The New Confederacy

Little by little, as media sources obtain access to previously unavailable information, Americans are learning the true extent of the criminal and racist activities of the Trump administration–and far more concerning, we are now seeing how far gone, how amenable to those characteristics, today’s QOP remains.

One example among many: in the final, lame-duck days of the administration–after the election but before Biden’s inauguration–the Justice Department moved to undo what the Washington Post called “decades-long protections against discrimination,” by
moving to change the interpretation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Title VI bars discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin by recipients of federal funding.  The rules apply to the recipients of some six billion dollars of annual federal aid, and provide that actions will be considered discriminatory if they have a demonstrably discriminatory effect on protected groups. That’s what’s known as a “disparate impact.”  Under the new version, only intentional discrimination would be prohibited.

Intentional discrimination is incredibly difficult to prove, as lawyers who bring cases under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment can attest. (In order to succeed, challenges brought under that clause must show evidence that at least a part of the challenged law or action was intended to be discriminatory.)
According to the Post’s report, the Trump administration had been considering the change for over two years, but had waited until its final weeks to try to put it into effect. It was one of William Barr’s last efforts before his welcome departure as Attorney General.

And as usual, the Trump administration ignored the required procedures for making  significant policy changes.

Typically regulations of this magnitude are published first as proposals and the government collects public comment before publishing its final version. It would be unusual to publish a final regulation — particularly one of this magnitude — without going through that process, but the document says that its proposal falls under an exception and therefore the administration is not required to seek public comment.

Conservatives have long argued that allegations of discrimination should require proof that any disparate effects were intentional. If this argument is accepted, it allows the defense to deny the existence of structural racism: if person X doesn’t have a conscious animus, then what he does isn’t racist. So the bank officer who declines a mortgage under his bank’s redlining criteria, the police officer who participates in “stop and frisk” activities only in “certain” neighborhoods, the HR department that hires applicants based upon “cultural compatibility,” the City Council that paves streets far more frequently in the “nicer” areas of town–all are off the hook.

If no one is burning a cross on a Black person’s lawn, or screaming the “n” word, there’s no racism.

The Trump administration’s effort to bolster structural barriers to equality is just one of many examples of what has become distressingly clear during the past four years: today’s QOP is our contemporary version of the Confederacy. It is dominated by White Christian male supremacists intent upon doing whatever it takes to protect their historic hegemony–intent upon ignoring/excusing the operation of systems developed and maintained over the years that lock in White advantage without demonstrating cruder, more obvious bias.

It is not a coincidence that those willing to engage in that cruder racism–the “out and proud” racists of the KKK and Proud Boys and neo-Nazis– flocked to Trump and today’s Republican Party.  The efforts of more “respectable” members of the party to maintain plausible deniability–to distance themselves from their Confederate motives– is increasingly unconvincing.

The problem, as I have repeatedly noted, is that a two-party system needs two adult parties. It will be interesting to see if the embryonic efforts to form a new center-right party to replace the cult that is the current QOP go anywhere….


  1. The radicalization of Professor Kennedy is complete. Welcome to the resistance. Note that neither radical nor resistance refer to “left-wing”. They represent a movement against the anti-democratic QOP. ☮️

  2. And the Democratic Party has made a folk hero of Trump for trying to impeach him twice, knowing full well that neither attempt would work. It was a political stunt with a predictable political outcome.

    I’m not sure I’d quote the WaPo on anything these days when their owner uses their CIA/FBI connections to surveil workers at Amazon. Even worse, Jeff has hired the spooks to interfere in the worker’s attempts to organize a union. Can you imagine being so desperate for work that you’d work for Amazon knowing they use facial-recognition software to keep tabs on you?

    WaPo prints what the IC tells them to print.

    The confederacy went nowhere but underground when it wasn’t politically correct to air your blatant racism in public. Like religion and politics, your racism was kept between close friends and family and at KKK meetings in specific restaurants and businesses designated as KKK approved.

    The politicians used racially-coded words since the 70s to touch that base. Nixon did it. Reagan did it even better.

    Trump came along and blew the doors off political correctness, and social media became the playing ground for racists. What’s interesting is that Republicans and businessmen, and women are doing the deed of racism once again. In my community, there are plenty of black republicans who attend churches together. To me, this is mind-boggling.

