by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Rodney Ellis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), recently outlined his conspiracy theory about the origins and intent of Republican education policy. In a recent podcast titled “Some Disassembly Conspired: The Plot Against Public Education,” Ellis says,
If you took the time and really connect the dots of what has happened – all the legislation that has been passed in the last few years – you can see that it clearly illustrates an attempt to dismantle our public schools…
Viren Swami, a psychology professor at the University of Westminster, contends that conspiracy theories originate from the rational need to feel in control. She observes,
If you know the truth and others don’t, that’s one way you can reassert feelings of having agency. It can be comforting to do your own research even if that research is flawed. It feels good to be the wise old goat in a flock of sheep.
This makes sense. The NCAE lost a tremendous amount of influence when North Carolina voters elected a Republican majority in 2010 and even more when NCAE leaders joined the Moral Monday crowd.
Swami would argue that Ellis’ conspiracy theory about Republican legislators allows him to feel like he has some control over the situation. Podcasts, social media, and other forms of communication enable him to share that feeling with his “flock of sheep.”