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  • Writer's pictureDavid Williams

Believing in the Whackamo Ideas of Whackoland by David Williams

For the last 2 weeks Elon Musk has been boosting the outlandishly idiotic and thoroughly debunked pizzagate “theory” that always did sound like psychobabble—that Hillary Clinton was leading a bunch of Democratic baby eaters beneath a pizza joint in DC to corral more and more children into sexual slavery. The thing is, someone actually believed this crap and went in there armed with a gun back in 2016 to take down the evil Dems, only to find there was nothing there--really “nothing there except pizzas!” The nut case with the gun was arrested and booked, but that did not stop Musk, known as the richest man in the world, from spouting the same nonsense 7 years later, no less than 5 different times over the course of 14 days. He has also been promoting another conspiracy theory (an antisemitic one) that says that Jews “push hatred” onto white people. This is the guy who owns what’s left of Twitter, now X, which is aptly named as X ,which seems dead in the water with its huge loss of advertising revenue, over which Musk threw a temper tantrum.

Meanwhile the ex POTUS, Mr. Whackamo himself, has been announcing at rallies the idea that Obama is still the real one in charge of the White House. This nonsense is built on top of a mountain of lies and conspiracy fables that are beyond the pale, including the famous QAnon garbage that millions of people subscribe to that seem invented by South Park writers trying to pen a spoof. But the Right spoofs itself, it doesn’t need satirists. You can’t get more absurd that the real thing these days. So, Trump is sporting the Q pin lapel now with the words “The Storm is Coming, “ which means that Trump’s about to usher in the final victory over the forces of darkness where he will rise again and execute his enemies over live television. Trump is the Second Coming of the Messiah, of course, and he is balls to the walls ecstatic over the idea, believing himself supremely fitted to the role as commander in chief of the universe, the Mighty Lord of All. Millions of his followers also believe this inane claptrap. But why? Why do human beings continually believe in and perpetuate fairy tales and magical thinking that is utter looney toons?

Truth is, we humans come by believing bullshit honestly. Since the development of language, songs, stories, and myths, our species has been spewing out fabulous fables about our origins and our mighty adventures, sending these up to the stars as the ancient ones sat around open fires at night weaving fabrications, creating gods and demigods, and all the heavenly host. Every culture has a slew of stories, and outside of borrowing--from one tribe to another--few of the origin stories around the world match up. In one culture the Holy People lived below ground and eventually came up through a hollow reed. In another, mortals were created by ears of corn, and so and so on, with thousands of utterly diverse tales crafted to explain the things. People realized long, long ago that one thing caused another, as they could see this in daily action, but humans applied this principle to everything without the slightest notion that it might be a good idea to verify the explanations people invented to see if the line of causation were true or not. No such luck. That wouldn’t happen (due to the Dark Ages killing any progress in the sciences the Greeks and others had made) for a 1000 years. Faith was greater than proof. So, the Aztecs could just go on cutting the hearts out of thousands of live victims atop their pyramids in order to keep the sun going around the earth, without anyone questioning what might really happen if heart harvesting were suddenly stopped. And so it was all around the world, that people attributed disease and sickness to evil spells cast by witches (who were their neighbors), which required those witches be put to death in gruesome ways; as people thought that all manner of evil was always caused by intent, the intention of another person, or the gods, So the gods had to be appeased and prayed to in order to avoid their wrath, as you couldn’t just do away with them in a bonfire. Praises were sung to these same gods, and offerings were brought (usually an animal that had to have its throat slit and its blood drained over a rock, as for some reason (the gods of many diverse cultures have always had a tremendous thirst for blood). So, humans would kill and sing praises, pray and pray, and then kill some more to keep the ravenous gods happy, in order to secure a good hunt, a good crop, or get a pass from some horrific military conquest or a blight.

The idea that we are rational actors has been challenged over and again through neuroscience, and behavioral economics, by looking at how and why people actually make decisions—not through the invisible hand of capitalism always guiding human beings toward the perfect light of reason—but rather it has been shown that economic decisions are usually driven by whims, biases, fantasies, hunches, and every kind of emotional motivation that defies logic.

Faith and Belief can so easily corrode critical thinking, and if you were taught something by your family as a child it can be almost impossible to rid yourself of this belief, for at some level these primal notions planted in your early brain like to hide there in the background, even if you eventually get a PhD in an area of science that utterly smashes your previous paradigms. I was able to meet Margaret Meade once, and she told me, “It doesn’t matter what you come to believe as an adult—if your mother told you that the earth is really the back of a giant turtle—you are going to have some emotional sense that that the earth really IS the back of a turtle—even if your degree is in astrophysics.” But our millennial reliance on fictional fabrications has hurt us a lot more than it has helped, for countless people have lost their lives for nothing, or been forced to endure shame for being different. Even deformities were thought to be the fault of the unlucky. If a person was disfigured, or even poor, others liked to think it was their own damned fault in some way—karma from a past life—or punishment from the gods for past transgression.

The modern birth of science, some 400 years ago, was our first real chance as human beings to rid ourselves of ignorance, of stupid fairy tales based on gossip, hearsay, or just pure rot. But the scientific method doesn’t come easily to our species. It has to be learned and vigorously applied over and over again, and it’s ALWAYS possible, at any given time, for us to slip back into the Dark Ages, as Carl Sagan eloquently warned us all about a few decades ago. Nowadays, in the whacked-out conspiracy theory mindset, the Boogeyman is always coming to get us. The wolf is always at the door. Those people over there, the OTHERS, are always pouring over the border to take away everything we have, to gnaw through our skin, eat us inside out, and turn us into zombies. There is a world of parasites waiting at any given time to eat us alive (usually in the form of indigenous Meso-americans whose ancestors have been here for some 12,000 years), as the bizarre cobwebs of imaginary causation twist and turn in outrageous converging plot lines that a legitimate fiction writer would be thoroughly embarrassed to ever employ. But people eat this shit up. It has all the brain power of a comic book. And being an “insider” who reads this palbum, this secret “knowledge,” always bestows power.

“We now know the real truth!”Us.The chosen few exclaim.The insiders.And the outsiders—well—they are the know-nothings who believe more in verification than common sense.Those guys want to tear down our duly elected god.Our savior.For in the mythic world, there are the good guys and there are the bad guys, black and white, and your either with us or you are against us.Stick your QAnon pin on your lapel and let it repel evil thoughts.Let it repel the gob smacking of liberal relatives, the blabbering of the New York Times, of NPR, the BBC, MSNBC, and even Science Itself.Let the potent QAnon badge repel every bastion of coercive propaganda that rises to indoctrinate us into Liberalism, the philosophy that thinks it knows more than what God himself put clearly on earth for us to see—that “we” the lunatic fringe is no fringe, but the people—devout purveyors of pitchforks and hatchets, armed with matches— and ready to burn burn books as well as the witches who write them.


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