While it’s possible to use “conspiracy theory” in a neutral way, I’m struggling to recall an instance. In actual use, to call someone a conspiracy theorist is to slap them. It’s purpose is to shut them up, to stop others from considering what they said, and to shame them as badly as possible. Anyone who’s been its target knows this.
Calling “conspiracy theory” adds precisely no factual input to a discussion; it’s simply an attempt to end a conversation; an attempt to intimidate and paralyze.
Mature people speak to communicate and to find the truth of things. And if things are too complex or obscure for truth to be clearly seen, they try to understand the other party’s viewpoint and to clarify their own. Immature people speak for the purpose of winning; it’s almost excusable for the fifth grader on a playground; it’s not for someone in their 30s, or, God forbid, in their 50s or 60s.
Yes, there are plenty of foolish ideas bouncing around; there always are. The people promulgating those ideas, however, are generally eager to discuss them, hoping to prove them true. That is not only acceptable, but useful. And I dare say that we’ve all held stupid ideas at one point or another.
In The Time of Censorship
I’m writing this now because we’ve entered a time of censorship. The various Covid manias and spin-offs have hardened millions of people into tribal hatreds. They’ve centered their minds around that which they hate. Within that mindset, censorship becomes a means toward a necessary end.
And so it’s up to us folks. I’m being very blunt in this post, but I don’t want any of us to become angry and to focus our minds on “enemies.” Our job is to build something better. Still, there’s a time to remind our friends and neighbors that they’ve left the path.
Bear in mind that most of the people intimidating others and cheering for censorship have been caught up in a mob, and that they’re also able to leave it.
So, speak the truth in love, but do speak it.