A major crisis always brings old and new conspiracy theories (‘conspiracy facts’ to their devotees) out for an airing. In the community of natural health advocates , this is highly prevalent, quite reasonably, as it goes with the territory of needing to be on the lookout for where orthodox health thinking is not serving some people very well.
There is a certain popular format to the presentation of conspiracy material. Its most-often video-based, allowing for lots of use of dramatic or suspense-inducing music with voice-over, to help create a sense of fear. It usually jumps from topic to topic to create a sense that there is a whole array of powerful forces working seamlessly together to bring about terrible changes to your life. Usually wealthy people are the villains, often people who 4o years back were in a garage dreaming up how to solve some big problem and then succeeded and turned their energies to bigger problems. Big problems always get political as we know.
No-one ever seems to ask if the material is being made by people who would have an interest in provoking destructive behaviour, for example to destabilise the West to the strategic advantage of authoritarian states. It seems easier to believe in a huge conspiracy than a small one.
Here I want to mention some of the key ideas that come up, what is the grain of truth that may be in each one and why it has probably been blown-up or distorted beyond any semblance of reality.
There are documented virology research facilities in Wuhan and other parts of the world. Some groups claim the DNA sequencing means it could not possibly be man-made and others claim it must be. Ask yourself if you are ever likely to get to a definitive truth on this one ? If there was ever a topic to motivate those concerned with ensuring secrecy, they would be doing their most determined work here, as would those looking to discredit governments by trolling. So the best thing may be to forget about it as it doesn’t make much difference to your next actions unless you’re a professional investigator or have bio-weapons ambitions of your own.
Bill Gates created the virus
As a very wealthy individual (Foundation) who puts his wealth around in the world to various causes Bill attracts more venom than traditional very wealthy people who prefer superyachts. Anyone suspicious of Bill Gates fundamental motives as a person should, I think, watch the 3 part documentary on Netflix (Inside the Mind of Bill Gates) and I expect you will feel differently afterwards. Much of the anti-Gates sentiment is concerned with the idea that the Foundation is connected with vaccine promotion, particularly mandating of vaccinations against individual free-will. See the Vaccine section, but it’s worth noting that most of the Gates Foundation work on public health is focused on highly vulnerable populations in economically disadvantaged regions. Hopefully, any mandatory-vaccine-skeptic will recognise there are very different cases across the spectrum of this question: at one end of the scale mandating a vaccine against Ebola for example (if one became available) in Sierra Leone, and at the other enforcing administration of a combined MMR vaccine to a wealthy home-schooling family in Surrey or Southern California. Knowing that the principle of innoculating populations before ‘new’ infectious diseases spread is fundamentally a positive idea that few would criticise. Where modern vaccine science and politics may have gone beyond that worthy goal is debatable, but it seems wise not to forget that the basic practice has kept our populations free of some pretty unpleasant infections.
A lot of speculation has been made about 5G wireless communication being connected with the Covid 19 outbreak. There are a number of reports that state that areas where 5G has already been rolled out match exactly where Covid 19 outbreaks have occurred. In the natural health practice community we are very familiar with electro-sensitivity among some people and the idea that being present in strong fields increases the toxin output from pathogenic microbes in the body causing symptoms.
It is true that 5G has stronger signal energies, and hardware is placed closer to homes so an increase in these health phenomena is likely to be observed. We should remember that the vast majority of people do not have significant symptoms from exposure to wireless radiation in its current evolution. It is very possible that significant doses of radiation do have a detrimental long-term effect on health, and it is wise to note that the telecoms industry has not been called to account on this, with many believing it is more or less where Big Tobacco was 40 years back in its denial of effects and lobbying.
However, this is a question of quantifying the likely effects. Smoking gives rise to lung cancer in some % of the population over decades. Cellphone and other EMF radiation probably does increase the rate of some malignancies over long periods and quite probably does activate the defences of microbes. Moving from that to the idea that 5G radiation acts as a magical switch for a previously unknown virus to start killing people when it would not otherwise have done so is a rather huge leap, with no reasonable mechanism even postulated. In fact, it risks drowning out reasonable concerns about 5G rollout and proximity of masts to homes and workplaces.
