Mad Vlad & the 5G Nanobots

BY STEWART SLATER

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Ukrainian War is a NATO provocation designed to provide the justification for an invasion of Russia, a hold-out against the plan of Bill Gates and the World Economic Forum to deploy 5G nanobots in Western Covid vaccines, eliminating a large proportion of the world’s population and bringing about the “Great Reset”. OK, perhaps “universally acknowledged” is pushing it, but a quick trawl of Twitter will reveal a depressing number of people who propound such theories.

For we live, it appears, in a Golden Age of Conspiracy Theory. Starting with the assassination of John F. Kennedy by either the mafia, the Russians, the CIA or some combination thereof, moving through David Icke’s discovery that the Royal Family and others are actually shape-shifting lizards to QAnon’s theory that senior Democrat politicians were running a child sex-trafficking network out of a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant and were soon to be brought to justice by Donald Trump, little has happened over recent decades which cannot be made to conform to some wacky belief in the more recondite corners of the internet.

This is not to deny that conspiracies occur. We know they do. Watergate is a classic example. But previous generations have, as far as we can tell, generally managed to believe that a particular event was a conspiracy, without believing that every event was a conspiracy. The ancient Athenians were able to see the Desecration of the Herms as a plot without believing that every subsequent misfortune was the work of shadowy Sparta-sympathisers while the Romans who lived through the Catilinarian and Pisonian Conspiracies did not see dark forces at work behind the subsequent political upheavals.

At one level, conspiracy theories are entirely understandable. For humans are pattern-recognising animals and a conspiracy theory is merely that instinct taken to extreme. It is the linking of disparate pieces of information to reveal a hidden pattern albeit, in this case, one which does not exist. Realising that a certain combination of sounds suggested the presence of a predator in the savannah was useful to our ancestors, believing that because two people attended the same party they are engaged in sex trafficking is less so. What is it about our current times which make this over-extension so attractive to some?

In contrast to the ancient world (assuming there is no raft of manuscripts by Danus Brownus waiting to be discovered), we live in a culture shot through with conspiracy. From The Manchurian Candidate – shadowy Communists attempt to manipulate the U.S. election, to A Very British Coup – shadowy establishment figures defenestrate a Prime Minister via JFK – shadowy CIA types assassinate a President and The X-Files – shadowy figures collude with aliens, much of our entertainment is based on the notion that hidden forces are manipulating the world to their own ends. Perhaps given a boost by Watergate, the more culture features conspiracies, the more mainstream a method of understanding they become.

Their greater prominence may also reflect the impact of technology. Whereas previous generations were restricted to the contents of their local library, it now just takes a few clicks to link events across the planet. The greater availability of information allows for more detailed theories as the more events you know about, the more connections you can make. Equally, the conspiracy-theorist of yore would have propagated his beliefs, if he did so, on mimeographs of closely-typed foolscap or through vanity-published books advertised in the classified section of obscure magazines. His modern equivalent merely has to log on to access a global audience. Lank-haired basement dwellers may always have been with us, but the internet has made them more prolific and more visible.

For while our current outbreak of conspiracism may be extreme, it is not unique. The late 1700’s were also a heyday of such theories, then focused on Freemasons and the Illuminati attempting to take over the world.

Like today it was a time of profound social and scientific change. The results of the Scientific Revolution held out the prospect that the universe could be understood and inventions such as Harrison’s chronometer and Watt’s steam engine showed the success of modern learning. The stirrings of atheism removed God’s Will as the explanation for unexpected events. A society accustomed to understanding the universe through Reason would apply it to unexplained events in the human realm. It was one of Watt’s collaborators, John Robison, professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh, who authored one of the earliest works of masonic conspiracy literature, Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe.

Similarly today, a period of political instability has followed a period of rapid technological change. A species which has gone to the moon, invented the computer and worked out the genetic code for making itself is not a species which expects things to be incomprehensible. Our scientific triumphs have reduced our appetite for divine intervention. If Freemasons could cause the break in the clockwork rhythm of the universe represented by the French Revolution, furtive billionaires can explain the vulnerabilities exposed by an unforeseen virus and an unexpected war.

Equally, socially the late eighteenth century was, like today, a time of “elite overproduction” – there were more people with the educational qualifications for elite jobs than there were such positions. In this circumstance, the losers will seek other methods of enhancing their status, perhaps overturning the social order to do so. But propagating a conspiracy theory is also a claim to superiority. A normal person takes events as they are, whereas a conspiracist, by dint, in their own telling, of their superior intelligence, is able to cut through surface appearances and reach the underlying truth.

It is notable that conspiracy theories are not usually propounded by the elite but by those who have narrowly failed to enter it, or have fallen from the dizzying heights. A glance at Twitter shows that the most fervent proponents of the “5g nanobot/New World Order/Ukraine is a put-up job” theories are those who have lost their prominence, whether in sport, the arts or journalism. What better way of regaining lost distinction than displaying a deep understanding of events which are mere random happenings to normal mortals?

This desire for status explains the malleability of the conspiracy theory. There is, on the face of it, no reason for any link between a virus which arose in China and a war in Eastern Europe. Those who base  their claim to prominence on their understanding of the former may well, however, as attention shifts to the latter, find it useful to link the two. Not only does this remind people of their prior deep insight, it also reveals the true depth of their wisdom in being able to see the connections between two apparently disparate events. Truly, such a figure would bestride the narrow world of sheeple like a mighty colossus.

Or perhaps, we should take a leaf out of the conspiracists’ book. Maybe we should wake up and connect the dots. We should follow their lead and ask who benefits from spreading disinformation about Covid and the vaccines? Who benefits from alleging that Ukraine is full of Nazis? Who benefits from Westerners denying Russian atrocities? But that would be foolish. Wouldn’t it?

Stewart Slater works in Finance. He invites you to join him at his website.