Donald Trump’s latest deranged conspiracy theory has gone round the bend

At what point, you might have at one time reasonably wondered, would Donald Trump, the Republican Party and their greedy corporate overlords stop in their headlong pursuit of power and profit? We now have our answer and it is “at no point.” The deaths of tens of thousands of Americans now, hundreds of thousands soon and millions inevitably is no impediment to them. More Americans have now died in three months than died in twenty years of war in Vietnam — and there is no end in sight. The Republican solution? Shift the narrative, the responsibility and the focus and send everybody back to work. If Americans die as a result, so be it. At least the stock market will be okay.

Trump is now promoting the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 coronavirus was engineered in China, that it was either a genetic modification of an existing pathogen or was manufactured from the ground up. Both these “theories” are easily disproved with science. Unfortunately, thanks to the longstanding anti-science tradition of American ignorance, inculcated and reinforced most recently by climate science denialism, many Americans believe him. That this will lead to violent attacks on innocent Asian Americans is one of the inevitable tragedies we must brace ourselves for.

Explanations without solid evidence, explanations that have a superficial plausibility, are the sine qua non of the conspiracy theory. That virtually all conspiracy theories are easy to expose as nonsense does not stop their proliferation. When examined minutely without the benefit of contradictory explanations, the gullible find these theories irresistible. Because they lack the tools and training of science they fall for them without understanding or scrutiny, without seeing that there are far superior explanations. It is a woefully common human malady and I’m sorry to say it easily infects half the human population. Ninety minutes of watching bias-confirming YouTube videos does not make people experts, it makes them fools.

Trump exploits this common ignorance when he says COVID-19 was invented or engineered in a Chinese lab. People will cling to this notion without bothering to find out if it’s even likely, let alone plausible. Let me explain why it’s not.

First, Kellyanne Conway to the contrary, SARS CoV-2, what is popularly known as novel coronavirus COVID-19, is not related to SARS CoV-1. It is merely the taxonomy of virus naming that gave it its current name. While the viruses are similar, COVID-19 did not mutate from SARS CoV-1. They are unrelated pathogens. Thus, COVID-19 was not “engineered” from SARS CoV-1. And of course (are you still reading, Kellyanne?) COVID-19 is short for “coronavirus disease 2019,” and is not the nineteenth in a genealogy of a long list of related pathogens.

Second, extensive supercomputer modelling of COVID-19 suggests it is not fatal in human beings. We know from experience this is not the case, so the supercomputers got it wrong, obviously. Nature outsmarted them. But if modelling says this virus is a dud, why would bioweapons engineers develop and release it? So much for the Bond Villain idea that mad scientists unleashed this bug on the world.

Finally, there is the theory that COVID-19 was accidentally released from the lab in Wuhan, and that it is therefore still the fault of the Chinese. But since we now know that COVID-19 was developed in nature, because it can still be found in bats where it came from, how does that make any logical sense? That is, after it already existed in the world, we are expected to believe that it found its way into a lab and then was inadvertently released from that same lab by getting past protocols and safeguards? Why not just assume the far easier and far more likely fact that it was unilaterally created in the natural world and didn’t have to get “released” from anywhere, let alone a lab? Doesn’t that make logical sense? Why do we need to involve the lab at all except as a convenient lightning rod for the despicably craven purpose of having someone to blame?

Of course it wasn’t released from a lab, and that’s what Trump’s own scientists and intelligence people have tried to tell him, over and over and over. But isn’t it characteristic of a know-it-all to already know everything? After all, what’s the point of being a know-it-all if you have to have things explained to you? That’s why know-it-alls don’t have to read books or security briefings.

The point is, of course, that the notion that COVID-19 was genetically engineered from known pathogens or created from whole cloth by the Chinese fits snugly into Trump’s paranoid and xenophobic paradigm. It once again gives him a villain to distract gullible Americans away from the real villain: himself.

This is why Trump absolutely must be defeated in November. We have seen his incompetence turned into genocide. What possible reason can there still exist for not voting him out of office? How ignorant must you be to insist that the candidate purity test has any business in this election? Trump absolutely must go! And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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