


7. "Right-Wing Conspiracy Origins"

Investigating the funding and motivations of far-right conspiracy theories reveals their strategic use in political manipulation and control.


8. "Media's Far-Right Promotion"

Some media outlets deliberately endorse far-right ideologies, shaping public opinion through controversial figures and polarizing rhetoric.


9. "Conspiracy Theories' Addiction"

The alternative media capitalizes on emotional engagement and echo chambers, reinforcing addictive, antagonistic viewer relationships with content.


10. "Progressivism and Backlash"

Highlighting the tension between progressive social policies and conservative backlash, underscoring the cyclical nature of political dynamics.




Conspiracy theories, political spectrum, anti-vaccine misinformation, far-right ideologies, left-wing politics, French Revolution, Freemason Illuminati, fascism, Jason Stanley, Umberto Eco, QAnon, anti-lockdown movement, Heritage Foundation, Church of Scientology, COVID denial, alternative media, echo chambers, progressivism, Tony Blair, right-wing politics, populism, Turning Point UK, Koch Industries, Cambridge Analytica, anti-Semitism, conspiracy theory debunking, socialism, Marxism, capitalism, libertarianism.



00:00 Overview of left-wing political movements and theories.

06:53 Right-wing conspiracy theory spurred by control loss.

13:25 Discussion on political ideologies and shifting principles.

16:06 Left favors higher taxes for social programs.

24:11 Liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, and communism differences explained.

31:05 Anti-capitalist ideas don't align with Marxism.

35:07 Healthcare and education quality dependent on payment.

42:03 Popularism appeals to masses through existential threats.

46:25 Libertarianism favors limited government, individual responsibility, success.

51:56 Exaggerating consequences and linking to far right.

54:44 Fascists create mythic past, attack truth, divide.

01:03:11 Questioning familiar concepts, enemy of varying strength.

01:07:02 False news about Napoleon enriches a shrewd investor.

01:10:23 Persecuting Jews was easier due to lack of homeland.

01:18:12 Rising far-right movement highlighted with Cambridge Analytica.

01:25:03 Fox News promoted far-right ideologies using anger.

01:30:41 Social media echo chambers manipulate through emotion.

01:35:31 The rise of far-right movements is worrying.