And they're not happy with you
Not to spam your comments, but one more thing. I do not find the proliferation of conspiracy theories to be random. I see it as a symptom of a system corrupted by lies and manipulation. It seems people have this intuitive sense when they are being lied to. Unfortunately, its often hard to prove the lies, so they are commonly just left with this feeling of distrust and a vague sense something is off or untrue about the official narratives. Unfortunately, suspecting a narrative is false is not particularly helpful, because the best lies are mostly true, and good luck finding the error in sophisticated claims that are outside of your direct experience. How in the world do I know what is actually happening in China, for instance? I don't. I have no ability to detect the lie in anything China might say on the basis of possessing direct knowledge of the truth. Instead, I am merely able to detect patterns attendant to lies and deception. But suspecting a narrative is false does not mean the prevailing counter narrative is truth, and so often the absolute most you can conclude from a false narrative is that the false narrative is not what is happening. But being able to exclude one narrative does not necessarily help you find the true one. With only one narrative excluded, the truth could possibly be anything else. Literally anything else is possible, and the problem is compounded by not knowing who you can trust to give you a greater perspective, especially in a time of deceit, lies, and information control.
That is the problem with authoritarian lies of the type where only the regime knows the whole truth. It forces the general public to speculate, with the only effective limit on each person's speculation being the neurotic makeup of the speculator, their creativity and power of their imagination, their intellect, and the breadth of their perspective. Thus, people will tell these elaborate stories based on their extremely limited observations and understanding of the world, and so crazy theories begin to proliferate. But truth slowly emerges the more such stories are shared and aggregated, through a process that somewhat resembles regression analysis. That is why free speech is so vital to the truth, and why censorship is equally vital to the liar.
So it appears to me the manipulative, lying mouthpieces in the media and government create the conditions under which conspiracy theories flourish, and then they gaslight and undermine the crazy conspiracy theorists they helped to create, which is demonic to its core.
Thank you for this insightful piece, particularly the connection between the list of truths and government solutions.
Not sure what to do with this thought, and it is currently in the category of ideas that I call "this is possibly true but needs more research" but the flat earth phenomenon has been bugging me for a few months. Not enough to do anything about, but just something causing dissonance, inviting me to explore further. Something about seems off, and I am not talking about the theory itself (although it appears to follow a pattern common to conspiracy theories). Instead, there is something inorganic about the whole movement. Something fake. Like a con-job. Something as insincere and inauthentic as so many galvanizing culture-war front line moments, like the BLM riots or Rittenhouse or the Ivermectin story or Rogan. All of those moments felt contrived and orchestrated, where a grand narrative was pushed based on only a handful of real facts and a bunch of made up ones. As if each of these contrived issues needed to come with the standard Hollywood disclaimer "based on a true story" or, as the movie American Hustle disclaimed, "Some of this actually happened."
Anyway, I've seen some legitimate news articles recently about several "scientists" or experts in Britain confessing the government waged a psych-ops fear campaign on its citizens. I saw one for another government too, maybe Canada. I can't remember. And then a few weeks ago I was deeply troubled by the final section of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s "Fauci" book where he discussed CIA and other similar government propaganda campaigns. Even if only 1/10 of the picture he was painting is true, the implications are truly disturbing. And the problem is that the theory that someone (or several someones - either in concert or separately using similar tactics, methods, and means) are orchestrating disinformation / propaganda campaigns is a hypothesis that is both (a) possibly true and (b) has considerable explanatory power. To put it differently, I can't prove it false yet. More importantly, it is a theory based on demonstrably real and true facts.
So it occurred to me that an authoritarian agenda needs some way to control independent thinkers - people like Joe Rogan. And since overtly authoritarian control is not currently possible in the west (such as governments exercising complete control and censoring all communication mediums, including podcasts, the internet, email traffic), the next best thing is to undermine independent thinkers as a whole, especially the group that is reflexively contrarian and counter-cultural. And where do such types tend to congregate? Youtube, podcasts, and Reddit type environments. So all you have to do is sow sophisticated conspiracy theories that are based on hard to detect falsehoods and subtle fallacies. This isn't hard to do for skilled manipulators, as any magician knows how foolproof misdirection is.
Once I read Kennedy's book, the question just naturally appeared: what if the flat-earth phenomenon is intentional - a way to marginalize the contrarians and independent thinkers. A way to create a clearly false, loony category that all questioners and independent thinkers can be cast into, thus automatically discrediting them. Have you not noticed how anyone who questions the obviously manipulated covid mainstream narratives gets quickly marginalized as a flat-earther and conspiracy theorist? You think that is just a coincidence?
Based on cursory research yesterday, some tinfoil hat websites claim the flat-earth conspiracy has its origins with Eric Dubay's 2014 flat-earth book and documentary. Since then, flat-earth theory has exploded on the internet under what is described as a sustained disinformation campaign using trademark mind control tactics. Eric Dubay has also apparently been outed as a CIA operative. I haven't gotten to the bottom of these claims nor examined the source evidence, but either this is a nice case of confirmation bias, or there is indeed something to explore further. I'm betting on the latter, as there seems to be patterns to many cultural phenomenon that make the most sense if something like this is afoot - things like Qanon and pizzagate.