Even though I’ve loved conspiracy theories for as long as I can remember I’ve mostly not really taken them very seriously. I loved them as stories and admired the odd creativity and mental agility that went into making them (or was amused by just how deranged and unlikely others seemed). Don’t get the wrong idea, they were never a major interest of mine but one of a number of minor side interests that I liked to keep up with from time to time.
Before the internet it was hard to find access to anything except for the most widely known conspiracy theories that made it into paperback (like JFK) or UFO magazines or chance finds in used book stores. At one point I worked for a newspaper and we received a fair amount of weird conspiracy stuff.
In the early 90s as talk radio was taking off people began broadcasts on unconventional frequencies (not am or fm). A friend bought a radio just for the purpose of listening to them and we drove 60 miles once to check out a broadcaster and bookstore (run out of a bed and breakfast). Then the internet happened and there was far more conspiracy stuff in far too much to hope to keep track of but whenever I was bored or needed background noise to work various conspiracy broadcasts were in the regular rotation.
I can’t remember the first time I came across the conspiracies about western leaders and pedophile trafficking rings… I want to say sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s and I mostly discounted it as an echo of the child Satanic Abuse panic of the 1980s.
And then little by little pieces of news would catch my attention, these were often stories that would flicker briefly into the news cycle before quickly disappearing. Others would be mentioned with no names or context (like the child trafficking going on around UN ‘peacekeeping’ missions). None of them would make a major impression by themselves but the gradual and cumulative effect was hard to ignore. Other examples (like the Dutroux case in Belgium or the Jimmy Savile case in the UK) were too… prominent to disappear quickly. The broad outlines started suggesting themselves and recent years have just been snowballing. When pizzagate hit the news I had no problem believing the basic idea (although I thought the targets of pizzagate outrage were at most marginal fringe players).
The arrest of Jeffrey Epstein and the subsequent… event (suicide attempt? attempted hit? bid to get transferred to jail clinic?) has made this, if not mainstream, then better known among political junkies in ways that can’t just be ignored. I was recently listening to Chapo Trap House and they departed from cheering socialism and ridiculing conservative cultural ephemera to devote an entire episode to the implications.
The thing with conspiracy theories is that they can pull you in down a spider hole and a couple of the chapo guys have fallen in. They called it “Epstein Brain” the weird, addictive feeling of finding out just how inbred and intersecting the lives of the elite are, and puzzling out the stupefying rise of Epstein and the social web he created around himself like a plump spider.
I’ve resisted investigating the particulars too much because… once you figure some of this stuff out it’s just… exhausting. It seems quite probable that the elite of the US and (many? most? all?) other western countries are infested with morally corrupted sick freaks who get some kind of horrific satisfaction out of sexually abusing children in some kind of ritual fashion. In addition they can and will kill (like the 20 or so unexplained witness deaths in the Dutroux case….) to keep some kind of lid on their depravity.
Now we know this, now that we know that many of our leaders are literally monstrous and we can’t pretend it’s not going on…. what do we do with that?