You can also watch this podcast about right wing brainwashing tactics leaving the cult behind on youtube.

Free Ebook Reveals:
Little-Known Conversation "Hack" Forces Angry Conspiracy Theorists To Calm Down And Listen To You Almost Instantly

Click here to set your free book so you can regain your peace, freedom and happiness!

You know what drives me up a wall?  When people call conspiracy theorists stupid or crazy.

Sure, some of them can come across as off the wall bonkers.  Stage 5 clingers if you will.  But truth be told?

There's a lot of normal people that got caught up in conspiracy theory / right-wing garbage.

Case in point—my guest's father.

Jen Senko's father grew up a liberal.  But over time we became addicted to right-wing radio (and coincidentally right-wing outrage.)

Her documentary, The Brainwashing of My Dad, is an incredible sneak-peak into how right-wing conspiracy grifters operate.  This documentary goes as far as the John Birch society in the 1950's.

The John Birch Society played heavily into the anti-communism fears in the 1950's.  As well as starting up conspiracy theories about a global one-world government, and on and on.

Here are some of the things we talk about on the podcast

  • EXPOSED! How the Catholic Church forced my guest to “suffer in silence” and avoid addressing her mental health issues (this has nothing to do with child abuse) 8:35
  • Echo chambers are bad, right?  WRONG!  Discover the unique “reverse echo chamber” in Antonio’s family that rescued him from conspiracy theories 4:32
  • WARNING: Erase this from your vocabulary if you’re talking about politics—you’re helping to get right-wingers elected when you say these things (The GOP has spent BILLIONS of dollars convincing you to say them) 15:59
  • The 4 words you can use to spot a conspiracy theorist in the wild 19:31
  • “Extra Extra! Read all about it!” A sinister government plot to turn the world against the Jews using newspapers (and no, the NAZI's weren't involved) 22:18
  • Plus much more!

  • Free Ebook Reveals:
    Little-Known Conversation "Hack" Forces Angry Conspiracy Theorists To Calm Down And Listen To You Almost Instantly

    Click here to set your free book so you can regain your peace, freedom and happiness!

    Guest Bio & Links

    Jen Senko's book on Amazon:

    Read podcast transcript

    Antonio [00:00:00]:
    In this episode of escaping the rabbit hole, my guest talks about the right wing movement that brainwashed her father. Plus, she reveals what a common art supply has to do with deeply held beliefs. Can you guess what this connection is? Keep listening to find out.

    voice over [00:00:17]:
    Welcome to escaping the rabbit hole. Hosted by former conspiracy theorist, Antonio Perez, author of Converting Conspiracy Theorists. Antonio looks at conspiracy theories from multiple angles, such as how do conspiracy theorists impact their family and friends? How can they escape the grip of conspiracy theories? And why do they fall down the rabbit hole in the first place? You'll discover strategies to set clear boundaries with people stuck in dangerous conspiracy theories and improve your mental well-being. Here's your host, Antonio Perez.

    Antonio [00:00:50]:
    Aloha. This is Antonio Perez with escaping the rabbit hole dot com. Today, I have a very special guest on. I've been wanting to get around the podcast after I first heard about her documentary. Her documentary is the brainwashing of my dad. It's about her dad's kind of, spiral into the effects of right wing media. Today, I have my guest, Jen Sanco. How are you doing today?

    guest [00:01:14]:
    I've had better days, but I'm I'm surviving. Thanks for asking. I'm good.

    Antonio [00:01:19]:
    Nice. The Illuminati and the new world order haven't ruined your day yet?

    guest [00:01:23]:
    Oh, they ruined my day every day, but I rise I rise from the ashes.

    Antonio [00:01:28]:
    What is your website? It's the brainwashing of my dad. Right?

    guest [00:01:31]:
    Yeah. And and that my book is the same title.

    Antonio [00:01:35]:
    Can you give me a brief background of, I guess, of your life, and then we can get into, into the the crux of everything with your dad?

    guest [00:01:45]:
    Yeah. Sure. I mean, I I don't know how far back you want me to go about my life. I I'll I'll just say I wasn't really very interested in politics. But when I noticed my dad starting to to change, like, his whole personality change, I got more interested because I I went to Pratt. I was, went studied communications. I was a painter. And so, I mean, I had always had a creative mind.

    guest [00:02:26]:
    So when I saw my dad going through this, I had made a couple documentaries already. I thought I've got to document this and this change because it's so it's so bizarre and it's so dramatic that it it weren't studying, actually. Yes. Yeah. So, it was about when my dad, first, he semi retired. And then and he had sort of a long commute to the job that he the part time job he took. And he was never, like, a music person, but he wanted to listen to the radio. Like, he thought educationally.

    guest [00:03:08]:
    Like, oh, well, if I listen to chalk, that'll, you know, educate me. And it was Bob

    Antonio [00:03:14]:
    far from the truth when you get exposed to certain channels.

    guest [00:03:17]:
    To yeah. Right. So it was Bob Grant, and Bob Grant was openly racist, openly sexist. Basically, a horrible human being. Yeah. And but my dad listened to him, and, you know, that was like a talking voice in his car. They kept him company, you know, when he commute. And then, when he fully retired, then he he he just started listening to Rush Limbaugh.

    guest [00:03:50]:
    His personality completely changed. He just became, like, angry, all the time, obsessed, paranoid, mean spirited, racist he had never been before, Sexist. I mean, he was old school, so he was always a little sexist. But Yeah. You know, he started expecting my mother to wait on him. You know, all of this info he was getting from, Rush Limbaugh, you know, was just translating into him being becoming an asshole. Yeah. And, it was hard for the whole family.

    Antonio [00:04:32]:
    I think something that's similar in my story with your dad's story is my family, all liberal, at least in our immediate family, in our the nuclear family. So I was lucky that that I didn't have a right wing echo chamber. There's if you're if you're familiar with, like, Qanon casualties, it's a group on Reddit that, it's basically family members of qanon people. And there's some people that are stuck in a right wing family or that are the sole sole liberal in that family. So it's Yeah. It's easy it was easier for me to kinda deradicalize because

    guest [00:05:06]:

    Antonio [00:05:07]:
    I didn't have other people I didn't have other family members reinforcing those negative, horrible beliefs.

    guest [00:05:12]:
    That's a good point.

    voice over [00:05:14]:
    Subscribe to the podcast by going to www.escaping escaping the rabbit Add your first name and best email to the form and smash the button that says get the podcast. You'll get instant access when the newest episodes are released. Plus, you'll get the first three chapters of Antonio's newest book sent directly to your email.

    Antonio [00:05:35]:
    What was your perspective on mental health, growing up versus now?

    guest [00:05:41]:
    So I grew up in the sixties seventies and, you know, didn't really think about you didn't really they didn't really talk about mental health, and you didn't think about it. You were either batshit crazy or

    Antonio [00:05:54]:
    Or you weren't.

    guest [00:05:55]:
    Or you weren't. Yeah. And, you know, there was mostly a negative opinion about people who had mental health problems. Although my dad did, but he hit it, because he had been in the war and he would have PTSD. So he was taking antidepressants for a while. But, you know, he could function, You know? But but the mainstream attitude back then was more of kindness, rather than today. I just think generally

    Antonio [00:06:34]:
    Kindness in, in, like, the, the peace love era? Are you talking about in, like, the hippie movement kind of?

    guest [00:06:42]:
    Well, just that people knew that they were supposed to be polite, that they they knew that's what they were supposed to be.

    Antonio [00:06:51]:
    Like a like a certain kind of social social decorum then.

    guest [00:06:54]:
    Yes. Right. And, I remember that we had this boy in our class, Larry Feinberg, who is probably a genius, but he had what was probably like Asperger's or something. He would, like, kind of rock back and forth and talk kind of funny, but, you know, maybe sort of slow. But everything he said was, like, you know, like, teacher level. You know?

    Antonio [00:07:25]:
    Because nobody

    guest [00:07:26]:
    yeah. Nobody nobody made fun of him. That was just Larry Feinberg. You know? I mean, I think today, maybe he would be made fun. Maybe not. I don't know. But, you know, but, yeah. So I didn't think my own mental health was that important.

    guest [00:07:49]:
    And in fact, being raised Catholic, I thought I'm I took everything really seriously as a kid. Like, I even though I was, like, really silly, but

    Antonio [00:07:59]:
    I bit of a little bit of Catholic guilt?

    guest [00:08:02]:
    Yeah. I thought, yeah. It's not really it's not becoming to think too highly of yourself. So the more I suffer, the more heaven points I get. I mean, you know, the more I'll be in God's good graces. So I didn't try to not be unhappy. I just thought, okay. Well I I mean, I I don't know what I thought, but it it the goal wasn't mental health back then, especially if you were a Catholic.

    guest [00:08:35]:
    You know? It was about suffering. But, I think attitudes have changed a lot, about mental health and, mental illness too. Yeah. People recognize their own mental health is important. Like, I haven't I don't think in New York I know anybody that hasn't seen a therapist at some point, you know, or hasn't been on some medication at some point, you know. So I think that's pretty healthy. And mental illness, I think people are beginning to accept that a little bit more. I think there's a fear, and I think we have a lot more work to do in accepting it, but I think people accept it a lot a lot better now.

    Antonio [00:09:25]:
    There definitely is, it is better. I remember growing up, I had severe depression. I was suicidal at one point. A lot of times when people are depressed, there's a idea. I don't know if you're familiar in psychology. They talk about the locus of control. Like, where am I putting my power? Is it on the inside, or is that on the outside? Or another term is saying locus of locus of control or locus of power. Where am I putting my energy, on the outside or the inside? 2001, I met this guy.

    Antonio [00:09:51]:
    He's a white guy. I still remember seeing his his beard kind of a gray scraggly beard, white beard. He had a denim jacket. He had a pocket constitution in his pocket. Future reference. If you see anybody with pocket constitution, turn around, run the other way. Nothing good is gonna come of that. It's just nothing good.

    Antonio [00:10:10]:
    So this guy asked me if I knew who Alex Jones was, and this is a few months after 911. And this is that's how I got snowballed into, into Alex Jones. I remember I went home, watched, like, rise of the police state, some of Alex Jones' documentaries, and I just it you know what it is? It's that dopamine. When you

    guest [00:10:27]:

    Antonio [00:10:28]:
    You find that new conspiracy thing, oh my god. You get that. You know what's crazy? I can remember that. Yeah. Honey, sometimes when you when you describe a feeling, I I had that almost dopamine rush come up. That's what It's

    guest [00:10:41]:
    an moment. Yes. You know? And and you feel kind of empowered and and, you know, like, oh, now I get it.

