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Conspiracy Theorists Are Nuts (No, Those Other Conspiracy Theorists)
My beloved Uncle Gabe was diabetic, and when his sugar dropped, his vision would become blurred and he would become irritable. So when he was driving, his wife was always alert to potential problems. They came down to Tennessee to visit us once, and when they got close to our road, he could feel his sugar dropping, and he was having a hard time reading the road signs to find the turn. He would ask, “Is that it?” and his wife would say no – should I drive? He would tersely respond, “No. I’m fine.” And his wife would watch even more closely.
Anyway, they finally found our road in the mountains of Tennessee, where our exotic neighbors raised even more exotic animals as a hobby. All of a sudden, he grew very quiet and just stared straight ahead, which his wife found concerning. Then his young daughter in the backseat yelled, “Look! A zebra!” And Uncle Gabe let out a relieved gasp and said, “Oh, thank God…” When he had seen our neighbor’s zebra, he finally had started to wonder whether he really was ok to drive. What an odd-looking pony that is – Oh my God…
This is how I feel watching the news now. I had a post with over 80 likes not hit the main feed after Biden’s victory, I think because I openly wondered whether our elections were legitimate. Such wondering is no longer verboten. The head of the FBI today acknowledged that perhaps COVID really was leaked from a Chinese lab that was developing bioweapons. Our Supreme Court is trying to figure out how the President of the United States can simply transfer hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to grievance studies majors. Elon Musk is exposing the long-term coordination of our government and the social media tycoons to suppress free speech.
So, many conspiracy theories are being exposed as obvious truth. So now I feel like less of a conspiracy theorist. And like my Uncle Gabe, I think, “Thank God. I was really starting to wonder if I was crazy, for a while there...”
Will it help? Will it help that the truth is being exposed?
Well, no. Not if our elections are being controlled. Not if our government is working with social media tycoons to control speech. Not if our President does not need to consider the Constitution as long as he’s a Democrat.
If those things are true, then none of this helps.
But for it’s worth, I feel better about myself.
As I often say, I hope I’m wrong about all this.
And as I even more often say, I need another drink.
The bourbon doesn’t fix any of this. It just makes it hurt less.
pause *sip* pause…
Ah, that’s so much better.
Except for one problem. One serious problem that even the bourbon can’t help me with:
If all those other ridiculous conspiracy theories were actually true all along, what about all those other conspiracy theories? The conspiracy theories that are still considered conspiracy theories among polite company?
I used to think that those whacko conspiracy theorists who believed that the only solution to complete leftist control of America was secession — that the only hope for freedom was to split America up into two or more countries — I used to think that those whacko conspiracy theorists were whacko conspiracy theorists. I still do. Really. After all, I’m not a whacko conspiracy theorist. Right? Right.
But I’m no longer laughing out loud. Perhaps I’ll just keep my criticisms to myself, and see how all this plays out.
After all, those conspiracy theorists — they really are nuts. Right?
I need another drink.
Oh my God…Published in General
The flip side concerns me as much as the conspiracy theorists. You know, those people who look at well-formed arguments, mounds of evidence, and still say, “I refuse to believe that.”
I still don’t buy Joe Biden’s conspiracy theories.
There are no conspiracy theories on the left, you deplorable Trump supporter…
They’re sort of the same thing.
There’s a particular mindset that wants so desperately to believe that our government would never do that . . .
That they unwillingly provide cover for a multitude of sins.
I no longer believe the U.S. government is good. Domestically or internationally. I believe America is good, but our government is so thoroughly corrupt that I sometimes wonder if Revolution 2.0 is necessary.
We are going to have to thoroughly clean out every Federal agency, and I don’t see how it’s possible.
It’s as if they’ve never heard of MKULTRA, Project Northwoods, the Tuskegee syphilis study, COINTELPRO, etc.
Your OP title referred to conspiracy theorists and “other” conspiracy theorists. Left is other, is it not?
Where do those conspiracy theories about domestic terrorism come from? Where do those conspiracy theories about the J6 trespassers come from?
Those are not conspiracy theories. Right wing domestic terrorism is our greatest threat, like the J6 trespassers.
That is simply truth.
Unless you’re a deplorable Trump supporter…
The term ‘conspiracy theory’ was invented by the CIA to discredit those who exposed the fraudulent Warren Commission. There’s a reason 60 years later all the documents haven’t been released. The Kennedy assassination was the biggest conspiracy in US history.
That those in power would rather destroy all trust in public institutions rather than relinquish power, speaks volumes.
I think you make a very good point here, RE: “U.S. gov’t” vs. “America”. As I teach my International Relations students, “states” are governments, “nations” are peoples, and “countries” are places (geography). Certainly, all three concepts overlap and are interconnected, but each is independently different. It is important to recognize that the U.S. government (a state) exists as a distinct, unique entity, distinctly separate from the body of people that constitute the American nation.
