Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Red Pill, Blue Pill: How to Counteract the Conspiracy Theories That Are Killing Us [Bookshop, Amazon, Publisher] by David A Neiwert
Author Neiwert is an investigative reporter who has been working the beat of the rightward fringe of American politics for decades. This book published in 2020 saw all too clearly the “conspiracist” contribution to what eventuated in the Capitol violence of January 2021–not that there’s any reason to think that episode exhausted the impulse.
The subtitle is “How to Counteract the Conspiracy Theories That Are Killing Us,” but most of the book is in fact dedicated to establishing that “Conspiracy Theories … Are Killing Us.” Not only have
Only in the final chapter does the book provide any “How to Counteract” ideas and material, and these are of the difficult no-silver-bullet variety. Thanks to pandemic-driven isolation, outrage-mongering social media, and the bizarre twists of surveillance capitalism, we are all epistemologists now. This book is a sober overview of the biggest hazards in the increasingly difficult work of orienting society towards genuine events and shared goals, rather than paranoid hallucinations and cultural fracture.