Re: been on drugs since the mid-90's
Jake, define values for large. Mass spreading of delusions goes back a long way. Electronics has just sped up the speed of lies. Lets see, have a browse of Suetonius for myths about Jewish worship. Josephus has some horror stories about group beliefs held against reason and rational self interest. Later various authors record assorted mad monks thru post Roman Mediteranean areas followed by witchhunt madness and insane beliefs in experts and kings. All of these were about gaining power, mostly by creating a "problem", generating fear or worse, snobbery about secret knowledge, then offering a "fix" for the self generated problem while avoiding real problems. The 19th and 20th centuries only seem different because mechanisation has allowed damaged areas to be larger.
In short, old process but due the loss of history in the common cultural consciousness, old tricks by the power hungry can get used as if they are new.