Is it a prion disease? Have aliens orbited Make’EmStupid Satellites to keep us in our place? Why is this happening everywhere at once all over the world?
Fundamentalists in India gobble up Modi’s us-against-them bullshit and start torching mosques. They’re Hindu fundies, not Christian, but it doesn’t seem to help one bit. Duterte, Putin, Trump, LePen (although the French managed to avoid electing her), Taliban, Bolsonaro, Xi Jinping, the list goes on and on, everywhere. Reality disappears behind made-up stories people kill for. Or would like to kill for.
The top-of-mind recent example is antivaxxers. They invent metastasizing conspiracies in favor of a devastating disease to avoid the safest medical intervention there is. Covid vaccines are gobsmackingly safe. Safer than aspirin. Safer than burgers. Safer than lettuce, for all I know. I don’t think we collect statistics on lettuce. But if we did, I wouldn’t be surprised if vaccines turned out to be safer. Antivaxxers condemn people to die rather than admit that all — all! — of the evidence is against them.
There’s the anti-choice crowd. They’ve twisted “my body, my choice” into its opposite. Reproductive choice means women don’t die from botched abortions. Nor does it kill their neighbors. Antivaxxers are saying they can do whatever they want, no matter whether it kills you. It is the opposite. But words mean nothing now and nobody cares that “Don’t kill me” morphed into “Shut up while I kill you.”
Then there’s the whole melee about transwomen. (Transmen barely appear, which gives the game away. Misogyny 101.) Instead of escaping society’s invented gender boxes, that movement has decided sex doesn’t exist. Biological sex. The method for making babies, which leaves babies everywhere, which would kind of prove it exists. They’ve decided it doesn’t. It’d be news to Silurian fish that sex is vague. It’d be news to pine trees, if pine trees read the news. Evolution could barely happen without it. It’s a denial of reality on the order of flat earthers. (To be clear, you can believe what you like in your own world, where it doesn’t damage nonbelievers. Nobody else has to buy into your sense that it’s turtles all the way down.) But a bunch of trans rights activists (#NotAllTranswomen) have decided to believe in the transubstantiation of the flesh of men into the essence of women, and ruin and death to the heretics.
The biggest and most lethal group, though, is the deniers of the climate crisis. The chemistry that means carbon dioxide in the air traps heat has been known since the 1800s:
In a series of experiments conducted in 1856, Eunice Newton Foote — a scientist and women’s rights campaigner from Seneca Falls, New York — became the first person to discover that altering the proportion of carbon dioxide (then called “carbonic acid gas”) in the atmosphere would change its temperature. This relationship between carbon dioxide and the earth’s climate has since become one of the key principles of modern meteorology, the greenhouse effect, and climate science. … [N]o one acknowledged Foote was the first to make this discovery for more than a century
Meanwhile, right up until now (yes, I mean Manchin), people whose salary depends on not understanding that fact tell themselves stories about natural variation or a hotter sun or tech solutions or that we’ll just turn up the A/C. Anything to force somebody else to take care of it, even when it kills people.
(Just for the record: No, the variation is off the charts. No, the other planets aren’t warming. No, people make and use technology. If technology was the solution, rather than people being the problem, the tech would have already been applied. No, there’s no way to turn up the A/C for all of nature, except by not idiotically warming the planet to begin with.)
The climate crisis deniers are the worst of the lot because they’ll kill billions of people. Billions with a “b.”
So here we are, trapped in alternative “facts.” If the loonies don’t get us for ignoring them, reality will when it crashes down.