Opinion: I shouldn’t have to tell you that Jewish space lasers aren’t real

Sydney Alper, Editor-in-Chief

Art by Grace Tseng

As a Jewish person, when I first heard about the QAnon conspiracy that the Rothchilds had a space laser which caused the California wildfires, I laughed. I laughed and then I wanted to know where exactly these Jewish space lasers were and why I, as a Jew, hadn’t heard about them before. I want to get in on the Jewish space laser action, too!

But in all seriousness, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R, Georgia) became  somewhat infamous for her now deleted Facebook post explaining her belief that the Rothchilds’ have some sort of space laser. I don’t think the ridiculousness of this conspiracy can be overstated. The first, and perhaps biggest problem with Marjorie Taylor Greene being the one to spew such idiocy, is that she is a publicly elected office-holder. It is absolutely absurd that anybody could believe this outlandish conspiracy, must less an elected official with a major public platform.

At this point, these QAnon conspiracies should not be seen as a Democrat or Republican problem, or even up for political debate. This issue extends far beyond political division. The very foundation of truth and reason is at stake here. 

To be clear, QAnon is not all that popular, with only 11% of adults surveyed in a Morning Consult poll having a somewhat favorable or very favorable opinion of the organization. Keep in mind that if this survey accurately represents the beliefs of our nation, that leaves up to 36 million people who view QAnon favorably. However, just because the poll data does not indicate widespread support for the alt-right group, does not mean that their conspiracy theories aren’t dangerous. We all saw what happened at the Capitol Jan. 6. To clarify, enough people believed a conspiracy theory that the election was stolen, and then turned to violence, killing five people. 

But it’s not just that there’s enough people currently in the U.S. believing in the QAnon theories to start an insurrection. It’s the fact that there are any people at all who believe in some of these conspiracies, especially one about space lasers.

I can only assume that for the average person, conservative or liberal, the idea that the Rothchild’s have space lasers that started fires is ludicrous. Yet, there are fairly intelligent, reasonable people who still believe in these theories. 

I simply cannot wrap my head around that. I may disagree with much of the Republican party’s stances on most issues (gun rights, abortion, health care, etc.), but these QAnon theories are another matter entirely. I am willing to have conversations with conservative people if we can agree that we are talking about the same subject matter, with the same set of facts.

I can’t believe I’m even saying the phrase “set of facts.” Because, the reality is, that with the growth of these outlandish theories becoming more pervasive in our society, it’s as though two different realities are created. 

There is one side that believes that the election was not stolen, with report after report backing up that there was no fraud in the 2020 election. Courts continuously denied to overturn election results because there was no fraud. And then, there is another side that is completely convinced that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. 

President Donald Trump led with stances such as being pro-life and pro-gun that appealed to a voter base looking for conservative change after the Obama era. Trump led with the rhetoric that he was the strongest man in the room and that his strength would benefit his supporters. With this in mind, it is easy to understand how those loyal to him would make the jump to believing in election fraud. After all, it’s what they wanted to hear. 

According to an article by National Geographic, one psychological reason for people believing in such conspiracy theories is that “People use cognitive shortcuts—largely unconscious rules-of-thumb to make decisions faster—to determine what they should believe.”

Combined with a president who consistently lashed out against the mainstream media, it stands to reason that his supporters would start to consider alternative “news” sources, such as QAnon. And if QAnon makes sense on theories of a stolen election, why wouldn’t the theories about space lasers be true as well? 

But now that Donald Trump is out of office, why should it matter that a relatively small group of Americans believe in these theories? I think it’s enough that the very definition of truth seems to be distorted. 

This is a threat to our society, to our democracy. A start to solving this problem would be educating everybody on news literacy and how to spot bias in news. Hopefully, then, people can regain trust in the media and we can work towards restoring our sense of reality and truth.

So, while I personally will not have a part in any space lasers, the least I can now do, as a responsible journalist, would be to continue writing with strict standards of truth and actively work to combat my own biases.