On Wednesday evening, I received a telephone call from an acquaintence. Having asked how I was, she proceeded to relate how she’d watched a video which explained that COVID-19 (the Corona Virus) is a hoax and is, in point of fact caused by radiation generated from mobile telephone masts.
I responded that the persons promulgating such theories are “nutters” and conspiracy theorists and that such ideas are highly dangerous as they mislead people into believing fraudulent claims and by so doing actually help to spread not only the Corona Virus, but also the virus of misinformation. Eventually the conversation ended leaving me seething inwardly.
Lies/conspiracy theories have consequences as exemplified by the attacks which have taken place not only on mobile telephone masts but also on engineers tasked with maintaining them. See, for example this article in “Wired”, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/5g-coronavirus-conspiracy-theory-attacks.
One of the instances sighted in the “Wired” article concerns an engineer who was spat upon by a conspiracy theorist. The engineer subsequently developed Corona as a consequence of the incident.
I am not, of course arguing that all followers of the (wholly eroneous) theory that 5G is responsible for Corona destroy masts or attack individuals. Most people holding such crackpot views do not engage in criminal activity. However anyone who perpetuates such myths is helping to spread untruths and thereby contributing to a climate of unreason in which attacks on masts (and individuals) are made more likely.
The conspiracy theory that 5G is the cause of the current epidemic (rather than the Corona Virus), lies in a long line of dangerous ideas. Back in medieval times it was believed that Jews poisoned wells and horrific acts of cruelty where committed against them owing to this wholly irrational belief, (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_poisoning#Medieval_accusations_against_Jews).
Antisemitic conspiracy theories manifested themselves in their most extreme form in the Nazi “Final Solution” (the Third Reich’s attempt to exterminate European jewry, (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Solution).
I am not suggesting that those who believe the present conspiracy theory regarding 5G are antisemitic (although some of them may well be). Rather I am arguing that (as with antisemitism) the present crackpot theory is based on unreason and is highly dangerous. So next time you receive a message on Watsap (or via some other form of social media) regarding an outlandish theory, please think very carefully before forwarding it on to others.