By Arnold Malone
Pioneer Columnist

Conspiracy theories have existed ever since humans had an imagination. They are apart of the “Oh yah, I bettcha mentality.” The doubter, the suspicious, the self-serving characters who attempt to upgrade their personal importance by defying facts. Conspiracies have been apart of human advocacy for a very long time.

Most people who construct a conspiracy have not considered just how difficult it is to start a conspiracy and have it function as planned. A conspiracy might start in an individual’s mind, but having it play out with intent is nearly impossible. Conspiracies attack facts, offering that someone, somewhere is hiding a truth. The “Truth” they imagine is usually a personal desire to non-conform. Doubtful as a proposition might be, it is left to the public to disprove rather than the advocate to prove.

So, go ahead assert that Stonehenge was built by aliens and note the difficulty others will have in showing you wrong.

We get wrapped up in stories such as Princess Diana was executed by a British Intelligence Agency. The notion is made easier to believe because Royalty is expected to live long lives or die because of a serious but sad decease but never by a drunk driving her limousine.

My earliest recall of a conspiracy was about grade 10 when one student claimed that General Motors invented a carburetor that would allow a car to obtain 150 miles per gallon, but the patent was bought out by Imperial Esso. My mother wanted to know how come Jimmy knew that, but no persons in authority did?

One motive for accepting a conspiracy is ignorance. These are situations where a conspiracy is accepted because the individual can’t understand reality, so they hunt for an alternative explanation. The narrowly held view that humans never walked on the moon but rather the images were a Hollywood production describes such a situation. These thoughts are more cute than harmful.

The more dangerous conspiracies are those that want to disregard facts so they can practise an illegal objective.

Among the dangerous conspiracies are the claims that the Sandy Hook killing of young children was a tragedy designed by “left wing nuts” who were trying to build a case for gun control. Persons who belonged to the National Rifle Association had a part in that nonsense. The claim that there exists a cure for cancer, but doctors are hiding the treatment because it would put a lot of doctors out of work is silly, wrong and dangerous.

So, Elvis is alive and hiding in Montana. Adolf Hitler had a stand-in to take his own life, allowing Hitler to live out his days in South America, and COVID-19 was designed by the Chinese as a bio-weapon against America.

The arrival of the internet and social media has massively accelerated the spread of conspiracies. This expansion has threatened truth and reason. The public has a requirement for facts; it a major pillar for democracy.

Conspiracies are a short claim that requires a longer correction, such as, “Covid-19 doesn’t really exist. It is a plot by globalists to take away our freedoms.”

The most dangerous conspiracies are those that are advocated or supported by persons with power. The higher the power, the higher danger.

Conspiracy theories are not just some harmless fib. They do damage. They cause us to lose trust in our intuitions and the practice of democracy. They trample the truth. They cause many to be sceptics and up-root our clarity of vision. We do not have a choice; we must call out those who perpetuate false narratives. This war on skill and thoughtful knowledge cannot be allowed to rip away our advancements by destroying sound judgment and all that science has delivered.

Arnold Malone served as MP for Alberta’s Battle River and Crowfoot ridings from 1974 through 1993. He retired to Invermere in 2007.