“What if we can breathe in space but the government tells us we can’t so we don’t escape?”……unknown
The Oxford English Dictionary defines conspiracy theory as “the theory that an event or phenomenon occurs as a result of a conspiracy between interested parties; spec. a belief that some covert but influential agency (typically political in motivation and oppressive in intent) is responsible for an unexplained event”, and cites a 1909 article in The American Historical Review as the earliest usage example.
Undoubtedly, conspiracy theories have been around since the earliest cave dwellers attempted to reason the disappearance of woolly mammoths. Extensive research would show some spectacular examples over the centuries, but I’m going to confine this piece to those I’ve lived through.
Back in the day (my day), we all had that crazy (insert relative here) who, during any family get together and after a few beers, would explain who really killed JFK and why that whole moon landing was fake and filmed in a Hollywood movie studio. Afterwards, the more impressionable listeners would go forth and spew at other social gatherings, but for the most part, our exposures were compartmentalized within those families and social gatherings. Then technology happened. Now, instead of that occasional family gathering with drunk, crazy relatives, we have Twitter, Facebook, websites, texting, and comment threads on news articles, all providing fodder for every conspiracy theory imaginable: Holocaust never happened; Princess Diana was killed by British Special Forces; Paul is dead; AIDS was a government plot to target blacks; 9-11 was an inside job; the earth is flat (yes, that still exists); chemtrails; vaccinations are bad; if you support Law Enforcement you must support the NRA also; Jade Helm 15 was really an invasion of Texas; the New World Order; climate change is a farce; blah, blah, blah. All that aside, nothing, NOTHING can compete with the whoppers that arise every election cycle.
Raise your hand if you were whining in 2008 and 2012 about Obama taking your guns if elected. Now raise your hand if you lost one single solitary gun during the last 8 years due to the Obama Presidency. (Crickets) And finally, raise your hand if you’re doing the same bitching about losing your guns if Hillary Clinton is elected. Same crap, different year.
I freely admit that I’ve recently taken a stand and began to remove and/or unfollow people on social media due to their, in my opinion, insane posts. Additionally, if you are in a position of power, or are a leader of a public or private entity, and you lack a social media policy for your underlings, resulting in their on-line rambling, sorry but you’re also gone from my social media life. I write and publish this blog as an individual. If however, I fell under the guise or color of a public or private entity, or if I advertised present or past associations with specific agencies, I would expect the same criticisms.
But I digress. This entire rant came about after reading a comment on a USA Today article this morning. It was a fairly bland article concerning the shakeup of Donald Trump‘s campaign staff. The comment went something like this:
Hillary Clinton will win the general election. But prior to her inauguration, she will be indicted and jailed for various offenses. Since the inauguration hasn’t taken place yet, her VP, Tim Kaine, cannot assume office. The comment then followed with several paragraphs explaining why the standard next-in-line process couldn’t possibly work. And then, this: “The entire plan has been orchestrated by Obama and he ultimately will the use his executive powers to remain in office for a third term.” Ordinarily, I’d pass this off as the typical rambling of a drunk uncle, or in this case of a female poster, aunt, however, well over 200 people further expounded on and agreed with the comment. Good stuff.
Don’t get me wrong. There are a few conspiracy theories I adhere to. First, I honestly believe that many of these people still meet up in caves (or bunkers) and sit around campfires grunting their agreements. But mostly, I believe in the theory which states that every time I travel without Mrs. Lawrence, I return to find that one of my favorite items has been removed from the house. (Last time, my recliner mysteriously disappeared). I’ll be heading out again next month. I fully expect to find all my computers and electronics missing. But I’ll bet my handgun will still be in the nightstand.