Sunday, April 19, 2020


There are plenty of reasons to question the motives of governments but the prevalence of conspiracy theories has become invasive. Speaking only of the current pandemic I have some thoughts.

I'm not speaking as an expert, since I am not, but I am not without experience. I have been a part of pandemic planning meetings on both a provincial and national level in a previous career path. What I bring from that is a lack of surprises in the current situation.  Pandemics are cyclical, have a reasonable predictability of occurance, and a particular hallmark of being new enough that there is no herd immunity in the general population.

At the time I was involved we were almost exclusively discussing novel influenza. It had the most historical prevalence and at that time we were a good 15 to 20 years overdue.  I had responsibility for managing the volunteer group that deploys the field hospitals we have heard so much about lately. Planning and training sessions covered many scenarios on macro and minor levels. Who was essential and may get access to medicine in limited supply,  what role military can fill, what can be done to reduce transmission, what makes a good location, etc...

We live in an era controlled by humans, so of course there are those who may seek to take advantage of the situation. There isn't clear evidence that this virus didn't form in nature as has been happening for eons, and in my understanding is not acting in a way or being responded to in a suspicious or surprising way.

Conspiracy can be comfortable because it hints at control. The notion that there is a process in nature that seems to have, as it's main purpose, developing ways to kill us is scary as hell. If we lump it on unseen human villains then we can defeat it and make it stop. In the end a pandemic becomes no different than other natural events like hurricanes,  earthquakes or wildfires.  All you can do is heed the warnings,  prepare as much as you can and take shelter.



Tuesday, April 14, 2020


The battle against propaganda and fraudulent disinformation is of key importance, and not just in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. From the election of Donald Trump to BREXIT and other issues, disinformation is a tool being used by governments, extremists and criminal organizations for a lot of reasons and with a lot of success.

Extremist views are fostered and deeply implanted in memory by overriding critical thinking with emotional responses. Fear and anger are the most effective tools for this as they tie directly into eons old fight or flight instincts. We remember very little detail of an hours long trip on the freeway compared to what we recall of the big crash in front of us, we only narrowly missed being part of. Adrenaline is very effective at imprinting memories when we are startled. In the past if you walked around a big tree and a lion was there, the fear imprinted the memory so you would recall that a lion may be on the other side of that big tree.

No matter the subject a person can't have their views challenged if we can't prove the argument against the view. The problem is not that there isn't enough evidence to prove the argument, but rather its getting people to accept the evidence supporting the truth. This brings us to the opening question,  "do you believe the sun exists?". I don't believe the sun exists. I have accepted the reality of what I see. If I was converted by an extremist and no longer accepted the sun exists, how would you try to prove the sun is there? 

I am not a cult deprogrammer so have no idea how this concept fits into that scenario, but I do know from discussions with family and friends that winning over someone has to do with them believing the correct information. Immigration is an example. The argument is that we support immigrants with our tax payer dollars and they are on support forever. In Canada for sure, broadly, this is untrue. There are bad examples for sure, but on mass, the data and experience on the street confirm that immigration brings in hard working and industrious people, who, after a little help getting settled become very productive members of our communities paying substantial taxes in support of our government services. That is the "sun" people have been told is "not real". but we can't prove it because they have been conditioned to set aside the facts.

Let's be clear, this issue exists on both sides of most ideological issues. Religion,  Capitalism, Socialism, Feminism, Misogyny, pick your ism and you will find blinded activists and supporters unable to see the sun as being real when it doesn't support their position. How do we alter this dynamic? Is it enough to simply make people aware of the manipulation at play? This very much seems to be something that has been tried. We all have our blind spots, this writer included. Belief gets in the way of a ton of facts.

Somehow we need to become able to look at things and trust our senses. If it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, for the love of human kind, it's a duck, darn it. You can't change it into a swan by ignoring the fact it's a duck. Taking us back to the original point, if you want it to be a swan, how can I prove it's a duck, how do I prove the sun is real?

Thursday, April 9, 2020


So as near as I can understand the conspiracy theory of the "deep state" is something like this. There is a group of unelected people that control everything going on in government sabotaging everything the elected leaders try to do in order to keep control of the country and the people.

What is the real deep state?

Dedicated professionals who have made a living and a commitment out of protecting and serving the people of their country. They are not just in America but in nations around the world. These professionals are working harder than ever and are at risk more than ever. As you listen to the conspiracy kooks and propaganda frauds take a few minutes to think about where you would be without the hard work and continuity these public servants provide.