2007 - 2021

Grief, Conspiracy and Purebloods

For years now the world’s wildest conspiracies have morphed and bloomed. Now, under lockdown they’ve gone (if you excuse the pun) viral. Some anti-vaxxers are now calling themselves “purebloods”, and the toxic mix of a total distrust of the state and the emergence of “post-truth” culture is causing chaos. All of this lands during the greatest global health emergency in hundreds of years. George Monbiot points out (‘It’s shocking to see so many leftwingers lured to the far right by conspiracy theories’):

“The anti-vaccine movement is a highly effective channel for the penetration of far-right ideas into leftwing countercultures. For several years, anti-vax has straddled the green left and the far right. Trump flirted with it, at one point inviting the anti-vaxxer Robert F Kennedy Jr to chair a “commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity”.

“Anti-vax beliefs overlap strongly with a susceptibility to conspiracy theories. This tendency has been reinforced by Facebook algorithms directing vaccine-hesitant people towards far-right conspiracy groups. Ancient links between “wellness” movements and antisemitic paranoia have in some cases been re-established. The notion of the “sovereign body”, untainted by chemical contamination, has begun to fuse with the fear that a shadowy cabal is trying to deprive us of autonomy.”

The new libertarianism is a rainbow of rednecks, yellow-bellies, deep-greens and blue-rinse, a fusion of distrust and silo-mentality, a gloop of fear-mongered post-hippy counter-culture gone horribly wrong.

In Politics and Paranoia (2008) Robin Ramsay, who knows a thing or two about conspiracy theory as long-time editor of Lobster  – offers a precise moment when conspiracy theory went from a preoccupation mainly of the left to one mainly of the right. Ramsay pinpoints Holly Sklar’s Trilateral Commission published in 1980. Prior to that the American conspiracy movement that emerged out of the 1960s and 1970s had been largely of the left, trying to uncover the clandestine operations of the secret state and its networks.The JFK assassination in 1963, followed by Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy followed by the murder of much of the leadership of the Black Panthers and Watergate shaped “conspiracists” to be of and from the left.

But by the 1990s Sklar’s book started to be bought in drives by the right, by what Ramsay terms “New World Order” theorists. Sklar’s sub-title: “The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management” was like a trigger to the new right. The standoff at Waco Texas gave birth to the militia movement in the US and the explosion of UFO-mania as the internet was born spawned the X-Files. “Conspiracy” was badged and re-processed as mainstream consumer culture (see Spooks later in the UK). We now live in a world immersed with Deep Fakes, False Flags and bad faith. This slide from left to right can also be seen as a dramatic failure of mainstream politics and social democracy to address fundamental social problems over this period, the endless triangulation and capitulation has led to mass skepticism, disinterest and abandonment.

Conspiracy lands in a world of capitalist realism and hyper-normalisation where despair is mainstream. The alt-right has no doubt manipulated this toxic environment – much of the discourse is laced with extreme misogyny and anti-semitism – but it is a world already full of a sense of profound failure, melancholy and paranoia. Nor are we short of examples of true-life ‘conspiracy’ revealed to us after the fact and  … from the Kincora Boys’ Home; to the Shoot to Kill Policy; from the dodgy-dossier to the Iran-Contra scandal; to the secret development of Taser technology and the emergence of the surveillance state (and on and on) it’s difficult to defend a liberal view of the world.

Who can blame us for being a bit paranoid?

It’s a long way from Mulder and Scully to 4Chan and Milo Yiannopolous, but the descent can be traced through popular culture from Close Encounters to Twin Peaks from Lost to Rick and Morty.  Before you know it Solange is Beyoncé’s daughter, Klaatu was really the Beatles and the Illuminati are holed-up in the the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in North Dakota. But AREA51 is long-since a Simpson’s meme, and we are a world away from bad Bigfoot and Alien autopsy video footage or crop circles splashed on red-top front-page scoops. Now ‘Child-actors’ and ‘QAnon’ and ingesting Ivermectin are a dystopian step-up from the conspiracy theory of the 80s and 90s. It’s not so funny anymore.

But perhaps there’s another process at work? Musician and theologian Matthew Smith asks: “Wondering if there is a correlation between getting sucked into conspiracy theories and not knowing how to grieve.

