It used to be that a few among us would get spun up believing Elvis was still alive, Paul was dead, aliens kidnapped the most isolated segment of the population for experiments and Jesus appeared on burnt toast. Those were the days…
Used to be the this sort of belief distribution system was isolated to the National Enquirer and other cheap sensationalist checkout lane rags. Today any of us in a free society can have our crackpot beliefs and conspiracy theories and broadcast them across the globe with our own domain name or YouTube channel. Amplify the crazy and collect your followers. Find enough followers and the clickbait revenue starts trickling in. Find a crazy enough theory and a big enough audience and you make real money. Now that’s America for you.
I believe the problem isn’t the crazy theories swirling around us – they’ve always been there – the problem is the amplification of crazy. The enablement of crazy. The endorsement of crazy. And the acceptance of crazy.
When do you reach the tipping point of crazy? When political leaders endorse the burning of accused witches at the stake? When they start mixing the Kool-Aid and locking the doors? Or when the President’s inner circle endorses beheading rivals or rolling out the military in a declaration of martial law?
I hear people parroting crazy theories more than ever. You either engage and refute in a vain attempt to educate or you slowly back away. I believe it’s normal to back away. But when the crazy gets amplified, enabled, endorsed and accepted too much and you reach that tipping point the crazy start pointing the finger at you and stacking firewood around a pole with your name on it.
Sometimes we’ve got to temper the madness around us. Ostracize the outliers to protect the village. Throw that wet blanket on the sparking wildfire of crazy. Call out crazy for what it is and move on to some measure of normal. Before things really get crazy.