    Antonio [00:10:49]:
    Yep. And I I have this thing that nobody else has.

    guest [00:10:53]:

    Antonio [00:10:53]:
    And what what happened is when that guy describe told me about Alex Jones, then I then I I think I started making the connection in my head going, oh, that's the reason I'm depressed. It's it's the it's the the big bag boogeyman on the outside. It's not what I'm doing on the inside of my head. It's not it's not any of my beliefs or anything. It's these people are making life miserable. I think a lot of people are depressed to see the world as a miserable place. And then if you and if you're being exposed to, quote, unquote news, I don't wanna call it's not news. If you're being exposed to that kind of propaganda, you're gonna be miserable.

    guest [00:11:29]:
    Miserable. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:11:30]:
    And a lot of, hypnotists will talk about the idea that you get more of what you focus on, which makes sense. You know, if somebody gets a red car, all of a sudden, you start seeing red cars everywhere. It's because your brain's kinda primed.

    guest [00:11:43]:
    I I use that very same example.

    Antonio [00:11:47]:
    You see them everywhere. You you know what's funny? There's a lot of hypnotist there's a sadly, there's a lot of, hypnotist in the hypnosis community. There's a lot of hypnotists that, fall for conspiracy theories. And these same hypnotists that say, hey. Let's say you get more of what you focus on. And then all of a sudden, they're like, they they don't know why they see conspiracy theories everywhere. I'm like, it's because you're focusing on them. That's why you're seeing conspiracy theories everywhere.

    Antonio [00:12:13]:
    And so it is a big thing when you when you start focusing it and you start seeing it. But at the time when somebody is in that kind of mindset, they're not realizing the, and it's interesting that the psychology that goes behind is very interesting.

    guest [00:12:32]:
    Yeah. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:12:36]:
    What's one idea that you think people get wrong about, conspiracy theorists?

    guest [00:12:44]:
    Oh, well, definitely that that they're they're stupid. They are not they're not necessarily stupid. They can be stupid people, and I, you know, I prefer to say ignorant.

    Antonio [00:12:58]:

    guest [00:13:00]:
    And It's all people, knowable, but they're not stupid, like, necessarily. You know, we we have had an engineer a master's degree in engineering, but, you know, he fell for this stuff.

    Antonio [00:13:12]:
    I think they can be made stupid. Meaning Yes. It can kinda rot your brains out where you're.

    guest [00:13:19]:
    It does. It changes your brain. It changes your brain. I mean, you know, George Lakoff says that. Doctor Kathleen Taylor says that. Yeah. It's it's a scientific fact. Your your brain changes.

    Antonio [00:13:34]:
    And, funny you mentioned, Lakoff. I, I was awesome. When I saw him in your documentary, I was thrilled. I have one of his I have 2 of his, one of his books. One of his books was, don't think of an elephant, and he's right that progressives, liberals, democrats seem to get much better at framing messages. Republicans are phenomenal at doing that. Have you ever heard of, Frank Luntz, I think his name is?

    guest [00:14:01]:
    Oh, yeah. I interviewed Frank Luntz. He's Yes.

    Antonio [00:14:03]:
    That's what I thought. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I got one of his books. I just got I think it was called, I got a big bookshop. It was like,

    guest [00:14:11]:
    I think

    Antonio [00:14:11]:
    it was something about words about, like, how to frame things. So for a while, you know that phenomenon where we stopped calling global warming we stopped we started calling it climate change.

    guest [00:14:24]:
    I That was true.

    Antonio [00:14:26]:
    I I did not realize that for the longest time. I I would always hear, Republicans say, oh, oh, so we don't call it a global anymore anymore. We're gonna call it climate change? They made it sound a lot of Republicans, I think, think that liberals change. I'm like, no. The the Republicans change it because they know that climate change is not scary as opposed to global warming.

    guest [00:14:50]:
    Well, climate change sounds like a natural occurrence. It sounds like it doesn't have anything to do with with man made climate changing. The climate is changing.

    Antonio [00:14:59]:

    guest [00:15:00]:
    And that's why he changed it. But and it's amazing that somebody, you know, that he could have that much power. You know, he decided to change words and, you know, like death death tax.

    Antonio [00:15:16]:
    Yeah. The estate tax, change it to death tax. Yeah.

    guest [00:15:19]:
    Yeah. It was the estate tax, which made it sound like rich people being taxed, you know, when one of their oligarchs die. You know? But death tax sounds like, oh, who wants to be taxed after their their debt? That's just not fair.

    Antonio [00:15:35]:
    And you're taking money away from my kids. Yeah.

    guest [00:15:38]:
    Yeah. And, you know, the Frank Luntz had a lot of power, but Republicans also gave him a lot of power. Whereas, they didn't give that power to George Lakoff. He was trying to, you know, educate them in the nineties. Like, look. You have to pay attention to language. You have to pay attention to framing. You can't adopt your language.

    guest [00:15:59]:
    I used to get so frustrated when I would listen to NPR, you know, and I'd hear something like, you know, like tax relief, you know, said by a Republican. Right? And then democrats started picking it up. And also the same thing with, the democrat party. Republicans did that on purpose to, it was called the Democratic Party. But they didn't like that because it made them sound more like, they embodied democracy. And they liked the Democrat party because it rhymed with rat, you know, many reasons. And you hear democrats and liberals pick that up and use it. They're not aware.

    guest [00:16:50]:
    Anyway, he was trying to get them to be aware, like, in the nineties. They didn't pay attention. The Republicans did paid attention because they knew that they wanted to change the United States. They wanted to change America. They wanted to to be a country for all oligarchs, and they that's why they they listened.

