Conspiracy theories not only flourish - they have reached the bulk of young society. Only in the last few days we have seen, if not empirical, then at least anecdotal evidence of this: my Facebook feed is full of statements denouncing virologists, Bill Gates, vaccination advocates, Angela Merkel, quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. Literally in one night, many young people turned into the very experts they identified as their enemies. Obviously, only experts with a different point of view became objects of rejection. Not to mention the fact that young people who willingly share their opinions on Facebook do not automatically become experts, no matter how much they want to.
Parallels to the Conspiracy Theories of 2015
Conspiracy theories were firmly entrenched in Germany during the 2015 migration crisis. Then their supporters claimed that Chancellor Angela Merkel secretly planned the "resettlement" of Germany and intentionally flooded the country with people "from the East." At the same time, suspicions were voiced in the global conspiracy. In this regard, the name of the American billionaire and philanthropist George Soros surfaced every now and then, which in turn served as "evidence" of the existence of a Jewish world conspiracy. Well, to top it all, the Reichsburgers became the cherry on the cake, not recognizing the legitimacy of the FRG and presenting alternative “identity cards”.
This topic is relevant in my opinion, because every young person uses social services during the project. networks on the Internet to connect with your friends and relatives.
Some of these conspiracy theories were so sad that they eventually became fun again. At the same time, I didn’t feel that the noose of the conspirators was tightening around my neck. But this time, things are different. Why? Perhaps because the COVID-19 pandemic really affects everyone and everyone in Europe. It didn’t go around anyone: children can’t go to school, in kindergarten, to school. Parents should stay at home with them and still take care of their daily bread. Universities are empty.
For weeks, everything was closed - from restaurants to hairdressers. People are deprived of livelihoods, although in many countries one industry after another is gradually resuming work. Patients who are not ill with COVID-19 should wait a long time for surgery. Old people can no longer see family and friends. And those who die from coronavirus die a slow death from suffocation in solitude.
Is all this really happening? Is it really all that a virus can do? The overwhelming part of society, answering this yes question - with a sigh and, perhaps, even with tears in their eyes - is opposed by a roaring crowd, which gathers in public places and, having closed shoulder to shoulder, loudly demands an end to quarantine. She is united by an unshakable belief that "those above" are in collusion with evil. In 2015, staunch opponents of immigration could enter the scene. It was not the facts that were criticized, but the plan of the politicians with the help of which they tried to cope with these facts - with the fact that there were about a million refugees in the country.
Doubts about obvious facts
Today we are talking primarily about the facts - the spread of the virus. From that moment on, opinions diverge diametrically. Some believe that COVID-19 is no more dangerous than seasonal flu. Others trust supporters of the idea of collective immunity, which are in the vast majority in the international arena. Still others reject vaccination as something completely useless - the anti-vaccine movement has been around for a long time. Although there is not even a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 yet.
If society in Europe can no longer agree even on basic facts - what does that mean? In this case, sooner or later - if this has not happened yet - he will have no place or organization that could form public opinion or manage the discussion about the possibilities of interpreting the facts. This virus penetrated into all spheres of society in Germany: even a small group of high-ranking Catholic bishops published a letter that spoke of a kind of "world government."
For autocrats who in recent years have discredited experts and humiliated the elites, this performance is a genuine celebration. They rejoice that they have succeeded in subjugating people to their influence. And education is no longer chanted, but the flute is pulled out and the dithyrambs of a strong personality are composed. The modesty that usually accompanies knowledge is ridiculed, and bragging is glorified instead. Ultimately, the last nails in the lid of the tomb of our democracy will be stupidity and superstition. And the cause of this crash will not be the coronavirus, but the poison that the populists poured dropwise into us for many years.