Coronavirus conspiracies mark us as the Gullible Generation

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When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, killing thousands of Americans, the “Greatest Generation” recognized we had been attacked, rallied to enlist in the defense of our country, willingly accepted privation and worked tirelessly for victory.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the Left denied we were attacked or if the Right insisted that Hawaii wasn’t really part of the US so there was no need to respond? We would have been invaded and conquered and we would have deserved the destruction that followed.

Instead of the “Greatest Generation,” we are the Gullible Generation.

Faced with our Pearl Harbor, a pandemic that has already killed tens of thousands of Americans, many in our generation — the Gullible Generation — deny that there is a deadly threat, refuse to participate in the defense of our country, won’t even tolerate wearing masks in public and refuse to believe in the existence of the enemy let alone work to defeat it.

And they’re proud of their gullibility!

They tell themselves that they’re the ones who see the lies, and the rest of us are sheep. But believing that everybody’s lying is just another kind of gullibility.

Slate writer William Saletan was talking about JFK assassination conspiracists, but he could just as easily have been talking about coronavirus conspiracists. They, too, are absolutely sure that there is giant conspiracy, a conspiracy that encompasses the entire world, designed to falsely convince people that we are in the midst of a pandemic. Ironically, instead of being the only people who see the conspiracy, they are the the very “sheeple” that they purport to despise.

From the alt-right to the loony left, thousands of people have created and then clung to conspiracy theories that feel to their believers like a child’s fuzzy blanket — offering comfort from the big, scary world. They are so psychologically immature that they are incapable of dealing with reality, a pandemic that could kill them and their family members, so they escape into fantasy.

Why?

Unlike the “Greatest Generation” that came to maturity in the 1930s and 1940s forced to endure the reality of the Depression and World War II, the current generation of conspiracy sheeple came to maturity in the age of social media, able to recuse themselves from reality.

Social media allows us to:

… customize our surroundings, and accustom us to regulating and controlling the information that comes our way. This has several effects: an expanded sense of what falls under our personal social domain, an increased expectation of control over that domain, and a greater sensitivity to input that deviates from our preferences.

If reality is too hard or too frightening, we don’t work harder or mature to handle our difficulties. Instead, we seek out like minded sheeple on Facebook and Twitter to bond around fables that leave us simultaneously victims of malevolent forces AND heroes who recognize the true source of our peril. The sheeple on the Left soothe themselves by pretending that the pandemic was planned by the government and corporations; the sheeple on the Right soothe themselves by pretending that it doesn’t even exist.

The Greatest Generation was blessed with extraordinary leaders like Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. The Gullible Generation is cursed by Donald Trump, the apotheosis of recusing yourself from reality. He constantly vomits forth a barrage of lies, nearly all of which involve simple, but wrong explanations for complex problems and advocate simple, but wrong solutions that never work.

Both the alt-right and the looney left may cling to their conspiracy theories, but they cannot recuse themselves from reality for long. Countries like Germany, which relied on scientists and epidemiologists, quickly brought the pandemic under control, have experienced far less economic and social disruption (not to mention far fewer cases of illness and deaths), while countries like the US, which ignored (and continues to ignore) scientists and epidemiologists has seen the pandemic accelerate with no end in sight. The massive economic and social disruption we have experienced will continue because we don’t have the disease under control.

The COVID-19 pandemic is another national Pearl Harbor and unlike the Greatest Generation, we are not rising to the challenge. The Gullible Generation, in the grip of conspiracy theories, is failing spectacularly.

  • Amazed

    OT: Amazing Niece 2 seems to be a little out of touch with reality – at least the lactivist version of it. Just like big sis, she couldn’t regulate her eating as early as day one of birth since massive oversupply was a thing. Now, it a few drops are all that a baby of the particular mothers who produces these few drops a day needs, should this mean that AN2 needs ALL of the milk her mother produces? All 4 pumped bottles of it per eating?

    See? Kid didn’t get it. Out of touch with reality.

    An amusing tidbit: Tomorrow, SIL will meet this LC, after all. She decided to meet her when, after receiving glorious recommendations, she called the woman and LC asked, “Do you have a trouble with undersupply or oversupply?” SIL expected a crazy who would basically deny that oversupply is a serious thing but she got someone who seemed to know their stuff.

    • PeggySue

      Goodness. That baby must have been radicalized by Fed is Best somehow before birth. Was there an ad for formula somewhere in the hospital? I think that’s enough to do it…

      • Amazed

        Yeah. I think that must be it. As you know, formula ads are everywhere!

  • Amazed

    OT: My SIL’s due date was yesterday. Alas, Amazing Niece No2 didn’t quite get the memo or perhaps she knows we’re here waiting and doesn’t care about being on time because what the hell, we aren’t going to ground her or something.

    Whatever. Due date yesterday, a visit to her OB-Gyn today. Nature isn’t THIS deserving of trust.

    • PeggySue

      Wishing a safe, smooth labor and birth!

      • Amazed

        Thank you! Last night, SIL and I spoke around midnight. Her doctor wasn’t sure that induction would work at all and she did not look up to long hours of induction followed by a c-section. But a little before 4 a.m., the little one was born. Healthy and gorgeous. The only thing is, she swallowed some amniotic fluid but it isn’t this rare. We trust all will be OK. And her mom was actually able to eat a little and hold it down… she vomited every day for 9 months. She started pregnancy at 59 kg, went into labour at 61.5… and the baby was almost 3. 500!