    Antonio [00:17:17]:
    And, Lakoff mentioned, I think in his book, Don't Think of an Elephant about whoever sets the frame is the one that wins. Republicans are the one that set that frame with with, the climate change, the I think the Clean Air Act and all that stuff. And then and then when when you're right. When liberals start using that word, it goes into every it goes into the into the cultural lexicon and then

    guest [00:17:43]:
    Healthy skies.

    Antonio [00:17:45]:

    guest [00:17:46]:
    And and what was another one? It was like, or

    Antonio [00:17:50]:
    No child left behind

    guest [00:17:52]:
    Healthy for healthy forest meant just cutting trees.

    Antonio [00:17:57]:
    And then you have the no child left behind act?

    guest [00:18:00]:
    Right. Right. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:18:04]:
    It's amazing what can be done with, with simple words.

    guest [00:18:08]:
    Yeah. Language is powerful, and henceforth, the media is powerful. More powerful than we would like to believe it is, than we'd like to think. And You know?

    Antonio [00:18:19]:
    And I like how, Fox News, they they make it sound like they're the underdog. They they have a lot of power, especially with going back to, like, the John Birch Society, the Cook Cook I call them the Koch brothers, Koch brothers. I don't know how it said so.

    guest [00:18:34]:
    Yeah. Well and one's dead, but we all still everybody still calls them the Koch brothers even even in in, like, MSNBC, they call them the Koch bros. But brothers. But Yeah. One's dead. But they're it's like the Koch operation. The Koch octopus. Yep.

    guest [00:18:52]:
    The tentacles.

    Antonio [00:18:54]:
    I know the conspiracy circles were going bananas. Did, you see what's his name? Rothschild just died. One of the Rothschild bankers just died. I'm sure they probably have a lot of power. And, generally, I think when when people have a lot of money, that's how they could influence corporations.

    guest [00:19:10]:

    Antonio [00:19:11]:
    There's not much conspiracy behind that. But even with a passing away, it doesn't really change much because they're just gonna change the conspiracy is gonna jump to somebody else. Now it I I have a feeling we're probably gonna start seeing more about Soros. Now they're gonna start crying about Soros some more, I believe.

    guest [00:19:31]:
    And it's really weird because Soros said, so long. I'm sorry. I you know, I'm kinda, like, stopping this, and it's gonna be my son. But, you know, there's all these hot button words, Soros, Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, you know, and Barack Obama. But Yeah. I mean, I I lost a friend when COVID came around because she would send me these little memes, messages in Facebook, you know, and they'd have all of the all of the names at once. And I'd say, wow. That's really amazing that you can get every single person oh, and, Fauci.

    guest [00:20:15]:
    Yeah. You know, all in one conspiracy theory like that. That's it's really pretty powerful. And she just she believed it all. She didn't see the absurdity of it.

    Antonio [00:20:27]:
    Yeah. And another one that I really like is, I mentioned in my book, the old chapter, I was talking about how Qanon, they were smart in that they didn't it's all you know, it it for years, it's always been Jews were blamed for everything. The Jews, the Jews, the Jews. And if you notice, at least to me, I didn't notice

    guest [00:20:47]:
    We're the blacks. What? We're the blacks.

    Antonio [00:20:50]:
    Yeah. We're the blacks. But I think, I think, throughout history, Jews were seen as having more power. They were seen as having more power. They were controlled, of everything. You know, you got, like, the protocols of the elders of Zion, that old, any semitic document. QAnon got smart because they I think they realized if if they said it's the Jews running this, the people are gonna go, oh, no. No.

    Antonio [00:21:21]:
    We've seen this before. But instead, like, it's it's the Hollywood elite. I'm like, but, you know, you're saying the Jews when you say the Hollywood elite. Like, they're still because, you know, they talk about the cabal, the satanic cabal, the satanic Hollywood elite. I'm like, you're literally saying the Jews. They just don't realize it's it's a racist dog whistle.

    guest [00:21:40]:
    Yeah. Why is why are Hollywood elite considered Jews?

    Antonio [00:21:45]:
    Well, because it you know, there's always been the idea that that Jews were on Hollywood. I'm sure you've heard that conspiracy theory. Right?

    guest [00:21:54]:
    I mean, slightly, but I never really understood it.

    Antonio [00:21:59]:
    I was looking into it recently. I think, I have to look more into it. There was, I think there's some Jews that started in Hollywood with I don't know if it was in law or whatnot. And then I think a lot of people tried to claim that they have way more power than they do.

    guest [00:22:16]:
    Yeah. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:22:18]:
    That was one of, I think in the protocols of the elders of Zion, if anybody's not familiar, it's a document that came out in 1904, early 1900 that claims that the, the Jews were gonna control banking, Hollywood, the world, etcetera, end up being a, forged document. I think the Russians put out in, like, the early 1900 just trying to demonize the Jews. But, yeah, for years, like I was saying, it was, people tried to say it was the Jews. It was the Jews. And then I think with qanon coming around, whoever whoever officially started QAnon realized it'd be better to not say the Jews because then it would have at least it would it's a little bit better optics, but it's still not.

    guest [00:23:03]:

    Antonio [00:23:03]:
    Still batshit crazy.

    guest [00:23:05]:
    Yeah. I mean, the fact that they could demonize, Tom Hanks, like, who's who is, like, the embodiment of, like, mister Rogers. You know, he played mister Rogers in a movie, but, like, that they could convince him that he's, like, a child eater or, you know, pedophile or something.

