Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Conspiracy theories, a noose around the neck of truth and human civility

If you think that trump’s megaphone declaring the main stream media “fake news” and the Russian investigation a ‘which hunt’ and his administration being “under siege” by the Democrats who will not accept responsibility for losing the election, then you might have been sleeping under a rock for the last few months.

The latest “conspiracy theory” complete with internet crowds of believers holds that the Sandy Hook massacre of first and second grade children and their teachers did not happen. They misrepresent it as another hoax (similar to trump’s attitude on global warming and climate change) and they are harassing the grieving parents accusing them of selling their children to a trafficking ring in smuggled children. Alex Jones, the voice of this conspiracy theory, was recently interviewed by Megan Kelly, new host of an MSNBC Sunday night program, recently of Fox news and trump target, is naturally arousing vehement and also tragic emotions among the grieving parents for his callousness contempt for the truth and for the dead children.

Formerly we had the holocaust deniers, Ernst Zundel who lived in Toronto before      his extradition back to Germany, being one of the more prominent North American voices for their contemptible cohort of disbelievers. And then we had the tobacco companies denying that their products generated cancer, and pouring millions into a disinformation campaign that stalled the truth, and sustained their profits, while killing millions, for decades. And then we had (and still have) global warming and climate change deniers like trump and the coal mining companies among others whom David Suzuki characterizes as a disaster on climate change.

Disavowing empirical facts, literally slaughtering and then burying those facts, is a legacy of every military conflict from history. To normalize that slaughter, far more significant and historically deforming than all of the abortions ever performed, both therapeutic and back-alley, is a perspective, attitude, believe and practice “up with which we will not put” (to quote Churchill). We, all citizens on the planet, have very few defenses left to protect us from the abuse of lying, deceiving, distorting and conspiracy theorists who seek to dominate our lives. The truth continues to hold our only hope for, not victory, but survival.

And we are talking about not merely political survival, nor planetary survival, but also personal survival. If the truth can and will be so defamed and disavowed in our public discourse, then of course it will be denied in our professional and personal lives. Our privacy is already threatened by the incompatibility of out-of-date laws and the out-of-control development of technology.

Just the night before last, my wife and I were involved in a car accident, which required our staying in our vehicle until police arrived. While we waited, some idiot with a smart phone must have taken a picture of the incident and posted it, without our permission and even without our knowledge to a facebook page, for the world to witness, and from which to draw whatever spurious conclusions. We are appalled at the abuse of our privacy, the ubiquitous presence of snooping cameras and our total powerlessness to prevent or to have the photo removed. (And we were not at fault. Imagine the wrath of the other driver!)

So, pushing back must continue and also grow louder and more effective:

·      on behalf of the grieving parents of Sandy Hook,
·      the grieving families of cancer victims whose lives were cut short by the greed and profiteering of the tobacco companies, and
·      the million of coal miners whose filled with coal dust, and
·      the millions of asbestos workers whose lungs filled with asbestos fibres,  and
·      the countless garment workers in the developing world whose lives have ended or been ruined by faulty building structures, greedy and unscrupulous capitalist owner/operators and omitted monitors and inspectors from the developed world countries and their own capitalists who cannot be excused for their complicity
·      the families of victims in Sandy Hook, Columbine, San Bernardino, London, Manchester, Paris, Madrid, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, and New York (this list is becoming endless!)
·      the refugees drowning in the Mediterranean and their grieving families from warlords who refuse to seek truce and greedy smugglers who refuse to use safe boats

There is a growing army of people who are finding themselves (ourselves) caught in a vortex of unscrupulous venomous and potentially deadly conspiracy theorists, among whom must be counted the current occupant of the Oval Office. Whether we are suffering from the conspiracy theories of the trump campaign, the putin regime, the right-wing media, the terrorists or the dictators like Bashar Assad, or the refusal to answer legitimate questions by the politicians grafted to trump, we are living in a world “under the looking glass” and that world is simply neither sustainable nor generative of healthy living.

This morning’s news says law suits on the abuse of power, and the non-compliance with the emoluments clause have been brought by the Attorneys General in  Maryland and D.C. and Senator Blumenthal, respectively, against the president.

This piece applauds these legal initiatives and all other initiatives that plead the case for truth, and the pushback against the conspiracy theorists who wish to shape reality to conform with their tragic and deplorable need for absolute power and control, no matter how big the organization or how desperate the injustices they wish to perpetrate and/or deny.

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