Dear Conspiracy Theorists,
There. I said it.
It’s not me. It’s you.
And I mean, it’s REALLY YOU.
I wanted to do this face-to-face but there are just SOOO many of you conspiracy theorists out there that it would be virtually impossible for me to break up with all of you in-person.
Yes, I know how much you enjoy wasting countless hours of my life trying to convince me that the cabal of shape-shifting extraterrestrial reptilian overlords that rule our not-overheating flat Earth want to fry our vaccinated brains with 5G towers and chemtrails.
“But it all makes perfect sense!” you say, as you feverishly scour the internet “doing your own research” to find memes, fringe websites, and YouTube “evidence” to “support” your points.
It’s exhausting when, every time you ask me to “prove” there’s NOT a conspiracy, I provide it to you in the form of scientific-evidence, which you reflexively dismiss and claim only “proves” the conspiracy is real.
Likewise, you think a lack of evidence to disprove the non-existent conspiracy only “proves” its existence 🤦♂️.
“But the truth is OUT THERE!” you shriek.
You want the truth?
Here’s a truth bomb for you:
The brutally honest truth is, you’ve become an insufferable festering blister on our relationship and you’ve left me no other option but to cut it off like the gangrenous limb it’s become.
Our separation is probably for the best because I just don’t think I’m “woke AF” enough for you.
You insult me with names like “sheeple” and “New World Order minion” and arrogantly bark out “wakey, wakey!” “do your own research,” “go down the rabbit hole,” “question everything,” “I’m just starting a conversation,” or “I’m just asking the question.”
But you see, that’s just it.
You don’t have the requisite science training or basic understanding of the issues to be forming the intelligent questions that need to be asked or starting the conversations that need to be started.
Last I checked, you didn’t learn one bee’s dick worth of microbiology or immunology at cosmetology school.
So no, you don’t get a seat at the adults table.
You don’t know what you don’t know
You’re obnoxiously overconfident about your knowledge of the world and what (you think) is “really going on” (you know, because you’re woke AF, n stuff).
But the #irony is that you don’t know shit about much and you remain blissfully ignorant to your own ignorance.
And this has a name: the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
Those with little actual knowledge about a topic tend to be overconfident in their abilities and “think” they know a lot more than they actually do (i.e., high confidence despite low knowledge).
On the other hand, actual subject matter experts that actually DO know a LOT about a topic remain humbly aware of the limits of their knowledge, and they reach out to other specialists to help them understand complex subjects beyond their expertise.
The tyranny of this whole thing is that it’s a vicious self-perpetuating cycle.
The more ignorant you are (and confident in your beliefs), the more you try to push your conspiracy theories.
And the more you rightfully get called out, the more it reinforces your belief in the said conspiracy.
Echo chambers and bubbles
It really breaks my heart that it’s come to this because deep down I think you’re a good person with good intentions.
But that doesn’t make you any less wrong.
You’ve really changed for the worse since you started spending inordinate amounts of time in the echo chambers of anti-vaccine and 5G Facebook groups.
See, what you might not know is that the more time you spend clicking around your favourite conspiracy pages on social media, the more the networks’ built-in algorithms feed you a steady diet of similar false and misleading information.
Savvy advertisers who want to make a buck off your ignorance can micro-target you based on which pages and groups you visit.
You’re literally stuck in an alternate reality bubble and you don’t even see it. In fact, by design, you CAN’T see it.
No, more like asleep AF. Wakey wakey!
You’re also a hypocrite.
You tell me to “question everything,” yet not once have you ever bothered to reflect on and question your own bullshit theories.
You spend hours questioning science-based evidence, yet you won’t spend five minutes source and fact checking the conspiracy videos and memes you LOVE to share.
You bash scientists as “know-nothing, inept shills for the new world order,” which is a bit rich coming from you since you don’t know shit about science.
And I don’t mean “Wow, That’s Fun!”
In fact, it has been anything BUT fun.
It’s been mentally exhausting. And you’re only adding to the big disinformation turd clogging the pipes of rational, evidence-based public discourse, which has left us all neck deep in bullshit.
Thing is, I really don’t care if you screw yourself but, if you think I’m going to idly stand by and let you screw the rest of the world with unfounded bullshit, well, I’m going to have something to say about that.
Paradoxes and contradictions
The paradox of your entire argument is that:
- The trained experts are “inept, hopeless know-nothings” and yet, by your logic;
- These same “inept, hopeless know-nothings” are also brilliant masters of manipulation capable of expertly coordinating inordinate numbers of government, corporate, and private employees in a global conspiracy to subjugate the masses to their sinister will.
Don’t you think you’re giving them far too much credit?
No, I’m serious.
It’s not a rhetorical question.
How can so many “idiot” conspirators pull this off if they’re so stupid?
Conspiracies are good business
Is there a conspiracy?
Yes, but you’re the butt of the joke.
Conspiracies are good business and they need gullible, non-critical non-thinkers like you to keep their cash cow well fed.
The easiest thing in the world is to snip video clips and quotes out of context, create a fear- or anger-stoking meme, and spoon feed it to you by social media targeting.
Alex Jones, the American conspiracy theorist who claimed the Sandy Hook school massacre was an “inside job” and then blamed it on his psychosis, was ordered to stop selling a bogus silver cure for coronavirus.
And Australia’s Pandemic Pete Evans has repeatedly posted all sorts of batshit crazy theories on social media about coronavirus, 5G, and activated almonds – Damn you Pete, why did you have to drag almonds into this?!
Like many other promoters of conspiracy theories, Pete likes to beat the “follow the money” drum and claim that his critics are all motivated by profit.
But whatever you do, don’t look at Pete’s own conflicts of interest, including spruiking an unproven device to treat coronavirus for about $15,000 AUD each.
