Skepticism Is Not a Conspiracy Theory

Lately, when liberals want to discredit an opinion, or inference, or speculation that is not to their liking, they often label it a conspiracy theory. Today we have seen a couple of instances of that, relating to Hillary Clinton’s health. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, quoted here, wrote:

Hillary Clinton falling ill Sunday morning at a memorial service on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks will catapult questions about her health from the ranks of conservative conspiracy theory to perhaps the central debate in the presidential race over the coming days. . .

The New York Times did the same thing:

Her husband, Bill Clinton, however, has said that Mrs. Clinton “required six months of very serious work to get over” the concussion — a statement that helped feed conspiracy theories among Republicans that Mrs. Clinton’s concussion was worse than initially disclosed, though there is no medical evidence to support those theories.

Hillary naturally joined in:

Asked whether she was concerned such questions about her health would affect the election, as the polls have tightened, Mrs. Clinton said, “I’m not concerned about the conspiracy theories.”

Believing, or suspecting, that Hillary has health problems is not, and never has been, a conspiracy theory. There has been considerable evidence to support such belief or speculation: her frequent unexplained absences from the campaign trail, the contradictory information put out about her concussion, the email from Huma Abedin saying Hillary is “often confused,” her late reappearance at one of the debates, her needing to be helped up a short flight of stairs, her frequent, spasmodic coughing fits.

But that isn’t really the point. Even if there were little or no evidence to support the belief that Hillary has health problems, that belief–a rejection of, or skepticism toward, assurances that Hillary is perfectly fine–isn’t a conspiracy theory. It could be wrong, it could even be irrational, but that isn’t what “conspiracy theory” means. Similarly, the belief held by many Democrats that Donald Trump is a racist may be ill-founded or wrong–I think it is–but it isn’t a conspiracy theory.

Nowadays, you should perk up when you hear liberals labeling something a conspiracy theory. Frequently it means, “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

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