Poll: Eleven Percent Of Americans Believe Florescent Bulbs Are A Conspiracy To Control Their Minds And Other Scary Stuff

220px-Poster_for_The_Conspiracy_(2012_Film)Every once in a while, we will get a poll that is truly unnerving like the percentage of Americans who entirely reject evolution or think that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. However, a University of Chicago study on conspiracy theories is enough for you to put on your tinfoil hat and look yourself in your underground shelter. Eric Oliver and Thomas Wood at the University of Chicago found that half of the country holds these conspiracy theories and some are just plain wacky.

Conspiracy theories are defined in the study as one that exists regardless of countervailing evidence and the person often converts such evidence into ways of supporting the theory. The authors state:

Although conspiracy theories have long been a staple of American political culture, no research has systematically examined the nature of their support in the mass public. Using four nationally representative surveys, sampled between 2006 and 2011, we find that half of the American public consistently endorses at least one conspiracy theory and that many popular conspiracy theories are differentiated along ideological and anomic dimensions. In contrast with many theoretical speculations, we do not find conspiracism to be a product of greater authoritarianism, ignorance, or political conservatism. Rather, the likelihood of supporting conspiracy theories is strongly predicted by a willingness to believe in other unseen, intentional forces and an attraction to Manichean narratives. These findings both demonstrate the widespread allure of conspiracy theories as political explanations and offer new perspectives on the forces that shape mass opinion and American political culture.

Some theories are not surprising like 19 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks. However, it is surprising to see one in four people believing that the financial crisis was caused by the small cabal of Wall Street bankers. Then there are those 11 percent of people who believe the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs is part of a government conspiracy to make people obedient and easy to control.

It find this all very disappointing and frustrating. Everyone knows that the Green Bay Packers caused the financial crisis and that connection between the Chicago Bears being kept out of the playoffs and the introduction of the bulbs is no coincidence. I mean, geez.

Source: NPR

63 thoughts on “Poll: Eleven Percent Of Americans Believe Florescent Bulbs Are A Conspiracy To Control Their Minds And Other Scary Stuff”

  1. We had better come to grips with the statistically proven fact that about 1/5 of our population is certifiably nuts.

  2. Thanks Dissenter (Kevin)! It’s unfortunate there are still so many who rather believe the numbing lamestream garbage poured into the gen pop’s brains than to exercise their brain cells and do their own research. While I don’t wear a tin foil hat Folks, our govt and others are a lot busier than one might think. Thanks yo corporate media, we aren’t having the right conversations.

  3. Karen S wrote: “I oppose this push for CFLs because they contain mercury”

    The law was probably passed by people thinking everyone will spend hours trying to find a proper disposal location. Most towns in my metro area offer no disposal service and many, if not all, garbage companies will not accept them (of course, most people will just hide them in their trash). I know people who cannot be bothered to recycle aluminum cans, even though they have actual value.

    “Maybe the government should stop social engineering and let the market work.”

    The market gave us Love Canal, the 1948 Donora killer smog, the Cuyahoga River on fire, and meatpacking plants as described in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” If the law had been crafted to add a deposit, people would be motivated to return them to a disposal center (and the law needed to motivate states to create those disposal centers).

  4. Over one-quarter of all federal criminal prosecutions and a large number of state cases involve prosecutions for conspiracy.” – Conspiracy Theory, 112 Yale L.J. 1307 (2003), Preface.

    It goes without saying that “conspiracy theory” is the theory of the case in those instances.

  5. I wonder how the survey questions were worded – CFLs control you, or mandating the switch is government overreach and intrusion?

    I oppose this push for CFLs because they contain mercury. According to the EPA, there are dire warnings against vacuuming or sweeping up a broken bulb (which is what the majority of people would do) or throwing it in the trash. There are hazmat instructions for if you break a lightbulb. Disposal requires going to a pickup site and paying or trying to find a free day, or paying $100 for a vacuum sealed box to collect the bulbs and mail in (according to Waste Management.) People are just NOT going to go to all the trouble, or even be educated about the mercury.