“If you can’t accept sadness/loss then you have to find stories that give you somewhere else to put that energy.

Conspiracy theories give you perceived power over otherwise crushing realities. Believing “9/11 was an inside job” for instance, frees you from having to grieve it and simultaneously makes you feel smarter/stronger than everyone else. It’s like a steroid shot for your ego.

And we have a lot to grieve.

We live in a world of such profound uncertainty; of precarious work; of threat from a disease we’d never heard of; and from a climate crisis we can’t respond to; that clinging to conspiracy is perhaps an empowering sense-making act, even if, in doing so we have to abandon rational thinking.

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Comments (46)

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  1. Dougie Harrison says:

    I read this with care Mike, as I always read your pieces; they are always worthwhile. Even when, as in the above, you reference matters of which, as a determined oldie who is suspicious of much online nonsense, I had previously been unaware.

    But on one point, in my experience as an active and determined Scottish Green Party member, I just don’t recognise what you say. There are green left conspiracy theorists? If they exist, I certainly haven’t encountered any, and I’ve been an active green for some years now.

    1. Martin Meteyard says:

      It’s actually not Mike but George Monbiot in the extract quoted from his Guardian article who refers to green left anti-vaxxers and the overlap with “susceptibility to conspiracy theories”. And sadly I know at leasst one person (and have heard of others) who would describe themself as both green and left but fit that bill.

    2. Niemand says:

      I have some first-hand knowledge of the green conspiracy sort of thing from the 80s which I think is what Monbiot is talking about. Hippies living a bit outside of society with the general distrust of ‘the man’, definitely distrustful of modern medicine, including vaccines and also deeply feeling for nature, ‘getting back to it’ and man’s terrible treatment of it. So not Green Party official politics but the sort of people who might have voted Green back then (even been around to give such a movement any momentum at all) and saw them as kind of protest vote since at that time they were a tiny party. From that point on, Mike’s ‘fear-mongered post-hippy counter-culture gone horribly wrong’ is a pithy explanation of the change. I still know people from that era, they are good people, not extremists really but now suspicious, if not anti-vax, and definitely susceptible to sympathy, if not total belief in, certain unfounded conspiracy stuff. Combine this with frustration at being labelled non-progressive as a result, you then also get the anti-woke reaction, full-on suspicion of the progressive left (which they can no longer identify with, almost by default), and hey presto, the person finding themselves in cahoots with people they used to think the enemy. Though flippant in usage, I very much remember the term Rainbow Nazi being used even back then.

      Great article Mike. I read the Monbiot article yesterday and thought it good, then got into an argument about Nazi Germany as a result, weirdly. Your widening of the argument is enlightening and great writing too.

  2. Paula Becker says:

    What is the current conspiracy theory that you are alluding to but not defining Mike? Is it a conspiracy to say:
    1, The infection fatality ratio (IFR) for Covid 19 is about 0.5%. Or, in other words, the survival rate is 99.5% and even better in younger age groups.
    2. There has been no unusual excess mortality in the UK in 2020 if you use Age Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR) ie. if you adjust for increased population.
    3. The vast majority of Covid deaths have co-morbidities.
    4. That Florida (which didn’t lockdown) had less Covid deaths than California (which did).
    5. That the PCR test used to define cases was never intended to be used as a diagnostic tool.
    6. Masks don’t work.
    7. That before 2020 no successful vaccine against coronavirus had ever been developed.
    8. The new mRNA ‘vaccines’ do not give immunity or prevent transmission. They can also cause rare adverse effects.
    9. The world now has 40 new billionaires and 9 of them are in the pharmaceutical business. The billionaire class got richer by half a trillion dollars by October 2020.
    10. Our politicians are mere puppets. There are many far more powerful people pulling their strings, especially in Digital Technology and Finance.

    Are any of these statements contentious? Would you care to challenge them?

