Reader Feedback: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Conspiracies
February 17, 2015
As a reader, I try to live by a simple maxim: never read the comments. While this might mean I miss out on valuable discussion, it's far more likely that I'll miss out on insane theories, racism, weaponized anti-science and a whole lot of crazy.
However, as a blogger, this maxim can't really apply. I try to at least give a cursory read to all of the comments left on anything I write. After all, if someone took the time to respond to what I wrote, that presumably (though clearly not always) means they read it. They gave me some of their time, the least I can do is give them some of mine.
Personal and professional obligations have kept me from reading the comments on my recent blog posts, but with a little time on my hands, I thought I'd dive in and check out what people had said.
Some of them were well-reasoned and cogent. Some others made me remember why I don't tend to read comments.
Here's a look at just a few of the comments I've had left on pieces over the last year. Please note that while I've truncated them for length, I've not actually edited the comments themselves. They remain in all their [sic] glory.
Reader Tuaim left this comment on my piece "Four Lies About the Measles Epidemic," where I took the anti-vax movement and their myriad falsehoods to task.
By the way, yes I do remember mumps, measles and chicken pox. In fact, I had them all. What I don't remember is anyone dying of them. [...] Over vaccination has ruined the reputation of vaccines and spawned bigger bugs that we want to vaccinate against? Where is the finish line here? I don't see it.Tuaim makes a number of false assertions here. The first is that because he doesn't remember anyone dying of the vaccine preventable illnesses he had (from a time before vaccines, one assumes), that means nobody did. But we know this isn't true. According to the World Health Organization, there were 145 700 measles deaths in 2013, while chickenpox caused 7,000 deaths worldwide. The mumps is rarely fatal, but can leave children permanently deaf. While Tuaim might not remember these things happening, they certainly did.
He next makes a random reference to Monsanto, name-checking the favorite boogieman of the anti-science population. He makes a reference to microchips being placed in vaccines, a decades-old urban legend with no truth to it. He talks about "vaccine resistant humans," more science fiction than science (the fact that a small fraction of people are vaccinated without it taking is random chance, not rapid-fire evolution.) And he ends with an appeal to ancient wisdom — that "pre Columbian" populations never got so much as a cold.
Of course, this is false. While it's true that the pre-Columbian population of North America had never been exposed to smallpox, it's ridiculous to think they simply never got sick. In fact, it's generally believed that both tuberculosis and syphilis were endemic to only the New World, being spread back to Europe through trade.
But beyond that, disease in pre-Columbian North America isn't germane to the topic of modern vaccination. Saying that indigenous peoples never got sick, so don't vaccinate your kid, is a baseless leap in logic that tries to staple together two unrelated things, one of which isn't even true.
Modernlifesurvivalist left this comment on my piece regarding the non-binding UN policy statement Agenda 21:
I don't think it's necessarily the US government that's trying to kill us slowly. First of all, they want to sterilize us and anesthetize us more than anything else so that we follow their will. [...] The man behind the curtain is most certainly whoever is behind the money, which would be a group of foreign banks that control the world. That's what most people who've actually done the research for years and years (I just became awakened) have gotten it down to. The Rothschilds are probably the closest thing to the true man behind the curtain we have figured out as far as real individuals go.First, Agenda 21 has nothing to do with sterilizing or anesthetizing or killing anyone. It's about sustainable living and the developing world, not mass slaughter. But MLS ties it in with the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that "foreign bankers" (ie, Jews) are in control of the world — and specifically the Rothschild family.
This type of comment is fairly common in my writing — trying to link me to the Rothschild banking family, and the Rothschild banking family to world domination. As I've replied time and again, I have no such link to the Rothschild banking family other than the same last name. If I did, I'd be lounging on my yacht in St. Tropez, surrounded by models and bags of cocaine. Beyond that, the family has no link to Agenda 21. No matter how much you "do your research" you won't find it. Because it's not there. If the UN and the Rothschilds were going to use Agenda 21 to cull the population, they're taking their time — because the policy has been around over 20 years, and the population just keeps going up.
