Conspiracy Theories are Not Harmless

January 10, 2022

General Jack D. Ripper’s fixation on the purity of his “precious bodily fluids” has resonance today in the maniacal rantings of antivaxxers who now insist on calling themselves “Purebloods”.

European Journal of Public Health:

Denialism is a process that employs some or all of five characteristic elements in a concerted way. The first is the identification of conspiracies. When the overwhelming body of scientific opinion believes that something is true, it is argued that this is not because those scientists have independently studied the evidence and reached the same conclusion. It is because they have engaged in a complex and secretive conspiracy. The peer review process is seen as a tool by which the conspirators suppress dissent, rather than as a means of weeding out papers and grant applications unsupported by evidence or lacking logical thought. The view of General Jack D Ripper that fluoridation was a Soviet plot to poison American drinking water in Dr Strangelove, Kubrick’s black comedy about the Cold War is no less bizarre than those expressed in many of the websites that oppose this measure.

Washington Post:

What began as a viral TikTok hashtag has infected every social media platform: Many of the proudly unvaccinated now identify themselves as #Pureblood.

Troubled observers have variously tied this term to the Harry Potter franchise (in which purebloods are Wizards untainted by muggle ancestry) and the eugenic Nazi fantasies of pure Aryan blood. But both comparisons miss the mark. The meaning of the hashtag is inseparable from vaccine refusers’ strong preference for “natural immunity,” a seemingly innocuous term that is actually a centerpiece of anti-vaccination ideology and ought to be abandoned immediately.

Although scientific authorities widely use “natural immunity” as a neutral description of immunity acquired through infection, it has different significance outside of medical journals. That’s because people often treat naturalness as synonymous with purity and goodness, even holiness. “God gave us a natural immunity,” said an announcer recently on Victory TV, a popular Christian network. “I personally choose God-given natural immunity over the new experimental vaccine for the safety and protection of myself and my family,” writes a chiropractor at Infinite Wellness Natural Healing Center. “How about you?”

In Kubrick’s story, a single man’s insecurity about the “purity” of his “bodily fluids” results in a global catastrophe. Today, powered by 40 years of attacks on science and an out of control social media conspiracy engine, we may be saddling future generations not only with irreversible climate change, but an immense burden of chronic illness and disability due to a virus that might have been controllable, with a well informed and cooperating


4 Responses to “Conspiracy Theories are Not Harmless”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Antivaxxers who are so because they want to avoid toxic substances do not smoke, drink alcohol, or imbibe in any other recreational substance.

    Antivaxxers who fear being tracked by an injected chip never take smartphones with them.

    Antivaxxers who avoid supporting profit-oriented drug companies stay away from Merck’s Ivermectin.

    Antivaxxers who want to avoid taking drugs under an Emergency Use Authorization will avoid monoclonal antibody treatments.


    People who object to governments requiring the covering of faces (in the interest of public health to prevent respiratory disease transmission) have always fought government requirements that people cover their genitalia in public.



  2. Where do these people come from. Maybe they are lost in a Harry Potter movie?

  3. jimbills Says:

    In the NFL, there’s been a trend that QB starters have been anti-vaxxers (Aaron Rogers, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, several others). You’d think these people would be intelligent, and by all reports Rogers at least is, but I’ve come the conclusion that intelligence has little to do with it. I think the main factor is that certain people believe they are more important than others – that protecting themselves outweighs protecting the group. Belief in conspiracies is a second factor, but I’m tending to believe it’s the secondary cause.

    High level QBs have been treated as demigods their whole lives – it’s more than possible they’d see themselves as most important. Dr. Strangelove, in its fiction, gets to the heart of the matter – the General character is so narcissistic that he thinks his bodily fluids themselves are precious.

    I’ve been thoroughly disgusted by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., himself a little princeling, with his anti-vaxx positioning during this time.

    A characteristic of all conspiracists is the blind trust in themselves and their own ability to decipher truth over others. They believe they have the grail of infallibility, and everyone else is a moron.

    Belief in ‘natural immunity’ (not being previously infected or vaccinated, some believe they are either in good enough health or have some inherent ability to fight off a novel virus) had led to several deaths, and yet it’s still prevalent.

    It boils down to a superiority complex in the end.

  4. ubrew12 Says:

    There’s a guy alive today, thanks to the heart of a pig. I imagine this appears all rather semantic, to him.

Leave a Reply to jimbills Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: