THE ATTEMPT TO LOCKDOWN NEW DELHI BECAUSE OF POLLUTION HAS LED TO A WHOLE CONSPIRACY MOVEMENT, USING THE SEMANTIC FIELD OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS

“Climate dictatorship“, “locking us down to better control us“, “docile population“, “fake report“!

last Tuesday, the government of New Delhi extended the closure of its schools, decreed on Saturday, November 13, because of the huge wave of pollution, and encouraged the inhabitants to remain working from their homes until further notice. On Monday, the Supreme Court of the country invited the capital of India to “a lockdown because of pollution.“

This news – only a few days after the COP26 – did not escape the conspiracy sphere. Where we heard the same conspiracy arguments used against the coronavirus.

Covid-19 and global warming have many similarities: an evil that we cannot see and cannot measure, against which we cannot do anything at our level, and which is a harbinger of disaster for the whole of society, including potentially ourselves and our loved ones.

“The conspiracy answers are the same: either it is an evil less dangerous than we are told, just to scare the people and control them, or it is an evil created from scratch to eliminate a part of the population,“ summarizes Tristan Mendès France, associate professor at the University of Paris in digital cultures and expert in conspiracy theories.

Another common point: these are two events with heavy media hype, a fortiori at this time between Covid-19’s fifth wave and COP26. Marie Peltier, historian and author of Obsessions: behind the scenes of the conspiracy narrative (Inculte, 2018), explains: „Conspiracy doesn’t thrive on all subjects. It’s usually the ones that are in the news, and that impact us and evoke a certain emotional charge in us.“

In reality, the phenomenon is not new and represents the very essence of conspiracy: to spread ever more widely. „When you start to get into conspiracy theories, you rarely stick to a single theory or a single theme,“ Tristan Mendès France reminds us, using the symbolism of the finger in the gear. Marie Peltier adds: „Conspiracy is based on a common software: behind the official word and the facts, there is a logic of staging for the benefit of hidden interests. „

Because of this common software, which can be applied to each sub-category, it is difficult to know which conspiracy begets the other. Climate conspiracy did not wait for the coronavirus to exist, as climate skepticism often leans towards the machination of falsified figures by scientists for a secret reason. Even Donald Trump, and this was before the coronavirus, was holding this kind of discourse.

As a result, it is not surprising to see the followers of the coronavirus conspiracy fall into ecological or other conspiracies. Even those who are only supposedly anti-vaccine, you only have to ask them quickly to see that they have a distrust of many other things.

Find the original article in French here