Believe it or not, I used to believe a lot of dumb things. The less I knew about a given topic, the more sure I was that I knew more about it than any so-called “expert.” 

I was a passively paranoid conspiracy theorist always on alert for the next clandestine plot against me and other captive hamsters on a wheel in a transparent cage built by the unseen hands of sinister “elites” who controlled the food pellet and water supply and everything else of value. 

Back then, getting the straight dope on the latest threat to humanity took effort and imagination. Today, we have the internet. If I’d had Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at my disposal 25 years ago, I could have proved all the dumb things I believed with a few clicks. 

EXAMPLE: For years, I refused to get a flu shot. When friends asked why, I jokingly explained that the vaccine carried a marker the government could use to track and round us up when society became unsustainable. I’m not sure I really believed that, but I definitely didn’t disbelieve it.

A few bad bouts with the flu — including one that parked me in a hospital bed for Christmas — changed my mind. I’ve also had pneumonia. There’s a vaccine for that, too. I haven’t had the flu or pneumonia since I started getting the shots.

I was reminded of this as I sifted through my email inbox, which teems with links to THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS CONSPIRACY, including the comically undocumented “documentary”  “Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind COVID-19.” It’s an absurd, easily debunked fever dream cooked up by a discredited scientist and an opportunistic, amateur director who misspelled “filmmaker” in the credits. 

The 26-minute video is the latest errant stone thrown at Dr. Anthony Fauci in an attempt to discredit him and paint the pandemic as simultaneously harmless and the end of Our Way of Life at the treasonous hands of an American Illuminati. 

Fauci is key to the conspiracy, because “sheeple” trust his incomparable credentials. He is globally esteemed as an infectious disease expert, so he must really be a useful idiot to the masterminds of the plot, which include Bill Gates.

True believers dismiss Fauci as a “quack” pushing unnecessary restrictions on free people over a virus that isn’t as bad as advertised. This is like going to your doctor and demanding he agree with your Google-approved self-diagnosis:

DOCTOR: “You have cancer.”

PATIENT: “No, I don’t! It says all over the internet that doctors overdiagnose cancer to jack up hospital profits!”

DOCTOR: “It’s your funeral.”

The average funeral is less expensive than extensive cancer treatment, but savings aren’t much comfort to the dead.

While “Plandemic” and other disinformation being shared by sheeple on antisocial media is nonsensical garbage, I’m against YouTube’s decision to pull the video, which is its right as a privately-owned platform. Free speech is for everyone, even the dishonest and dumb. Belief is a choice. Let consumers make theirs, and live or die with the consequences. Some of us need to spend Christmas in a hospital bed to wise up. 

I take a closer look at conspiracy theories in the age of coronavirus in my Sunday column, which is for the subscribers who keep The Times-Tribune in business. Digital monthly subscriptions are $4.95, less than you spent daily on drive-thru coffee before the shutdown. Get a subscription here

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