The message had come through in the early hours of the morning.
And its contents shocked me.
I thought to myself, “Surely this smart, rational, reasoned, educated person wouldn’t buy into this?”
But the question was asked, which meant they at least considered it could be true. The message read (paraphrased):
Should I get my child vaccinated? I’ve seen some info from that Vaxxed documentary and a friend has also sent me some links to some information about Bill Gates. What do you think?
You may have heard about the “flat earthers”?
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “anti-vaxxers”?
But have you heard of the “Bill Gatesers” or the “5Gers”?
What the hell are you talking about, Sam?
Who is Q?
You’ve got to love a good conspiracy theory.
I do. It makes you think. Sometimes makes you laugh. But it also gives you an insight into how others in the world think and the trajectory of society.
Sometimes these theories are outright terrifying.
Like the flat earthers. They believe the earth is actually flat. Seriously. Don’t even ask for proof of their theory though. They will just say, “Where is the proof that it’s not flat?” The terrifying part is they think they’re right.
That in itself makes you realise you can’t reason with crazy. But that’s the approach many conspiracy theorists take with their pursuit of the “truth”.
Sometimes you stumble on to a conspiracy theory that resonates with you.
For example, be it or not, the idea that perhaps extra-terrestrial life and UFOs exist, strikes something inside my intellectual mind. And the idea that maybe some of our technology is reverse engineered… yeah, it’s plausible.
My argument for extra-terrestrial life is when you consider the vastness of space and the wider universe. I think it’s somewhat naïve to completely dismiss the idea that we are the only example of intelligent developed life out there.
Maybe we are an absolute fluke of nature. But consider in the Milky Way (our galaxy) there are hundreds of billions of stars (like our sun) and then hundreds of billions more planets on top of that. And then the Milky Way is believed to be one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the observable universe. And then there are likely untold billions more galaxies, stars and planets in the unobservable universe.
Statistically, to think we’re a one-off I think is unlikely.
Just saying, that maybe we’re not “alone” out there.
Nonetheless, I’m sure there’s a good conspiracy theory you believe in too. If you don’t, find one, I think it’s good for the mind. Just don’t find one too whacky!
Maybe the conspiracy behind the moon landings? Maybe the JFK assassination conspiracy? Or maybe it’s just Ronaldo and the mysterious fit at the 1998 World Cup final?
Or maybe you’re a little deeper in and believe in QAnon and the political elites committing atrocious acts of evil and the great awakening that’s coming?
The development of QAnon is quite fascinating – if you do your own research you’ll find more – and evolves into a strange rabbit hole that you might not find your way out of. The bigger question of “who is Q?” is also riveting.
Perhaps you are Q? Perhaps I am?
The thing is that some of these conspiracy theories have an element of plausibility about them. Which is what makes some of the counterarguments almost plausible. Sort of.
But what often happens is that the origins get twisted and distorted with outright falsities, fiction and the search for hope, belief and explanation.
Research suggests that in times where there is radical, fast social change, conspiracy theories and theorists tend to rise to the mainstream consciousness.
And if there’s ever been a time of radical, fast social change… it’s now.
When you dive into some of these conspiracies, you find that the underlying themes are simply those wanting to find reason or hope in their situation.
They want to understand why their world has become the way it is. And they clutch at straws to find some reason to why. And what I find utterly compelling is the tilt to the middle and lower classes just wanting to believe that their plight is the responsibility of the political and financial elites.
Of course much of it is, through systemic issues in the organisation of the financial and political world. But it’s not so black and white either.
And the devoted conspiracy theorist tends to have an almost religious mindset in their pursuit of “the truth”. It seems they have a desire to believe in a higher deity that could lead “us” into salvation. It’s really new evangelistic devotion in the modern world.
When you’ve just got to laugh
This all seems to be coming to a point today more than it has in the past few decades. The more ridiculous conspiracies out there are the Bill Gates conspiracies and the one that truly makes me smile almost every day, the 5G coronavirus believers.
The Bill Gates one is a bit of a laugh too.
In 2015 Gates gave a Ted talk saying the next thing that could kill millions of people wouldn’t be nuclear war, but a novel coronavirus. He went on to say the world was not prepared or ready for it, if it were to come.
This prophetic view in 2015 of course came not long after the second Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2014. And six years after the H1N1 pandemic that spread across the world as well.
But the conspiracy theorists have said Gates was so incensed that no one listened to his warnings, that he helped to create the current SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and is responsible for the current global situation.
Utter tripe. But highly entertaining that people genuinely believe it.
The one however that really cracks me up is the conspiracy theories linking 5G towers to the spread of coronavirus. According to Wired,
WIRED reveals that dozens of attacks have taken place [in the UK] in the last fortnight, with conspiracy theorists targeting both infrastructure and key workers in the misguided belief that they are somehow spreading coronavirus.
Now as mentioned earlier, some conspiracy theories have an element of plausibility about them.
This one does not. There is absolutely nothing to link 5G towers with coronavirus. Let me just reaffirm the science behind this.
There, is zero science, zero factual evidence, zero anything, that would enable a 5G tower to spread coronavirus. Zip, nada, zilch, doughnuts, zero, nothing, nil, diddly squat.
It is the wildest most incomprehensible conspiracy theory I’ve perhaps ever seen. But the “5G nutters” out there are pretty convinced of their suspicions.
The things is, you’ll also likely find them lurking in the other Facebook forums or 4chan sites that the “flat earthers”, “Bill Gatesers”, “anti-vaxxers” and QAnon folks all hang out in.
I don’t feel sorry for them. In fact I applaud anyone that takes it on themselves to develop their own independent thought.
They’re outrageously wrong, but good on them for at least thinking.
What they also do however, which they didn’t necessarily intend, is to raise the public awareness of the rollout of 5G technology.
When the crazies start getting wound up about something like 5G, it makes you and the markets think a little harder about just how disruptive this could be.
And for me, it makes me really hone down on the UK-listed stocks that are the ones primed to profit from this new communications revolution.
In my view, 5G isn’t going to kill anyone.
What it will be, is such a disruptive technology that it could rival other game-changing tech such as electricity, radio, television and even the internet. A bold statement I know.
And in tomorrow’s Exponential Investor I’ll go into exactly why 5G could be as important to us as electricity. Also why all of those world-changing technologies share a common theme…
Believe it or not, it has a lot to do with Q.
Enjoy the show,
Editor, Southbank Investment Research