Truther: “one who believes that the truth about an important subject or event is being concealed from the public by a powerful conspiracy.”
The term conspiracy theory is a disingenuous phrase, largely manufactured to discredit genuine concerns about political and scientific matters.
Ideas and theories relegated as junk for one generation have been validated in force by the next.
The idea that your phone is passively monitoring the conversations you have was laughed at by polite society a decade ago, yet in the post-Snowden era is an accepted and monetised part of surveillance capitalism.
Politics, as one should be aware, has a subterranean aspect, with security agencies playing a quiet but salient role in most major political events.
Yes, we probably are ruled over by shady international elites intent on bringing about a scientifically managed global society.
Yes, there is arguably a debate to be had around certain health and safety aspects of vaccination, 5G and fluoridation, though within reason.
Yes, there is a good deal of chicanery with the ongoing corona-virus pandemic, ranging from the move to a cashless society to the shift towards a mass surveillance of the populace.
The problem I find is that conspiracy theorists, for want of a better word, use up an inordinate amount of time in rightist circles in Ireland, often attracting volatile and politically useless individuals not really interested in nationalist or conservative politics beyond the extent it pushes their views on specific conspiracies.
They are for want of a better word cranks, who increasingly act as a millstone around the necks of emergent populism in this country.
Everyone is a conspiracy theorist on a certain level, but these people break the barriers on any level of reason or restraint.
For example there is a difference between not taking the State at its word regarding reported deaths amid the pandemic, and those who think the virus is a hoax complete with crisis actors at hospitals and/or perpetuated by 5G technology.
It is the latter one should take issue with, and the fact these types increasingly associate themselves with right-wing politics in this country.
Truthers is a derogatory phrase to describe people who fixate on the most outlandish of conspiracy theories to an almost unhealthy extent, they are the proverbial tinfoil hat crowd.
Broadly speaking though they are the personalities which are setting the tone to nascent Irish populism at the present time or at least taking it partially down the rabbit hole.
While contentious Direct Provision centres are opened up across Irish parishes, these people would sooner focus on 5G masts or satanic paedophile cults.
Truthers are ultimately political schizophrenics, vacillating between the political left and right depending on the conspiracy at hand.
There is neither consistency nor a solidified worldview, just a conveyor belt of never ending plots nominally gleamed off the Internet.
In America they are typified by the ‘Qanon’ phenomenon. ‘Qanon’ is a movement that is laughable when taken at face value, but one which will do immense structural damage to the political right due to the amount of psychologically damaged and potentially trigger happy people it attracts.
In Ireland Truthers seem to be over-represented among the political right to an extent I haven’t seen elsewhere.
Across Europe right-wing populism champions nation state sovereignty and immigration control. However in Ireland, the aforementioned values are crowded out by a plethora of sometimes outlandish conspiracy theories.
It would be the equivalent to David Icke being the architect of British populism rather than Nigel Farage.
Friends involved in conservative and nationalist circles across Europe are bemused at the time spent fixated on 5G and vaccines in the Irish Right.
Sure there may be issues with vaccination or 5G one can take exception to, but why focus almost entirely on it when there is a broader political project at hand.
Whatever the merit of certain issues, trumpeting a divergent range of what are often crank conspiracy theories to the neglect of genuine populist talking points is a recipe for failure.
What makes perfect sense in niche online circles is politically and culturally pointless to pursue at a street level.
If modern socialism is hampered by a fixation on sanguinary identity politics, the right is distracted by a swamp of conspiracies.
Politics is a frustrating process normally moving at a glacial pace, central to any shift though is narrative formation and having a fleshed out worldview.
The British Europsceptic lobby spent 40 years cultivating an image of corrupt bureaucratic Brussels elites that they used to leverage the Brexit vote in their favour.
The Le Pen dynasty in France have inched themselves to the gates of the Élyssée Palace capitalising on the inequities of globalisation and mass immigration.
In Ireland the beginnings of national populism stands to be strangled by failing to separate itself from mindless conspiracy theorism.
We are entering into a vastly altered reality on account of this pandemic, with multiple opportunities opened up for prudent populists able to refine their arguments.
There is however a quality control aspect that comes with this, and if left unchecked hobbles anti-globalism until such a point is resolved.