    As for the racist patriots, they got played by a handful of billionaires and anonymous Koch donors to raid the capitol to “save democracy.”

    Trump made hundreds of millions from these chumps who thought the election was stolen from him. He even put together a fake offensive to show evidence he was serious. All a scam to raise monies for Trump. He even used some of that money to manipulate the redneck racists.

    We are an oligarchy/kakistocracy that doesn’t need saved. It needs democratizing. Those advocating for such will be surveilled and censored. The insurgency is underway, and the leaders will be dealt with accordingly. What the government cannot legally do, they will force private companies like Twitter and Facebook to do.

    And you thought 2021 would be a return to normalcy. 😉

  3. Well,

    I suppose you could blame some of this on the Dixiecrats merging with the Republican Party to form more of a white leaning power structure to subjugate or continue to subjugate people of color.

    One of the things they hated was the affirmative action program, the Q OP continuously challenged of the legality of affirmative action claiming it was discriminatory! Seemingly to be completely oblivious to the reasons of the program, they had lackeys and others continuously bring lawsuits to test its legalities, looking for a weak spot to plunge the knife. It worked, and people of color being accepted to colleges has actually dropped!

    Then we have the 2013 weakening of the voting rights act even though section 5 of the act was left unchanged, the preclearance stipulation was basically removed from the states that are working overtime right now changing voters rights! The Supreme Court claimed that preclearance was unnecessary under the 10th amendment. The court claimed it was just way out of date, and that there was no systematic racism that needed to be protected and therefore struck down section 4. They claim the Justice Department can start enforcing section 5 again if Congress amends section 4!

    Needless to say I guess we can call this the Barack Obama syndrome!

    I mean, we could go on and on talking about programs that have been altered and other efforts that have been kicked into overdrive since 2008, but it’s been going on longer than that just without the vim and vigor that we have today!

    This entire chain of events is untenable, with law enforcement using its authority to go after people of color, and the obvious leniency by certain judges of white insurrectionist’s who partook in the January 6 Washington DC fiasco, it’s obvious there are 2 sets of explicitly defined rules that parallel each other in this country. But there always has been!

    The judiciary is not always fair, and, just because certain rights are given by words and deeds, it seems those words and deeds do not apply to every Race and Creed in this country!

    I would venture to say, things are going to get really dicey in the next couple of years, more so than we’ve seen so far! With Lindsey Graham on the attack against Kamala Harris, saying that he can’t wait to impeach her for some moronic issue that he is claiming. I will say Lindsey Graham would be one of the 1st ones I would target because he is such a boot licking lackey, one that probably was always like he is now, but John McCain was the horse he hitched his wagon to initially. Without the constraints of John McCain, you can see how one’s true nature, as in Lindsey Graham, is drawn out like a moth to the flame. And Lindsey Graham is just a figurehead, an example! Kennedy, Jordan, Gohmert, Hawley, are other figureheads presently, and of course, you have the spineless power Craver’s like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, would gladly sacrifice their own political soul at the altar of Q Trumplicans!

    I still believe that there is going to be a time when the leniency the Q OP has shown towards insurrectionist’s, is going to come back and bite them especially if it looks like the fascists are going to take over government which is occurring as we speak. Too bad there have been too many Rip van Winkle’s sleeping through this entire legislative onslaught against so many of America’s citizens, and, the remedy is probably going to be just as drastic as how we got here!

    It seems like the Justice Department is following the insurrectionist funding and other money sources, hopefully that money trail will lead back to some of these figureheads mentioned above, that in itself would be satisfying!

    There will be blood? There will be more blood!

  4. The question is, is the Biden administration going to undo that change to Title VI?

  5. Perhaps of broader interest in this matter should be the news from Aljazeera today concerning a bill being voted on in France. Their “separatism” law is a look at one country’s efforts to put the Genie of liberty back into the bottle when such liberty appears to threaten the existing culture. I have no doubt that many in this country, on the both the left and the right sides, would find much to admire in their new law. Unfortunately, we have seen in the last four years that such a law here is indeed possible under corrupt leadership.
    Pulling back a bit, I wonder if such a law is inevitable considering overpopulation, climate change, and the accelerated speed of change in our own culture.

  6. Pascal,

    I Guess That’s The $64,000 question isn’t it? Or that particular $64,000 question in a pot with many other $64,000 questions, lol!

