Over the past few months, I’ve learned a number of interesting things from conservative media.
For example, I’ve learned that Covid-19 is no worse than the flu—wait, check that—it is no worse than a really bad cold. So we should all stop cowering in fear, jam ourselves into a crowded bar (without a face mask of course), and inhale a big old lungful of freedom. It’s all a hoax!
Also, I’ve learned that coronavirus is a highly lethal weapon that was created in a lab, then unleashed on America as an insidious plot to kill millions and destroy the country.
Now, you might think that those beliefs are completely contradictory.
But that’s just what they want you to think.
Yes, these are the golden days for people who love a good conspiracy theory. Or for people who have a soft spot for full-on lunacy. Or for sociopaths who want to undermine society and turn us all into babbling, paranoid freaks. For any of these people, these are the good times.
For the rest of us, these days suck.
You see, it’s bad enough that we are all preoccupied with the thought of ending up unemployed and hooked into a ventilator. The real world is sufficiently horrifying, thank you.
But no, we have C-level celebrities and right-wing demagogues overruling medical professionals because doctors are, you know, in on it.
Meanwhile, across all social media, we hear shouts to “stop being a sheep and think for yourself,” a phrase usually screeched by people who have formed their entire worldview based on one YouTube video from a disgraced scientist and forwarded emails from acquaintances who barely graduated high school.
And of course, there is Q, an amalgamation of madness so twisted that it is difficult to believe that its adherents are not enacting some bizarro performance-art piece.
As we know, people who worship Q are proud of seeking the truth, which is odd in that they believe literally anything that an unknown person with unknown motivations and unknown credibility says on the internet. If this Q individual—who again they know absolutely nothing about and has not called a single thing correctly—told them that ducks were secretly cows, they would believe it.
This is what thinking for yourself looks like.
Keep in mind that there is no liberal equivalent to the Q movement. It is yet another odd manifestation of the right-wing mindset that conspiracies are more prevalent among conservatives (along with their tendencies to be more fearful and to possess absolutely no sense of humor).
In any case, Q fans and Plandemic believers and 5G truthers and others of their tribe all insist that their beliefs are true because they cannot be disproven.
Indeed, can you definitely prove that lizard people are not running the post office? I didn’t think so.
However, what these lovers of speculation and heresy forget is that “there are no good conspiracy theories, because they are attractive precisely because they’re unproven, imprecise and non-falsifiable.”
Science, in contrast, rests on the assumption that theories can be verified, or replicated, or dismissed based on the evidence.
But that’s damn dull in a world that thrives on “confusion to create a sense of comfort and control when it’s in short supply,” such as when a killer virus arrives, apparently out of nowhere, to decimate society.
Instead of acknowledging that viral pandemics are part of the natural course of civilization (which they are), many Americans declare that it’s all the fault of Bill Gates, so if we can somehow stop him, everything will return to normal.
So then we enter a vicious loop where “you can’t productively question someone’s superstition, because they never really thought it was an actual explanation of how the world is.”
In this way, conspiracy theories aren’t theories at all. They aren’t hypothesis about how the world works.
They are desperate, illogical, and pathetic attempts to gain control of an uncontrollable narrative.
The result is that we now have millions of Americans who believe the government has engineered a fake crisis in order to… what exactly? Keep us at home for a few months? Exert power over our lives (and then inexplicably relinquish that power over several weeks)? Or groom us for nefarious ends that are conveniently never identified?
No, I’m pretty sure that the number of people who are petrified of being microchipped far exceeds the number of people who actively want to microchip them. I mean, nobody gives a fuck about tracking your every movement, because your every movement is boring.
But in the spirit of reaching out to my conspiratorial brothers and sisters, I propose a friendly wager. Let’s assume that coronavirus is indeed a manmade plot. Now please note that Covid-19 is the worst pandemic in a century, has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and pulverized almost every country on Earth. That can’t be easy to pull off, so this shit is not a test. This is the final gambit of the Bavarian Illuminati or the New World Order or the UN black helicopter dudes—whoever you like.
That means it’s time to put up or shut up. Five years from now, if people are no longer dying by the thousands, a malicious government has not imprisoned you, and you have not been microchipped, will you lunatics shut the fuck up permanently? Will you admit that you were wrong, and your nonsense did nothing but terrify people and poison the nation? Will you see that Covid-19 was not a means to a totalitarian end, but a horrific plague made worse by governmental incompetence?
Or will you just make up some new insanity about the ceaseless quest to destroy your freedom, even though that war never seems to actually get waged?
How will you possibly justify the next conspiracy?