He was promptly and justifiably fined $25,000 AUD by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for promoting the gadget to his social media following.
The realms of “possibility”
Many times I’ve heard you say, “…yeah, but isn’t it ‘possible’ that <insert conspiracy theory here>?”
My short answer is no, but let’s expand on this topic a bit.
Sure there’s a remote, infinitesimally small 0.00000001% possibility that the Queen of England shagged a giraffe in the Botswanan Embassy in London and later gave birth to what is now publicly known as Prince Charles.
It’s ‘possible,’ but not likely.
In a word: evidence – or lack thereof.
Because any asshole on the planet can say whatever the f*ck he wants, whether it’s true, false, or just batshit crazy.
Granted, I’ll concede that Prince Charles has a sort of giraffesque je-ne-sais-quoi, but any rational, level-headed person would probably chalk it up to an uncanny coincidence rather than the cause and effect result of the Queen Mum shagging a… well, you know what I mean.
You with me?
Let me give you a more personal example so this makes more sense to you.
Say someone in your local mommy anti-vaccine group on Facebook accuses you of abusing your children.
The allegations are false and there is no evidence AT ALL to support them.
You react and instinctively shout back in capital letters: “THERE’S NO PROOF I BEAT MY CHILDREN!”
Your argument is quickly countered with “THERE’S NO PROOF YOU DON’T BEAT YOUR CHILDREN!”
You plead with your fellow Facebook citizens in the virtual town square, “Please, you HAVE to believe me! I’m innocent of these accusations.”
But the more you plead your innocence, the more they’re not having it.
“Ahhh yeah, likely story! Look at those crocodile tears! All guilty people claim they’re innocent!”
The point is, the onus is on the accuser to provide credible, independent, objectively verifiable evidence that corroborates the accusations, NOT on you to have to waste your time trying to prove you’re not a child abuser.
This is exactly how rational people feel trying to field your rapid-fire shock and awe conspiracy theories pinballing all over the place.
With you, it’s always the carnival shell game with the truth and it’s virtually impossible to keep up.
Before I’ve even had a chance to catch my breath, you’ve already moved onto the next conspiracy du jour.
You don’t “believe in science”
You say things like, “Well, I don’t care what the science says. I don’t believe in science.”
And that’s just it. Science is not something you “believe in” or not. It’s not a religion.
Science is a slow, careful, systematic, and methodical way of observing nature, unlike conspiracy theories which are haphazard, quickly snowball out of control, and travel at the speed of Wi-Fi.
But whether or not you “believe in science,” your ignorance to it can still kill you just the same.
Virginia Pastor Gerald O. Glenn, who ignored social distancing warnings and vowed to keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital,” died of COVID-19 after holding church services.
In Texas, a 30-year-old man who thought coronavirus was just a big hoax contracted the virus and died after attending a “COVID party.”
And if the “hoax” virus doesn’t kill you, you can still end up with permanent lung damage.
Yes, I know how you love to bitch and moan that “wearing a mask tramples on your constitutional rights,” but given the nature and urgency of the pandemic, wearing a mask is a social responsibility that can help control the outbreak and let you get back to your hairdresser sooner.
The science behind conspiracy theories
But why is it that you believe all these batshit crazy conspiracy theories?
Science – that thing you don’t “believe in” – has answers.
Since you lost your job and have had a little too much time on your hands, you’ve really had it in for the “elites” that you feel have screwed you.
Moulding et al. (2016) found that variables related to alienation – isolation, powerlessness, normlessness, and disengagement from social norms – correlated with belief in conspiracy theories.
Research by Lantian et al. (2017) found a correlation between the ‘need for uniqueness’ and a belief in conspiracy theories.
…people high in need for uniqueness should be more likely than others to endorse conspiracy beliefs because conspiracy theories represent the possession of unconventional and potentially scarce information.
Moreover, conspiracy theories rely on narratives that refer to secret knowledge (Mason, 2002) or information, which, by definition, is not accessible to everyone, otherwise it would not be a secret and it would be a well-known fact.
People who believe in conspiracy theories can feel “special,” in a positive sense, because they may feel that they are more informed than others about important social and political events.–Social Psychology (2017), 48(3), 160–173
In terms of cognitive processes, they found that:
…people with stronger conspiracy beliefs are more likely to overestimate the likelihood of co-occurring events, to attribute intentionality where it is unlikely to exist, and to have lower levels of analytic thinking.–Social Psychology (2017), 48(3), 160–173
Finally, arrogance and a grandiose sense of self-importance is associated with belief in conspiracy theories.
Our findings can also be connected to recent research demonstrating that individual narcissism, or a grandiose idea of the self, is positively related to belief in conspiracy theories. Interestingly, Cichocka et al. (2016) found that paranoid thought mediates the relationship between individual narcissism and conspiracy beliefs.–Social Psychology (2017), 48(3), 160–173
For the disenfranchised, social media conspiracy groups allow for a sense of belonging and commiseration over a shared distrust of “the man” and his “master agenda.”
Is this what we’ve become?
Is this the final culmination of the 1990s Beavis and Butt-head experiment where being foolish and ignorant are “woke AF?”
Was the 2006 movie Idiocracy – where they watered crops with Gatorade and wondered why they weren’t growing – actually a crystal ball-gazing documentary that predicted the present Dumbfukistan of gullibility in which we’re currently living?
I’m sure none of this is registering for you and you probably think (ironically) that I “can’t be helped.”
But I’m not trying to convince you because I don’t think there’s hope for you.
My only true hope is that others sitting on the fence, who are confused and unsure what to believe, might read this letter and it will help guide them down a path of sanity and rational thinking.
Maybe I’ll see you ’round… but hopefully not.