Thursday, March 5, 2020


People's fears of COVID-19 is, as one might expect, leading to interesting... theories as to how to deal with it. An acquaintance informed me that Purell hand sanitizer was a foolproof defense against the disease. And the reason that it was now in short supply wasn't panic buying (despite what one may have heard or seen with one's own eyes); rather, Purell production had been shut down in order to allow drugmakers to produce a vaccine; one that would then be forced on the public in the name of corporate profits.

As far as conspiracy theories go, it's kind of lame. But it does illustrate something that a lot of these theories have in common; the pitting of different interests against one another; in this case, a trusted brand versus an untrusted industry. Of course, it's not much of a conspiracy without a villain. And these villains point to who people are afraid of, as much as the stories as a whole point to what people are afraid of.

And in this sense, these sorts of conspiracy theories not only provide a sense of order and control, but a sense of importance. The pharmaceutical-industrial complex needs something from the public that the public won't willingly give, and so the government is enlisted to force it from them. Presumably because this is easier than simply raising taxes and cutting someone a check. But conspiracies are emotional, rather than intellectual, constructs. The needs they serve are emotional, and so their composition matches.

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