    1. RICHARD ANDERSON says:

      I’m not too familiar with much of what you write but would challenge you to provide evidence of these assertions. In the one area that I’m sure of the ground is that of masks. There’s considerable evidence that supports mask use. From everyday clinical use to preventing the spread of airborne disease. Professor Trish Greenhalgh has produced some important work that I have read and I am sure that there are others now. Conspiracists rely on ignorance and massaging facts. If you look at Travelling Tabby on Twitter or John Burn Murdoch in the Financial Times, both have produced considerable information showing excess mortality rates. In the latter case he has produced detailed tables from around the world. As someone who caught covid, with no know premorbidities and a higher than average level of fitness for my age (67) it’s not something to be taken lightly. Having been isolated at home for 2 weeks and experiencing a number of classic symptoms I was forced to consult my GP when I haven’t done for much of the past 10 years. The condition is having important effects on the ability of services to return to normal business.
      So clever use of information that hides full details is misinformation that encourages conspiracy theories. Produce referenced details that we can all explore for ourselves to make up our own minds or accept that you’ll be condemned as a conspiracist

      1. Paula Becker says:

        Hi Richard, all of the points made above apart from the last can be found in an article on off-guardian.org. It was published yesterday under the title ’30 facts you need to know: your Covid Cribsheet’. The part dealing with mortality (ASMR) is point 2. Masks are dealt with in parts 20, 21 and 22. Glad you are feeling better,

    2. Niemand says:

      Yeah but what’s the actual conspiracy you are alluding to? These are just things you are presenting as evidence. A conspiracy is some kind of secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. Who is the group in relation to Covid and the associated vaccines? What is their motivation? What are they wanting to achieve? Stuff that is going on that you think people are getting wrong is not a conspiracy.

      And what is your attitude towards vaccines in general? Would you ever take one?

      1. Paula Becker says:

        Hi Niemand, if you look at the first sentence of my comment you’ll see that I’m asking the same of Mike Small ie. please define the conspiracy. Then I present 10 points which I consider to be factual and which blow the official narrative on the pandemic out of the water. Given that the official narrative from the Government is so obviously nonsense it is completely understandable that people will then begin to speculate and ask what is really going on here. Conspiracy theories arise when people are not being given the facts or the facts are dodgy. Admittedly sometimes these speculations can end up heading off to la la land and that’s why it is very important to deal as much as possible with sound factual information. My speculation on the truth behind the actions taken on the ‘pandemic’ is that it is a reaction to twin crises facing humanity. Those crises are global warming and global financial meltdown. The elites cannot deal with global warming without destroying their own power and wealth so they do nothing to actually deal with the problem and instead attempt to increase their control over the population and quell any attempts to make real changes. I’m no expert on economics but I can point you to a speech by Ernst Wolff which sounds highly convincing to me and explains the precarious state of the financial system – go to Odysee.com and search for Ernst Wolff – Uncovering the Corona Narrative – Aug 2021.

        1. Niemand says:

          At the end of the day it all comes down to who you trust.

          I have looked at evidence too and it shows the vaccines are pretty effective and making a major difference. The statistics are there but if you do not trust the source of those stats then there is little more to be said. I have followed things pretty closely and where there is a choice between what mainstream science is saying again and again and others who dispute it, I go with the majority. I cannot see any rationale of why they would somehow be conspiring to falsify the situation even in an ad hoc way. There may be anomalies and some fudges, even distortions in all of that but they do not disprove that a) the virus is pretty bad (though not as bad as some seem to think) and b) the vaccines are making a significant contribution to reducing the chances of catching covid, and bad illness and death if you do (though some vaccines do very rarely, cause serious illness and death).

          The rationale behind your complete distrust in the above that it is ‘they’ (who is ‘they’ exactly?) are trying to control us via false information about the pandemic (even inventing it?) due to some vague idea about climate change and ‘their’ wealth being vulnerable, is where you are indulging in conspiracy theory thinking. And it makes no sense, and even the logistics of how such a conspiracy could happen are absurd. This undermines your credibility to put it mildly.

        2. Mons Meg says:

          ‘Conspiracy theories arise when people are not being given the facts or the facts are dodgy.’ ‘…people will then begin to speculate and ask what is really going on here.’

          No, it’s more than that. Conspiracy theory is a template that’s imposed upon the world to give the appearance of order to events.

          This template has some specific characteristics. For example:

          Conspiracy theorising invariably opposes mainstream consensus. Conspiracy theorists see themselves as having privileged access to socially persecuted knowledge or a stigmatised mode of thought that sets them apart from the general public, which believes the official account. Conspiracy theorising goes hand in hand with both exceptionalism and victimisation.

          In contrast to real conspiracies, which are difficult to maintain, the conspiracies that conspiracy theorists propose are always unrealistically successful and perpetrated with near-perfect competence and secrecy by their agents. Indeed, without the theorists’ exceptional knowledge, the conspiracy of which they warn us would never have been detected. Who’d have imagined that all the diverse vested interests involved had ganged up to create and maintain the myth of pandemic in order to conduct a globalised social experiment in tyranny?

          Moreover, the causes of the events or situations that conspiracy theorising purports to explain are simplified to exclude complexity and the role of chance and unintended consequences that such complexity allows. This is why conspiracy theories are so comforting; they furnish a world that has some fixed rhyme or reason to it rather than a world that’s radically uncertain. Everything that happens in that world is explained as having been determined – and deliberately so. God is not dead after all. Conspiracy theorising isn’t just idle speculation; it’s an escape from freedom.

          In conspiracy theory narrative, the conspirators are also characteristically cast as acting with extreme malice. This malevolent intent goes far beyond the everyday plots that are borne out of individual self-interest, corruption, cruelty, and criminality. Conspiracy theories postulate rather a black-and-white world in which good struggles against evil, angels against demons, humanity against capitalism, Christians against Jews, Muslims against the crusading West, the demos against elites, the Scots against the imperial hegemony of the English (‘proud Edward’s army’), the Earth against Martian invasion. In conspiracy theory narrative, the general public is always cast as the victim of some invisible persecution by some malign alien force that causes all the ills we suffer and strives ultimately to subvert or destroy everything we hold dear. It’s a narrative that robs us of all agency and responsibility for our own fate.

          Again, conspiracy theorising isn’t just idle speculation; it’s an escape from freedom.

          1. Niemand says:

            This is a really excellent, clear summary of the wrong-headedness of much conspiracy theory thinking. The most telling point is the apparent amazing capacity for such evil cabals to be so successful and operate massive conspiracies with no exposure apart from by a few non-brainwashed heroes. How do they do it?

      2. Paula Becker says:

        Hi Niemand, last nights post was a little bit rushed so I’ll just add some more here. You ask who are the conspirators. The conspirators are the billionaires plus the big corporations and investment funds but perhaps it makes more sense to think of them as a political class rather than as conspirators. This political class (we used to call them the 1%) hold vast wealth, power and privilege and they, naturally, want to hold hold on to it. They are currently very rattled by the threats posed to them by the climate and financial crises. They look to China and see a successful capitalist country doing a roaring trade but with single party, authoritarian control and none of that messy democracy stuff. They think that this may be a useful model to try out in other countries as it gives increased control over the populace who are also increasingly spooked by climate change and financial insecurity. So they need a bigger security apparatus, facial recognition, digital ID. They also seem to be interested in State controlled digital currency and UBI. The ‘pandemic’ was a handy shock to the system to get the ball rolling in this direction. The ‘vax’ passport is step one and, once it is established will be expanded into a much larger form of digital ID.
        Some of this may be speculation but, in fact, most of it has been openly discussed, written about and published.

        1. Niemand says:

          So Covid is a hoax they literally somehow invented or at the very least managed to turn from a normal virus into a made-up dangerous pandemic so they could manipulate us all? Those who developed the vaccines are part of this ‘political class’, creating a vaccine for no reason, that in fact is what – some half-arsed stuff they conducted massive trials for? Or the trials area also fake? I assume these qualified and renowned scientists got well paid for this massive fraud? All the hospital ICU staff in the last 18 months were doing what exactly, exaggerating, even making up the problem on a daily basis? I cannot understand where you are coming from, it is all so vague and illogical. And still the ‘they’ is some shadowy ill-defined, group of very rich people. This is all ‘great reset’ stuff isn’t it? And that is full-on conspiracy thinking.

          Vaccine passports are a different issue that has arisen as things have developed. Personally I am not in favour of them but not that exercised about it though do worry about ID cards coming in through the back door. I perfectly accept the state likes to have control over us and worry about developments along those lines too but the leap you are making is, sorry to be blunt, barmy.

          1. Paula Becker says:

            Hi Niemand – the trials of the vaccine are on going, they don’t finish until 2023. The release of the vaccines to the worlds population IS the trial!!

  3. Paula Becker says:

    Is it a conspiracy theory to say that there are currently massive protests in Australia against ‘vaccine’ mandates and that the protestors include unionised construction workers?
    Is it a conspiracy theory to say that in Melbourne the Police requested a no fly zone above the city to prevent media helicopters showing the protests?
    Is it a conspiracy theory to say that internet servers were cut in Victoria today?
    Is it a conspiracy theory to say that rubber bullets have been fired at Australian protestors?

    1. John Mooney says:

      I take it that if you have any children you would refuse any vaccines for them,if not it just shows how much of a hypocrite you are and just another pathetic conspiracy troll,I am now in my Seventh decade,a child of the initional NHS and forever gratful for the vaccinations I received as child so spare me the bullshit you espouse,there is a good old Scottish phrase for you and your ilk namely “Chanty Rasslers” now kindly “Foxtrot Oscar!

      1. Paula Becker says:

        Hi John – like you I have had all the childhood vaccines given out by the NHS. I haven’t had the mRNA ‘vaccines’ because they don’t give immunity or prevent transmission of Sars-cov 2. They are also still in trials which won’t conclude until 2023.
        My sons are teenagers and therefore get to make their own decisions on whether or not to take vaccines. They recently had the diptheria vax and the flu nasal spray. So far they have decided against the Covid ‘vax’.

      2. J Galt says:

        I am now entering the “old curmudgeon” phase myself having just turned 60.

        However I’m hoping to avoid the “complacent, self satisfied, know-all, old curmudgeon” phase.

    2. MBC says:

      Hi Paula, having just returned from Norway, the conditions in Norway are very different to the UK and Scotland. For a start, the land area is several times that of Scotland with the same population, especially as being mountainous, the ‘surface area’ is much larger than the same square kilometre of flat land. This means that there’s lots of space, shops are not poky like they are here, houses are larger and neighbours have far more space between them. Campuses, care homes, hospitals and schools are also far more commodious.

      Norway also imposed very strict entry conditions after WHO announced a pandemic on 12 March 2020, immediately closing its ports and airports to all but necessary travellers. Tourists were not allowed in. Norwegians were told to holiday at home and most complied. There were no flights anyway to popular destinations abroad because of the travel ban. In that way they kept the infection rate very low, by keeping out the infected from entering Norway. They won’t hesitate in reimposing those conditions if infections rise.

      As a result, Norway, with a population the same size as Scotland, but with a very different topography and government, being a sovereign power in control of its borders, has had just under 900 deaths whilst Scotland has had just under 9000.

      They also operated a very effective test and trace system. If there was an outbreak in a school, all those in contact with the infected were immediately called upon to isolate, with very high levels of compliance. Norwegians are very disciplined and responsible citizens, plus those on isolation were supported to stay there.

      So whilst the plan now is to go back to almost everyday life with enhanced preparedness, the details have not yet been hammered out, but it will be dependent on the number of hospital admissions and in intensive care remaining low. Should these rise, rules will be reimposed.

      So you are not comparing like with like in contrasting Norway with the chaotic and out of control situation that prevails here. Norway never lost control of the spread of the virus, they had the will and the resources to impose strict and efficient and very effective entry and isolation criteria, that is why they now feel confident they can ease up a bit, as the population becomes vaccinated. But should serious illness increase, they will immediately reimpose the very strict conditions on travel and isolation that allowed them to get on top of things.

    3. Mons Meg says:

      ‘…there are currently massive protests in Australia against ‘vaccine’ mandates and that the protestors include unionised construction workers…’

      ‘…in Melbourne, the Police requested a no-fly zone above the city to prevent media helicopters showing the protests…’

      ‘…internet servers were cut in Victoria today…’

      ‘…rubber bullets have been fired at Australian protestors…’

      These aren’t ‘theories’, Paula; they’re ‘facts’.

      A fact (‘…internet servers were cut in Victoria today…’) reports what is the case; facts can be checked or verified by simply observing what is the case.

      A theory, on the other hand, purports to explain those facts; in particular, to correctly identify what caused them (‘…internet services were cut in Victoria today because…’).