    Antonio [00:23:26]:

    guest [00:23:27]:

    Antonio [00:23:29]:
    Yeah. The it the idea of of the adrenochrome, that actually goes back to, you know, to the old anti Semitic, you've heard of blood libel. Right?

    guest [00:23:40]:
    Yeah. But I'm not that familiar with it.

    Antonio [00:23:42]:
    So I know what blood libel was. It was it sort of got probably I'm gonna be wrong in the dates. I know it was, many many times maybe where people were claiming that Jews were basically kidnapping, I think, Christian kids claiming that they were they're sacrificing them, drinking their blood, etcetera, etcetera. Oh, good. So the whole blood libel the whole, theory of of Qanon and Hollywood elite drinking, baby blood drinking, and drink a crumb. It's it's an old racist, anti Semitic pro. Like, you know, we're talking about before we started the podcast that a lot of the stuff is just rehashed. All the stuff that the John Birch decided it's happening all it it stuff isn't happening, but people are just rehashing the same conspiracy theories.

    guest [00:24:30]:
    Yeah. Yeah. It was there, and it's kind of like it it manifested. I mean, it's kind of like what, you know I mean, the Tea Party was, and and they worked on it for, you know, what, 50 years, and it's it's happened. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:24:49]:
    That's almost this like, we're talking about with with Lakoff and, more so, with the Republicans. They've been working on crafting this message for years.

    guest [00:24:59]:
    That what?

    Antonio [00:25:00]:
    They've been crafting their messages for years.

    guest [00:25:03]:
    Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Decades. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:25:06]:
    And it's it's just it's mind boggling. And it it's almost like a this mind virus. It gets stuck into people, and it's re it can be really hard, kinda pull people out.

    guest [00:25:16]:
    Yeah. It it is difficult to pull people out. Yeah. And it is kinda like a mind virus. Oh. Well, like you're saying, their their, you know, their brains actually change. So yeah.

    Antonio [00:25:33]:
    I think a lot of people just become so vile. I have a a former, conspiracy theory friend. We were used to do a conspiracy theory review at a bar I worked at Detroit. We would try to make light of the situation because we realized, like, we look crazy, so we would, like, hand out tinfoil. We'd all make tinfoil hats, drink beer. And

    guest [00:25:55]:
    So so you were conspiracy theorists and that Yeah. Yeah. They they tried to make it seem as if it was not that big a deal?

    Antonio [00:26:03]:
    No. We, we tried to make it we tried to make it, look like that we could laugh at ourself.

    guest [00:26:09]:

    Antonio [00:26:10]:
    So I don't talk to him anymore, though. One of the last messages he sent me, probably 7, 8 months ago, he I'm asking about the whole, a drag show thing. I'm like, oh, shit. I already know where it's gonna go with this. And at one point, it ended up in, like, asking me if I'm a pedophile. I'm like, well, one, if I was a pedophile, I'm not gonna say yes. I'm not gonna I'm not yeah.

    guest [00:26:31]:
    I didn't ask you that.

    Antonio [00:26:33]:

    guest [00:26:34]:
    or or before?

    Antonio [00:26:36]:
    No. Because I didn't have the same view about about the drag shows as he did.

    guest [00:26:42]:

    Antonio [00:26:43]:
    That they're not and, of course, it's like, listen. You, I think statistically, you're, you're gonna have some trans people that are abusing kids just like you have some straight people. But there's there's no evidence showing that it's an overwhelming amount of trans people.

    guest [00:26:59]:
    Yeah. No. I mean and it's so amazing how quickly that all changed. I mean, really acceptance of gays and and well, especially, drag shows and men in drag, like, started happening 20 years ago, the acceptance. And then, you know, you had Will and Grace on TV. It was it it just it became accepted. And then this this the old Supreme Court said yes. Jay should be allowed to marry, and it was fine.

    guest [00:27:39]:
    And most people accepted it. And it's so so startling how quickly they could they could turn that around. It's almost like, wow. Too many people are getting freedom and, you know, we want the white mate, straight male, hierarchy, you know. So and we have to create enemies, you know, which is to burn. So Yeah. They turn that around.

    Antonio [00:28:04]:
    Well, you know, I I think there's a pattern. I think I'd like to analyze it more, but throughout well, and I think it depends, like, like, which party's in office. You know, you'll get maybe some different conspiracy theories. For a while, it was, who was a boogeyman? It was well, during Bush eras, it was more of it's it wasn't the the Muslims. Because during Bush eras, it was the conspiracy theories were focused on it being an inside job. It's the government. And then when Obama came in, it became more of, oh, it's a brown person. It it's the Muslims.

    Antonio [00:28:46]:
    And then with now with, with, Trump or with Trump getting in, all of a sudden, it it turned from it turned into, you know, the idea of the deep state. You know, for years, people are talking about the Illuminati, the Illuminati, the neural order, and then they change that. And now the new lexicon, the new, verbiage is the deep state. Then with with inside that, you've got some of the boogeyman. Remember it was Antifa. Oh, it's Antifa. It's Antifa. But then, you know, have you noticed? You don't really hear about Antifa anymore.

