This is the great unspoken hole in the middle of the ‘kill millions of people by starting a pandemic in order to force people to get your microchip vaccine so that you can then track them’ theory. The problem is simple: WE ALREADY HAVE PHONES. Everything that this vaccine plan is supposed to accomplish has already been achieved – and it wasn’t imposed on an unwilling populace, it was adopted by the public with wild enthusiasm, through little more than a few decades of advancing consumer technology and a bit of decent marketing. Close to ninety per cent of adults in the UK have a smartphone, a figure near the upper end of even the most hopeful vaccine roll-out plan. Vast tranches of tracking data on millions and millions of individuals are bought and sold on the open market entirely legally; while you’re fretting about vaccines, some dumb game you downloaded and played for two weeks last year is still sitting on your phone, quietly sending your details to god knows who.

Le titre donne le ton : la farce pourrait devenir indigeste, mais n’est jamais forcée, et fait passer le gout amer qui reste après 300 pages de théories plus farfelues (et dangereuses) les unes que les autres. La comédie est d’autant plus nécessaire que Conspiracy répète le même article de 5 000 mots en boucle, les complots « vont et viennent », et la narration avec eux. Le complotisme est une tentation séculaire, rabâchent Elledge et Phillips, et cette idée est terriblement réconfortante. Disons que Conspiracy donne envie de farfouiller la belle bibliographie pour creuser le sujet – et c’est déjà pas mal.


Les détraqués de la causalité :

From this point of view, conspiracy theorists are simply people whose sense of cause and effect is just a bit too developed. In Michael Barkun’s telling, conspiracism is a worldview in which ‘nothing happens by accident’, ‘everything is connected’ and ‘nothing is as it seems’. To Goldwag, meanwhile, conspiracy theories offer ‘a vision of a world that, however terrible, is always purposive’.

Les journaux ont toujours été des torchons :

In general, conspiracy theories about epidemics tend to spring from two areas of suspicion: on the one hand, theories that focus on the origins and causes of the disease, and on the other, theories about the medical and governmental response to the epidemic. The cholera conspiracies embodied both of these – and as often happens, the two merged in the attitude towards the medical profession, who were accused of both being the cause and of providing an even more malign cure. Epidemic conspiracy theories can also vary in the extent to which they accept the reality of the disease itself. Some seek to lay blame for the sickness, as the poisoning theories did; others may suggest that the real danger actually isn’t the sickness itself, and that it’s simply a pretext for whatever nefarious schemes the authorities have in mind. Still others may choose to deny the existence of the disease at all. That also happened in the UK during the first cholera outbreak – in a reaction that may seem rather familiar today, some people decided it was simply all a scam, referring to it as the ‘cholera humbug’. One correspondent in the Lancet wrote in 1831 that cholera was merely a ‘government hoax, got up for the purpose of … distracting the attention of the people away from the reform bill’ – adding that they feared this trick had been pulled by the government before, with the assistance of ‘the faculty’ and the ‘Liespapers’.

L’Australie n’existe pas :

These big, geographical conspiracy theories highlight another problem: how can you actually prove that Australia exists? Maps can be fabricated; satellite photographs altered. You may believe you’ve been there, but you travelled by plane: all you really know is that you’ve been somewhere. At some point, the evidence of our own eyes and ears ceases to be enough: we believe in Australia because the media and the authorities tell us it exists. But if you cease to trust that media and those authorities, what would be enough to convince you?

La conspiration capitaliste, le capitalisme conspirateur :

By the turn of the millennium, conspiracism was no longer just a mindset, but a movement. It was a sprawling, interconnected series of established subcultures, which fed off and nourished each other, even when they had very different motivations and straddled much of the political spectrum. But it was also more than that: it had become an industry. People were able to make a living off the production of conspiracy theories, and there was an eager and growing audience, always hungry for more twists and turns in the narrative of global control. What had started in the local politics of the Counter-Enlightenment was now a worldview, a community and a business model all rolled into one.

Un parfait usage des notes de bas de page :

It’s an interesting historical twist that Gary Allen’s son is the political journalist Mike Allen, founder of the news organisation Axios and the original creator of Politico’s famous ‘Playbook’ newsletter – the ultimate ‘insider’ product, embracing all the tropes that None Dare Call It Conspiracy railed against (while still showing his father’s appreciation of the power of building a good mailing list).

La théorie du complot comme rationalisation d’une réalité horrible :

It’s not surprising that people who were shocked and horrified by these election results would look for explanations, and would gravitate to ones that portrayed the results as illegitimate. But does either really need an extraordinary explanation? ‘UK not keen on Europe’ and ‘America prone to racial tensions and bouts of populism’ are not earth-shattering revelations. Like every other theory through the ages that casts its bad guys as devious, skilled manipulators of public opinion – from eighteenth-century fears of ‘impious pamphlets’ onwards – the Cambridge Analytica theory saw the hidden hand of a malign intelligence at work in the basic fact that some people just disagree with you.

Le complotisme comme manière de dire que d’autres (qui sont capables de garder des secrets d’État… secrets) sont plus intelligents que soi (qui n’est pas capable de cacher son adultère ou sa fraude au fisc), c’est-à-dire comme forme de masochisme social :

If you search online, you can find ‘maps’ produced by believers illustrating the QAnon worldview. They are baffling, hyperdense network diagrams of interlinked people, institutions, events and belief systems – massive fractal images in which zooming in on any node in the network reveals another conspiracy theory. Princess Diana sits alongside the North American Free Trade Agreement; the Trilateral Commission is just over from ley lines; Black Lives Matter, fluoridation, cattle mutilations and the 1973 oil crisis are all part of the same masterplan. The overwhelming feeling you get is that this conspiracy must be an absolute nightmare to organise. It would be a logistical feat just to get sign-off on any decision when the stakeholders include Halliburton, CERN, George Soros, Pope Francis, the Martian Slave Colony, the reptilians from Draco, and the secret race of builders who made the pyramids.

QAnon comme religion, c’est-à-dire comme maladie, du siècle :

It remains to be seen what will happen to QAnon in the long term. Is it dependent on Trump’s political fortunes? Will it fade away over time? Will it split into different factions, or mutate into new variants? Are we witnessing the early stages of a new religion? Whatever QAnon becomes as time goes on, it seems likely that this is what conspiracy theories will look like in the future: increasingly decentralised, crowd-created conspiracy universes, greedily gobbling up and regurgitating the theories of the previous centuries to feed our narrative desire for new twists.