  7. Theresa,

    There’s an old adage, beware of the man of lawlessness coming disguised as an angel of light!

    France has declared the American ideals of the past four years the biggest threat to freedom in the West since the second world war!

    So, how about that? America and it’s ideas are the biggest threat to democracy. It seems like maybe we are trying to close the Barn door after the horses long down the road. What’s the point? Unless you catch the horse first!

    And, you’ve got to get rid of all of those who left that barn door open in the first place.

  8. I’m not sure which so-called exception to the rulemaking process was invoked for this particular outrage, but I would like to see it tested in court. Perhaps the new administration can change it back under that same exception?

  9. John,

    Don’t get sucked into the Shakespearian play occurring in D.C. – you are falling prey to the illusion of choice or the apparent dichotomy in U.S. politics.

    The fact the oligarchs funding the insurrection weren’t brought before Congress, or none of them have been charged by the FBI to date, should be evidence enough of the phoniness in Washington.

    If not, there is always visual evidence. Remember the Big Steal taking place a few short weeks after the election and all the nasty words exchanged.

    Lindsay and Kamala were caught fist-bumping. Feinstein resigned from the Judicial committee after hugging Lindsay and praising him for appointing another Federalist to SCOTUS. I guess our VP didn’t get the same treatment. It’s all a facade! We are getting conned, and the media is underwriting the whole scheme.

  10. Todd,

    I’m not getting sucked into any kumbaya moments! I remember the fist bump between Graham and Harris and Diane Feinstein’s senior moment? I’m sure they still had certain fond memories of each other before the true nature appeared! How could anyone with a straight face stand up in front of TV cameras a couple of months after eviscerating a presidential candidate and then full-throatedly embrace that same individual? He seemed to be a victim of body snatching, and, I can never accept THAT as normal.

    We will see how Merrick Garland pursues any of this and how they follow the money! Because you best believe, it’s not just fear that keeps these folks in line, even though, I imagine the threats against McConnell’s grandchildren had a large affect on him, the money probably proves to be even a larger influence.

    If there are ties that bind amongst all of these factions, those in government, those from corporate america, and those of the white nationalists, certain religious leaders and related groups, It could wind up to be a sea change in the way this democracy functions! And, for most it might seem good, if and when that happens, but there will be many who probably will be affected in an undemocratic manner.

    When society is shattered, just like a beautiful vase, no amount of glue will ever make that vase look beautiful again the cracks are still there, and the vase is much weaker than it was before it broke. In other words it’s been damaged beyond repair and what you have is just an illusion of what was but is not anymore!

    And, I’m not saying society was beautiful before, but just using the vase as an example of what was existing before the dive back into insanity. Because society was never fair, not when the framers of our constitution considered themselves the only free people!

  11. Peggy Gannon, the QAnon inspired GOP but even that sounds to benign for the rot in their ranks..

  12. I have believed for many years that the Republican party is dominated by whites who fear the growing diversity of American citizens and the changes that democracy will require to ensure that all Americans have equal protection under the law.

    Laws against discrimination are needed, and they need to be laws that can be enforced.

    I would guess that law schools require students to study ethics, but I don’t really know. What I do know is that some laws are unjust and many amoral.

    Laws can create deterrence against bigotry. But laws cannot help us become people who “welcome the stranger”, who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned. The social ethos of the great spiritual teachers require us to surrender our hearts to a higher ethos than the law requires.

    And, of course, whether or not we do that begins with what we learn as children from parents and teachers.

    It’s too bad we cannot ensure that all our elected officials had parents and teachers who showed them how to be servant leaders who have committed themselves to a higher ethos.

  13. Lindsay Graham who first endured The Trumpet’s wrath, than when it became obvious that the Trumpet was an electoral force to be reckoned with became one of The Trumpet’s primary boot lickers.

    Graham is now pushing out Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump to run for the Senate seat currently held by retiring senator Richard Burr. Burr voted to convict The Trumpet. Burr’s state Republican party condemned what it called his “shocking and disappointing” vote.

    “The biggest winner I think of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump,” Graham told Fox News Sunday. “Now certainly I would be behind her because she represents the future of the Republican party”, adding that the future should be “Trump-plus”.

