- The Washington Times - Friday, April 17, 2020

As British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lay hooked up to a ventilator in a London hospital, mobs roamed the country burning or pulling down 5G Internet towers they had decided were responsible for the coronavirus. The arsonists had managed to latch onto one of the more bizarre conspiracy theories about how and why the world is fighting a pandemic they don’t understand and just want to go away.

The Internet has seen a proliferation of truly crazy conspiracy theories about the origins of the current crisis, but if there has been one as crazy as this one that led to the toppling of more than 20 British cell towers over a four-day period earlier this month, it has yet to surface.

Although the attacks on the British cell towers was fueled by multiple tweets from people as goofy as U.S. actor Woody Harrelson and a British rap artist, others have been promulgated by people one would assume should be more level-headed. Some fundamentalist Christian leaders have claimed the pandemic may be God’s way of letting mankind know that we have been misbehaving. Meanwhile, Jane Goodall, the world’s top expert on chimpanzees, traces the cause to our “disrespect” for animals.

All of these claims as well as some being promulgated by political “leaders” here and abroad have in common a fervent desire to advance an agenda that has nothing to do with a desire to track down the actual cause of the pandemic. The Chinese and Iranian charge that the virus was developed by the U.S. military while the president and other American leaders point out that it originated not here, but in China fall into this category. A few have gone so far as to hint that maybe the Chinese were developing the virus for nefarious reasons and it got loose.

And there are, of course, some inhabitants of the fever swamps frequented by the looniest of today’s progressives in the media and universities would like to pin the whole thing on President Trump.

The true believers in the 5G conspiracy argue that there is no such thing as a coronavirus and the symptoms are reactions to emanations from the towers, or that while the virus exists, those self-same emanations weaken the immune systems of those near them and make them susceptible to infection and death. They too, as it turns out, seem to have an agenda. Many of them have been claiming for years that cellphones cause cancer and see 5G as their old foe on steroids. They pine for the days when neither the Internet nor the cellphone was existed and they let us know of their outrage via those two despised instruments. 

A crazier subset of them are even convinced that the pandemic is part of a scheme developed by Bill Gates to make even more money by using the cell towers to infect people with a disease for which he will in due course offer a vaccine against in the way that Microsoft produces proprietary “fixes” for the various “viruses” that threaten his Windows operating system.

Meanwhile, medical and scientific professionals continue to seek a cure for the coronavirus that won’t require us to burn cellular transmission towers, enact the Green New Deal or mortgage our homes to further enrich Mr. Gates. In the process, they too are coming up with theories as to where the virus actually originated and why. Some of their theories may prove as wrong as well, though probably not as crazy wrong as the conspiracy theorists one finds on the Internet these days, but it won’t be because they are promoting an agenda other than solving the medical and scientific challenge they confront.

At some point when the pandemic runs its course, proves less lethal than originally predicted or succumbs to treatment developed in private and public laboratories working day and night to find a cure, there will be plenty of time to point fingers at the Chinese, the bats they sell at their “wet markets” or even at God. But it would be safe to lay odds that cell towers and climate change are going to escape blame. 

It doesn’t take a conspiracy theory to acknowledge that sometimes, to clean up an oft repeated truism, bad things just happen.

• David A. Keene is an editor at large for The Washington Times.

Sign up for Daily Opinion Newsletter

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide