As Covid19 ramps up the stresses on our societies we are seeing a range of responses to that stress.
One prominent stress response is the ramping up of conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus; it’s a creation by the Chinese, it’s caused by 5G, it’s a hoax to allow more government control.
Occam’s razor applies here. The simplest explanation is probably correct and Covid19 represents a regular, if uncommon, disease progression. A disease progression such as this has been predicted for a long time. Covid19 isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.
So why all the weird conspiracy theories? While conspiracy theories are a regular fact of life, the current virus situation really seems to have highlighted them and the seeming stupidity attached to them. And of course there are some stupid people in the world, but surely not that stupid?
Another conspiracy theory that’s been around for a few decades now, is that climate change isn’t a real thing. Unfortunately, it is a real thing that is starting to have devastating consequences. And it’s going to get worse; a lot worse.
And with the rise of Covid19, the concept of ‘conspiracy theory’ has become more of an obvious thing in our collective consciousness.
Why do many of us find it hard to believe in scientific facts? Why do we lack trust in politicians or the media? It’s become really hard to trust anybody anymore and so people fall back on tribal allegiances. As much as I hate to use Donald Trump as an example, he’s the most obvious and best example choice; his tribal followers would rather trust his every word, however obviously ridiculous those words are, to those of other ‘tribes.’
Science and reason have helped to get humanity where it is, so why turn our backs on that now?
I might have a handle on that.
Imagine that you’re watching a TV commercial for a shampoo product and the voiceover says ‘and here comes the science part.’ When you hear that, do you fall for it or, like me, does your heart sink a little as you think to yourself ‘here comes the bullshit?’ You suspect that their product isn’t as good as they claim, that the science might not be real, and that you’re being mislead.
Is this lying by the shampoo makers to con us into buying their product? Is there some real science in there somewhere? Something feels like it doesn’t add up. Maybe somewhere, some scientists have dropped the shampoo into some rabbit’s eyes and come up with some very basic scientific assumptions that have then been extrapolated out of all proportion, beyond scientific reason, in order to sell us a rather tedious product. So yes, it’s a deception on the part of the shampoo manufacturer to convince us to buy their product.
And of course it doesn’t end with shampoo. If you had the time or the inclination, you could probably think of dozens of product adverts ‘as seen on TV’ that you think are essentially misleading. We are cleverly manipulated by advertising, on a daily basis, into buying products that we don’t really need… but that the companies need us to buy to swell their profits. And that’s the main function, possibly the only function, of ‘Product X.’ It’s not really for us; it’s for them. We are needed to increase their profits.
That’s not to say that we don’t need certain products in life. We need clothes, we need food, computers are rather useful, we need some form of transport, places to live, useful appliances in those places and much more.
Industrial progress is an important element of our world and of human consciousness. Industry and the economy keep us going; keep us moving forward (whatever that means). But is that all there is to life? Some people focus very strongly on industrial progress, to the point of obsession, where industrial progress and ‘making a profit’ are regarded as almost religious concepts and the only thing worth pursuing in life.
As this view has gained prominence, the power of industry, multinationals and corporations has grown steadily. As that power has increased, many companies have become bigger and more powerful than many of the smaller nation states. Many companies are more powerful than countries.
Outside of any particular reality or facts or down-to-earth truths, the companies need us to buy their products. That has become a dominant feature in our lives. Corporate power can buy the media and tell us all sorts of lies via that media in order that we support their business interests. For example, they may tell us that climate change isn’t a problem so that we keep buying petrol. Politicians are more or less bought by corporations, again, to help to promote their business models. Big oil companies ‘donate’ to political parties in order to receive favourable treatment. We are lied to from all angles in order that we support what is essentially a corporate dictatorship.
We increasingly live in a corporate dictatorship. Businesses are more powerful and more significant than governments. And as the corporate dictatorship grows, democracy shrinks.
Politicians and media often go along with the corporate lies, because they think that the ends justifies the means; a little white lie is ok because at the end of the day it makes the economy stronger which is better for all of us (this is a debatable point). As we know, there are powerful people who are less altruistic than this, who do it entirely for their own enrichment.
Science is a real thing. There are facts out there, like it or not. Viruses and ice sheets come and go.
Science gets corrupted by the corporate dictatorship. Like our shampoo advert – there may have been some science somewhere, but the main goal is to sell the shampoo and so any science gets presented in misleading ways to try to convince us to buy the shampoo. Just buy the fucking shampoo! Buy product X and it’ll improve your social status! If you can’t afford it, that’s even better, as you may be asked to use another product in the form of a loan in order to buy the first product. Just as long as you buy stuff.
The capitalist model has gained religious status. It has become important to the exclusion of all else, facts included. If facts get in the way of selling a product, lie about the facts.
All information we receive has been screened by corporate interest. It doesn’t matter if it’s not true, so long as it sells cars, electricity, biscuits, washing machines, sofas, sham-fucking-poo, televisions, mobile phones, private medical cover, pet insurance and much more, while stocks last!
So when a real problem comes along like Covid19 or climate change, we’ve been so consistently lied to by business, politicians and media, how do we know who or what to believe?
Corporate dictatorship sacrifices facts; sacrifices reality.
Take climate change; burning fossil fuel causes climate change which will lead to large rises in sea level, mass extinction of species and huge damage to civilisation. But some of the biggest companies in the world are fossil fuel companies. They don’t want to stop what they are doing. They don’t want us to recognise the problem and look for alternatives to their products. And as these companies essentially own the media and politicians, ‘the system’ as a whole continually lies to us, confuses us and stops us from even acknowledging the problem. Meanwhile scientists are tearing their hair out.
The corporate dictatorship has lied to us so much via media and politicians that we feel that we can’t trust anyone. Who knows what’s true anymore?
Along comes Covid19 and many of us just can’t bring ourselves to trust what scientists are trying to tell us. You trusted science once when you bought that shampoo, it didn’t make your hair any shinier, and you’ll never trust them again.
To restore balance, trust and equality in society and to get a grip on reality, we need to break corporate dictatorship.
Covid19 is showing us that there’s more to life than some oil company’s bottom line.
Climate change will show us that there are no jobs on a dead planet.
How do we break the corporate dictatorship? It’s easier than you might think. To restore democracy and truth, we need to support and vote for political parties that want to make our societies more equal; politicians that want to protect workers’ rights and environmental standards.
We need to restore reason and balance; to restore sanity. Does this mean destroying capitalism? Not necessarily, but it does mean imposing limits on capitalism so that it increasingly works for everyone and for environmental sustainability.
With a fairer society, more emphasis gets put on education. With a better educated populace, we’ll stop falling for the snake-oil shampoo salesman and start listening to the scientists.
Overthrow the corporate dictatorship and we can get more trust and truth back into society.
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