Whisper it quietly and go heavy on the caveats, but David Icke is right Dave Hahn The Skeptic

I hope you can appreciate how difficult it was to write that title. I’ve written it by hand, three times; I’ve typed it four. And it hasn’t gotten easier any time. What I’m saying, without irony, is that the man who gave us the shape-shifting lizard alien conspiracy theory that totally didn’t rip off the television mini-series V (1983); the person who adjusted his conspiracy theory so that we are all prisoners living inside a computer simulation that totally wasn’t a rip-off of the 1999 movie “The Matrix”… that guy, is right. And more incredibly, he’s right because of his grand conspiracy theory.

Before I get into how this could possibly be true, I have to set the stage. The first character is obviously David Icke. If you’re reading this site, you know who he is. I have students that are amazed that not only does the lizard alien conspiracy theory have a discernable origin point, but that the origin is still alive. Icke, in the United States, has fallen by the wayside in the conspiracy world. He didn’t catch the Q wave, and he hasn’t innovated in the conspiracy world recently.

Our next character is really a group of characters. Icke has given them a clever label (that hurt too): the “Mainstream Alternative Media” (henceforth MAM). This is the group of conspiracy theory right-wing culture warrior extremists. This is Alex Jones, Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson, Jack Posobiec, and all of their ilk. If someone is broadcasting a right-wing conspiracy theory that demonises diversity, “questions” vaccines, and supports Trump—these are the usual suspects. Icke puts them in one category because of one person, who is our next and final character.

The final person is so famous that he shows up on my news feed with such frequency that he tops Taylor Swift, and comes in second only to former president Donald Trump. This could only be Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and the company formerly known as Twitter. It is in this last position that he enters our story.

Our drama begins in September of 2018. Responding to a video of Alex Jones harassing CNN reporter Oliver Darcy, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey permanently banned Alex Jones, InfoWars, and any affiliated accounts, for violations of the site’s rules. The banning had a serious effect on Jones’ conspiracy empire. It became apparent that most people did not go to the primary website for InfoWars, they clicked on social media links. Twitter was the last holdout, and Jones burned the bridge with Dorsey.

Flash forward a few years, and to Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Initially, Musk claimed that he would never reinstate Jones’ account, because of the conspiracy theorist’s (Jones in this case) claims about Sandy Hook – claims that eventually cost him around $1.5bn in damages.

When Musk took over Twitter, he was cheered by people in the right-wing alternative media sphere. Their enthusiasm was grounded in Musk’s claim that he would “restore” Twitter as a social media safe space for extremist conservative voices. Musk was apparently going to bear the standard of free speech absolutism.

Plenty of pixels have been burned and ink spilled describing what has happened to the platform since Musk took over. I am not a person who feels competent explaining how companies are valued or how individual net worth is calculated. I cannot explain how the bots have taken over the platform, or even how we know that. I can say that Musk’s reign has not been marked by free speech absolutism. One of the earliest things Musk did was suspend the user account that tracked his private jet through publicly available information. He’s marked news agencies he disagrees with as state-affiliated media.

Eventually, however, Musk posted a public poll asking if Jones should be restored, claiming he would abide by the results of the poll. Overwhelmingly the result was that Jones’ (and the Info Wars’) accounts were voted for reinstatement, and Musk abided by the terms (unlike the poll that overwhelmingly said he should step down as CEO).

That is the first Act of the play. We’ve got our setting, our characters, and have established a backstory. We return to David Icke. Without getting into the intricate details of his conspiracy theory, and ignoring the lizard aliens/computer simulation – Icke’s account is a standard Illuminati omni-conspiracy theory. There is a “they” that controls everything. Sometimes this is through secret societies, sometimes through government agencies; the details of the theory are actually not important. Just know that the “they” control and own it all. They fix elections, control our water, and they forced us to get the 5G nanobot shots, everything. This evil cabal supports AI, something called the “transhumanist agenda,” hates fossil fuels, and wants to monitor all of our actions, online and off.

This article isn’t interested in debunking these theories; in my academic opinion, you really can’t debunk them since everything is part of the theory. I am interested in considering what the world would be like if the conspiracy theory was correct. This is where Icke becomes correct (still hurts).

It also needs to be said that Icke and Jones’s theories only differ on who the “they” is. Icke’s got his Lizard People, and Jones has the vague “Globalists” in charge. The two largely agree, and this agreement has thrown them at odds with each other (it’s a thing that happens in conspiracy theory circles – just look at the schisms in the Flat Earth community). 

Musk, through his purchase of Twitter, has enjoyed universal support amongst people like Jones. When the purchase was finalised, the InfoWars desk – manned by Jones – began courting Musk to get their accounts restored. Second chair on the desk, and individual recently released from prison due to his involvement in the January 6th attempted coup, Owen Schroyer, also courted Musk, begging him to restore the accounts.

Yet, Musk represents everything they claim to hate. Musk is the CEO of Tesla, the most recognisable EV car manufacturer. Musk is the CEO of Twitter, which makes money by selling user data to advertisers. Musk is trying to create a literal brain chip, which he claims has been successfully tested on a human being (it should be noted that, as of this writing, no one outside of Musk has verified this claim). Musk is pro-carbon credit. He claims that AI is the future and has created his own, called “Grok.”

Aside from a few right-wing culture causes (Musk is anti-“diversity hiring”, has at-best mixed feelings on trans people, and most importantly doesn’t think hate speech is a bannable offense), he ought to be villain number one in Jones’ eye. Elon Musk is an elite, he’s no different than Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, aside from the cultural issues.

Icke smells a rat in the MAM, and he’s calling them out. I’m focusing on Jones because he’s the only one that has taken the bait and invited Icke onto his show. Is Icke an ideological purist, who sees the hypocrisy in the MAM, or is he only doing this to draw attention to himself? The hosts of the Ockham Award Winning podcast Knowledge Fight (whose coverage first made me aware of this conflict), made the argument that the only reason that Icke is behaving this way is because he’s been rather marginalised in the conspiracy community. People, especially in the United States, are rather unaware of him. The hosts aren’t saying definitively that this is the reason that Icke is attacking Jones and the MAM, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Jones took the bait because he must. At this point his struggle for relevancy is a struggle for survival. He needs the exposure, because he needs the revenue – and this was before his creditors voted to liquidate his possessions.

Here is Icke’s position: if Jones, Rogan, and all the members of the MAM were being honest, they would challenge Musk on his many problematic choices for their worldview. Which they don’t, ever. In the episode of Knowledge Fight I linked above, Jones falls over himself when a caller who sounds like Elon Musk appears… so much so that Jones basically surrenders his show to the caller, over Icke, who was his actual guest. This same thing happens again on 23 February: Jones essentially surrenders his show to this Adrian Dittman – who may or may not be Elon Musk.

In late last year, Musk appeared on Jones’ Twitter Spaces show alongside conspiracy theorists and extremists Laura Loomer, Jack Posobiec, and Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Jones treats Musk with such deference that it’s almost pornographic to describe it (note: I will not link to Alex Jones’ podcast directly).

Let’s assume (deep breath) that Jones, Icke, et al. are correct; this would necessarily entail that someone like Elon Musk could never be as rich or as powerful as he is without bending to the will of the “they” which control everything. It’s common sense within a world that is not common and does not make any sense. Icke points out a similar problem in a tweet on 10 December 2023, when during a slurry of rhetorical questions this really precise one pops up:

Where is the question of why the Cult, through its Deep State, which controlled Twitter and what could be posted, would suddenly sell it to ‘free speech absolutist’ Musk, who, as a result, has become the God of the very alternative media the Cult needs to direct and control so it goes here and no further?

The problem, ironically being pointed out by Icke, is bigger than just Musk and Twitter. It’s the problem all these theories have when they “win.” Trump, Brexit, Bolsanaro, Putin; if these people were truly enemies of the “they”, then how was victory achieved? If the Deep State truly opposed Brexit, then it would not have passed, it would never have come up for a vote. Remember, the “Cult” that Icke speaks of has magic on its side. According to Jones’ theory, the literal Devil is in charge; but, I suppose, that the Devil was taking a nap during the six months it took Musk to finalise his purchase of the company.

That’s where we return to the title of this article. Within Icke’s theory, he’s absolutely correct. We know from Musk’s release of the “Twitter Files” that there has been some manipulation of posts and visibility, and there has been censoring of various accounts and posts. There is no reason to think that “they” would allow Musk to purchase Twitter without their ability to continue to do so. In the Knowledge Fight Episode from 9 February, Jones admits that since his reinstatement his posts have been manipulated; Jones is currently making a claim that Musk/Twitter is banning his video site; let’s be clear this isn’t an ideological problem that Jones has, this is a personal problem and a problem that could very well be technical. However, the entire MAM should be gathering pitchforks and torches at the very idea that there could be censorship – after all, that’s the thing they claim they are absolutely against.

As Knowledge Fight host Dan Freisen points out, Musk is the exact type of person that Jones has been warning us for his entire career; a tech billionaire who is too rich to suffer consequences. What Musk gets is not just Jones overlooking positions that would normally be deal-breakers, but full-throated defence.

The point of this article is not engage in some joy at an internal schism of conspiracy theorists through the subject of Elon Musk (well… it is a little that). It’s to point out that conspiracy theorists, like Jones, are not ideological in any way when it comes to specifics. People like him are opportunists looking to exploit people’s fears in order to profit. Icke, no matter his motive, is at least being consistent within his own fantastical absurd conspiracy theory. Icke is narrowly right (still hasn’t gotten easier) that the MAM are being hypocrites at best, while at the worst their sucking up to Musk because of his wealth. We’ll know soon, as the social media company has just reinstated protections for trans users (in a weaker form) against harassment (via deadnaming and misgendering) that Musk vocally removed a year ago. This is the kind of situation that shows whether there is a line that someone like Musk can cross or not.

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In this one, limited, highly-specific, and particularly niche way, yes, David Icke was actually right about something.
The post Whisper it quietly and go heavy on the caveats, but David Icke is right appeared first on The Skeptic.