    I think it is clear The GOP is still in control of The Trumpet Cult. The Trumpet has joined the apostles of the GOP: Goldwater, Reagan, Gingrich, Sarah Palin and now The Trumpet. Pastor Pence has been discarded, the bible thumper’s have no other place to go. The Rambo wannabes are likewise firmly in the GOP.

    Those elected officials in The GOP that are firmly in Red Districts fear a Reactionary Right Winger Trumpist more than a Democrat. Hard to starboard is their course.

  14. I’m always amazed (and impressed) by how quickly so many of the above commenters by this time in the morning have digested, analyzed, and formulated comprehensive and generally thoughtful replies to the now fully radicalized Professor.

    My only contribution is to address John Sorg….at 7:43, when he uses the term “old adage”. This has been, is, and shall forever be a pet peeve of mine (which shows you how really relevant my contributions are). I say that phrase is redundant…..but if somebody can up with an adage that is young and still wet behind the ears… more ancient ones are all……….well, you know.

  15. Robin R. – Yes, law schools do teach and require an ethics course. Some States, like Florida, require passage (or did) of a standardized multi-state ethics exam to become a member of the State’s Bar. This is ‘legal’ ethics, designed to focus on attorney actions in performance of their job functions and role as advisors and ‘counselors-at-law’. It is not moral ethics.

    There is/was an ethical code of conduct for federal employees. For example all took an initial ethics class upon becoming a DoD employee, and some in decision making roles, such as contracting officers, were required to take a refresher program every year. As a DON attorney, I was also an ethics counselor, we had our own training program to be assigned as one. As such, I gave ethics advice, including making determinations regarding conflicts of interest both personal & financial, and gave ethics classes for over twenty plus years. It became a ‘big deal’ with the Navy after the tail-hook scandal in the early 90s, and employee training continued after that. [Robin, you may recall that I was a Navy attorney in Indianapolis in early 90s.] While the federal government, at least the DoD, required ethics for employees & managers, My guess is that there was no emphasis on ethics during the last Administration. Luckily, I was retired at that point.

  16. republiqons too.
    im reading a article whereas the demos may have ditched the witnesses due passage of future bills. seems mcconnel is still in charge,and the question of what this senate will dominate,over the actual voter base. its being that a raise of the 15$ is done,not happening because of the senators from wva and az,(dinos) have decided to keep the poverty leval in those states,a voter issue,that doesnt exist, except as a issue to keep,people poor. but then again, a senator whos family that supported the pharma industry and its profits. (no matter how many died) seems the qop is alive and well where whitey rules. az wont because they be damn if latinos get a break and have a decent life beyond the selected wages they are repressed with in az. ever cut celery in 100+ heat in march? stop sometime, and watch them,out side of that suv.. as the fold continues,many a senator is now siding with Rqs,to keep,the profits high,and wages low. imagine if the fed didnt support the private traded stocks,er,corps? the traders would have dumped America down the toilet for,thier needs over our countries needs. (real stable economy eh?) this has become the norm in America, me first,screw you.. this style of rule, will only lead to our demise. we have done well,making sure we are now all taught via the net,over the table at dinner. maybe some of the few that are left from WW2 should have a discussion on why,and how,to kill a democray..

  17. Intent is difficult to prove, and to lend that subjective standard via a reinterpretation of DOJ policy to a title as sensitive as race etc. in place of the currently objective standard of effect is a bridge too far and an open invitation to return to plantation politics, as in, Jefferson Davis won.

    The proposed change has a Miller odor, but he is no DOJ denizen. Such a proposal arose under the tutelege of one William Barr, whose conduct along with a number of others in the now defunct Trump administration, including Trump and those present at the attempted destruction of our democracy at the capitol, should be subjected to investigation by a bipartisan commission while the AG is simultaneously deciding whether and whom to prosecute, including Trump and/or Barr among the capitol intruders and others.

    At some point the Supreme Court is going to have to decide when criminal acts by public officials have lost the immunizing policymaking shields urged by a Barr and/or a Trump when the results of such supposed “policymaking” are known to be corrosive or even deadly (see Trump’s ignoring of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans with his hoax and go maskless chatter in speeches and on twitter). When? Perhaps after we are forced to increase the number of justices who will decide that the historians were correct – that Jefferson Davis lost.

