Good morning, and welcome back to the Bright Morning newsletter! We hope that everyone is taking advantage of the wonderful weather that we have been having (at least in Southern Ontario, or as we like to call it, The People’s Republic of Lockdown).
There is not much housekeeping to attend to before we begin, and so we will jump in right away. But first, we would like to remind readers to please share, comment, and like our work so that we know if we are headed in the right direction.
Nuancing Conspiracy Theories
“Conspiracy Theory” is a phrase that we have all heard a lot over the past year. Like the words racism, sexism, homophobia, and so on, conspiracy theory is also a term that is losing its meaning - and fast. This is because it has been weaponized as a catch-all phrase to discredit any one person or group who is questioning the narratives, motivations, and policies of the parties in power.
This is a tough needle to thread because there are legitimate conspiracy theorists out there. People Like David Icke or Alex Jones are known for propagating falsehoods and lies, such as their respective claims that COVID-19 is transmitted through 5G towers or that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax.
However, as ridiculous as these statements are, sometimes there are kernels of truth baked into the claims of conspiracy theorists. The best example was when Alex Jones propagated the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which was based around the idea that the Clinton Foundation organized underground sex trafficking rings with minors. Of course, Pizzagate was mostly false, but after the murder (not suicide) of convicted pedophile and rapist Jeffrey Epstein, it was revealed that Bill Clinton was a frequent flyer on Epstein’s private jet, believed to be called the Lolita Express (yikes), to Epstein’s private island. Other notable guests included Kevin Spacey. So, is it really plausible to believe that Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and other monolithic figures - all of whom had close ties to Epstein - knew nothing about Epstein’s crimes?
Of course, the murder of Epstein has been covered with as much dirt as possible, but it is incidents like this which prove the importance of free speech. That is, sometimes the most ridiculous claims have some kernel of truth deep inside of them, and so it should be up to us to seek out that truth.
Now that we have made this distinction, please keep it in mind as we examine how some of the most condemned “conspiracy theories” over the past year have miraculously gained support.
Conspiracy #1: The Lab Leak Hypothesis
If we wind back the clock to the beginning of the pandemic, the Lab Leak Hypothesis - the argument that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a lab - was treated with intense scorn. Even to this day, legacy media outlets, such as Forbes, continue calling the theory a “conspiracy,” even if they begrudgingly admit that there is a “germ of truth” to the claim that the virus was created by people. As evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying state, many scientists were either afraid to speak out or smeared as “conspiracy theorists” for merely proposing the idea that we ought to determine if the virus did, in fact, come from a lab. And is this not a reasonable question to ask? Why would this argument be treated with so much condemnation?
Well, all roads lead back to Donald Trump. From the onset of the pandemic, Trump insisted on letting the world know that the virus did, in fact, originate in China. At the time, institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) - which have uncomfortable ties to the Chinese Communist Party (to say the least) - were reluctant to assign blame to China, even going so far as to push their official, propagandistic narrative that there was no “human-to-human transmission [of the virus].” In fact, when developing a name for the disease caused by the virus, the WHO landed on “COVID-19” because they wanted to “avoid stigma” (even though illnesses such as the Spanish Flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and the Zika virus all refer to the geographical origin of the virus). This is why there was a semi-official ban on calling COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus,” with legacy media outlets asserting that it was a “racist” term.
However, Trump saw through this and continued to remind the world that “it’s China’s fault. It should never have happened.” He was correct, but since this is the age of social media and political religions, if Trump is for something, then polite society must, by necessity of virtue signaling, be against it. And so, from the beginning of the pandemic, the virus was a culture war focal point and we were cursed with dishonest discourse, half-truths, and outright lies.
Now that Trump is no longer in office, though, the question of the virus’ origins is reclaiming attention and the Lab Leak Theory is becoming a more accepted hypothesis. More and more scientists are now openly stating that the Lab Leak Hypothesis “cannot be ruled out,” with the former director of the CDC not only agreeing that the theory cannot and should not be dismissed, but that it could also be true. Referring to Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying again, the two have been arguing for the investigation of the Lab Leak Hypothesis from the beginning. Their rationale is that bat-borne viruses do not transmit well indoors because bats are not indoor animals. But as we have seen, COVID-19 transmits extremely well indoors, and so this alone is worth investigating.
Therefore, what was once regarded as an outlandish conspiracy theory is now becoming a more plausible explanation. There ought to be a feeling of vindication for scientists like Weinstein and Heying and a feeling of shame for people like Dr. Fauci (and other institutional shills) who weaponized the phrase “conspiracy theorist.” This callousness has obstructed public inquiries into the origin of the virus for over a year, and were it not for this deliberate dishonesty (and propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party), we could have had our answers by now. Nonetheless, this at least proves that freedom of speech is an important tool for the pursuit of truth, even if it invites the occasional witch hunt.
