“Who are they?/Where are they?/How do they/Know all this?/And I’m sorry, so sorry/I’m sorry it’s like this” –“They” by Jem
I’ve seen a lot of recent posts on Facebook recently that claim that “they don’t want you to know…” followed by something that often sort of makes sense, or at least seems partly based in fact, then takes a turn for the paranoid and tells you to rise above and see the truth and don’t let “them” keep you down.
It’s a good idea in principle, rising above and seeing the truth and not letting people keep you down, but I’m a cynic, and I’m convinced that the people who spread these messages have just as much of an agenda as the “they” to which they refer, whether “they” are Republicans, the Obama administration, your high school administration, big pharma (and corporations in general), the Illuminati, Bronies, Hare Krishnas, ceramic artists, and just about any other group-like entity you can think of. And sure, they all probably do have agendas. Some of them are likely rather more benign. I’ve yet to uncover any information leading me to believe that Bronies are out to do anything more than convince us all that friendship is magic. Heck, I’d say that’s a fairly honorable task!
All joking (well, most of it, anyway) aside, this fear-mongering and spreading of vague quasi-information with an inflammatory bent just sort of reminds me of how the Them (a quartet of 10-year-old miscreants) from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens are trying to figure out how the world works and wind up parroting their parents in all sorts of ridiculous ways. Are there people out there to get “us” (whoever “we” are) and destroy the world/society/ice cream as we know it? Almost certainly! But a lot of them aren’t nearly so under-handed about it. That’s kind of how you make change: by making it known.
Anyone who tries to tell me “They’re wrong/trying to oppress you/behind [name your catastrophe]—I have all the answers!” has got a long way to go before I’m convinced. In my opinion, anyone who claims to have all the answers to my problems—or anyone’s problems—is either deluded or lying. As Arthur Weasley so eloquently puts it in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” You’d probably think that, by this coin, I’m a dedicated anarchist. Nope. I do believe that we need some sort of societal regulation—it just needs to be open. While I believe that people are good on the whole, I don’t necessarily think that we function well outside of some sort of structure as it stands now: it’s just far too ingrained in our brains right now to make a radical shift.
Like many things, I am a moderate in regards to rules. Of the nine alignments, I always test as neutral good. I believe in the flexibility of rules when it pertains to helping people. (Like, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, healing the sick, etc; not creating golden parachutes and corporate immunity.) I believe in people doing what works for them in general, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon anyone else’s rights. Above all, I believe that extremism is detrimental to society, even extreme moderation. I mean, you do have to wander outside the norm sometimes! I just have a hard time going one way or the other on a lot of issues when both sides make sense to me.
But getting back to conspiracy theories and theorists… I’m not sold. I don’t appreciate the mentality that others are out to get us. To be mistrusting of anyone who identifies one way or another leads to a pretty miserable life. There are definitely better ways to spend your energy. The boyfriend is always telling me not to worry about this, that, or the other thing. In regards to what “they” are planning (obviously my total destruction because I’m far too sensible…), I’m taking his advice, but then, I didn’t really need it to begin with here. I mean, by most estimates (at least, those of my age group), the government has been plotting to take us all out for about 12 years now. In fact, they’ve always been on the brink of it. So, if they want to do it, and they have the resources, what’s been stopping them?
Maybe, just maybe, it’s that this was never an issue to begin with. The issue at hand is just making crappy decisions based on bad information because sometimes, that’s the best we’ve got. But God forbid the people in charge of our country should make a mistake! That would make them… human! Like us! Oh, the humanity! (Pun so very much intended.)
However, in terms of more real (or at least more pressing) concerns, I’m all for activism. As I said earlier, you can’t change what’s going on if people don’t know about the change! (If you’ve listened to “They” by now, it’s because it’s not true that ignorance is bliss. But neither is paranoia.)
That said, maybe I ought to start campaigning for sanity. Seems a bit of a scarcity at times nowadays.