Conspiracy theorists ignore the real conspiracies, to all our detriment

So far it’s the vaccine election. As in mandatory or not. That would make it a rare election about a specific policy issue you can choose a clear side on: Liberals pro, Conservatives anti. The last one like that was the free trade election of 1988. Before then? Probably the free trade election of 1911.

That’s a plus, IMO. The minus is that being about vaccines brings out the conspiracy theories, which I hate. Someone I know was told recently by a relative that the Bilderberg Group is spreading lies about vaccine efficacy in order to get rich off us. Oy vey. Here we go.

It didn’t have to be Bilderberg — it could’ve been the Trilateral Commission in the 1970s, or the World Economic Forum at Davos. Bilderberg’s the name of a hotel chain that started hosting meetings during the Cold War years of “Atlanticist” businesspeople and others who wanted to promote free markets vs. communism. The rules said you could quote what was said, but not who said it.

This isn’t “The Manchurian Candidate.” Everyone knows who went, and they went mostly because it felt exclusive and people love mouthing off about how the world should be run. Canada has sent Conrad Black, Heather Reisman and Peter Mansbridge. There were many royals, including, of course, Prince Charles.

Why I hate these lame theories is they help conceal real conspiracies, which are legion and public. Those are open, versus secret, conspiracies. Joe Biden, for instance, said he wanted to make vaccine patents available to all nations, which would’ve stopped COVID faster than anything else. So the vaccine makers got tough and shut him down. The issue hasn’t been heard from since. Pfizer clearly has more votes to call on in Congress than Biden does.

This resistance by the drug makers is genuinely evil, and it’s right in plain sight. You don’t need to Google Bilderberg or anything else. It’s killing people as I rant. South Africa had to sign a deal with Johnson & Johnson, who built a factory there, that forced them to ship 32 million doses to Europe, which didn’t need them. This, instead of using them at home, where they’d have saved tens of thousands of lives. If the crazy theories didn’t exist, Johnson or Pfizer would’ve been wise to invent them — and maybe they did.

Speaking of conspiracies

The masters of conspiracy are supposed to be intelligence agencies like Mossad or the CIA. How do we know this, if they’re so secretive? Because of all the movies and TV shows. Good thing for Mossad that there are series like Netflix’s “Hit & Run” to laud their competence — “If Mossad wanted you dead, you’d be dead” — since their actual record is laughable. They haven’t had a success since snatching Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960. They missed the Yom Kippur War; the danger of Hamas, which Israel promoted strategically; the rise of Hezbollah, in response to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon; and Iran’s revolution.

The CIA may’ve had even less success. They missed the Soviet A-bomb, the start of the Korean War, and Castro. There was also the Bay of Pigs fail, Iraq taking Kuwait, 9/11 — oh, and Kabul’s collapse. They thought it’d fall, but not so fast. They estimated Afghan soldiers would keep fighting longer after the U.S. bolted. As if they’re computer programs that tail off slowly like an old windup clock, versus humans who wonder why they should chance death when they know it’s ending. Who would you say actually has more “intelligence” in that example?

There’s a new book on the CIA (The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War — A Tragedy in Three Acts) that says its “obsession with covert operations…coincided with the neglect of intelligence-gathering.” In the case of vaccine conspiratorializers, you could say their obsession with the covert coincides with lack of intelligence altogether — they ignore real plots for fanciful ones. The question, then, is: why do these believers continue to believe?

I’m waiting for the series where Mossad and the CIA combine to penetrate the plot by Pfizer and Johnson to proliferate myths of hidden (as opposed to their own overt) vaccine machinations, thus allowing them to keep control of the patents and make super-profits, while the world cycles into COVID hell.

is a Canadian novelist, playwright, journalist, and critic and has been writing for more than forty years. Until October 1, 2010, he wrote a regular column in The Globe and Mail; on February 11, 2011, he began a weekly column in the Toronto Star. He currently teaches a half course on Canadian media and culture in University College (CDN221) at the University of Toronto. He is a contributing editor of This Magazine. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and got his Master of Arts degree in religion at Columbia University. He also studied philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He was once a trade union organizer in Toronto and participated in the Artistic Woodwork strike.[