by Kirby Olson (April 2021)
Agent Giving Information, James Hart Dyke, 2010
Ryan Ceresolo, a Sociology professor at Hartwick College, gave a zoom lecture to the public on January 24, 2021 on the topic of conspiracy theories. He said that the United States itself was born from a conspiracy in which the Founders took on King George and defeated him. Since then, we have had other conspiracies, and are never far from hatching another. He cited amazing statistics about how many people believe that 9/11 was an inside job, or that aliens walk among us, or that Sasquatch is real. About 80 people attended.
In the Q & A, I asked Ceresolo about whether commissions such as that of the Mueller Inquiry helped to aid the notion that Russian interference was crucial for Donald Trump to win in 2016. He said that airing conspiracies and giving the public a chance to openly inquire about them was healthy, and he said that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” While many still argue as to whether there was Russian interference in 2016, the idea was mostly put to rest. Sunlight never reaches some. The most recent election in 2020 could benefit from a similar airing of views, he said, as over half of the population believes that it was stolen.
Although Ceresola doesn’t believe the election was stolen, and instead looks to AP and Snopes for a realistic assessment of the election, he said the very fact that 90% of Republicans, as many as 20% of Democrats, and approximately 40% of independents believe that the last election was stolen, indicates that the conspiracy theory needs to be looked into by a bi-partisan panel like that of the Mueller Inquiry.
Some of the ways that one can tell whether a conspiracy is real is to ask authorities and experts and to impanel them and air their results. Dr. Ceresolo pointed to the problem of Anthony Fauci changing his mind on masks several times. Fauci is an authority. Why did he keep changing his mind? Ceresolo reasonably believed that this is because we keep getting new data. Ceresolo argued that while it is somewhat crazy to believe in conspiracy theories unless there is solid evidence, he also said that it’s crazy not to believe in them. You should try to be in the middle. The talk was well-paced, and was a lot of fun. The talk was part of a public series given by Hartwick College professors.
Since the lecture was given, I have a phrase for what’s going on around me, and am tending to see more and more conspiracies. I read Patrick Byrne’s book The Deep Rig, about how the left stole the presidential election. It’s available only as an E-book, and is at the usual platforms, such as Amazon. But Amazon has buried it and, if you try to find it by using the title, two books pop up first, calling themselves reviews of The Deep Rig. They lie about the contents of the book, and claim that Byrne says there was no steal, and that anybody who thinks there was is nuts. It’s actually hard to find Byrne’s book, although it is a bestseller. A friend of mine had to call their help desk, and only when he threatened to drop his Amazon account did the book suddenly become available. I searched for two hours and finally got it and downloaded it and have now read it.
I tried to see if Barnes and Noble had the book. They do, and it is a bestseller there, too. But I didn’t know how to use their e-reader. I called their help desk and got a clerk named Julius. When I told him I wanted to read The Deep Rig, by Patrick Byrne, he suddenly hung up on me. I called twice more, and said the same thing, and the same thing happened with other help desk people at Barnes and Noble. Could this be a coincidence?
Finally, I read the book on my Kindle. It’s the best account of the election so far. I had never heard of Byrne until he gave a talk about the steal that a friend forwarded. Byrne is the CEO of Overstock.com. He also has a Ph.D. in Analytical Philosophy from Stanford University. He uses a very tight method of determining facts and analyzes mathematical grids with a panel of people he calls Quants. These are math and statistical people. A lot of the book is that. But toward the end he actually gets an audience with Trump, and talks with him for several hours. Trump, he said, had a sentimental attachment to Rudy Giuliani, who has become a lush, and couldn’t understand what had happened. Trump had let go of his best people such as Mike Flynn and had surrounded himself with mediocrities and nitwits who kept stifling Trump. Right up until January 6, Trump was planning to do a hand recount of the six main counties that were responsible for stealing the election and which had 90% vote totals for Biden, but his circle of stifling advisors talked him out of it.
Some of the highlights of the book include a reassessment of Hydroxychloroquine. Byrne believes that the left wanted mass deaths to dislodge Trump so that they had to get rid of cheap and available medicines such as Hydroxychloroquine. He also revives the Seth Rich controversy and says the left’s story has lots of holes in it. The book only took about an hour to read, but has links to arguments that I never had heard of, such as CORTES: The Statistical Case Against Biden’s Win.
Byrne cautions against violence and says that, although China stole the election to secure their markets in the United States, if we fight back with violence the government will have an excuse to clamp down and, if we do, soon we will all be wearing televisions tuned to CNN on our heads. The next lockdown will lockdown all media and what we can say or think. Byrne counsels a slower and more patient approach having to do with fighting for election integrity. We have to remain the party of fair process and devotion to law and order. It is very difficult to get good information on the election. This book, so far, is one of the best I’ve found, but finding it was a struggle.
Kirby Olson is a tenured English professor at SUNY-Delhi in the western Catskills. His books include a novel (Temping), about an English professor who starts a circus in Finland; a book of poems entitled Christmas at Rockefeller CenterFollow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast
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