Opinion: A world of conspiracies


At the national level, the conservative movement is engaged in an all-out war against reality. If reality does not conform to conservative ideology and to conservative narrative, then it is reality that must be altered, if necessary by government edict.

The nuclear threat from North Korea is gone, President Trump told us, except it isn’t. A new trade deal has been reached with Mexico, except it hasn’t.  Huge tax cuts to corporations don’t make the deficit skyrocket, but there it is, skyrocketing nonetheless.

Over the weekend, Trump bragged about a job-approval rating of 52 percent, yet no poll taken on Earth One reflects anything close to that. China hacked into the emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, except it didn’t. A nest of treasonous, liberal “deep state” Democrats are running the FBI and Justice Department, except they’re not, and they’re also not attempting to destroy a Trump presidency that seems to be self-destructing quite effectively on its own.

Oh, and Google is “rigging” its search results to squelch conservative-friendly news, except it’s not, and the Trump administration is looking into regulating or punishing Google, except it can’t and won’t. To hear conservatives tell it, the entire reality-based infrastructure -- Google, the Justice Department, the media, the intelligence community, tech companies, the courts, the pollsters, the scientists, the diplomats -- all are conspiring against them, refusing to present them with a world that conforms to their wishes.

Also in that world, lest we forget, Barack Obama was born in Kenya, climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to undermine American capitalism, vaccines cause autism, JFK was assassinated by the father of Ted Cruz, it was Hillary who colluded with the Russians, the same Hillary who was running a child prostitution ring in the basement of a D.C. pizza restaurant that had no basement, and Trump had by far the largest inauguration crowd ever ever ever. Also, the jobless rate and other government statistics that showed strong, steady improvement of the economy in 2014 and 2015 and 2016 under President Obama were all rigged and crooked until Jan. 20, 2017, at which point those very same numbers kept by the very same statisticians showing the very same continued economic growth became honest and accurate.

I could go on and on, knowing that tomorrow we will probably be confronted with another insult to our national intelligence. It is beyond ridiculous for a president and political movement that uses conspiracy theories and total invention to hold together their flim-flam universe to then complain about “fake news,” a term most accurately defined as anything they don’t want to hear. Confronted with the endless list of falsehoods perpetrated by the president and his defenders, the typical response of those defenders is to shrug a bit sheepishly and pretend that somewhere buried under that pile of nonsensical garbage is some “deeper truth” that justifies all the lying and self-deception.

No, there is not. The truth is never accompanied by a bodyguard of lies. And when you dig beneath that pile of nonsensical garbage, you find anger and fear and resentment and cynicism, none of which qualifies as a deeper truth.

Conservative complaints about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and now Google are particularly revealing. In effect, they are demanding that these privately owned platforms treat groundless conspiracy theories and patently false claims as if they were merely an alternative reality of equal credibility, as if the world exists only in social media or in bits or pixels on a screen and can be Photoshopped into being whatever we wish or need it to be.

I ain’t falling down that rabbit hole.