Recently, I saw in social media a diagram of relationships between President Trump and some heads of different departments within his new administration. The viewer of this diagram was supposed to follow the alleged links between the people listed there and their relationships to one another, and conclude that this indicated a substantial connection between President Trump and President Putin of Russia. This was buttressed up by links to “evidence” from a man who insisted that the diagram proved just that relationship. The new president and the president of Russia were in cahoots and this diagram proved it.
The problem was that the links he used to support this “connection” proved to be nothing further than a pile of innuendos. They did not exhibit any real factual evidence for a connection between the two men. Let me add here for those who think the point of this article is to defend President Trump (which it isn’t), I also saw exactly the same kinds of diagrams about President Obama being linked to this or that and they also proved nothing.
This practice of generating conspiracy theories is a very interesting phenomenon to me. A series of events are listed, a plethora of information provided, none of which can be factually articulated to be linked to anything. The reader or listener is left to make the implied connection that the purveyor of the conspiracy theory wants him or her to make. And many people make that leap.
They decide that Mr. Someone profited from some kind of a deal because his second cousin twice-removed (we’ll call her Cindy) was married to a man named Bento, who did plumbing work in Senator Simmons home, and Senator Simmons has a son Freddy, who hunts with Vladimir, the third cousin of Russian General Alexy Gorkoff, and Vladimir works as a clerk for a lawyer, Sid Russell, and Sid Russell does the taxes for the CEO of the company who made a deal that ended up generating profits that our original “Mr. Someone” enjoyed. So obviously Sid Russell noted that on the tax form for the CEO of the company that the CEO had cashed in some options and then Vladimir his clerk read that, told Senator Simmons’ son Freddy, who told his dad Senator Simmons, who happened to comment about this to Bento the plumber while he was fixing the Senator’s privy, and Bento told his wife Cindy, and Cindy told her second cousin Mr. Someone, and Mr. Someone used this information to profit on a stock sale.
And what is more, all of this had to be kept hush-hush. People involved in the above conspiracy never talked outside their own circle. They were sworn to secrecy and they maintained it at all costs. And that is very, very important to people who…traffic in conspiracy theories!
I have never accepted conspiracy theories and I have a very good reason. I was a newspaper reporter in my early adult years, and I used to read, listen to and watch news a great deal. I wish I now had a dollar for every time I heard or read the report of a journalist who said “A source inside the Pentagon/White House/Justice System/etc. said….”. In fact, I used to tell my family and friends back at this time that if I wanted to get the word out across the country about something, what I would do is tell someone inside the government and I would tell them it needed to remain a secret! And I’d bet within a week it would be all over the media.
One of my favorite conspiracy theories was about the extra-terrestrial cover up by the government. I had friends who insisted that the government had evidence, hard evidence, that UFOs had visited Earth and that extra-terrestrials were even living amongst us. When I asked why this wasn’t common knowledge, they would look at me with a dark countenance and tell me the government had covered it up. They could never actually explain why the government wanted to keep it secret. One friend told me it was because the government was afraid that if this were to be common knowledge, people would panic.
Hmmmm. I don’t buy that. Some people panic over seemingly anything, and some people riot when their basketball team wins the national championship. So by the same logic, when a team wins a championship, we shouldn’t tell anyone. I don’t think people hearing that ET is real would cause anything other than a bizarre twist of hope that, perhaps, extra-terrestrials would help mankind.
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that the government is a manufacturer of cover-ups and at the same time purveyor of leaked information. Unless you believe all leaked information is planned. I don’t know about you, but planning leaks would require so much effort by the government that just considering it makes me want to lie down and take a nap.
Conspiracy theories are built on the same foundation as gossip. They are used to target people or institutions unfairly. Don’t believe them. If you have hard evidence that a person or institution is involved in wrongdoing, then for heaven’s sake share it. But if it’s a diagram supported by a pile of innuendos, ignore it. You’ll be doing yourself and everyone else a favor.