The letter below appeared in issue #549 of Ami Magazine:
To the Editor: In issue #548, Rabbi Avi Shafran introduces readers to the group called “Birds Aren’t Real”, which he admits is a satire of “conspiracy theory” groups. He then goes on to lump all “conspiracy theory” groups with BAR – except for “real” sinister plots, such as “Watergate”.
This is disingenuous. While many of the listed “conspiracy theories” do seem outrageous, some are being proven to be correct. The Arizona State Audit of the 2020 Election Results shows that there was fraud in that election. I personally don’t think that Bill Gates is putting chips in the COVID-19 vaccines, but I was alive when Thalidomide was recalled and understand first-hand how pharmaceuticals can harm people; does the author really believe that the pharmaceutical industry is so virtuous today?
When I studied civil engineering, we spent several classes examining the collapse of the sky bridges in the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel (1981). I would hope that civil engineers during the past two decades could study the collapse of Seven World Trade Center – the first steel skyscraper to collapse simply due to an uncontrolled fire – and not be classified as a “conspiracy theorist” even if they reach conclusions that do not fit the current narrative!
As for Watergate, is the author declaring that President Nixon was the one who was “sinister”? Not everyone believed that he committed a “sinister” crime. In 1973, Rav Avigdor Miller Z”L did not buy into this “sinister” plot, and said, “…And so the whole Watergate business is nothing but a symptom of the wickedness of the country today and I say we have to bow our heads in shame that there are Jews who have the temerity and the ingratitude to speak up against the President. Havei mispallel beshlomo shel malchus – we have to pray for the peace of the government and this President is a really good President.” (Toras Avigdor 10/28/2020)
The Amoraim in the Gemora are constantly questioning everything presented to them. Let us permit people today to continue to question everything in our world, and not force everyone to toe the line for fear of being called a “conspiracy theorist”!