    Antonio [00:29:17]:
    At least I don't hear now you hear it's the groomers. It's the trans. It's the woke mob. So it's just they're just constantly moving the goalpost.

    guest [00:29:26]:
    Yeah. Right. Right. Yeah. It's it's so funny, this idea, the deep state. That was, originally brought out, I think, by Mike Lofgren, who had been, like, a just like a a mainstream republican, and he had worked, in congress for many years. And, I interviewed him for my film, but he he didn't end up in the film. But he was talking he's the one who first mentioned deep state.

    guest [00:30:03]:
    Right? And he is say and he but he was talking about, you know, more like ultra conservative, like, right wingers behind the scenes. And they just grabbed ahold of that.

    Antonio [00:30:17]:
    Oh, I've also I've always wondered, like, where the deep state term I was trying to look up, like, via Google, Ingram, or Google Trends to see where it's so it was that guy. But he when he said ultra conserve, was he talking about, you know, the concept of rhinos, you know, republican in name only? Was he talking about no. What was what was his version of the deep state? Was it was it, like, ultra conservatives, or was it the rhinos?

    guest [00:30:47]:
    Really kind of none. I mean, if it was anything, it was really more ultra conservatives. You know, because he he he turned into a democrat and, you know, kind of saw what was going on. You know, I did I didn't I didn't read the book. I just interviewed him, and now it's kinda like 9 years ago. But I just I know it wasn't. It it they just took it and turned it on its head and made it seem like it's the Democrats and Liberals who are the deep state. And he was pretty much saying the opposite.

    guest [00:31:33]:
    You know? Like, for instance, when, Bush v Gore happened. Right? Like, that was partly the the deep state. Like, because they really wanted Bush, and they had all these oil ties, in the in the Supreme Court. So that kind of thing. You know? It was more, yeah, more conservative.

    Antonio [00:31:58]:
    Okay. I'm glad you brought that up. What was his name? What was his last name again?

    guest [00:32:02]:
    Mike Mike Lofgren. I'm gonna

    Antonio [00:32:04]:
    have to I'm gonna have to check his book out.

    guest [00:32:06]:
    Yeah. Yeah. He yeah. He's he's a friend now. Yeah. He's a good writer. His his work, his writing appears in, Common Dreams and, a lot of different other, like, alternative, you know, newspapers.

    Antonio [00:32:26]:
    I have to check out. I've got such a backlog of books. I've I've been in the process of reading your book. I just was reading, escaping the rabbit hole by Mick West about, how to, like, debunk conspiracy theories, and there's this

    guest [00:32:40]:
    Oh, he mentions me in in his book. I think

    Antonio [00:32:44]:
    Okay. I'll have to get to it. Yeah. He, It's funny. I I know in his book, he mentions there's a guy, Charlie Beach, b I t c h. I actually saw this guy. He was in a BBC documentary where they I think they they gave this they gave them more facts and they started changing their mind. Then they and then they realized, okay.

    Antonio [00:33:01]:
    I'm not a I think he went from being a 911 conspiracy theorist to not. So I I'm like, you know what? Maybe I wanna get him out of the podcast. I Google him, and he's an asshole. He sounds like you know, those

    guest [00:33:17]:
    The the big

    Antonio [00:33:18]:
    He sounds no. No. No. Not Midwest. No. No. No. The Charlie Beach.

    Antonio [00:33:22]:
    This guy that he he was talking about in his book, it sounds like he is he's still a right he sounds like he might be a right wing. You know what, like, a First Amendment auditors are? Yeah. They're the ones that go will go out to, and and I think in some aspect, they can be good. They, they basically keep cops on their feet. They'll just go up and go, like, film cops, which can be good. But then some first amendment auditors are going out to, like, maybe some business. There's sidewalks. And as long as they're on the sidewalk, they can film all day long.

    Antonio [00:33:54]:
    So some of them become very aggressive where they're gonna, like, they'll have, like, a camera film inside of a store, which

    guest [00:34:00]:

    Antonio [00:34:00]:
    There's nothing you can do about it because it's first amendment. But I think some of those people are right wing, and some of them are very antagonistic. Mhmm. A lot of lot of people on the right, they just, you know, they get angry after they do that. Did he become really antagonistic with his dissent?

    guest [00:34:20]:
    Yeah. Yeah. So what about these amendment auditors? I I didn't know about them. So they you mean they hide they they under, you know

    Antonio [00:34:31]:
    Okay. Let

    guest [00:34:32]:
    me It's

    Antonio [00:34:33]:
    You know, let me back up. So, this Charlie Beach guy, I think he might be one of the first amendment otters. I've seen him I was watching yesterday, day before where he he's got video, and he's basically getting in people's faces. So I thought, like, I'm reading about him in, Mick West's book. I thought, like, he'd be maybe he'd been deradicalized from conspiracy theories, but it sounds like he might still be on some of the, the right wing stuff. And I, he's wearing a shirt that that said, pure blood. So as soon as he saw that, I'm like, I'm assuming. I'm like, oh, yeah.

    Antonio [00:35:04]:
    You gotta you gotta be a nanny vaxxer.

    guest [00:35:09]:
    And it it's Or or a white nationalist, a white supremacist.

    Antonio [00:35:14]:
    Jeez. One of those

    guest [00:35:16]:
    2. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:35:17]:
    It's one thing. Like, if you can deradically somebody from a belief, I think you can figure out, like, what do those conspiracy theories do for that person to begin with? What are they giving what emotionally are they fulfilling?

    guest [00:35:28]:
    They answer questions. They they give certainty to an uncertain world, and that provides, in some way, comfort and a sense of control.

    voice over [00:35:39]:
    Subscribe to the podcast by going to www.escaping the rabbit Add your first name and best email to the form and smash the button that says get the podcast. You'll get instant access when the newest episodes are released. Plus, you'll get the first three chapters of Antonio's newest book sent directly to your email.