      Conspiracy theories, as the name suggests, purport to explain the facts in terms of some conspiracy narrative (‘…internet servers were cut in Victoria today because there’s a government conspiracy to silence protest in Australia against ‘vaccine’ mandates…’).

      Conspiracy theories run into difficulties when the only evidence that can be cited in support of them are the same facts that they purport to explain.

      What independent evidence (i.e. evidence that’s independent of the facts your theory purports to explain) do you have for your theory that there’s a government conspiracy to silence protest in Australia against ‘vaccine’ mandates?

      And if there’s no independent evidence because the conspiracy is ‘hidden’, then how do you know there is such a conspiracy?

      (BTW Don’t despair! You’re in good company. Conspiracy theories abound on Bella.)

      1. Paula Becker says:

        Instead of insisting on using the term conspiracy theories why don’t we call them ‘speculations’. You’re right I do not know 100% why the servers were cut – I’m therefore forced to speculate. I speculate that they were cut to minimise the social media coverage of the protests. This seems reasonable to me. Nor do I know why the Melbourne police requested a no fly zone above the city or why the Govt granted that request. I’m forced to speculate. I speculate that they wanted no media helicopters in the sky filming the protest. Again this seems reasonable to me.
        And you’ll note that I placed a question mark at the end of my statements. I was inviting Bella readers to ponder these facts and draw their own conclusions on what might be the motives behind the actions.

        1. Mons Meg says:

          I can’t see how anyone would object to this. Many conspiracy theories are indeed speculative: reasoning based on inconclusive evidence; conjecture or supposition.

          However, whatever nomenclature we elect to use, the fact remains that conspiracy theories/speculations/conjectures run into difficulties when the only evidence that can be cited in support of them are the same facts they purport to explain. What reason do we have for supposing that some conspiracy or other lies as the best explanation behind all the putative facts you cite?

  4. Paula Becker says:

    Is it a conspiracy to say that Denmark has lifted all remaining Covid restrictions?
    Is it a conspiracy to say that Sweden has lifted the few remaining Covid restrictions it had?
    Is it a conspiracy to say that Norway has decided to classify Covid 19 as an endemic, seasonal respiratory infection no more dangerous than the flu?

    1. John McLeod says:

      I believe it to be true that pandemics have killed millions of people over the course of human history. I believe that the strategies advocated by the WHO to limit the effects of covid-19 reflect the collective knowledge of a global community of scientists and doctors who know about pandemics and who are not controlled by hidden political influences. I believe that if Scotland had not implemented these strategies our hospitals would have been overwhelmed – the consequence of which are painful to imagine.

      I also believe that the eventual inquiry that will take place into the current pandemic, once it is over, will yield an analysis of what happened that goes beyond our current understanding.

      You have looked closely at the information that is available at the moment, and arrived at a different set of conclusions. We live in a democracy where it is possible to openly discuss differences in point of view. The question that then arises is – how do we decide what to do, when there are different perspectives? I am one of these people who has followed the Scottish Government covid guidelines to the letter, all the way through, because this seems the safest option for all of us. I may be wrong, but my interpretation of your posts today is that do not think it is necessary to follow these guidelines, for instance in relation to wearing masks. So maybe you are one of those who does not wear a mask in the supermarket or on a bus. I do wear a mask. I believe that doing so limits (but does not eliminate completely) my chance of inecting someone else if I have covid and am now yet aware that I am infectious. I believe that those who choose not to ear a mask are potentially making me vulnerable to their as yet undiagnosed infection. The chances of catching covid in this way are small. But there are millions of us, and these small probabilities add up. What is wrong with erring on the side of caution?

      If it eventually becomes clear that mask wearing is based on false research promulgated by billionaire mask manufacturers I will be really angry. But for the moment it is a small thing I can do, that makes sense to me as well as being supported by research and everyday experience in other countries.

      1. Paula Becker says:

        Hi John, thank you for your courteous response. I disagree with pretty much everything you are saying but am respectful of your decisions and viewpoints.

  5. Tom Ultuous says:

    Some of them even believe in Brexit (still)?

  6. MBC says:

    Yes, anger is a response to pain and grief.

