In Defense of Conspiracy Theorists

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by Zakary McGaha

Although I’m an accounting student I’ve taken, and passed, many college-level science courses, including two astronomy courses. If you’ve taken astronomy, you’re probably aware that physics plays a HEAVY part.

Why am I pointing this out? Because, apparently, if you’ve taken science classes and have a knowledge of physics, you think “social media platforms where you can spread disinformation at will would have to go right off the bat (Lelievre)” in order to keep flat earthers from dumbing the world down. Well…I must be the black-sheep of this proud few, because I don’t believe that at all.

A hot topic nowadays is whether “conspiracy theorists” should be allowed to theorize publicly on the internet. To me, this is a non-topic: of course they should. Dissent and speculation have pretty much given us innumerable gifts. Without the ability to question, test stuff, and prove/disprove theories, we wouldn’t have gotten very far as a species relative to every aspect of our existence.

According to the person who wrote the article “Flat Earthers and the Problem with Internet in 2019,” we’ve reached a point in our evolution in which we have to turn back the wheels of time: we need to shut people up and keep people from questioning things, because all the questions are already answered. Oh yeah, and we should all watch some YouTube channel called “Wisecrack.”

More than anything, this article asserts that we need to prioritize getting degrees at universities as oppose to…to…hearing people talk on the internet? Now, remember, they told you to look up “Wisecrack.” Apparently, that channel emphasizes good ole book learnin’. Okay, so what should we not do exactly?

With a little bit of independent thought, it becomes increasingly clear that the author of this article doesn’t want us to engage in independent thought.

This author believes that the democratization of the “web has created a lawless wasteland where every source of information is equally accessible,” which has made people settle for “entertaining” knowledge as opposed to…real knowledge? “And a conspiracy theory is way more fucking entertaining and easy to understand than a physics class.”

This dude either hates people theorizing about conspiratorial issues, or he loves physics so much that he can’t fathom people having other interests. Either way, he’s essentially saying that knowledge should be learned in a “going-to-church” sort of way, wherein the university is the church, and that any independent thought outside of the orthodoxy should be discouraged, and that platforms for people to discuss these topics “would have to go right off the bat.”

There are many flaws with this argument. Let’s assume our society devolves into an authoritarian nightmare and all “questioners” are done away with, along with all free-speech internet platforms. The only people left are akin to babies salivating in eager anticipation of University Mama’s next spoonful of 100% accurate information.

Would these salivating sycophants be able to take the torch and update the dogma? Would there be room for discussion that goes above and beyond what University Mama put on the spoon? Who knows, but I’m thinking not since they wouldn’t even be allowed to talk about their repressed questions on social media.

So I’m assuming they’d have to be “elected” into Pope-like roles if they wanted to do anything beyond updating whatever was on University Mama’s spoon…and we all know that people with such positions of power never do anything for reasons beyond the public good (sarcasm very much intended).

Another flaw in the article’s argument rests on the fact that it doesn’t point out exactly who the stupid people are who need to be oppressed for the common good; the people who are referred to in this ominous-sounding sentence: “We’ll eventually get rid of them, but the problem is going to persist if we don’t act on it.”

Is it just flat earthers we should fuck over? Trump is brought up too. I guess everyone who voted for him is just as stupid as a flat earther, so we should take away their internet privileges as well. What about other college-educated people who don’t agree with our college-educated collective on a whole slew of various issues? University Mama says your ass is grounded!!!!

So, in essence, anyone who doesn’t agree with the mainstream institutions on everything needs to be isolated from the rest of the population because they haven’t been baptized. And they’re stupid. And they’re ugly. And University Mama knows all! Repent! Repent! Join us or perish!

You may not believe it, but I’ve met several people at university who were either pro-Trump or conservative…and that includes professors. I even had one who talked about listening to Alex Jones, although he disagreed with his comments on 9/11.

Taking away people’s internet privileges because they might ask uncomfortable questions or talk about uncomfortable topics isn’t going to solve anything: it’ll only create resentment that’s bred from repression. Professors shouldn’t be the fucking rulers of public discourse. Newsflash: THEY DON’T ALL AGREE WITH EACH OTHER…especially physics professors.

Independent thought is not only possible: it’s probable. Books can be purchased and read by anyone with the brain and the means; same thing with religion: anyone can read the Bible, Quran, etc.

Anyone who assumes they have the authority…cough cough divine authority gurgle…to tell other people what they can and can’t talk about on the internet is tooting their own horn. No one is going to repress dissent; no one is going to repress speculation.

These things, I would argue, are inherent to humans. I don’t know about you all, but anyone who groups all conspiracy theorists into the “flat earthers” category in order to justify regulating speech on the internet sure draws dissent from me.

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