By Liam Benedict
Conspiracy theories have been rising in both quantity and popularity for the past four years, reaching an all-time peak in 2020. While many conspiracies have been about COVID-19, holding the national spotlight for months now, a startling number of these theories have been about the new 5G wireless technology that has begun to roll out across the world.
Theories about the safety of 5G have been running rampant over the internet, with people assigning a slew of adverse health effects to the waves emitted from these towers.
The fact that 5G has become the subject of such harmful fake news at the same time as COVID-19 seems rather strange, especially in the wake of the senseless bombing that took place in Tennessee this Christmas.
However, after examining the history of the 5G conspiracy closer, you can see that it is merely an old theory that has had new life breathed into it due to COVID-19, much like the vaccination conspiracies.
Fear of wireless technology is not a new phenomenon. Cell phone technology has faced fear since the ’90s, beginning with the rollout of 2G. Back then, people were afraid that the radiation from cellphones would cause cancer, a danger that has not been proven.
However, the paranoia goes further than that.
Before wireless cell phone technology, people had irrational fears towards microwaves and power lines in the ’70s. It all dates back to Radiophobia (an overly intense fear of ionizing radiation), which has been documented as early as 1903. Every new step forward in technology has been met with doubters.
Unfortunately, as the technology level continues to increase, scientific illiteracy has grown in our country in place of understanding. This growing trend has converged with COVID-19 along with the development of the new wireless technology 5G, creating a perfect storm for conspiracy theories.
As of late, many of the theories connect COVID-19 and 5G towers as hand in hand partners in crime.
The obvious lack of evidence on the conspiracy theorists’ side has led to a wide swath of different claims about how exactly the two are connected. For instance, some believe that the Coronavirus was created solely to keep people inside while installing the 5G towers.
Others believe the COVID-19 vaccine will contain GPS trackers, solely powered by 5G technology. Anthony Warner, himself, the Tennessee bomber, reportedly believed that 5G technology was being used to secretly spy on Americans.
Of course, this theory is ridiculous.
The technology of injectable tracking chips is not the same stuff that you can put in your dog. It simply does not exist yet, not to mention it is ultimately an inefficient way to track people. What do you think our cell phones are for?
The theories don’t stop there, of course.
Some theorists believe that COVID-19 and 5G are dual weapons with the radiation of 5G supposedly being strong enough to collectively lower people’s immune systems, making them more susceptible to the virus. However, the craziest theory by far is that the Coronavirus doesn’t even exist. Instead, what’s actually killing and harming people is radiation poisoning brought about from exposure to the 5G rays.
Some of the obvious faults in this theory include the fact that not only is radiation not contagious, but several countries without 5G towers have gotten COVID-19 regardless.
I’ve covered some of the most popular theories, but this is not a comprehensive list. And before all is said and done, there will likely be more. Still, the absurdity of these beliefs that our society members hold is frightening to me, and it should be to you too.
Ultimately, this all comes down to a lack of understanding. We need to understand technology and science, not fear them. The 5G hysteria meshed together with COVID-19 has grown disturbing well this year. And if something isn’t done about the scientific illiteracy growing in our society, then the fearmongering and paranoia won’t end at 5G.
Liam Benedict is a first year English major from the small town of Galt, California. He is a writer and is planning on becoming a lawyer in the future.
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