My piece on the sovereign citizen movement known as "Freeman on the Land" inspired this comments from Xabre:
I find it intesting how these so called "Debunkers" always fail debunking the FOTL movement.The fact is, is that the Feeman Movement is picking up steam exponentially around the world because of the fact they take the law and reverse engineer it ...in other words they extract the real meaning of the law, and use it against the very people that wrote it and that my freinds has never been done before, and that has the Judicial going absolutely crazy. if fact the judicial and governments are so desperate to squash it they are demonizing the Freemen at every opportunity, and in court their only option is throwing a Freeman in jail for contempt, because thats all they got.Xabre is engaged in some grade A wishful thinking here. What debunks the FOTL movement is the fact that it's never actually worked. Freeman arguments about maritime law, the Magna Carta, government strawman personas, randomly misspelling your name, and green ink invalidating signatures have taken up a lot of time in courts in England and Canada, but haven't actually gotten a single person off from the crime they've been accused of.
FOTL followers are found in contempt of court not because they've "reverse engineered" the law or found some massive loophole that makes the law not apply to them, but because they've often failed to appear in court, refused to answer questions and made loud and belligerent outbursts. Xabre thinks FOTL works because he wants it to work. But it doesn't, and I don't advise he actually try it.
Bob left this comment regarding my piece on the Iraqi dinar scam, a piece that's proven to be one of my most popular and comment-inducing:
You are getting paid to convince people to stay away from the IQD etc...... If its cool with you can you please disclose the name of the company that employees you. One would hope that your income has no connection to the banking corporations because quote me if I am wrong but wouldn't that be a conflict of interest? I have done some research but cant find any connection between the name ROTHSCHILD & GLOBAL BANKING.This is a fallacy known as the "paid shill gambit." That is to say, I can only disagree with Bob and other believers in the dinar revalue/global currency reset because someone is paying me to do so. That it's impossible to have contrary opinions without them coming from someone else with a vested interest.
Sadly for me, nobody is paying me to convince others not to invest in the dinar. If that were a full-time job, I'd gladly jump on it. But for now, I do it because I care about people and don't want to see them bamboozled into wasting their time, money and hope on this silly scheme.
And on the subject of dinars, I'll say again: spend your money on basically anything else.
Another reader, Dave B, chimed in with this comment about the dinar scam:
To Mike RothschildI've freely admitted I have no degree in currency or banking. But Dave's articles from Iraq don't say anything like what he wants them to say. Iraq is in a shambles, and their currency is practically worthless because they don't have an economy that would warrant it being more valuable. Not only that, but it's massively overprinted. This is why there won't be a revalue, and no amount of "doing my research" will change that.
Dinar "gurus" continuously throw out references to Iraqi monetary policy, and say things like "the budget has been passed" or "the RV has been released and they're just waiting to announce it at the mosques before it goes live." But these things are either made up or don't really mean anything. In fact, Iraq did pass a draft budget in January 2015 — an austerity budget of $105 billion, or 119 trillion dinars.
Are those 119 trillion dinars going to turn into hundreds of trillions of dollars? No, they're not. Iraq revaluing its currency would be the worst thing it could possibly do. Which is why it will never happen.
Finally, I'll finish with a comment from Kelli, but just for a change of pace, I won't say what piece Kelli commented on until after I talk about it. See if you can guess:
It's not that I believe it one way or the other, I just find it hard to believe a Rothschild, being a very famous name, especially "associated" with the "illuminati", big brother, secret government entities, freemasonry... I'm neither confirming or denying the existence of anything, but when someone with your last name, and the connection with which you are trying to play down as just another conspiracy, it makes you hard to believe.Kelli's comment hits almost all of the conspiracy theory touchstones: Illuminati, Rothschilds, Freemasons, the stock conspiracy caveat "I'm not saying it is, I'm not saying it isn't" and of course, a reference to my last name.
What horrible global event could possibly tie all of this together? Economic collapse? Alien invasion? Depopulation?
No, it's actually the silly fake disease "candida poisoning." In one of my Skeptoid blog posts, I took a look at those awful internet ads about "250 million Americans" being infected with something — and it turns out to be a mostly harmless yeast that a probiotic manufacturer dubbed "the American parasite." You might have also seen it called "the vampire fungus" which I guess is what you call something when "American parasite" has lost its edge.
Kelli evidentially thinks there's some massive conspiracy going on at the highest levels of banking and government to ensure Americans are bloated, white-tounged and lethargic, and kept away from buying expensive (and unnecessary) probiotics.
But there's no such thing as "candida poisoning" or a "vampire fungus." Candida is real, and can cause minor infections, but it's far from a ghastly illness that's culling the population.
Or at least I'm not saying it is. I'm also not saying it isn't.
Or am I?
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