DISTRIBUTING The Light newspaper in my town centre, I met a well-spoken, middle-class woman who asked what free material I was offering. Before I could answer, she saw the title and visibly flinched: ‘I’ve heard all about that paper on the BBC; it’s full of conspiracy theories.’ As I suspected, she had heard Marianna Spring’s Conspiracyland missives on Radio 4. I tried to explain that Spring’s role is not objective journalism but to smear truth-seekers whose government appears to be following a global agenda. ‘I don’t know who to believe,’ she replied. That would be a fair position, but she was unwilling to hear the other side of the story.
While mainstream media ignore or denounce any legitimate discussion about the Great Reset and a looming technocracy of totalitarian surveillance and rationing, the latest edition of the Hastings Independent free newspaper has a remarkably balanced approach. After a feature in the previous edition suggesting that conspiracy theories should be taken on merit, the newspaper was criticised for giving oxygen to dangerous disinformation. In response, the editor invited two writers to argue for and against such thinking.
Presenting the case for the defence, Jonathan Andrews, under the title of ‘Tin Foil Hatter’ (a self-deprecatory trait absent in censorial puritans), argued that conspiracy theorists have so often been proved right that they have higher predictive value than those representing the official narrative. For example, their warning that the authorities would impose a cashless society and digital currency is rapidly becoming reality.
‘A threat to all’ was the prosecution case by Neil O’Warne. ‘It’s very disappointing that you gave a whole page to Kent Barker’s attempt to minimise the damage done by conspiracy theories and turn them instead into a free speech debate’, O’Warne began. He focused on Barker’s ‘wrong-think’ and its deleterious impact on society: ‘In a town like Hastings, where you can hardly lift a pebble on the beach without stumbling over some fictitious conspiracy or other, I think that it is highly irresponsible to encourage these fantasists. It’s important that the people who try to sell “alternative facts” are challenged at every turn. In reality it’s not the powerful, but the rest of us that are threatened. Conspiracy theories are toxic to people, communities and civil society as a whole . . . The vast majority of conspiracy theories are deliberately created to promote right-wing talking points and ideas. They don’t just spontaneously appear from people ‘doing their own research’ . . . These conspiracy theories are then pushed into the mainstream through right-wing media companies like Fox News or GB News.’
Does O’Warne watch GB News? Apart from the eloquent sage Neil Oliver, this channel is justifiably deemed ‘controlled opposition’ for its limited airing of contrary opinion. Then O’Warne suggests an underlying motive: ‘The idea of “Cultural Marxism”, which has literally never existed except as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, has even travelled so far through the political mainstream that it was used by the Home Secretary Suella Braverman in a speech earlier this year. Anti-Semitism runs through most conspiracy theories like letters in a stick of rock.’
O’Warne is parroting the line that any mention of a ‘New World Order’ is definitively anti-Semitic. Cultural Marxism is the ideology of radically changing society by undermining and reshaping the culture, as propagated by the Frankfurt School and Antonio Gramsci, and encapsulated by the phrase ‘long march through the institutions’. If O’Warne doesn’t believe it exists, how would he describe the form of Marxism that foments cultural rather than economic revolution – ‘Marxism that is Cultural’?
Perhaps having heard too much of Marianna Spring, O’Warne regards conspiracy theory as a real and present danger: ‘Secondly, and most measurable and obvious, is the physical harm that conspiracy theories cause. Public health issues, like the large rise in cases of measles in the UK recently, were caused by anxiety over non-existent links between MMR vaccines and autism. This can be directly related to proven false information spread by anti-vaxxers. In the USA Covid deaths amongst Republican voters were 43 per cent higher than Democrat voters purely because Republican voters refused vaccines due to ludicrous conspiracy theories pushed by right-wing politicians. A quarter of mass shootings in the USA between 2016-2020 were carried out by people directly inspired by right-wing conspiracy theories. Attacks and harassment triggered by conspiracy theories are also common in the UK.’
Readers will immediately see the problem here – O’Warne gets all his information from approved sources. Unwittingly, he is immersed in the conspiracy that only sceptics see.
‘Thirdly and most important of all, is the damage caused to civil society and political discussion by the poison of conspiracy theories . . . By promoting cynicism, the ‘they’re all the same’ attitude and anti-democratic assumptions, conspiracy theories fragment communities and alienate people, telling us everything is lost, whilst at the same time destroying the solidarity we need to change things. Many people are rightly disenchanted with a political establishment that has largely abandoned them, but conspiracy theories are being weaponised by the right to attack our means of changing anything. ‘Politics’ has become a dirty word. But we need politics to get ourselves out of the mess we are in. We need community and solidarity to defend ourselves and build a better world.’
The whole package of conspiracy denial is here. Critical thinkers, who realise that their government is acting against the interests of the ordinary people, must be vilified, if not criminalised. They are nasty, right-wing, anti-science, regressive xenophobes, now revealing themselves as anti-Semitic. O’Warne could be copying and pasting from the Anti-Defamation League, a body which claims to represent Jewish interests but instead protects a globalist cabal that wants to continue its dystopian programme unhindered by too much public awareness. The likes of O’Warne are useful idiots for the super-rich who steal our belongings, liberties and future.