The news is confusing and disturbing. What better way to tame that explanations that play in the background of this concern by providing an illusion of clarity in this confusion ?
Conspiracy theories have always existed, but they are a plague peculiar to our time.
Today, they undermine our ability to counter the pandemic of the coronavirus, but they represent a challenge to liberal democracy.
Movie buffs will have recognized above the allusion to the film adventure is an adventure where a band of criminals misfires operates two truths constants : in politics, the winners are those who manage to generate clarity in the confusion ; and the policy, it is show business.
One can succeed in politics – even occasionally give a good show – clarifying the confusion in the explanations honest, factual, and rational. It is a basic requirement of liberal democracy, all the more necessary in times of pandemic.
No one had a better understanding of these two maxims as the current president of the United States, which has always thrived by creating the illusion of clarity in an environment where it maintains the confusion, while giving a good show.
For Donald Trump, the conspiracy theories that activate the fears and prejudices of its supporters have always been a political weapon that will be profitable.
This was true when it colportait rumors wacky on the legitimacy of the first african-american president. This is still true then that he concocts such theories to try to make us forget the colossal failure of his administration in the face of the sars coronavirus.The theories complotistes abound on the internet, where they are exploited both by Vladimir Putin to destabilize the western democracies by profiteers who exploit an unsuspecting public.
The giants of the web have beautiful plead that they are trying to counter the misinformation, as they did yesterday at the u.s. Congress, these theories represent an inexhaustible source of profits.
The ascension of Donald Trump is also largely attributable to the fables peddled by, among others, Roger Stone, Alex Jones of Infowars and Steve Bannon of Breitbart.
Impacts and hazards in real
As pointed out by the historian Anne Applebaum in her new book, Twilight of Democracy, the conspiracy theories are the tool of choice for leaders in authoritarian eastern european, including theories focused on the ” bonhomme Sept-Hours favorite of the populist anti-semitic and/or antiglobalistes, the billionaire Hungarian George Soros.
According to Applebaum, the complotisme has hijacked the movement of liberalization in democratic post-cold war to an authoritarian populism and the same kind of theories to be false led to the British to the adventure of the Brexit, and cast the republican us into the arms of Trump.
With us, the opponents of the compulsory wearing of the mask and the vaccination – which may unnecessarily prolong the pandemic – based on the nonsense peddled in particular by apologists of Trump, supporters of the same kind of nationalism populist toxic that is rampant everywhere in the world.
This is not just show business. The consequences of this kind of intellectual pollution are real.