Far-right politics has a standard script.
It goes like this:
A great evil stalks the land.
It’s a plot by a shadowy cabal.
Only a few of us have understood it.
A saviour is needed to rescue us from it.
He is justified in using any measure necessary to root it out.
In other words, conspiracy theories are not an emergent or exotic property of far-right politics. They are a foundational principle. You cannot persuade people to endorse or commit atrocities unless they believe absurdities.
The QAnon conspiracy theory is a classic of the genre.
It claims that a cabal of Democrats, celebrities, the Rothschilds, Bill Gates etc etc are abducting children, abusing and torturing them and extracting their blood. Only Donald Trump can rescue the world from this horror.
As @MoiraDonegan points out:
But it’s not the only one. The Plandemic theory also slots neatly into the script. It claims that Covid-19 was deliberately engineered and spread by a shadowy cabal seeking to profit from vaccines (also involving Bill Gates).
Every conspiracy theory appears to be a gateway drug for the next one. I’ve watched people lose interest in a false story only when another, more bizarre conspiracy theory comes along. In my experience, when people fall down this tunnel, they seldom return.
So it's grim to see people who were on the left falling for these stories, and gradually aligning themselves with the far-right movements that generated them. If you spread a conspiracy theory, you might think you’re sticking it to the Man. But you’re paving the way for him.

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More from @GeorgeMonbiot

7 Dec
I’ve just finished my book Regenesis*: feeding the world without devouring the planet. I followed some astonishing people, read over 5000 papers, and questioned everything I believed to be true. The results, I think, are revolutionary. Published by @PenguinUKBooks in May.
I hope this book transforms our relationship with what we eat and with the living planet. What I’ve stumbled across has radically changed my understanding of our crisis and the possible solutions. We’ve made some terrible mistakes, but there are also some wonderful opportunities.
I don’t want to get my hopes up, or yours, as they might be wrong. But two of the expert reviewers who read it for me used the exact same words: “the Silent Spring of the 21st Century”.
Read 4 tweets
5 Dec
I don’t have to look far to see how much trouble the left is in, because I’m confronted with it almost every day.
Here’s a brief thread about my experience, and why we urgently need to get over ourselves and unite against our common threats.
In February 2020, I was asked on the BBC who I supported for Labour leader. I hadn't given much thought to it. I’ve never been a member of any party, and none of the candidates inspired me. I said something nice about Lisa Nandy, partly because no one else had mentioned her.
Almost every day since then, I’ve been attacked for it. It is flourished, on Twitter and elsewhere, as evidence that I’m an evil traitor. Here’s today’s iteration.
Read 18 tweets
1 Dec
This should be all over the front pages. The government's terminating our right to protest, through amendments sneaked into the Police Bill at the last minute.
It's the biggest assault on democracy in 70+ years, and hardly anyone seems to know.
My column
Obviously, the Free Speech Union and all the other Freedom Warriors of the right are up in arms about this massive truncation of our liberties.
It's amazing isn't it, that they get so wound up about what students say, or about having to wear face masks, but say nothing about the biggest attack on civil liberties in the UK for at least 70 years. You could almost imagine that the only freedoms they believe in are their own
Read 15 tweets
28 Nov
When you count the 250,000 believed to disposing of waste illegally, the networks ripping off the elderly and vulnerable, the money launderers in the City, the modern slavery ops in agriculture, beauty salons etc, how much of the UK workforce is engaged in criminal activity?
What we're witnessing in this country is almost complete regulatory collapse, driven by successive governments slashing what they call "red tape", alongside massive reductions in the budgets of regulatory agencies, whose monitoring and enforcement capacity has fallen off a cliff.
"Leave it to the market", they say. But when you leave the market to regulate itself, those who prosper are the spivs, the corner-cutters, the chancers and the outright criminals. Deregulation allows them to undercut their more conscientious competitors.
Read 5 tweets
26 Nov
Misinformation on matters of public health kills people.
This is what happened when tobacco companies denied or downplayed the dangers of smoking.
This is what’s happening today, as unvaccinated people struggle for breath in intensive care units.
Disease control measures are matters of political choice, and it is entirely legitimate to debate them. We can argue over how best to balance freedom from the disease with freedom from the disruptions and curtailments used to contain it.
But we must do so without spreading misinformation. False claims, ranging from “the virus is a hoax” to “the vaccines are untested” or “the vaccines are more dangerous than the disease”, are lethal. Those who spread them contribute to the deaths of others.
Read 4 tweets
25 Nov
I’ve read Paul Kingsnorth’s anti-vaccine essay on Substack, and I suspect it might contribute to quite a few deaths. Why? Because his writing is elegant and powerful, but some of his facts are simply wrong.
Here's a very small sample:
Ireland “has the highest vaccination rate in Western Europe”.
No, Portugal, Spain and Italy have higher rates, while the Netherlands, France and Finland have roughly equal rates.
Ireland has “some of the highest covid infection rates in Western Europe”
No, its rates are more or less in the middle:
Read 6 tweets

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