In Defense of Conspiracy Theories: Fauci, Collins, and COVID-19

The term conspiracy theory conjures up images of incel-like lunatics, blabbering nonsense about political elites engaging in cannibalism. To be a conspiracy theorist is to be a flat-earther or a member of the 9/11 ‘truth’ movement. A conspiracy theorist is someone who believes in the second coming of JFK Jr. and that Tupac Shakur is still alive and kicking, hiding out somewhere in Malaysia.In other words, the term ‘conspiracy theory’ is loaded with negative connotations. But why?Sure, many conspiracy theories are outlandish, delusional, and downright dangerous – but not all of them. As Kelly M. Greenhill, a psychologist who specializes in this very area, once said, “to describe all conspiracy theories with such a broad brush” is both “unhelpful” and “analytically misleading.”She’s right. After all, what is a theory but an assumption, a notion, a hypothesis. And what is a conspiracy but a secret plan by two or more people to do something illegal and/or immoral.Which brings us to Dr. Anthony Fauci, a man who conspired with Dr. Francis Collins to smear three eminent epidemiologists, with a “quick and devastating” take down. Call me a conspiracy theorist (no, really, please do), but this sounds a lot like a conspiracy to me.As the aforementioned Greenhill noted, although “many conspiracy theories are false, crazy, and sometimes even dangerous,” other theories “are eventually revealed to be true, after which they are referred to as conspiracies—or simply crimes—rather than conspiracy theories.” Watergate anyone?Dr, Collins and Dr. Fauci are not, to my knowledge, guilty of any crimes. However, they certainly appear to have conspired to defenestrate (to use the word of the moment) three highly-respected epidemiologists. Why? Because these three gentlemen had the audacity to outline the many ways i …

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