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Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Why Bill Gates and not China?

There's a question that keeps bugging me: why do some people believe that Bill Gates is guilty of spreading the coronavirus rather than China? Let me be very clear: I do not believe that China intentionally spread the virus (ie, my May 8 blog). If anything, it was a blunder at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and a subsequent Chinese cover-up of that blunder.

Perhaps, conspiracy theories must be extraordinary rather than common sense. A blunder is human and thus anything but extraordinary. Interestingly, a site that is currently promoting the Bill Gates conspiracy theory, initially started by blaming the Wuhan Institute of Virology. When that blaming became mainstream, that site shifted to Bill Gates. Also see my 2016 blog: The Truth about Conspiracy Theories.

Any conspiracy must have elements that are true in and of itself: (1) Bill Gates is a billionaire, (2) Bill Gates funds the development of vaccines (eg, anti-malaria), (3) Bill Gates has warned for pandemics (eg, his 2015 TED Talk) and (4) the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the second-largest funder of the WHO and provides 9.8% of the its funds (WE Forum-2020).

Why did and do these (neutral) facts make Bill Gates a villain?

A recent CNBC article sheds some light: "Bill Gates has been one of the most outspoken public figures about the coronavirus pandemic. But the billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder has also become a leading target of various conspiracies that have popped up around the spread of Covid-19." Note: bold markings in quote by LO.

The above CNBC quote reminds me of an English saying that seems (very) applicable: A big tree attracts the woodman's axe. In Dutch: hoge bomen vangen veel wind or tall trees catch a lot of wind. Hence, these conspiracy theories are (implicitly) also about jealousy.

In the 1980's, Bill Gates was already considered a villain as his wealth represented (to some people) the excesses of American capitalism. Decades later, he was considered a saint for sharing his Microsoft wealth through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. In 2020, Bill Gates is a villain again, in the eyes of conspiracy theorists.

Something similar happened to George Soros, who went from saint to an "all-knowing, all-powerful global villain" (eg, Atlantic-2018MinnPost-2018, QZ-2016).

How Do You Want to Be Remembered (2014) by MAGIC!

How do you want to be remembered? 
As a sinner or a saint, as a hero or a villain? 
Think about the steps you take

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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