Fellow writers here at POM: Feel free to write over this. It needs no top-of-page time. It’s just a little venting on my part.
James Corbett has a nice little video podcast about the term “conspiracy theorist,” its origins and use. It is, of course, used as a thought-stopper, but honestly, with most people what is there to stop? We are dealing with products of the American education/information system who were trained to memorize, obey and to never question authority.
The term is devastatingly effective when used in the media and by officials, but these people control public opinion anyway, so that is to be expected. But I do have a problem with the expression, and it is this: Those who use it do not know how to think or reason, and their heads are often full of strong opinions placed there by others. So be it. But the thing that bugs me most about it is that they are smug about their stupidity.
I hate several things about our emotional lives. For instance, the form of angst called “jealousy” is one of the most useless and painful means of self-inflicted harm. I have been jealous in my life on many occasions, and I hate that about myself. What’s the point? Say it is about a girl I liked – others are going to like her too, be attracted to her too, and she might respond to that. There are a lot of good looking, smart and funny guys around. I can’t compete with them. I can only hope she chooses me, and that we enjoy each other. She is a free human being. How am I hurt by her personal choices? If she opts to be with someone else, I need to internalize the pain and move on, and not dwell on it. That’s what I tell myself, but in my life and before I met my life partner, I would often be jealous. How pointless is that?
Another form of self-inflicted angst is hatred. Do I have enemies? Beyond my ex-wife, no. Hardly anyone thinks about me enough to hate me. Do I hate groups of people, say Jews or Muslims or Democrats? Of course not! But there is a lot of hatred in this world. At our local hardware store I made the mistake of engaging the clerk there about the coronavirus hoax, and her head almost exploded. She started complaining about the Chinese, how they ate bats, and gave the whole world this virus. She spewed out pure hatred. Much the same happened with Muslims and Arabs after 911, much of that manufactured hatred still present. The degree of hatred in an individual must correlate inversely to IQ. Smart people don’t hate other people. They just avoid the ones they dislike.
But there is one aspect of humanness that bugs me more than any other, and that is smugness. Of course it is a defense mechanism. It is a sign of fear and insecurity. But still, it annoys me beyond words. Use of the expression “conspiracy theorist” carries with it a boatload of smug. It says “I don’t think well, I don’t know how to weigh evidence, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t have to try because I am not a conspiracy theorist.” It’s a way of not thinking that makes people think they are smarter than others who do know how to think and reason. It is smugness blanketed in a protective layer of stupidity.
I hate smug. Have I mentioned that before?