Conspiracy #2: Bill C-10 and Trudeau’s Thought Police
The audience might recall our podcast discussion from two weeks ago where we spoke about Bill C-10 in Canada and its implications for freedom of speech. However, in case readers are unfamiliar with this legislation - which is getting closer and closer to being passed now that it has the support of the Bloc Quebecois - allow us to fill you in on the details.
As Canadian MP Pierre Poilievre demonstrated, Trudeau and the federal Liberals are working overtime to paint Bill C-10 as a supposedly harmless bill that would bring tech giants, such as Netflix and Amazon, under the control of the Broadcast Act to “create a level playing field.” This means that in theory, Netflix and Amazon would have to broadcast an approved amount of Canadian-made content for its Canadian users.
Of course, Trudeau is not known for his commitment to truth and ethics, and so we can be certain that his assurance of the bill’s hypothetical harmlessness is worth as much as the gum on our shoes. What the bill actually does is provide the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) - Canada’s federal regulatory agency for broadcasting - with oversight duties for most, if not all, internet content produced in Canada. The Liberals also quietly removed the exemption for social media users, and so social media accounts such as YouTube channels, Twitter pages, and newsletters such as the one you are currently reading, will likely be subjected to CRTC supervision.
Legal experts and former CRTC commissioners have described Bill C-10 as a “hammer” with major implications for free speech. In fact, one of the most prominent critics of the bill is Michael Geist, a Law professor at the University of Ottawa, who called C-10 one of the most egregious assaults on freedom of speech he has ever seen. Geist also examined memos from the Liberals confirming that C-10 will not be restricted to tech giants, but will apply to podcasts, newsletters, audiobooks, and even workout apps. In other words, all internet-based content will be under the control and supervision of Trudeau’s Liberals. Therefore, Bill C-10 turns the Liberal-controlled CRTC into a literal thought police organization who will determine what Canadians can see, hear, read, watch, and speak while on the internet.
When it comes to internet regulation of this sort, the only other notable example is the Chinese Communist Party, who employs a similar practice. Then again, Trudeau once famously stated that he “admires” China’s basic dictatorship, and so this assault on freedom of speech cannot come as a total surprise.
So, the evidence is in plain sight. We can see, with our own eyes, what this bill is capable of. But when Trudeau was pressed by Pierre Poilievre about the implications of the bill during question period, how do you think he responded? He not only referred to the criticism as a (ding ding!) “conspiracy theory,” but also suggested that bill would somehow benefit Canadians. Thus, Bill C-10 is another example of political elites telling us what they are going to do (in this case, regulating the internet), and then when they are faced with objections to their own, explicitly-stated intentions, they use the phrase “conspiracy theory” as a shield to deflect criticism.
Conspiracy #3: The Great Reset
The pattern of political and cultural leaders stating their intentions and then calling criticism of those intentions “conspiracy theories” is something that occurs with increasing frequency.
Another example of this pattern in action is in leaders’ responses to criticism of The Great Reset - an initiative led by billionaires and world leaders in the World Economic Forum (WEF) to rebuild and “reimagine” societies following the COVID-19 pandemic. The ambition of this initiative is to empower tech companies, who are already multinational, monopolistic, and accountable to no one, with even more power so that they can hypothetically assist in economic reconstruction.
What is conveniently left out, however, is that the initiative is not concerned with the little things, such as our civil liberties. This is why tech companies have been the most vocal in their support for controversial and unconstitutional vaccine passports (to see our full criticism on vaccine passports, refer to our article from April 14). There are even articles on the WEF website that explicitly state that by 2030, we (meaning the lowly middle and working-class proles) “will own nothing and be happy.”
Yet, when pressed with criticism over the obvious encroachment on civil liberties, leaders and legacy media outlets dismiss these concerns as “baseless conspiracy theories.” Of course, there are absurd actors whose rhetoric is conspiratorial, but this mostly comes from hive minds in the dark corners of the internet. But this should not distract us from the legitimate and warranted criticism of tech and political institutions. We could go down a rabbit hole with this, but we will instead leave you with a quote from a Forbes article which called the initiative “another example of wealthy, powerful elites saving their consciences with faux efforts to help the masses, and in the process make themselves even wealthier and more powerful.” We have all seen unethical behaviour from institutions and leaders over the past year and a half, and so is criticism like this really that “baseless”?
Further Listening 🎙️
Thank you all for staying with us during this article. It is tough to talk about conspiracy theories because there is always the risk of perpetuating falsehoods, but we hope this was a fun and insightful examination into the weaponization of the term.
That being said, we encourage you to listen to historian Niall Ferguson on the authoritarianism that is baked into Covid lockdowns.
See you next week.