Going around in circles in (anti-)conspiracy (a first and last time, as far as we are concerned)
After fascist in the 1980s and 90s, populist in the 2000s and 10s(1), terrorist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic more recently, conspiracist is the new Godwin point that has become fashionable in a few years. It has poisoned the minds of a good part of the electorate-consumers, who fear straight talk ( parrhesia in the ancient Greeks) on pain of falling into that hated category. From the media to everyday conversations, the anti-complotiste marotte is alive and well, to the point of unconsciously falling into the trap it denounces, since the conspiracists are said to form such a powerful global congregation that it is a matter of thwarting their Machiavellian (Satanic?) plans. Don’t you think we’re going in circles? The people above applaud the people below who use and abuse this cliché. Among the latter, the academics; when a political scientist wants to make a career in his institution and swagger in the media(2), an excellent trick is to study, analyze, and deconstruct the « complosphere », which overlaps with the « fachosphere(3) « . Visiting the Conspiracy Watch site, and bragging about it, makes you look like an intelligent, rational citizen, an alert democrat, an anti-fascist, in short, a good person. Seeing fachos and conspiracy theorists everywhere is a sign of good mental health and democratic vigilance. Social networks are the hunting ground of keyboard antifas, specialists in dubious numerical deductions and cross-checking. Denouncing a comrade who received a text message from a guy who had previously met an activist who had been seen conversing with a fascist in a video is an act of civic-mindedness, because by transitivity this comrade has become a fascist in spite of herself, poor thing. If you see in a demonstration a single flag bearing the letter Q drowned among dozens of others of unions and associations, soon after you will learn on your screen that the demonstration was infiltrated by the extreme right(4), it is irrefutable! And therefore irremediably contaminated, discredited, out of the game(5). And so on, the paranoia of the antifascists is like the universe: continuously expanding.
We would have to laugh about it if the subject were not so serious and if this word were not a weapon of the political-media power to prevent thinking. However, let’s take this liberty and open the Lafrousse dictionary, updated since March 2020, to read the definition of conspiracy theorist : » citizen whose freedom of expression, questioning and reflections deviate, even if only by an inch, from the strict governmental and scientific communication relayed by the media . Thus, « conspiracy theorist » should almost always be accompanied by quotation marks, which will offend right-thinking souls, but will have the advantage of showing that the « conspiracy theorist » is, in the eyes of politicians and their media relays, the one who has the mistake of not subscribing to the official narrative.
However, the media caste will continue to be relentless and will launch the vindictiveness, for sure. Le Soir had already indicated, on the basis of the trailer of Ceci n’est pas un complot, that » on crowdfunding sites, the conspiracy, it pays(6) « . The publication of the documentary a few months later will offer proof that it is based on proven facts, without speculation or extrapolation. From then on, no media will dare, as far as we know, to openly call him a conspiracy theorist, but some of them, rather than taking the risk themselves, have had academics or ordinary people gossiping about it to suggest that if the documentary was not typically conspiracy theorist, it was still a bit conspiracy theorist, if you look closely enough(7). Members of the profession have even (slightly) beaten their chests, acknowledging some of their mistakes and excesses(8), while deploring the fact that other aspects are not addressed in the documentary, which is an old rhetorical trick: focusing on absence rather than presence. Who could boast of having a 360° vision? No one, of course, such are the limits of understanding… and of the duration of a film. Haven’t journalists learned that one of the principles of their profession is to cut up and sequence reality? And therefore recompose it, within certain limits? As George Orwell said, truth is constructed. What Bernard Crutzen did, except that he is reproached for it (see the article by Alain Adriaens in this issue).
The direct political consequence of this obsessive tracking down of (« ) conspiracy theorists (« ) is to leave the hands of the rulers free, turning a blind eye to their catastrophic and malicious (non-)management of the epidemic. For there would be « more urgent » than attacking the decision-makers — fighting the far right, which decides nothing -, and in both senses of the word, it would be better to put up with a totally corrupt liberal regime, in its final stages, than to run the risk of seeing the illiberal right come to power, as in Hungary. But there is no need to fall into illiberalism. Isn’t the very liberal Emmanuel Macron taking France down the road to social apartheid with his « health passport » project? « What do you want, Madam… admittedly, it’s a bit annoying… but Mr. Macron was still elected against Ms. Le Pen… so, between two evils … » The deafness and cynicism of a certain left that still claims to be anti-capitalist (?) will never cease to amaze…
We will have to put up with being labelled as conspiracy theorists by those who refuse to think radically (at the root) and to reflect on our future. In the hierarchy of priorities, preventing the destruction of the common world comes before our little image. Let’s not be afraid of being « conspiracy theorists », before banishing this word, with or without quotation marks. For the greater good of thought and critical thinking.
File coordinated by Alexandre Penasse and Bernard Legros