Is The Rational Left Building Its Own Conspiracy Theory?
Typically, atheists, skeptics, and people of science keep away from conspiracies like those popularized by Alex Jones and David Icke. We usually consider them foolish wastes of time and use the term conspiracy as a pejorative. We mock the president for supporting unverified claims and ridiculous notions. But has the Russian election hacking scandal caused us to develop our own conspiracy?
Polls suggest that the majority of Americans don’t believe the election hacking would have changed the result of the election, but many of the most politically active and motivated have made it their battle cry. Between the popular vote issue and Russian hacking the left has two seemingly very good reasons to deny Trump’s legitimacy. But I worry that rational thinkers may be descending into a region we typically try to avoid. Crying conspiracy.
What is a Conspiracy?
That might seem like a very stupid question at first, but to some it may be a “I knows ’em when I sees ’em” type matter. From an academic standpoint, it is necessary to further define the phrase, especially since real conspiracies like Watergate, do exist. But there is no hard and fast definition of what a conspiracy theory is. The one common thread that binds most mainstream conspiracies is that they are un-falsifiable. There is no way to prove them wrong, because the evidence provided doesn’t lend itself to being checked.
When facts are contradictory to the conspiratorial claims they are labeled as fake. (fake news anyone?) This method of discrediting any legitimate contradictory claims has spread beyond the usual 9/11 truthers and anti-vaxxers. It has become mainstream with the election of Donald Trump. The argument they make becomes much more emotional in nature, understandable since it is usually something they care about so much.
So Why Worry About Rational Thinkers?
The 2016 election and the aftermath have been one of the most tumultuous times in our country’s history. Most people with a scientific worldview are liberals, not surprising as the vast majority of actual scientists say they are democrats. This election and the current administration are an incredibly hot issue for most of us. Trump has stirred up so much emotion in all of us, that many have thrown out their usual standards.
By no means do I mean to say that there is neither good reason for thinking Russian election hacking did occur, nor being upset about it. But what I see on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites bothers me. Far from calling fr investigations into the allegations, many have bypassed the step of verification and are just claiming Trump is an illegitimate President. I agree, obviously the Russians interfered in the election by hacking DNC servers and releasing emails. They also promoted fake news that was in Trump’s favor.
All I want is for people to be more cautious in their claims, otherwise we could end up looking bad. claims that Bannon is really running the white house, or that Putin has videos of Trump with prostitutes, are as of yet unfounded, and we really don’t need them. There are plenty of other unethical, stupid, or downright almost unconstitutional actions Trump has taken or planned to take. We don’t need to fabricate anything else to indict him (legally or metaphorically).