I’ve seen civil strife and civil war up close and first hand. I pray our nation can find a pathway away from such a tragic outcome. However, I believe that an American Revolution 2.0 is quite possible, and may be unavoidable.
The “genuinely crazy” conspiracy theories first started to gain a wider audience back in the late 70s/early 80s after the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and especially after Watergate took so much of Nixon’s oxygen from 1972 to 1975. That is when people people really first started publishing books in significant quantities about things like the JFK assassination, the moon landing hoax, UFOs, bigfoot, ghosts and demons and devil worship, crop circles, etc.
e.g. David Icke published his first book in 1983. Jim Garrison published his book about JFK in 1981. The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was published in 1982. Etc. Etc. It’s also the period when “paranormal investigation” became a thing, with hucksters like Ed and Lorraine Warren kicking around and contributing to “true story” books and movies like The Amityville Horror.
It’s arguable that the Pentagon Papers and Watergate were the catalysts for people to start thinking, “if they lied about that then what else are they lying about?”, thereby boosting the market for hucksters to peddle their wares.
Then there was a second period of popularization in the late 80s/early 90s, after Iran-Contra and especially after George H.W. Bush was elected president. Iran-Contra had again popularized the “what else are they lying about” impulse, and then the fact that George H.W. Bush was the former director of the C.I.A. raised a lot of eyebrows.
e.g. William Still published New world order : the ancient plan of secret societies in 1990 (a year before George H.W. Bush used the phrase in his famous speech). Milton William Cooper published Behold a Pale Horse in 1991. Pat Robertson published The New World Order in 1991. And then The X-Files first aired in 1993.
The point is that it’s probably natural that the “genuinely crazy” conspiracy theories get a big boost in the wake of a genuine government scandal.
Oh, no question. It’s just that if the government wants people to stop believing in conspiracy theories, they’re going to have to start telling the truth and being honest and transparent and all those other things they seem unwilling to do.
If the government is concerned about the uptick in conspiracy theories, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
I ain’t disagreein’.
The problem comes when a person finds out that his or her conspiracy theory turned out to be the truth of the matter, after which that person will always wonder if he or she was right again.
When my son was eighteen months old, one rainy afternoon, I made some chocolate chip bars of some kind. When I took them out of the oven, we sat around the table to try one, warm from the oven. My son was in his highchair, and my daughters were sitting with him. My daughters said to their baby brother, with great enthusiasm since I’m a pretty good cook, “Try one. You’ll love it.” He steadfastly refused. It did not appeal to him at all. My daughters and I then took a bite at the same time, and we instantly made a face. They tasted absolutely terrible. It turned out that the Karo syrup–the last time I have ever used it–had gone bad. My word, they tasted terrible. From that point on, my son trusted his instincts. :) :) When he was little, it was always hard to get him to try new foods. :)
It is really difficult to sort out the news these days. It’s global, and no individual has the resources. We’re forming opinions based on basic plausibility. Now that the government has reached the zero level of credibility, the conspiracy theories seem to be proliferating. It’s alarming because there are people being harmed by the belief in these theories, and the press, even on the right, which has the same financial problems the media on the left has, is milking them just to pay the rent. I was really shocked that after the FBI conducted a month-long investigation into the J6 protest-gone-wrong and reported their official findings to Congress that there were no weapons found nor any evidence of any conspiracy to harm the government that the prosecutions continued. On what basis?
Each of us has a responsibility to assume good faith in each other until there is concrete evidence that some crime has been committed. Once an investigation has been conducted and no crime has been found, that should be the end of it. This principle should apply everywhere, all the time, to everyone. That’s what freedom means to me.
That must be nice, Drew.
I’m not sure that I believe that America is good anymore. It’s quite a wicked place, filled with depraved people, isn’t it? I’m not inclined to blame the government for all of it, and when the government is bad, that’s often the fault of the people, I think.
Consider our demographic statistics on divorce, illegitimacy, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, and substance abuse, just as a start. These make us look like a terrible society, don’t you think?
Then consider the fact that, for the most part, our common culture is not critical of such behavior, but rather is critical of those who object to such behavior.
Perhaps you need to get out more. The vast majority of Americans are good people who favor the good. But if you look around you and all you see are depraved people, then either you don’t get out enough, or you live in a pocket of real depravity. Or maybe you need to learn to see people as Jesus sees them: broken, hurting, and needing compassion. I know I need to remind myself of that frequently.
I mean, I thought I was a misanthrope, but Jerry . . . you win! I hand you the crown!
So first, I want to respond theologically.
Jesus didn’t see people as good. Jesus accurately saw people as sinners, in need of a savior. He called them evil, even in the Sermon on the Mount. He did love us. He wants to save us. This is not because we are good. We are not.