Lockdown = Police State
Any politician with an authoritarian-controlling personality will of course be tempted always to implement lockdowns and curfews at the slightest provocation, and to resist there being any sunset clause or review, just as they are likely to try (and often succeed) in changing the constitutional block against them serving more than 2 or 3 or 4 terms as President. Depending on the prevailing state of democracy (seen as generally in decline over the last 10 years), these tendencies will be resisted to a greater or lesser extent.
If we think about why even the most liberal democracies have implemented lockdowns, at great economic cost, in the current crisis then while we acknowledge they may give opportunities for the potential despot, they are actually nothing to do with despotic behaviour. A novel virus of high infectiousness and significant health consequences necessitates significant behavioural changes among the whole population. Human nature is such that unless behavioural change is enforced at and beyond what is necessary to control the infection rate, people do not take on the necessary new habits.
While it may be easy to move away from lockdown in rationally staged steps, the challenge of implementing a lockdown in a very selective way during the emergence of a health crisis whose dynamics are unpredictable and have significant time-lags would be beyond almost any government to get right.
Economics: cure worse than disease ?
It has become common to hear this proposition: that the results of lockdown will be worse than the consequences of leaving people to make their own decisions. This is often associated with comments about declines in GNP based on how much work or sales are ‘lost’.
There’s a number of responses to this idea. Firstly, the dynamics of unrestrained transmission are unknown. Secondly, a major health crisis that causes death and serious morbidity at % rates even 5 or 10 times the normal rate would have consequences that can cascade far beyond the numbers apparently involved. It’s correct to point out that perhaps 1% of the population in an advanced economy each year, and the health system is geared up to manage that as a smooth flow. Current CV deaths are a small fraction of that. However, consider what happens if a finely tuned health system suddenly needs to deal with a 3 month pulse of another 1% of the population requiring hospitalisation, at the same time infecting a large proportion of healthcare professionals. Not only are the economic consequences of such a situation huge (how many people do you estimate have their working lives seriously affected for every person that is suddenly seriously ill and infectious ?) , but the social consequences of lots of bodies on the streets would require a change of life that most of us are not equipped to cope with.
Its worth remembering that measuring ourselves by our GNP growth, is very much a ‘steady state’ pastime. It suits times when underlying structures are not undergoing rapid change. Even in peaceful times the figures can be devoid of much meaning: think how the digital revolution has changed the convenience of our lives with little change in expenditure: in fact that change has also has facilitated us to get our material goods more cheaply if we want to. Really then, at a time when life is forced to change dramatically, its rather meaningless so complain about GNP falling. GNP is secondary to activity. In lockdown we find that we live with much less activity and much less energy expenditure. Of course the costs and benefits fall on people differently, but that is not related to national statistics like GNP.
Another differential to consider is that different countries may well have to make different trade-offs. In a poor country, the risk of mass-hunger is much more real than in a rich one, so taking more infection risk may be rational. That is of course different situation to when a politician in a rich country wants to end measures more quickly as they feel that good economic ‘numbers’ increase their chances of re-election.
The UK has been through an interesting experience of having a ‘gung ho’ leader who was fairly reluctant to impose restrictive measures, and who according to his father treated being sick as a form of ‘moral weakness’ then contract a serious case of coronavirus and emerge from intensive care with a rather different attitude. It’s going to be interesting to see where that story goes next.
‘New World Order’ (NWO)
This one is perennial. The phrase is generally used as if any change to the ‘world order’ must have a built-in malignancy.
The ‘world order’ is not something talked about much in the pub, but it is a phrase used in books on statesmanship and geopolitics. Henry Kissinger is a favourite demon for conspiracy theorists, probably due to his advocacy of apparently harsh US foreign policy directives during his earlier career. His 2014 book ‘World Order’, is subtitled ‘Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History’ and a reading of it not only reveals a humble fascination with the world but also gives the lie to the idea that a ‘new world order’ is a phrase to rouse suspicion or anger.
The world order shifts constantly as powers rise and fall, as populations grow and emigrate, as wars start and end, as technology mutates. Sometimes it goes through breakthrough changes such as the industrial revolution, or the toppling of a dominant power, or more slowly in the form of the interconnections formed as the world becomes more globalised due to mass travel and trade.