  7. Paula Becker says:

    Reported in the Telegraph business section on the 21st June 2021 : ‘The Bank of England has called on ministers to decide whether a central bank digital currency should be ”programmable”, ultimately giving the issuer control over how it is spent by the recipient.’
    Have I just spread a conspiracy theory or is this an accurate report by the Telegraph journalist?

    1. Gashty McGonnard says:

      “Accurate report by The Telegraph” sounds like a whacky theory to Me.

      A programmable currency, as described, is the worst idea ever, true or not. Everybody would use whatever alternative they had. Its exchange rate would plummet. If the government demanded taxes in that form, the state would quickly go bankrupt.

      I would have thought such self-destructive folly only existed in fiction…. until, you know, Brexit.

  8. John howard says:

    Paula Becker, Greater Melbourne has a populalation of 6.7 million a demonstration by 2000 right wingers is not massive protest. John

    1. John Mooney says:

      John, best to ignore the troll,more to be pitied than indulged.

  9. Paula Becker says:

    Tony Blair on the telly again to say that we should be ‘vaccinating’ nursery school children. Blair’s Institute has received many grants from Bill Gates totalling over £20 million. Bill Gates is also funding the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) to the tune of £1 million annually. Bill Gates has massive investments in Merck, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and other Big Pharma companies.
    Wild conspiracy theorizing or factually true?

    1. J Galt says:

      Paula you’re wasting your time.

      You’re up against superior beings who know everything.

      You’re only fit to be analysed in their figurative Petrie dish, explained away in smug psychobabble.

      1. Paula Becker says:

        Yes you could be right J Galt

      2. Mons Meg says:

        It’s got nothing to do with psychology, J, and everything to do with die Logik der Forschung.

  10. Wul says:

    I’ve worked for large, centralised organisations who were at times accused by members of the public of “conspiracy” against their own, self-defined, minority community.

    There were never any conspiracies. What there often was, was an understaffed, under-resourced organisation, of mostly good, hard-working people trying to cope with unpredictable external events and a regular series of fcuck-ups.

    Our current government, being a loose coalition of people for whom private wealth is more important than social security, will regularly act in ways which protect capital and landlordism at the expense of the common good. This puts us public at more risk than we need to be in any natural or man-made crisis.

  11. Kenny says:

    The left cannot pretend to care about misinformation while claiming that biological sex doesn’t exist and that there have been no adverse consequences of self-ID policies anywhere in the world. Women are being raped, assaulted, gaslit, bullied and silenced in service of a fundamental untruth, and “the left” cheers on the attacks and blames the victims while claiming their concerns are “invalid” or even a “conspiracy theory.”

    The “progressive” movement has turned out to be just as male and entitled as every other political movement before it, and when people can clearly see the lies and insanity, it’s only natural they look elsewhere to find something, anything that sounds like it makes sense.

    1. Mons Meg says:

      Of course, biological sex (the trait that determines an organism’s reproductive function in sexual reproduction) exists. It exists as a term within the complex webs of discourse we spin in our ongoing attempts to weave a habitable world out of the raw data of immediate sensory experience. The dispute isn’t around whether sex exists but around how it exists – ‘really’, ‘ideally’, or ‘nominally’.

      We’ve been through all this elsewhere. Everything – including sex – is ideology; the consciousness we acquire in and through the process by which we appropriate the world to our use. That’s historical materialism for you, and theory doesn’t get much more ‘Left’ than that.

      1. Niemand says:

        Trouble is I have yet to read any convincing actual arguments (rather than assertions based on what some people feel) that sex does not ‘really’ exist. When faced with the obvious material reality of binary sexual difference, the necessity of that for human survival, and the struggles for equality based on that sexual difference, it was always going to be an up hill struggle to make it only ‘nominal’, which is what the thrust of a certain, and now ‘mainstream’ strain of trans activism is all about. The continual struggle for any of its advocates to answer basic questions (such as ‘what is a woman?’, ‘who else can pregnant apart from a woman?’) by saying such simple questions are ‘unhelpful’ or irrelevant, is a sure sign of that struggle. Those questions, and similar, need to be answered clearly and succinctly, or there is no ‘argument’, just assertion, diversion and obfuscation.

        1. Mons Meg says:

          The problem of definition is indeed fundamental because it’s by definition that we make a thing (an indefinite ‘that’) the thing that it is (a definite ‘what’). We might not make organisms male and female like a carpenter makes tables and chairs, but it’s we who make them ‘male’ and ‘female’.

