Conspiracy Theories And The "Cancel Culture" - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Sunday, December 20, 2020

Conspiracy Theories And The "Cancel Culture"

It is hard to know what to believe. Even previously trusted news outlets have been co-opted by a political agenda. Propaganda and politics now trump principles of truth and balanced reporting.
Consequently, some sincerely believe Donald Trump to be the worst of presidents, while others, the best. Some proclaim a fair election, others a stolen election. How do we understand such a disparity of belief? While our differing values help to answer this question, we cannot help but observing that our favored news outlets have also lined up at one extreme or the other. Consequently, they choose and even distort those “facts” to advance their own point of view.
This crisis of information, belief, and of trust has even infiltrated the domain of science. Consequently, some are revved up to pounce on any one of the new COVID-19 vaccines, while others cannot run fast enough in the opposite direction.
Amid this crisis of character, each side accuses the other of gullibly believing in conspiracy theories. Unsurprisingly, the primary target in these culture wars is the group who had given the greatest support to D.J. Trump - the often-maligned evangelicals. Not only are they evil deplorables, but now they are also ignorant fools who latch onto every conspiracy theory.
Well, how do we detect a conspiracy theory? What is the gold standard by which we can distinguish conspiracy theory from truth? It seems that whenever a belief is contradicted by “expert opinion” and the fact-checkers, it is deemed a “conspiracy theory.”
However, an increasing number of people wonder if this is a reliable test. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine just published, “Failed Assignments — Rethinking Sex Designations on Birth Certificates,” whose abstract reads:
·       Sex designations on birth certificates offer no clinical utility, and they can be harmful for intersex and transgender people. Moving such designations below the line of demarcation wouldn’t compromise the birth certificate’s public health function but could avoid harm.
Does leaving birth certificates without a sex designation “avoid harm,” or does it increase harm by suggesting that it is perfectly legitimate for the child or the parents choose the sex? Is skepticism regarding the NEJM’s pronouncement evidence of the willingness to believe in conspiracy theories?
Instead, evangelicals understandably view this as part of a long series of betrayals of the scientific community in favor of a militant and intolerant “social justice” agenda. We have also seen a long line of scientists and research institutions falling in line with this radical agenda out of fear. We have seen innumerable cases of employment deprivation because of a lack of conformity of belief. We have seen the discrediting and cancelling of anyone who fails to conform to the “cancel culture.” The unrelenting assault of the media against evangelicals is just one small symptom of the ascendancy of an intolerant militancy, which demands total control of the message that comes out of the schools, universities, media, and the entertainment world, where the price of non-conformity is to suffer vilification and denial of employment. Of course, vilification is something that the evangelical has long experienced at the hands of the “cancel culture.”
The goal is no less than thought control. Even now, out of fear, universities are refusing grants for research whose findings might impact negatively upon their institution.
Who then can be trusted? Who then is the “fake news” believer? Again, we come up with entirely different answers, without any easy way to reconcile our differences. Woe to the moribund West, where the forces of polarization push us into the armed trenches of our own communities. Divided we fall, as we are only beginning to see.

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