    Antonio [00:35:59]:
    And, in this shameless plug, my book, converting conspiracy theorist in chapter 2, I talk about, what I call the fame model, f a m e. It's something that I came up to describe, like, what keeps cons maybe not what sucks people in the conspiracy theories, but what keeps them there. F stands for, feeling powerless and feeling powerless, but at the same time, they wanna feel like a hero. A is apophenia. Apophenia is the psychological concept where you're, you're connecting the dots between things that aren't necessarily connected. M is misinformation, which is everywhere. E is external locus of control, and that's the idea of of seeing the boogeyman everywhere. It's it's not me that's that's making myself depressed.

    Antonio [00:36:50]:
    It's the evil people on the outside that are ruining the planet.

    guest [00:36:54]:
    Yeah. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:36:55]:
    So with that being said, with, the whole idea of the fame model is it covers, generally, conspiracy theorists are lacking. And at least it when I was in that, I felt like my life was lacking, and I wanted I wanted to feel power. And I wanted people to think of, like, oh my god. This guy has all this knowledge. He's somebody. A lot of a lot of conspiracy there's wanna feel like like they're important. And I think if if you can find, if we can find a way to help those people get those feelings of importance, that validation, you can short circuit. You wouldn't have they wouldn't have to go through through researching conspiracy theories to be able to get that sense of importance.

    guest [00:37:39]:
    Yeah. I know, a good friend of mine, I've known him since college. He's gay. He, you know, would always hang out with rather open minded people. But he always was depressed, always had, like, this side to him where he was depressed. And I noticed years ago that he started getting interested in, kind of like disturbing things. Like, he he he showed me this video of this, like, killer whale supposedly popping right out of the ocean and gobbling a man that was standing on shore. And he looked at that over and over and over.

    guest [00:38:30]:
    And, eventually, he got into all these conspiracy theories, and he's become right wing, and here he is gay. And, yeah, it's just it's really sad. It's really disturbing, but somehow, they provide him with answers Yeah. And explanation. That's how I see it. Is is they want an explanation. But with my dad now, that that really wasn't, I guess, so much of Aiken's conspiracy theory. He just bought into an ideology, but that's because the people presenting that ideology to him appealed directly to, you know, male insecurity, changing times.

    guest [00:39:27]:
    Oh, you know, I'm supposed to change who who who I am now because I have to allow for women and blacks and, you know, I used to be on on on top of the heat.

    Antonio [00:39:37]:
    They're taking something away from me.

    guest [00:39:40]:
    Yeah. And I've told I had to act this way and this way and this way, and and damn it. I don't have to do that. You know? I I am top of the heap. And, I it's, yeah. I guess I've been wondering, like, I guess there's a slight difference becoming, like, brainwashed by, you know, an ideology and then, like, going off the real deep end with some of these conspiracy theories, which is what my other friend did, you know, the one who sent me the thing about Fauci, you know, and Yeah. And COVID and and all of that.

    Antonio [00:40:22]:
    They have similar ideologies. Because I and there are definitely some left

    guest [00:40:25]:
    It's connected.

    Antonio [00:40:28]:
    There's some left leaning conspiracy theories, but, I think I think some left leaning conspiracy theories could be, like, JFK because that and and with that being said

    guest [00:40:39]:
    I'm I'm I'm I don't believe there was a single gun.

    Antonio [00:40:44]:
    And, I think with, conspiracy theories, there's a there's plausibility. In my book, I mentioned how if you had if somebody had come up to me and said the Jews are running the planet, they're killing babies, blah blah blah blah, I'd be like, that's batshit crazy. Mhmm. Versus if you talk about, like, 911, there's a that's that's more there's a better chance of of a false flag happening versus a whole group of people killing people, if that makes sense. And then, eventually, I got radicalized into into believing into some of the anti Semitic conspiracy theories. One thing I wanna mention about your, your friend. Let me know if this seems, kinda spot on. Your gay friend.

    Antonio [00:41:30]:
    I had interviewed a gay guy whose husband found into conspiracy theories, and I think I I think I had asked him if his friend felt like he was one of those good gay guys, meaning, like, one of the the good gay guys, in right wing in in a right wing. Like, I'm not one of those rumors. I'm not or, like, with Mexicans. When I was radicalized in conspiracy theories, I felt like, oh, I'm not one of those people that are that are coming and taking jobs. I'm not one of those people. Do you think that might have been something to do with your your gay friend that's been radicalized by conspiracy theories?

    guest [00:42:08]:
    Actually, no. I think it more had to do with his, you know, just feeling lost in life and his I think he's he actually, I think he's, like, a little paranoid. I I think he does have some mental health problems there. I mean, he did try to kill himself once. And so it it it's it it's it to me it's it's about making sense. And and and also that that excitement, you know, that you get that, you know, the oh, oh, this is the connection thing that you were talking about? The it began with the word a?

    Antonio [00:42:50]:
    Ep epophenia.

    guest [00:42:52]:
    Yeah. That, you know and then but but, ultimately, what that does, you know, connecting this with this with this, is it provides reinsurance, and and it it provides a sense of control, and it it also it also gives you somebody to blame.