        • demodocus

          Congrats!

          • Amazed

            Thank you! They’re already home now. Both are doing great. Big sister is so excited.

          • PeggySue

            Such wonderful news!

        • PeggySue

          Wow, poor Mom! That’s a really, really tough pregnancy. I hope she can recover well, and hope baby does splendidly.

          • Amazed

            Yeah. And I thought she had it hard the first time around… her weight gain was all baby plus some 0.5 kg which, of course, was canceled out by placenta and water. She’s doing fine now, trying to regulate oversupply and not to cringe because of the embroidery down there… Just like the first time, generally. They’re both OK. Only, this time they have to be on the alert for Big Sister who is way too enthusiastic to help out… she runs over as soon as the baby starts crying and tries to take her which Is dangerous. Right now, she’s out shopping with her mom as the baby is sleeping on her dad.

            Thanks for the well-wishes!

  • Lurker

    Who’s “us,” though? When you say, “the current generation of conspiracy sheeple came to maturity in the age of social media, able to recuse themselves from reality,” it sounds like you think millenials/Gen Z are the the gullible generation who believe conspiracy theories, which has not been my experience at all. I find my peers (millenials) far more skilled at deciphering reliable vs unreliable information online than our parents, for example. All the conspiracy theories in my social media feeds and family group texts come from Baby Boomers. They’re nuts. Lots of them are my relatives and I love them, but they’re nuts.

    If anything, I think coming to age in the age of social media lends itself to a more discriminating consumer of information than being plunged into a world of social media after a lifetime of not having access to that amount of information and never having previously needed to develop skills for separating the wheat from the chaff on the scale that we all now find ourselves faced with.

    • PeggySue

      I think it is unhelpful to label any particular generation as “the problem” in this matter. I have seen people in all generations who are good at critical analysis, and other people in all generations who are not.

    • demodocus

      I’ve met a fair number of boomers and xers who also believe all kinds of nonsense.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        On the whole, however, most people DON’T believe this nonsense. Overwhelmingly so.

        I saw a comparison the other day, it was a survey that asked if people agreed with the stay-at-home guidelines, and it was something like 85%. It’s about the same as the number of people who think kittens are cute (they included that for comparison).

        So the idiots in this case are about the same number who hate baby kittens. Of course, the difference is that these assholes carry weapons.

  • Embrace Your InnerCrone

    And now CNN writes an article on how to have a safe home birth during a pandemic And fail to mention many of the risks of that IS midwives a woefully under educated https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/20/health/home-birth-guidelines-coronavirus-wellness/index.html
    Arrrrggghhh!

    • fiftyfifty1

      I have seen so many fluff articles about home birth since this pandemic started.

      • Amazed

        Everything to line their pockets, eh?

        Does the pandemic make the other risks DISAPPEAR or something?

        • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

          And if one has a home birth and things go badly and they need to call an ambulance, what happens if there is not an available one or it is delayed because of the pandemic? Or say you go to the hospital because something went wrong, and then you are in the ER being evaluated, along with all the people who came in because they could not breath or they were running a very high fever… Somehow people still think in the U.S. that their midwife can just call the ER and order a C-section or an OB to meet them in the ER. Umm yeah, NO. And what is with the I don’t want to be induced? I would have loved to have a scheduled induction. Report to the hospital at a pre-planned time, know I had arranged child care or pet care because it was scheduled. Have my husband be able to schedule time off for that day and whatever baby-leave he could take away from work. Be able to get an epidural right away because the anesthetist was scheduled for my induction. Sounds awesome.

          • KQ Not Signed In

            I had mine induced literally the first moment they would allow it. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have scheduled an elective c-section in the first place instead of wasting a full day of agony and poor treatment and full panic attack during the ultimately necessary C/S.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            Me too. I had a short labor with a big baby and recovery was not fun, also my daughter would probably not have been in fetal distress and needed vacuum extraction and a respiratory assistance, if I had been able to have a scheduled C-section.

          • Amazed

            Or you’re in the ambulance that might have well been used by someone with COVID-19 right before you…

      • demodocus

        A friend of mine who’s fallen into the hearts-and-daisies version of midwifery’s always posting this stuff. Aggravating. I’m trying not to spam her with “If I tried that with my 200/something, I could be dead.” Dunno what’s been going on in CNM training over the last several years.

  • hmmm

    If Trump had been president during Pearl Harbor, he would have immediately blamed the governor of Hawaii. He might have followed that up with explaining that there were “good people” on both sides of the Battle of Britain.

    • mabelcruet

      It would have been ‘Japan? I can’t think why it would be Japan. Emperor Hirohito has assured me he wasn’t involved. The CIA? Poor leadership, deep state losers-I have a natural instinct for this stuff, Emperor Hirohito is a great friend, I know what the truth is…’

      • Griffin

        Jeez, that sounds creepily like what the Orange Troll would say…

      • AnnaPDE

        Hi mabelcruet, may ask you for a little advice via email? I could really use your expertise with the NHS and its handling of pregnancy and its endings. My email is anna.pde.disqus@gmail.com

        • mabelcruet

          Hi Anna-I’ve just emailed you