          The question is the age-old question of universals: to what (if anything) do words like ‘black’, ‘Scottish’, ‘male’, ‘female’ – i.e. adjectives – refer. Do they refer to things that exist ‘really’; that is, quite apart from and independent of what we think of them? Or do they refer to things that exist ‘ideally’; that is, as nothing more than ideas in our heads? Or do they not refer to anything at all; do they function only nominally, rather, as a kind of rule that governs what and what can be meaningfully said in the context of normal discourse?

          I tend towards the third of these metaphysical policies because it facilitates a kind of radical freedom. If the meaning of words like ‘male’ and ‘female’ consists only in the rule that governs their correct use in normal discourse, then it means we can not only interpret the world by applying the rules of normal discourse but also change it by breaking those rules. Transgressors like trans folk break the rules, thus loosening the hegemony of normal discourse by which we’re identified in and by society. They introduce more ‘queerness’ into the world.

          And as I said back on the Cowardice & Capitulation discussion:

          Therein lies the ‘revolutionary moment’ of the struggle for trans recognition: the deconstruction of some old ways of thinking; the disintegration of an ideology of capitalism and the ‘master/slave’ social divisions (‘male/female’, ‘white/black’, ‘straight/queer’, ‘cis/trans’) of which it’s an expression. It’s about anticapitalism in our postmodern age.

          1. Niemand says:

            There is a lot I agree with there but it fails to address the fundamental problem: no matter what the definitions are, no matter that some might declare themselves a woman even though they are sexually men, and that people accept that, no matter how much we agree that gender is a fluid moveable feast that we should embrace, they are still male bodied people and it is male bodied people who are the threat no matter their gender designation. And we are not talking about transsexual people here, those who undergone a sex ‘change’, but ‘trans’ people who have had no medical adjustment to their sex and do not wish to have any.

            The concerns some people have is that changing the law makes women, females that is, less safe in spaces currently reserved only for them. This is not conjecture – there are now numerous cases of varying types of assault where such spaces have been opened up to self identified trans women. A simple look at the type of tweets and the like the real trans extremists put out attacking ‘TERFS” (by which I mean people like J.K. Rowling) are filled with the most gross type of physical and sexual assault threats, including murder and rape i.e. classic male sexual violence (I won’t provide links as the material is too disturbing but are easy to find). These people are a small minority of course but they are just the sort we should be worried about. No amount of ‘be kind’ is going to alter that and make them go away.

            On Radio Scotland the other day a trans advocate said quite bluntly: ‘It wouldn’t matter, actually, if there was a slight spike in those statistics [of assaults on women by trans women] because this isn’t about that kind of issue.’ This acknowledges the threat and dismisses it as a price worth paying. Really? In a world where violence against women is ever present and arguably getting worse? Of the 125 trans-identified male prisoners known to be incarcerated in England and Wales, 60 are convicted sex offenders.

            Women are right to be worried and no amount of theory is going to change that because the threat has proven to be real already. Self-ID is not the solution. It is reckless and dangerous.

          2. Mons Meg says:

            As I’ve said before, I recognise the risk, and trans and cis women should work together to find ways of minimising that risk. Denying the lived experience of trans women by insisting on biological essentialism isn’t a constructive way of dealing with the problem.

            How did we get onto this again?

          3. Niemand says:

            Dunno, ha ha. It ain’t a risk though, it is a reality, women’s actual experience. ‘Essentialism’ is irrelevant. Safety is paramount. Or, like the person on Radio Scotland you accept more women will be harmed by not denying trans women’s ‘lived experience’ which is more important than women’s safety. That’s the choice and there is a logic to accepting the latter since we do accept a lesser evil for a greater good in many cases. All else is hot air.

          4. Mons Meg says:

            Safety is indeed paramount, and women need to find safe ways of protecting themselves from predatory males masquerading as women. But to assume that a trans woman is a predatory male masquerading as a woman is by no means a safe assumption.

          5. Tom Ultuous says:

            If you consider trans women to be women then a lot more women will be harmed if things are left as they are Niemand. Even if you don’t, a lot more human beings will be harmed.

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