Crazy Conspiracy Theories Aren’t Just for the Far Right Anymore

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The good old days… Remember when the wackjob conspiracy theories mostly came from right-wingers who cautioned that seemingly everything that drew national attention was a “false flag” set up by a shadow government to fool us and suppress the “sheeple”? 9/11 was an inside job. School shootings were faked and contained crisis actors. Contrails from airplanes were actually dangerous mind-control chemicals being sprayed on the population. A massive pedophile ring was being operated out of the basement of a pizza shop (that didn’t actually have a basement if I remember correctly). The government is causing natural disasters using weather weapons. All of these far-fetched theories came from right-wing sources like Infowars, QAnon, or other outlets preying on gullible people who long to be insiders with access to information the rest of us don’t have. Coincidentally, the information they found from these sources curiously supported their preconceived view of a malevolent government out to harm its people. Shocker.

Well, with the apparent suicide death of Jeffrey Epstein in a NY federal prison, the conspiracy theories have been flying. And it’s not just from the right. People on the left side of the aisle have been falling all over themselves to piece together their version of what happened to Epstein, even though limited information has been released so far. Epstein was killed by the Clintons. No, Epstein was killed by the Trumps. No, Epstein was killed by a number of influential people he was going to testify against. No, Epstein was switched out for a body double who was killed, and now he’s living on his private island. Ugh. None of these insinuations is based on any evidence whatsoever. It’s all speculation, yet people are so convinced there’s an alternate explanation that they’re detaching themselves from any semblance of rational thought just to adhere to their theories and purport them as the truth.

The reality is that we have limited information so far. We know he’s been reported dead. We know those reporting his death say they found him hung in his cell. We know he was not on suicide watch, despite what many of these conspiracy theorists allege. We know he was previously considered a danger to himself. That’s pretty much it. So if we’re being rational and basing our view on the available evidence thus far, we would conclude that Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. But being the rational, scientific thinkers we are (right?) we would be open to changing that view based on the release of further evidence that suggests otherwise. That’s how rational thought works. That’s how evidence-based reasoning works. That’s how the scientific method works.

But for some reason, many who identify themselves as rational thinkers and science-minded individuals have tossed that aside in favor of unsubstantiated conclusions that likely support their own worldview — Trump is evil, the Clintons are evil, the DOJ is corrupt, etc. I’ll use my own Facebook feed as an example. I have two accounts — one that I open up to real-world friends and family and one that I open up to anyone who requests me, as long as we have a lot of mutual connections. Depending on the week, it ranges from 4,900 to 5,000 friends. I unfriend people often if I see them post something that is really off the wall or offensive, and so I make room for others. So at this point, that account is connected with mostly nonreligious and/or left-leaning folks. Most of these people claim to be members of the rational, science-minded group I spoke of earlier.

But on Saturday morning, just hours after the Epstein news broke, I started seeing many of my Facebook friends sharing conspiracy-related comments and memes. So being the bear-poker that I am, I posted a status update: “Here we go with the asinine conspiracy theories…” And wow. Hundreds of comments followed, many of which were an attempt to explain why their particular unsubstantiated theory was undoubtedly the truth and that I’m one of the “sheeple” or somehow not rational for siding with the currently available evidence. This is how conspiracy theorists operate. They suggest an alternate reality and then support that position with questions, not answers, because actual evidence is not important.

For example, Epstein was obviously murdered by the Clintons because, “why did they take him off suicide watch? Explain that!” There are several possible answers to that question, but just because we don’t yet have that information doesn’t mean it logically equates to evidence of murder. Other craziness that has been asked to support a conspiracy is, “why haven’t they released photos of the body? Because he’s not really dead!” Um, no. Since when does the medical examiner’s office owe the public photos of a dead body? Did we get photos of a dead Jeffrey Dahmer? How about Ted Bundy? No and no. So does that mean they’re still alive? This is not CSI. This is not a blockbuster movie. This is real life, and no one owes you a body.

Then there’s that “anonymous” message board post from someone who claims to work at the prison and saw Epstein get “switched out” by an unmarked van with a mysterious military outfit-wearing person in the back. And they’re believing this unverifiable anonymous message board post over multiple news sources, the medical examiner, and the prison itself.  If that’s not the suspension of rational thought, I don’t know what is.

So sadly, it seems that some of the things we used to make fun of far-right wingnuts for, we’re now guilty of on the left. The only rational position to have at this point is one that’s based on the available evidence. Right now, that evidence points to a suicide — the evidence being a dead man hanging in his locked cell all alone. If more information is released that contradicts that position, then a rational person should adjust his/her view to align with the evidence. But suggesting it was anything other than suicide without facts to support that is antithetical to rational thought and a scientific mind.

You may proceed with your comments calling me one of the “sheeple.” Just know you’re going to look like a crazy person.

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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

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41 thoughts on “Crazy Conspiracy Theories Aren’t Just for the Far Right Anymore

  1. There are two reasons bad events happen: conspiracy or incompetence. (there are probably other reasons.) And there is a 99% chance it is due to incompetence.

  2. Actually, there ARE pictures of an electrocuted Ted Bundy. The thing that brought comment at the time is that the corpse looked to have a faint smile.

  3. The thing with me is this: what did these powerful people gain by having him killed? Now nobody can contest search and seizures of his property, or the admission of evidence against these other powerful individuals who may get wrapped up. If anything, his suicide hurt them more than it helped them.

    You want my explanation of what happened? Here you go: on April 20, 2017, Aaron Hernandez killed himself in prison. Hernandez was in prison on murder charges, and was able to hang himself using bed sheets. That same week, another inmate also committed šuicide by hanging themselves.

    Sound familiar? Epstein is the latest in a problem that’s dated back many, many years. A problem that won’t get treated, because all the publicity is now on these inane conspiracy theories that are spreading like wildfire.

    I can’t say why Epstein killed himself, but the idea that an entitled, selfish, rich man-baby who could always count on his money to protect him suddenly couldn’t, and realized that, killing himself as a result of that realization isn’t that outrageous to me. If anything, it makes more sense than the idea that someone had him killed. Conspiracy theories often offer the wrong answers to the wrong questions and as a result detract from more serious problems that need addressing.

  4. “The good old days… Remember when the wackjob conspiracy theories mostly came from right-wingers…”

    No, no I don’t. Wackjob conspiracy theories have been coming from left-wingers as well for as long as I’ve been alive. It’s just that RWNJs are generally better funded and more vocal. Also, again generally speaking, the right tends to embrace their wackjobs while the left tends to push them away.

    1. Something else I notice about left-wing nuts: they tend to act with the best of intentions, even if they do so in the worst possible way. Consider an organization like PETA. They’re terrible people and hypocrites yes, but what they want, ethical treatment of animals, isn’t a bad thing, and a lot of what they propose would go a ways towards helping cut down on carbon emissions (eating less meat, for instance). Even left-wing anti-vaxxers are promoting their idiocy out of a greater concern and desire to make the world safer (that they achieve the exact opposite just goes to show how useful these conspiracy nuts really are).

      Right-wing conspiracy whackos, by contrast, tend to be very violent individuals who act with the intention of keeping things in such a way that they maintain social dominance over others. All of their conspiracy theories function in such a way that if they were true, it would justify a world order where White Christian Males are the dominant force and would remain such in the social hierarchy. I think this, honestly, is why right-wing conspiracy theories tend to get more oxygen: they act to justify a hierarchy a lot of people benefit from that is really hard to defend otherwise.

      1. While those examples may be true, I don’t give a flying fork about all the good intentions in the world when the end result is a net harm, and a large one at that. There is nothing “noble” about those munted goobers.

        1. Well, there is a quote about the road to hell and good intentions that springs to mind, but I think the distinction between crazies is an interesting one all the same. Sure, there’s nothing “noble” about them, but that they arrive at the same conclusions as their right-wing counter parts despite their starting points being light years apart and their intentions being diametrically opposed says something about human beliefs.

          I’m not sure what it says yet. But I’m sure it’s interesting.

  5. It’s nothing new, really. I’ve known people on both the left and the right who never accepted the official story of the JFK assassination, for example. Maybe it’s just more noticeable now because of the internet.

        1. “That`s it??”

          It’s all you deserve. Give better, get better.

          “Maybe you`d like to throw in a tin foil hat joke?”

          If I had, it would’ve still been more substantive than anything you have to offer.

          1. Like I said. You got nothin. Absolutely nothing. You don`t have the courage to question authority. It`s so much easier to tow the line.

          2. My responses to you have been entirely dismissive, yet you keep coming back. Are you trying to say you want a date? That we “need to get a room”?

            BTW, it’s “toe”, not “tow”.

          3. Your responses are telling. They say you have nothing meaningful to say.Like I said.You don`t have nothing,Captain Zero.

          4. You came in here pre-defeated, still swinging at whoever cleaned your clock.

            If you think your behavior does anything but reliably put you in the crank category, congratulations. You’ve managed to fool one person.