  18. I think any objective informed American can see the devolution of the Republican Party and any studious objective informed American can trace its history over the last few decades. They have truly become the party that chooses cultural stasis at best and return to the far gone past at the worst. In other words, they have become the party to halt or reverse adaptation to these and the coming times. They are resisting progress because many in their base see adaptation as costing them the entitlements of the past which is simply true. Yes, the past gave them structural advantage and these times have changed away from those times.

    Regardless of the religious resistance to human knowledge, all evidence that has been gathered has led consistently and reliably to factual random change, reinforcement of the benefit or cost of those changes, and eventually evolution to what is favorable to the current times, i.e. current environment, which never stops changing, as the way life works. Cultural anthropologists have determined the same to be true of culture. It tries its best not to change but as things do change despite the current culture it reinvents itself to maintain its survival.

    Republicans have picked the past and Democrats have picked reality as their North Star guiding lights. There can be no doubt which of those choices will replace the other but that will be a very long painful and costly process.

    We had hoped that the annual odometer clicking over to a new number would mark the end of the madness but it won’t be. These are times in which democratic politics don’t work very well but our expectations of them can’t accept that.

    Stay in your seats with your seatbelts on and your trays and belongings properly stowed.

  19. what trump has done. he became rich and famous because of our generous nation to secure its richests, people live here. trump has under table dealings,funnled money out of the country,for his russian thugs, used the tax system for his own good, made a face of some big asshole via the t.v. has many times used the U.S, as his sole home,and has backing by the state dept to open buisness friendly resorts in other nations. upon becoming president,he has, stepped on the flag,democracy,and the people,as a welcome mat for his dirty feet. he has used us like a whore for his own needs,made certain his buisness first in DC,while enraging the population about trivial shit we use to sweep under mcconnels rug. hes used social media as a soap box to convince people that the sky is fallling,while paying lip service to his followers. the impeachment wasnt for him,, instead a removal of his citizenship is
    more needed.. im hoping that those countries who dont like him now,boot or tax his resorts out for something better,for,the local people..

  20. Racism is so all consuming that if there were no blacks left to discriminate against the deplorables would continue to pursue their most recent form of insanity, i.e., attacking Asians for an imagined connection with the Coronavirus. Since any given Chinese person is about as responsible for Covid-19 as I am for the Boer War, it makes me wonder whether there is a body of scholarship delving into what drives the indiscriminate haters. Surely sociologists and/or psychiatrists have been motivated to do extensive research in this area. The problem doesn’t go away until we find the fundamental answers and come up with some kind of treatment. It almost seems as if, at some level of ignorance, people are struggling to find answers to why the world is not as they wish it to be and, unable to force a meaningful change, lashing out at whatever they see as interfering with their vision of nirvana. The inner child screams “me…me…me” while the semi-functioning mind explores completely unpromising avenues.

    Is it conceivable that for as long as we have people with very low levels of intellect and understanding we will confront similar problems? Then we are compelled to develop better ways to detect and deflect and deter.

  21. “The New confederacy” is just the re-energized old confederacy. Nixon gave it some energy, especially with his anti-semitism, and Reagan gave it open legitimacy, opened the way for the religious right to step up for it.
    During the (official) Civl War, Confederate soldiers in POW camps were amazed to realize that the Union soldiers were praying to the same god as they! Now, in the unofficial Civil War, the religious right is part of the front line.

  22. Todd,

    As the king of moral equivalency among political parties, please explain to me :
    1. How Trump’s ignoring and lying about Covid-19 compares with Biden’s efforts to address and contain the virus by assigning the best scientific minds to the problem
    2. How Trump’s failing to mention the suffering of the families of the 460,000+ victims of the disease compares with Biden’s constantly empathizing with them
    3. How Trump’s attempts to halt all policies related to pollution and climate change compare with Biden’s efforts to restore past practices to deal with those problems
    4. How Trump’s demands for loyalty to himself compare with Biden’s movement to re-unite a divided America
    5. How Trump’s acceptance of White Nationalism compare to Biden’s policies of dealing with that movement as a terrorist organization
    6. How Trump’s lack of concern for families fighting to cope with the pandemic compare with Biden’s coronavirus relief plan
    This could go on for a very long time, but I hope it helps you note the underlying moral issues and understand that your constant harping on moral equivalence between the political parties is devoid of evidence.