There is nothing inherently good (or bad) about the current pattern of relationships between different nations and regions, or about the overall distribution of political systems, or some might say about the current distribution of wealth and resources. These things are just as they are and make up today’s ‘world order’. There is nothing wrong with dreaming of a new one, and the dreams may range from utopian to a more realistic assessment of where humanity is ready to go next.
Two significant themes that come into focus as the world gets more crowded, shorter in resources and climate-challenged are the areas of civil liberties and national autonomy. Far-sighted thinkers recognise that there are inevitable conflicts between personal/national freedoms to act, and the welfare of the world as a whole. Sometimes the solutions proposed to these problems of sharing a world make people ‘I’m not having that’ or ‘ I’m not giving that up’. Just observe the attitude of powerful nations to the UN at times, when the global consensus does not suit a national agenda. Looking at the current (April 2020) situation of politics around the World Health Organisation shows us quickly that there could be a far better ‘world order’ in relation to dealing with global health crises.
These kinds of questions cannot be ducked long-term and whatever happens we will have some kind of evolving world order. Who would wish it any other way ?
Fear – a creation of ‘mainstream media’, or a natural reaction ?
As a person living in a mortal body, what is a rational reaction to the rapid emergence of a highly infectious disease or more than usual lethality, spreading quickly around the world including my neighbourhood.
If you think about it, experiencing some fear in that situation is your amygdala doing the job it was designed for – preparing you to take more cautious actions and to be on the alert to a true threat to the welfare of your physical body. (Whether you feel this is what real life is, and other spiritual questions, are a different topic.)
A popular conspiracy accusation is that ‘mainstream media’ spreads and creates fear which is the worst part of the disease. Is this in any way true ?
We could just as well say that the media reflects the fear felt by the population including the journalists and presenters, or if the content is purely factual, that is reveals fear that is already latent in the audience. I’m not sure I have ever heard it suggested that a particular piece of media content has been created in the form of a horror-story to add deliberate mystery and confusion to increase fear. So my speculation is that those of us that feel fear may wish to associate it with the report that provoked us to become aware of it. If a large number of people recognise their fear after a particular news item, the news item has not created the fear, it has just revealed it.
Is the fear in itself harmful ? That depends on what we do with it. If fear engenders panic, it clearly can produce harms. If fear simply causes us to re-adjust our priorities and optimise over time to the new situation, then it does not. There is of course left-over anxiety, which is a feature of some personalities under all circumstances, and all personalities under some circumstances, especially when we feel powerless to make changes. There is no doubt that anxiety becomes more prevalent during times like these.
I think there may be more themes to come as the crisis continues..
Depopulation agenda (Agenda 21)
This one has been surfacing also. Perhaps all that needs to be said is that for people who take responsibility in the world over decades, and that can for sure be quite a heavy job – perhaps heading-up global institutions looking to manage health, environment and other big challenges – , then you can’t just look on without thinking about what happens as 7 billion becomes 8 billion becomes 10 billion, becomes 15 billion. Someone has to form a view about what an over-crowded world would do to us, and how to respond.
What happens in the animal or plant kingdoms when a population hits the capacity of it s environment ? The adjustments can be rather brutal. Which idea do you prefer, nature’s way, or people sitting to consider how to use global institutions to help manage population growth. China’s one-child policy may not have been totally humane in our eyes, but what might have been the alternative.
Everyone can have their view on these challenges, and everyone has the ways and means to make their voice heard. It is not very productive though, to connect your views on vaccines or ID technologies with fantasies about ‘switching off’ billions of bodies. Authoritarian regimes already have ways of switching off bodies as we well know.
Behind all conspiracy thinking…
In the end it must be acknowledged that any particular prediction may come to pass, and anything going on may have been planned or manipulated behind closed doors to serve some private interest or another.
However, what almost all this material lacks, and what almost all its authors endlessly ignore is any answer to the question of what kind of world and what kind of political system they want to see, and how they intend to bring it about.
The political reality of the day comes about by the combined intentions of the people in the world, with every country’s leader reflecting the people in that nation. Changing the reality is a long-game, and it may start from the armchair, but then it needs to move into action, joining forces with others, compromising, building movements, raising funds and resources. That is all rather harder work than sitting back and watching conspiracy videos and abusing rich dudes.