We are depraved and wicked, right? Sinners all, deserving damnation. Right? I mean, this is Christianity 101, isn’t it?
Please tell me if I’m wrong. I don’t think that I’m wrong. I think that this is precisely what Jesus said, and what the New Testament teaches. If I’m right about this, then calling me a misanthrope is quite a false accusation. Because by your standard, Jesus is a misanthrope.
This does seem to be the modern view, probably since the so-called Enlightenment. Maybe it traces principally to Rousseau.
Second, I want to respond about my surroundings. I get out a lot. Most of the time, people don’t talk about the horrible, evil things that they think, or do, or support. You might notice that majorities in our country support abortion, illegitimacy, and not just homosexual perversion, but the public approval of such perversion. Man, it’s even apparent in the bizarre haircuts and tattoos and piercings. About 40% of American kids are bastards, and that figure is about 70% for black kids. Substance abuse is rampant, pornography is almost everywhere, marriage and family are collapsing.
And not even the Republican party advocates doing anything useful to reverse this decline.
Yet you think that our people are good?
Open your eyes. It’s hard to do. The truth is quite awful.
I should add one more thing, Drew. It’s not clear to me that people are broken, hurting, and need compassion.
They are broken. I’ll agree with that part.
Some of those who are broken are also hurting. It seems, to me, that a lot of wicked people are not hurting themselves. They seem quite pleased with themselves. They are hurting others, some of the time, as with the parents of illegitimate children.
Do they need compassion? Well, some of them do, I think. But don’t you think that some of them need a harsh rebuke? A wake-up call?
Jesus delivered such rebukes, repeatedly.
Much of modern Christianity, though, seems feminized and weak, to me. People seem to follow the so-called Eleventh Commandment, “thou shalt be nice,” and to ignore the other ten.
IIRC, most of His rebukes, and the harshest ones, were for the Pharisees and hypocrites. Most sinners He healed or otherwise showed mercy (with the occasional rebuke), then told them to, “Go and sin no more.”
The Pharisees, lawyers, and hypocrites, though….
Theologically, you are correct. We are all sinners on the way to hell but for the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. Even me. Even you. But what I see around me are almost entirely people trying to do good, to be good, to treat people kindly. And I am concerned that you don’t see this. That instead, you see everyone around you as depraved evildoers, and you are unable or unwilling to see the good in people. How can you show compassion to people you’ve written off as hellbound?
Or maybe you don’t see yourself as a sinner. I’ve encountered Christians who actually believe they are no longer capable of sinning. They prayed the sinner’s prayer and got instantly fixed. In which case, why do they even need Jesus anymore?
I’ll pray for your eyes to be opened.
There’s a lot that can be said for both of your comments
That would be good to avoid, because the outcome is likely to be a more tyrannical government than we have now. Certainly in the short term, and perhaps in the long term, too.
Just because there was no conspiracy does not mean that individuals didn’t break any laws.
Up here in the Great White North the Freedom Convoy wasn’t a conspiracy to overthrow the government, but some individuals did violate municipal bylaws, the provincial highway traffic act, and arguably a few did commit “mischief” which is a criminal offense.
The punishment should fit the crime, and governments have gone way overboard in terms of proportionate response, but that doesn’t mean laws weren’t violated.
Oh, yeah, I see myself as a sinner. I’m not good. I’m generally not overtly bad in a way that would be obvious to other people.
Why would you think that I’ve written anyone off? I never said that. I want them to be saved. I want them not to be hellbound.
It seems to me that this starts with the recognition of our own sinfulness, though. Salvation starts with confession and repentance. If people think that they are good, then they don’t see any need to repent. If we tell them that they are good, then we reinforce this problem.
I’m less certain about what you mean when you say that I am “unable or unwilling to see the good in people.” I never said that.
I agree that there is some good in people, to a greater or lesser degree. Yet we are all sinners, evildoers. I do like celebrating the good, but this does not exclude recognizing and fighting against the evil. If anything, evil seems to have increased quite a bit in our country, in our lifetimes.
I think that you’re right about most people trying to do good and to be good, but they’re mostly so depraved that they think that they’re doing this even as they are doing evil, and promoting evil, and protecting evildoers. For the most part, they seem to be doing this in the name of kindness. I do not equate kindness with being good. I do agree that it is sometimes a good thing to be kind, but it’s sometimes a good thing to be harsh and truthful.
I worry that focusing on “the good” in people causes us to lose sight of the evil inside them, too, which could lead us to forget that they are sinners in need of a savior.
Because you say stuff like this:
With COVID we had conspiracy theorists saying things like:
Thank goodness the government had social media block these dangerous theories. I mean, believing this stuff is like believing you could see a zebra in Tennessee
The people who “debunked” the Wuhan Lab Leak theory are the same people who “debunked”