Against Conspiracy Mongering
Jeffrey Epstein is dead. Apparently he killed himself. How he was allowed to do that has left many people both angry and confused. Many pieces can, have, and will be written, wondering how such a high-profile prisoner was allowed to kill himself before he faced trial and exposed his fellow sexual predators. This is not one of those pieces, but it is one that will hopefully respond to some of the more inane pieces that are destined to appear in allegedly serious publications in the coming days.
One can see why conspiracy theories would thrive in a situation such as this. A billionaire pedophile with ties to the rich and powerful of both major political parties is dead before what would have been one of the most closely followed trials in recent time. It’s something you would see in a movie: the guards get paid off to look the other way while the defendant is offed. No competent prison would have allowed this; there must be something more nefarious going on.
And right on cue those conspiracies emerged and not from the tinfoil hat wearers. Over at MSNBC, you have Joy Reid insinuating that Attorney General William Barr might have had something to do with it. This stupid argument should not need to be rebutted, but there are no doubt some, possibly many, Barr and Trump haters who believe it has merits, so it should be dealt with just to show how dumb it truly is. The President and the Attorney General run the DOJ, and this facility was a DOJ facility, but that does not mean that Trump and Barr run the day-to-day operations at the Metropolitan Correctional Center anymore than Trump and Mark Esper as Commander-in-Chief and Secretary of Defense run the day-to-day operations at Naval Station San Diego.
On the other side of the conspiracy mongering aisle, Trump himself re-tweeted a claim that insinuated the Clintons had something to do with Epstein’s death. It’s a familiar idea in certain corners of the internet that if someone with connections to the Clintons dies, that is just a cover story for the real story, which is that the Clintons put a hit on the deceased. It’s a line of thinking that has also made its way to cable news.
So, here we are. A man with ties to both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump is dead. A man who partisans believe would have incriminated the other in one of the worst sex scandals in the history of sex scandals. Of course, the other one is responsible for offing Epstein. The banality of it all.
Occam and Hanlon’s respective razors are good rules of thumb because they keeps you from sounding like Joy Reid or the Pizzagate hustlers. People are more likely to take you seriously because you will not be driving yourself crazy coming up with some Pepe Silvia-esque explanation.
People build vast audiences ranting about the moon landings, Area 51, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, or 9/11, but peddlers of such nonsense are actually quite boring. In fact, they are as boring as they are stupid, which is why most of us don’t bother to engage with them.
The fact that their position is so utterly preposterous is evidence that they are right, they have no concept of history, and only they are wise enough to see past the media and political classes who are in cahoots with each other, “That’s what they want you to believe,” they say as if the embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi or the attack on USS Cole never happened, or as if Washington and its army of Congressional and bureaucratic leakers all somehow managed to keep their mouths shut while pulling off the greatest hoax in world history.
Yet, the conspiracy peddlers no longer just wear tinfoil hats or scream into a microphone about homosexual frogs, they also have national TV shows and hold federal office.
One cannot help but sense that there is something more to the story when it comes to Jeffrey Epstein’s death. Maybe the inspector general’s investigation will come to some shocking and damning conclusion that would make not even be approved if this were Hollywood crime drama, but right now there’s no proof of that, right now it’s just one big screw up. There’s certainty no evidence that Bill Clinton or Donald Trump were behind it, but it won’t matter for the conspiracy monger, the lack of evidence is taken to mean the conspiracy is all the larger.
We should want answers as to how Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to kill himself before he faced justice and before he ratted out any of co-conspirators, but please, stop the conspiracy peddling. You’re not only are you not helping, you’re not nearly as clever as you think you are.