Conspiracy theories - why?
The growing distrust in science may owe much to the relentless 30 plus year campaign from the climate denial industry. Indeed, I suggest climate denial has been like a “gateway drug” for other conspiracy theories, by undermining faith in scientific expertise.
The minute we make any decision—I think COVID-19 is serious; no, I’m sure it is a hoax—we begin to justify the wisdom of our choice and find reasons to dismiss the alternative.
140,157: The reported number of Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. as of July 20, as reported by the CDC.
We have been here before.
Right wing fundamentalists - including of the Islamic extrapolation - have been involved in disinformation campaigns spreading conspiracy theories to undermine the work of health authorities before this.
"It's all about the money - big business"
Notice the part about the "hero scientists", "cultropreneurs", "living icons" and "praise singers". Is this ringing any bells for you?Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1981, rumors have persisted that the deadly virus was created by the CIA to wipe out homosexuals and African Americans. Even today, the conspiracy theory has a number of high-profile believers. South African President Thabo Mbeki once touted the theory, disputing scientific claims that the virus originated in Africa and accusing the U.S. government of manufacturing the disease in military labs. When she won the Nobel Peace Prize, Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai used the international spotlight to support that theory as well. Others insist that the government deliberately injected gay men with the virus during 1978 hepatitis-B experiments in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Still others point to Richard Nixon, who combined the U.S. Army's biowarfare department with the National Cancer Institute in 1971. Though the co-discoverers of HIV — Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute and Dr. Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute in Paris — don't agree on its origins, most members of the scientific community believe the virus jumped from monkeys to humans some time during the 1930s.
"Deliberately manufactured in a laboratory for a nefarious agenda"
Annnnnd here's the connection between religious right wing patriarchy and this particular crop of conspiracy theories:
Yes. The same Doug Wilson listed in this roll call of pedophiles and sexual criminals in the leadership of conservative church circles.
Do you really want your Coronavirus infromation and political stance dictated to you by the likes of Doug Wilson, et al? Do you expect these arch-authoritarian misogynists to save you from immorality and 'authoritarianism'?
This pack of pedophiles is NOT going to save anyone's children from porn and pedophilia!
When we have this kind of historical precedent, why fall for it again?
"The virus doesn't exist" - heard that one lately?
Mention Ebola in Goma and you’ll hear a riot of rumors, half-truths, and conspiracy theories about the disease: that it doesn’t exist; that it’s been imported for financial gain; that it’s being used to kill people as part of an organ theft plot. A study published in September in the journal PLOS One found that 72% of respondents were dissatisfied with or mistrustful of the Ebola response and 12% believed that the disease “was fabricated and did not exist in the area.”
This is like ground-hog day:
Misinformation is a key factor in making the outbreak so difficult to stamp out, say experts. “One of the reasons why things look so bad is the great suspicion of authorities: a great suspicion that this outbreak was propagated, that it’s not real, that it’s a big hoax,” says Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “It’s made controlling Ebola very problematic.”
"FAKE NEWS", huh?
"Putting something in the vaccine" - like maybe a micro-chip??
Mistrust of governments and aid workers ran high and rumors were rife. That’s even more true in the DRC now. In September 2018, an opposition politician, Crispin Mbindule Mitono, claimed on local radio that a government lab had manufactured the Ebola virus “to exterminate the population of Beni,” a city that was one of the earliest foci of the outbreak.
Another rumor has it that the Merck vaccine renders its recipients sterile.
Noticing any familiar patterns yet?
In 2003, the world was faced with a serious and highly contagious virus, which originated in Asia. The World Health Organization identified severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as a global threat. This particular virus was exceptionally deadly, killing nearly one in 10 infected people. By 2004, SARS infected more than 8,000 people worldwide, with the majority of cases in China, Singapore and Canada. Many people speculated that the SARS virus was not a simple viral epidemic, but rather an intentional attack on certain people and on the world at large.
Some believe that the SARS virus was man-made. In particular, many believe that SARS was created for biological warfare and that the United States intentionally attacked China with the virus.
".... the virus was man made .... biological warfare ...."
I guess trudging through screeds and screeds of measured research just doesn't have the same buzz as sharing a 4-line meme generated by a Russian troll farm or a YouTube "influencer" video, huh.
Magical thinking is common when humans come under duress, but it's not helping.
Something about the deaths, the powerlessness — the seven months of limbo — left us dangerously susceptible to magical thinking.
Several forms of magical thinking have taken root
One portion of the population, of course, is living in complete or partial denial.
A quarter of adults believe a conspiracy theory that the pandemic was a planned political scheme and, as such, is not worth taking seriously.
A number of these Americans, powerless to change anything, are acclimating to what they believe is just a new normal.
They are complacent. They are numb. They have spent so long in the chronic emergency that their 'surge capacity' — the ability to cope with life-altering disasters — is depleted.
Struggling with prolonged uncertainty, they are starting to move on mentally, pushing the virus so far to the periphery that it becomes nothing more than ambient noise.
The worst part about extremist, fantastical conspiracy theories, apart from the fact that they are vehicles for right wing fascism and detach people from reality, is that they deflect and distract from actual, real concerns that we all have responsibility to do something about.
Jeremy Lent explains here:
1. Conspiracy to turn the world into a giant marketplace for the benefit of the wealthy elite
2. Conspiracy by transnational corporations to turn billions of people into addicts
3. Conspiracy to plunder the Global South for the benefit of the Global North
4. Conspiracy to hide the effects of climate breakdown for corporate profit
5. Conspiracy to grow the global economy indefinitely, while killing most of life on Earth and risking the collapse of civilization.