    Antonio [00:43:11]:
    Yeah. And and it makes you feel like you're smart because you made those connections. Well, I, generally, in my opinion, what like, Alex Jones, those kind of people will give you a little bread crumbs and he'll say do your own research. And then when you do your own research, those beliefs are forming in your head. So it's when we think of something ourselves, we add a lot more weight to it. We think, like, I I'm the one that made this connection versus somebody else spoon feeding a belief to us, if that makes sense.

    guest [00:43:41]:
    Yeah. I mean, that's actually, you know, one of the one of the ploys of Fox, not news. You know, Fox propaganda, they'll like, or Tucker Carlson, like, would ask questions and, allow you to come up with the answer that he was hoping you would come up with, you know, and feeding you to come up with. But and and that's the other thing is that they would create enough doubt that you would then be, like, ready and prime to hear, you know, what their answer is. And you'd be thinking, you know, that you thought this. Yeah. So I that does seem yeah. It's a more powerful, probably a lot more sticky.

    guest [00:44:33]:
    You know?

    Antonio [00:44:35]:
    I like that. I like I might have to use it in a in a future book that it's a more sticky belief.

    guest [00:44:40]:
    Yeah. Yeah.

    voice over [00:44:43]:
    Is your mental and emotional health being affected by a loved one trapped in conspiracy theories? If so, discover how Antonio can help you set clear boundaries and reclaim your mental well-being. Book your free 20 minute consultation call by going to That's escaping the rabbit hole dot com forward slash c a l l.

    Antonio [00:45:08]:
    Your gay friend that's, in conspiracy theories, right kind of a right wing, does does he show any kind of narcissistic traits?

    guest [00:45:20]:
    Not really. I mean, he can be he's very funny. He can be very witty. He could be very biting. No. He's not. He's not narcissistic. No.

    guest [00:45:36]:
    No. I'm confident. Yeah. But, you know yeah.

    Antonio [00:45:43]:
    I know there is some correlation between conspiracy theorist and narcissist. Yeah. A study I mentioned in my second book that, there's 5 I think there's it's either 4 or 5 elements, that both attract a narcissist to conspiracy theories. 1 is being underlying paranoia. 2 is, antagonistic. And then, other one, there's, antagon, antagonism, then the need to feel unique, and then the, and then gullibility. Because a lot of a lot of narcissists are, gullible by nature. I think they think like, oh, I'm so smart.

    Antonio [00:46:24]:
    Nobody can fool me. And then generally, what happens is they lower their they lower their defenses and just get fooled.

    guest [00:46:33]:
    Right. Right. Because they're less likely to to reexamine

    Antonio [00:46:39]:

    guest [00:46:40]:
    What they're thinking. Well, if I'm thinking it, it must be right. Yeah. That makes sense.

    Antonio [00:46:46]:
    What does escaping the rabbit hole mean to you?

    guest [00:46:50]:
    Oh, okay. I didn't know you were gonna ask that one. To me, I guess, like, the obvious thing means meaning digging your way out of that deep hole and into the light. So in other words, you're shedding the delusions that that you had and, seeing that, you know, there may not be any answers, that there's just reality, and it had nothing to do with the rabbit hole that you were in. Seeing that you were in a spiral a way of thinking that was a trap, and that had no basis in reality. And I guess that's what escaping the rabbit hole in Sydney.

    Antonio [00:47:41]:
    No basis no basis in objective reality, but subjective reality because we all have our own, map of the world. And Yeah. And sometimes I think it it's bad when we, not bad. It's I think if we could all realize that we all like, I don't have to respect anybody's opinions, but I can respect that they have their own agency to have those.

    guest [00:48:05]:
    Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think subjective reality, because who knows what objective reality is. I mean, I'm not saying that there's no truth, but there's there's certain truths. You know? The earth is round and, you know, the the whatever. There's day. There's night. And then there's there's facts, like Trump tried to steal the election.

    guest [00:48:30]:
    You know? So that I guess, it's

    Antonio [00:48:31]:
    a little bit close. He got close.

    guest [00:48:34]:
    Yeah. I said he tried. Yeah. And he'll try again if if, you know, Biden wins. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:48:42]:
    Well, let's work on doing a follow-up because I know it's getting kinda late for you over there. And your website is

    guest [00:48:48]:
    the brainwashing of my

    Antonio [00:48:51]:
    And if you go to Amazon, you can get her book, The Brainwashing of My Dad.

    guest [00:48:55]:
    Yeah. Yeah.

    Antonio [00:48:56]:
    I look forward to talking to you again. Aloha.

    guest [00:48:59]:
    Yeah. This was very enjoyable. Thank you. Thank you.

    voice over [00:49:04]:
    Thanks for listening to escaping the rabbit hole. To get instant access to the newest episodes of the podcast and the first three chapters of Antonio's newest book, go to www. Escaping the rabbit and enter your first name and best email and smash the button that says get the podcast.

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    How To Protect Your Mental Health By Setting Healthy Boundaries With Conspiracy Theorists...Enter Your First Name, Best Email And Click "Get The Book!"

    Escaping The Rabbit Hole
    Escaping The Rabbit Hole

    Former conspiracy theorist, Antonio Perez, discusses how to deal with family and friends that have fallen down the rabbit hole.

    About the Author

    Antonio Perez, author of Converting Conspiracy Theorists, is a former conspiracy theorist.  He helps friends and family members of conspiracy theorists to improve their mental and emotional health, and to set clear healthy boundaries with their conspiracy theory addicted loved ones.

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