Social media has sent my blood pressure to the moon this week. The stupidity of the libertarian, god-fearing, gun-loving, and washed-in-the blood-of-Jesus-Christ ‘Murican’ members of my Twitter and Facebook family have threatened to send me to an early death of a heart attack at the age of thirty-three. I have seen post after post of conspiracy theories tying Huawei, Bill Gates, and the World Health Organization to COVID-19. I have seen post after post claiming that the “stay-at-home” orders are not for our safety, but are preparation for the impending disarming of Americans in order to enable an N.W.O. takeover.
One thing you have to understand about me is that when I see stupid posts on social-media, I am going to engage. It’s not good for my health, and it’s sure as hell bad for my career aspirations… but I cannot help myself. It is one-part addiction to arguing, one-part frustration that someone can be so damned ignorant, and one-part my desire to help rescue people from the backwards thinking that I used to practice.
But I digress.
When I choose to engage, I am almost immediately hit with three claims: First, that I am not thinking for myself and that I have not done my ‘own’ research. Secondly, that my sources are bought and paid for by the people that we arguing about. Thirdly, that I am blinded by the propaganda of my education.
Admittedly, that there is some that to the claim that using that corporate media are biased. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the rest, all have specific audiences to which they slant their coverage., That doesn’t mean, however, that their coverage is necessarily un-true, particularly when their reports are backed-up by multiple legitimate sources. As for being blinded by the propaganda of my liberal arts education? Come on, that is such an overused and ignorant accusation that right-wing wackadoodles have been tossing around for decades in order to silence anyone with an education.
The one claim that really gets under my skin, however, is that I am not a free-thinker and that I have not “done my research.” If only I had “done my own research,” the story goes, my “third-eye” would have opened and to see that there is more to the COVID-19 pandemic than appears on the surface. To those people who make this claim, I can only ask: When forming your own, so-called ‘informed,” opinion did you really spend hours compiling data to confirm your beliefs? Did you really spend weeks or months evaluating your sources? Did you do a deep dive into how the projects that produced the data were funded? Did you spend hours listening to, reading, and or discussing your beliefs with infectious disease experts? Of course you didn’t!
You spent a few hours watching a highly convincing propaganda YouTube clip or documentary that was bought and paid for by Breitbart, Dinesh d’Souza, or Alex Jones, or some other mouthpiece of the Alt-Right. You spent hours reading blog posts and watching videos by someone who has a ‘Dr.’ in front of their name; but they’re either a PhD or an MD in a field that unrelated to infectious diseases. Worse, they’re charlatans who have lost their licenses to practice.
The point is, you did not research anything yourselves. You read or watched propaganda and found it convincing because you’re either too stupid to realize the Loony Tunes b.s. being sold to you as fact and, or you failed to do any type of real digging into the background of where the data came from. Or, more likely, both.
I am so sick of being condescended to by people who have never even read a real research paper. I am tired of watching people on TV or radio claim to be experts in subjects that they do not really understand. It’s not that their stupidity, or the stupidity of the people who share their garbage on social media, is merely dumb or outrageous: It is dangerous.
This type of anti-intellectualism disguised as free-thinking encourages people to fear the very things that will save their lives in a pandemic. It pushes people who dream of the day that they can use their weapon to fight back against the government over the edge and to the point where they will actually choose to do so. I am not pissed at the idiots of the internet that share this insanely untrue nonsense because they either don’t really understand what they’re sharing, or are they are simply too lazy to research it. I am pissed that their stupidity puts us all in danger.
We all need to push back and call these people out whenever and wherever we find them. They may be our friends, our partners, or relatives but that should not stop us from calling out their bullshit. You have the right to have your own opinion. You do not have the right to share bullshit that endangers my life or the lives of those that I love.