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Perspective: The United States Of Conspiracy

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Imagine hearing this from 13-year old kid in a junior high classroom: Joe Biden and the Democrats are running a child sex ring for pedophiles. Or, reading a recent letter to the editor in local paper that “QAnon” is a “good” thing. Both are laughable and frightening at the same time. 

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There have always been segments of our populace who believe in conspiracies. When John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in November 1963, it couldn’t have been the work of just one mentally unstable man. There had to be more behind it, whether it was the Soviets, the mafia or Fidel Castro, and there were plenty of people who believed they had it figured out, and then made a cottage industry out of it. The funny thing about conspiracies, though, is that if they are true, they don’t withstand the test of time. Someone involved will eventually talk, or a reporter gets a tip that unravels the cabal. Think Watergate, Teapot Dome or the Whiskey Ring scandals.

The consequences of equating belief in conspiracy theories to the actual truth are sobering. The vilest consequence in recent years is from Alex Jones of the whack-a-mole “Info Wars” purporting that the Sandy Hook massacre was a fake. Our latest battle against reason is the upcoming election. If a certain candidate loses, it has to be because the election is rigged, and because it is rigged, he doesn’t have to accept the results. It reminds me of something one of my farmer relatives used to say: “You can pour cow flop into a pie shell, but that doesn’t make it pumpkin pie.”

I’m Andrew Nelson and that’s my Perspective.

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