What is the best way to debunk a conspiracy theory? Call it a conspiracy theory, a label which in and of itself implies disbelief. The only problem with that is there have been many actual conspiracies both historically and currently and many of them are not in the least theoretical in nature. Conspiracies of several kinds brought about American participation in both world wars. And however one feels about President Donald Trump, it must be conceded that he has been the victim of a number of conspiracies, first to deny him the GOP nomination, then to insure that he be defeated in the presidential election, and subsequently to completely delegitimize his presidency.
Prior to Trump there have been numerous conspiracy “theories,” many of which have been quite plausible. The “suicide” of Defense Secretary James Forrestal comes to mind, followed by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which has been credibly credited to both Cuba and Israel. And then there is 9/11, perhaps the greatest conspiracy theory of all. Israel clearly knew it was coming, witness the Five Dancing Shlomos cavorting and filming themselves in New Jersey as the twin towers went down. Also the Saudis might have played a role in funding and even directing the alleged hijackers. And we have also had the conspiracy by the neocons to fabricate information about Iraq’s WMDs and the ongoing conspiracy by the same players to depict Iran as a threat to the United States.
Given the multiple crises currently being experienced in the United States it is perhaps inevitable that speculation about conspiracies is at its highest level ever. To the average American it is incomprehensible how the country has become so screwed up because the political and economic elite is fundamentally incompetent, so the search for a scapegoat must go on.
There are a number of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus currently making the rounds. Those libertarians and contrarians who choose to believe that the virus is actually a flu being exploited to strip them of their liberties are convinced that many in the government and media have conspired to sell what is essentially a fraud. One such snake oil salesman persists in using an analogy, that since more Americans are killed in automobile accidents than by the coronavirus it would be more appropriate to ban cars than to require the wearing of face masks.
Another theory making the rounds accuses Microsoft multi-billionaire Bill Gates of trying to take over the world’s healthcare system through the introduction of a vaccine to control the coronavirus, which he presumably created in the first place. The fallacy in many of the virus “conspiracies” that relate to a totalitarian regime or a crazy billionaire using a faux disease to generate fear so as to gain control of the citizenry is that it gives far too much credit to any government’s or individual’s ability to pull off a fraud of that magnitude. It would require people a whole lot smarter than the tag team of Trump-Pompeo or even Gates to convince the world and thousands of doctors and scientists that they should lock down entire countries over something completely phony.
Other coronavirus theories include that the virus was developed in the U.S., was exported to China by a traitorous American scientist, weaponized in Wuhan and then unleashed on the West as part of a communist plot to destroy capitalism and democracy. That would mean that we are already at war with China, or at least we should be. Then there is the largely accepted theory that the virus was created in Wuhan and escaped from the lab. Since that time Beijing has been engaging in a cover-up, which is the conspiracy. It is a theme favored by the White House, which has not yet decided what to do about it beyond assigning funny “Yellow Peril” names to the disease so everyone in MAGA hats will have something to chuckle about leading up to the November election.
But all kidding aside, there are some conspiracy theories that are more worth considering than others. One would be the role of George Soros and the so-called Open Society Foundations that he controls and funds in the unrest that is sweeping across the United States. The allegations against Soros are admittedly thin on evidence, but conspiracy mongers would point out that that is the mark of a really well-planned conspiracy, similar to what the 89 year-old Hungarian Jewish billionaire has been engaging in for a long time. The current round of claims about Open Society and Soros have generated as many as 500,000 tweets a day as well as nearly 70,000 Facebook posts per month, mostly from political conservatives.
The allegations tend to fall into two broad categories. First, that Soros hires protester/thugs and transports them to demonstrations where they are supplied with bricks and incendiaries to turn the gatherings into riots. Second, that Open Society is funding and otherwise enabling the destabilizing flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.
Soros and his supporters, many of whom are Jewish because they think they see anti-Semitism in the attacks on the Hungarian, claim to support democratization and free trade worldwide. He is, in effect, one of the world’s leading globalists. Soros claims to be a “force for good” as the cliché goes, but is it completely credible that his $32 billion foundation does not operate behind the scenes to influence developments in ways that are certainly not democratic?
Indeed, Soros accumulated his vast fortune through vulture capitalism. He made over $1 billion in 1992 by selling short $10 billion in British pounds sterling, leading to the media dubbing him “the man who broke the bank of England.” He has been accused of similar currency manipulation in both Europe and Asia. In 1999, New York Times economist Paul Krugman wrote of him that “Nobody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit.”
Far from a passive bystander giving helpful advice to democracy groups, Soros was heavily involved with the restructuring of former communist regimes in eastern Europe and had a hand in the so-called Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 and the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014, both of which were supported by the U.S. government and were intended to threaten Russia’s regional security.
Soros particularly hates President Vladimir Putin and Russia. He revealed that he is far from a benevolent figure fighting for justice in his March Financial Times op-ed (behind a pay wall) entitled “Europe Must Stand With Turkey Over Putin’s War Crimes in Syria.”
The op-ed is full of errors of fact and is basically a call for aggression against a Russia that he describes as engaged in bombing schools and hospitals. It starts with, “Since the beginning of its intervention in Syria in September 2015, Russia has not only sought to keep in place its most faithful Arab ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has also wanted to regain the regional and global influence that it lost since the fall of the Soviet Union.” First of all, Russia did not “intervene” in Syria. It was invited there by the country’s legitimate government to provide assistance against various groups, some of which were linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, that were seeking to overthrow President al-Assad.
And apart from Soros, few actual experts on Russia would claim that it is seeking to recreate the “influence” of the Soviet Union. Moscow does not have the resources to do so and has evinced no desire to pursue the sort of global agenda that was characteristic of the Soviet state.
There then follows a complete flight into hyperbole with: “Vladimir Putin has sought to use the turmoil in the Middle East to erase international norms and advances in international humanitarian law made since the second world war. In fact, creating the humanitarian disaster that has turned almost 6 million Syrians into refugees has not been a byproduct of the Russian president’s strategy in Syria. It has been one of his central goals.” Note that none of Soros’s assertions are supported by fact.
The Soros op-ed also included a bit of reminiscence, describing how, “In 2014, I urged Europe to wake up to the threat that Russia was posing to its strategic interests.” The op-ed reveals Soros as neither conciliatory nor “diplomatic,” a clear sign that he picks his enemies based on ideological considerations that also drive his choices on how to frame his ventures. Given all of that, why is it unimaginable that George Soros is engaged in a conspiracy, that he is clandestinely behind at least some of the mayhem of Antifa and Black Lives Matter as well as the flood of illegal immigration that have together perhaps fatally destabilized the United States?
Philip Giraldi, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.