    1. simple minded

      I’m disappointed. Out of all the words in the English language, this was the worst you could come up with?

      what the controlled mainstream media tells you

      The mainstream media ain’t told me nothing. The conclusion he killed himself because he’s a selfish and immature man-baby who wanted deny people justice is something I came to by myself just by examining the situation, and the idea that the prison system is hideously broken because it allowed this to happen (and allows this to happen) is something I came to by looking at the list of suicides and reading stories about prison conditions. These things are called “evidence-based conclusions,” either through empiricism or a prior reasoning. You should try it sometime. You won’t look so stupid.

      Operation Mockingbird

      Mockingbird was not only busted wide open, it had a clear goal with a clear gain: spread anti-Soviet propaganda. Who gains from an Epstein suicide and what exactly is the goal? Because it isn’t helping powerful people. There’s nobody there to challenge a search and seizure of Epstein’s property and almost all of the case files had already been opened. It sure wasn’t the victims, those people you didn’t mention once and don’t seem to care about.

      There are greater problems your inane rambling and memetic chaff is distracting us as a society from discussing: prison reform, how we handle wealthy prisoners, and exactly why Epstein was allowed to go free the first time. What I find ironic is that now that he’s dead, Epstein has more people talking about him than ever before. If he wanted fame in death, mission accomplished. He’s eclipsed his victims for good now because of you folks and your damned conspiracy bullshit.

      1. The fact is the so called intelligence community still dictates what the mainstream media tells the public.
        The one`s that are full of bullshit is people like you who defend it. SMF

    2. Maybe we just don’t want to waste an hour and 11 minutes (not to mention 8 seconds) of our precious and too-short existence on this beautiful planet watching some nutjob, when we could just as easily (re)watch a couple of episodes of “The Big Bang Theory.”

      1. Did you watch any of the video? Did you look to see who the speaker is? Let me help you.

        Dr. James Giordano is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and
        Biochemistry, Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program, and Co-director
        of the O’Neill-Pellegrino Program in Brain Science and Global Health Law
        and Policy at the Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC.
        He is a Senior Researcher and Task Leader of the Working Group on
        Dual-Use of the EU Human Brain Project, and has served as a Senior
        Science Advisory Fellow of the Strategic Multilayer Assessment group of
        the Joint Staff of the Pentagon.

        Just because this kind of information isn`t shown on your controlled mainstream media to you means it`s not real? Really? Are you really that gullible?

          1. You make no sense. None. Facts don`t seem to matter to you. I tried to talk to some sense to you people but you refuse to remove your blinders. I think you really know what I say is true but you refuse to admit you`re wrong. Ignorance is bliss.

  6. Here`s another one for the simpleton crowd. It`s about trauma based mind control dressed up as torture tactics.
    Author explores CIA connections to torture tactics

    “The origins of the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Guantanamo controversy
    can be traced very directly to the 1950s, when the Central Intelligence
    Agency launched a massive mind-control project that discovered
    psychological torture. This proved an unheralded scientific
    breakthrough, indeed, the first real revolution in five centuries in the
    cruel science of pain,” McCoy says.

    He goes on to say that the CIA spent the next 30 years spreading these
    sophisticated techniques throughout the world by training
    anti-communist allies, police and military in the developing world to
    use methods of psychological torture.”

    “By the end of the Cold War, these torture techniques had become so
    embedded in the American security apparatus that congressional
    legislation enacted to abolish these practices instead legalized them,”
    he says.

    1. About Alfred W. McCoy

      Alfred W. McCoy holds the
      Harrington chair of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where
      he teaches classes on the Vietnam War, modern empires, and U.S. foreign
      policy. Most recently, he is the author of “In the Shadows of the
      American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power” (Chicago,
      2017). He is also the author of “Policing America’s Empire: The United
      States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State”
      (Madison, 2009) which won the Kahin Prize from the Association for Asian
      His best known book, “The Politics of Heroin,” stirred
      controversy when the C.I.A. tried to block its publication back in 1972,
      but it has remained in print for nearly 50 years, been translated into
      nine languages, and is generally regarded as the “classic” work on
      global drug trafficking.

  7. Here is another conspiracy theory which is interesting but for which there is currently no good evidence: Epstein bribed guards to disobey orders and to give him sufficient time to be alone and kill himself.

  8. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, Epstein committed suicide (and got his chance to do so because of nothing more sinister than sloppy prison procedure), Barack Obama was born in Hawaii — and just incidentally, that the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids of Giza as tombs for their god-kings, without extraterrestrial help.

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