September 2, 2020

On “conspiracy theories”.

5 min read

Posted 2 years ago
by Téa Smith

I have been watching tech companies start to censor groups such as QAnon, and I will tell you now: This is bad. This impacts us all.

Yep, I am going to defend QAnon.

Not because I agree with them, but precisely because I don’t.

We have a major problem with Big Tech, of which QAnon is the latest of a long line of victims.

We need to stand up for our right to speak, our right to think wrong thoughts, our right to be unpredictable and make mistakes, and ultimately our right to live our lives. They’re narrowing the window of acceptable conversation and heading scarily into the world of Newspeak.

Censorship of bad information means censorship of information the powerful deem ‘bad’. This never ends well.

It allows potentially anyone who breaks a story or does research to be discredited, censored, slandered (and even harassed or imprisoned), this strikes at the heart of free speech. You know, that thing that everyone says them and their friends should have, but their political opponents shouldn’t.

That’s not how this works. You either have freedom of expression or you do not. Everybody should have it, as the law allows. It is a cornerstone of democracy, and, in the case of QAnon, their censorship shows a deeply troubling trend with Big Tech, which is that they are not only going to ban your speech, but they are going to ban you by association.

Welcome to Oceania.

Read your fucking Orwell. Then read Chomsky. Then about Securitization if you’re feeling dry.

Fact is, you are either for lawful freedom of expression, or you are pro-censorship. If you are pro-censorship, you are the bad guy.

Sorry. It’s time to choose.

I don’t care if someone’s speech hurts feelings. I don’t care if it makes you uncomfortable. I don’t care if they’re batshit insane. It is those times when our principles are tested: when it’s hard to defend them.

If you have a principle that you only defend when it is comfortable for you, it isn’t a principle. Sorry.

The fact is, that tech companies (who, despite the jeans and kicks and the perfect American Ivy League smiles, are still massive global corporations that are more powerful than Rupert Murdoch) should not be deciding who gets to speak or not. If it is illegal, fine. There’s laws and mechanisms for that. If you want to change the law, then work through the correct processes to change it. But unilateral, arbitrary, editorialisation and deciding what people can and cannot read, because of the exploitation of a law designed to protect publishers (Section 230)?

Fuck no.

The thing is, that aside from the ridiculous and unchecked power of our tech overlords, one person’s “conspiracy theory” is another person’s investigative journalist or exposer of corruption. And the conspiracy theory might have information in it that leads us to a very real story.

And that’s the point. That’s why we have to defend QAnon’s right to be nutcases, and Alex Jones to do whatever it is he does.

Because sometimes, they’re right. And those same precedents can be used to silence all dissent. Snowden. Assange. Manning. Countless others.

‘Conspiracy theories’ often contain some truth in terms of the building blocks, material facts, or relationships etc, but they have simply taken a wrong turn and come to the wrong conclusion. The information might still be important.

Obviously, the *leap* is the conspiracy part. Or the aliens. Or the conclusion that it is all orchestrated, rather than simply how power, propaganda, capital, US interests, patriarchy, human trafficking, warfare & PsyOps etc work.

Anyone who has done any kind of intensive research work on one topic knows that it is very easy to go deep in the wrong direction, and that all legitimate and honest research resembles a crazy board at some point or another.

Our brains are wired to look for patterns and have a number of cognitive biases that make it very easy to turn a wrong corner and end up lost in Tin Foil Town. Mine definitely does.

That’s why we study how to overcome those biases in Postgrad. I’ve been fighting this shit HARD for the last few years. Hell, I have even realised how wrong I was in my last major blog post.

I write this as I realise that I am literally writing about the CIA and their fuckery over the years within left wing politics, and it is all truth. There’s no “conspiracy” as such, but explaining a political strategy and system and history that underpins a lot of what we are seeing now. In fact, when you look at it and know your theory, the conclusion is just boring as fuck business as usual.

In different hands, with a simpler vocabulary, this could easily look like a “conspiracy theory”.

It is important to know what Big Tobacco did with cancer researchers. What Monsanto did to environmentalists. What the US Intelligence community have done to every single whistleblower since the beginning of time. They do what abusers do to their victims: they call them crazy.

They discredit them.

They even imprison them and have them killed.

It’s frustrating that people write off/mock everything a group says based on them coming to the wrong conclusions with the information that more informed people might be able to explain better. I can look at Q and see what is batshit and what might have some truth in it, trace it back and how they got to where they ended up/went wrong. It’s actually kind of funny to reverse engineer these things.

But, I am concerned about people writing *all* dissident information off as “conspiracy theory”, because it is also a convenient way to discredit and silence critics when corruption IS going on.

Especially so-called journalists, who, let’s be honest, have had their masks slip pretty epically. Let’s not forget, they’re there to propagandise for corporate interests, not to get to the truth.

That’s why, even though I think QAnon are batshit and attracts batshit people who want everything to make sense, I think we should still, always, have the ability to see if there is any truth in the actual information underneath.

Censorship is bad. Censorship is wrong and oppressive. Censorship is how the powerful retain power. The only way to beat bullshit is by debunking it and telling the truth and having an ARGUMENT.

Don’t forget, that the idea of a “conspiracy theory” has been used for decades to also silence genuine dissent. And continues to be. Look at the people who say biological sex is not a construct up against the billions of dollars of the “gender” movement.

Don’t demonise the Q. Or anyone that is engaged with finding truth. At least they’re trying to think. Most don’t. Most of you just laugh at the nutjobs and do sweet fuck all whilst the 1% fuck us. But hey.

Teach your kids to think, and discover, and research. And to get it wrong. And ask questions, especially of the Elites and corporate interests and the powerful. If you laugh at people who do that, then frankly you’re an elitist asshole and a sellout.

Curiosity is a gift.

You’re welcome.

Sincerely, someone who is about to be very unpopular and called such things, purely because my work has uncovered something people don’t want to know.


Here’s a Twitter thread to get you thinking about where I am heading.

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