    We have contaminated the world with so much mercury that we have polluted the ocean to the point that predator fish must not be consumed by pregnant women or children very often, if at all. And so what do we do? We push to make people switch to CFLs, which will INCREASE mercury contamination in the environment and exposure in people.

    This is exactly why I sometimes feel we are in the Beta test stage of green energy. Yes, CFLs save energy, but then you get the mercury contamination.

    Maybe the government should stop social engineering and let the market work. Organic food is so popular now, all without the government’s “help” making us buy it.

  6. “surprising to see one in four people believing that the financial crisis was caused by the small cabal of Wall Street bankers”

    To paraphrase Bill Clinton, that all depends on what the definition of “small” is.

    Time Magazine’s famous list of “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis” only contains two persons (okay, a group and Wen Jiabao) who were neither employed on Wall Street nor a politician assisting in the greatest transfer of assets the world has ever seen. The vast majority of the list members are Wall Streeters and sycophants thereof, past and present. I dare say that the Top-1000 list would be no different.

    And Thing from the Addams Family never said anything. Ever.

  7. If it isn’t the florescent light bulbs controlling my mind, what is controlling it? Does this mean that I’m controlling my own mind all on my own without the government’s help? Oh my, how I hate going it alone.

  8. Randyjet-

    I filed an amicus brief in a case where Posner was on the panel. My impression of him from that experience and other observations is that he is a) very smart, b) intellectually dishonest when he wants to reach a certain result, and c) is unable or unwilling to understand what life is like when you are just an ordinary Joe or Jane

  9. S.D.Jeffries

    Excellent point. While I am not a “believer” who wears a tinfoil hat; I must propose that refusal to consider and take seriously what they call Conspiracy Theory is just a way for people to shrug off things they would rather not face.

    Nobody wants to believe that they are living in a world completely controlled by the 1% or that there is such a thing as the NWO, but the first is true; we know it; yet it is still treated as a Conspiracy Theory by those who support; defend; and work to assure the success of the 1%.

    The second; while yet unproven is still a direct logical consequence of the first.

    My point is; if you totally discount a Conspiracy Theory simply because you feel intellectually superior; you are a fool and are not examining the world with an open mind.
    You are also living in a state of fantasy where your ability to determine truth is greater than mine for some reason of “Evolutionary Inheritance” I suppose.

    Failure to take Conspiracy theories seriously until they are disproven is simply avoiding the possibility of unpleasant truths. If we don’t consider them; they don’t exist but in truth all that attitude does is cause us to be less than alert to any real Conspiracies living amongst the theories.

    So Pooh-pooh all you want and please be sure to maintain your Elitist Superiority.
    There is nothing I like as much as being called a Looney just because I refuse to discount ideas without proof of their invalidity.

    I am not proposing that you buy into any particular theory; just that you should perhaps not dismiss any particular theory; and denigrate it’s proponents lest you be shown a fool at a future point when you are forced to say,
    “Damn; there really are micro-chips in my “Lucky Charms”.

    As I have pointed out before and as S.D.Jeffries has shown above; Conspiracy theorist is the name we give to those who propose unproven plots and schemes.
    When those plots and schemes turn out to be true; we call them Prophets, or intellectual giants; able to predict the future.

  10. And then there’s the conspiracy theories surrounding Pfc Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.

    McCaffrey, the general, said that he was “99.999 percent” certain that the missing private sought out the Taliban, perhaps in an altered state of mind or with an altruistic thought toward helping Afghan children.

    “It’s a frantic search all day,” said retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an NBC News military analyst. “Everything stopped, basically, and they focused on this mission. They yanked every asset that was someplace else and brought it in.”

    “It would have rung every bell,” he said. “I’ll bet you within three hours the (Defense Secretary) knew all about it and so did the White House war room.”

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