  23. In 1987, Bill Moyers produced a series for PBS entitled “God and Politics.” As part of that series he researched the Christian Reconstructionist movement and its guiding light Roosas John Rushdoony. You can view it here:

    Rushdoony’s ideas are the heart of the Dominionist movement that has thoroughly overtaken the Republican party. Too many people think the GOP is a party divided and on the verge of civil war with itself. I think it is more accurate to say the GOP has been claimed by the Dominionists, who are in the process of driving out the unfaithful so they have full control over our Republic and turn it in to a “managed democracy,” with them in control. Sasse, Collins, Murkowski fail the test of true believers: Will you follow God’s Man for the Age? This they believe to be Donald John Trump. They embrace this idea with the zeal of the religiously convicted, and will defend Trump against all challengers.

    This is really what we are up against. The GOP will not change, as that would be an act tantamount to renouncing their faith. We must overcome gerrymandering and all restrictions on voting and get our neighbors – especially our brown, black, and Asian neighbors – and vote the GOP fully out office everywhere we can.

  24. The state Board of Education refused to allow courses in Critical Thinking in Texas schools.

    Now tell me how you don’t understand how we got into this Know Nothing pickle.

  25. QTodd,
    Every post you contribute flashes some wild, and sometimes several, conspiratorial takeovers and conspiratorially covered-up atrocities of the Democratic Party. But congratulations, anyway…

    You seem to have acquired among contributors to this blog a small stable of Joes–British for double agents–to act as rotten apples within the Democratic barrel.

    Yes, a few of the other contributors to this blog are brandishing Q-style conspiracy theories of their own, but they are relatively harmless, as they entirely direct their Qtheories to explaining–weakly–the far-right’s crazy behavior, rather than Democrat behavior.

    On further reflection, among Sheila’s many posters, only Pete seems to avoid succumbing to the conspiracy syndrome.

    Maybe conspiracy theories have become the national pastime and Pete and I just don’t know how to have fun anymore. lol

  26. Don Sherfick, For many years I considered myself a middle of road Republican, but that started to shift with the trickle down tax cuts, and then more and more blatant attacks on reasonable social programs, down to Republicans peddling of the Big Lie of losing the election, along with all of the blatant fear mongering and falsehoods. The QAnon-affiliated GOP has shifted so far right that anything toward the middle must seen like total radicalization. I am still dismayed that though complete silence, my two Indiana Republican Senators are still supporting the big lie. I am even more upset that so many Republicans have sucked such a large chunk of the population into that right wing abyss.

  27. Don, at 10:58

    Lol, adages especially old ones are always relevant because eventually in the cyclical nature of History they become relevant again.

    New adages I suppose would be few and far between, because for the most part, the younger generations are not quite as thoughtful! It really is a way of thinking.

    The adages I was referring to above or the old adage was actually a combination of two scriptures one of them in 1st Thessalonians, I’ve always liked that combination and it has a ring of Truth to it! Which I suppose is the point of repeating an adage.

  28. John S, the repeal of part of the voting rights act was terrible. RBG’s analogy in her dissent was exactly right. Paraphrasing: It’s like using an umbrella in the rain, noticing you aren’t getting wet, and thus, deciding to throw away the umbrella.

    Todd, while I also find it bizarre that people on both sides of the aisle can get along despite some immense philosophical differences, I think you are veering off into conspiracy land that may be just as dangerous as the amazing crap we see amongst the GOP. I don’t know about your example regarding Kamala and Lindsey, but the Feinstein example has a perfectly reasonable (and pretty sad) explanation. Feinstein’s faculties have been disintegrating over the past few years. As a concrete example, just before she resigned, she actually asked the same question in a hearing TWICE. She didn’t remember that she’d asked it just a minute earlier, and simply read it out again as though for the first time. Rather than a conspiracy, it seems much more likely that she didn’t fully grasp what was happening in the Coney-Barrett hearing. (And I bet we agree that her summary statement in that hearing was a disgrace. It gave the process legitimacy, which it absolutely didn’t deserve. But I don’t think she understood what she had done.)

  29. Regarding misinformation and conspiracy theories, there are lots of research skills that can be learned and employed to help combat them. But the simplest first step may be to try to get people to understand and employ Occam’s Razor. It won’t always lead to the right answer, but as a shortcut, at least you’re likely to be right more often than wrong, which is a solid start.

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