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15 minute cities and other conspiracies

  • 27-02-2023 11:18am
    Registered Users Posts: 27,806 ✭✭✭✭

    Are we all victims of a conspiracy to mess up the world by spreading conspiracy theories? Can you have a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories? Whatever about arguing about whether anyone actually went to the moon, conspiracy theories have spread like wildfire over various aspects of the Covid pandemic, lgbt+, immigration, race, climate, politics - especially Trump, and, I think, the Sovereign Citizen/Freeman movements are largely based on conspiracy theory type ideas. These are conspiracies that do damage, baselessly finding nonsense theories to wind up gullible people and create social unrest where it is not justified. There are lots of social issues worthy of debate and protest without inventing stuff.

    Its not a new phenomenon, two major conspiracy theories were the endlessly evil role of Jews in society, which still goes on to some extent, and the searching out of mostly harmless old women and declaring them witches, in both cases based on warped and vicious ideas largely in the name of religion. Religion provided the ultimate conspiracy theory of controlling the masses and it worked for centuries, but now most of us are getting over it, are the CTs just filling a vacuum?

    One CT now emerging concerns the '15 minute cities' idea. Its hard to know how much of this is media hype - are there really so many objections to the idea or is it a slow news day? I have seen a couple of articles about this but, while there are always two sides to a discussion, its hard to see how people can so quickly turn to conspiracy. I seem to recall at the start of Covid the restrictions were to be permanent and it was all a world conspiracy. One of the most telling phrases in the link below is that when it was proposed for Oxford a lot of the objections came from outside the UK, presumably from professional conspiracy theorists looking for something to stir up.

    The idea of every neighbourhood having basic amenities, and some vehicle traffic being re-routed to open up town and city centres a bit seems like a good idea - and I say that as someone who is not as mobile as I was and would find it difficult to have to walk long distances to my car, especially if I had bags to carry. This has already happened to some extent in a good few cities that I can think of, London has had a congestion charge since 2006 which might have annoyed some residents but did not lead to claims that people were being trapped in post-apocalypse-type districts. Certainly there is discussion to be had locally about the proposals, but the argument that it is a world plot to confine people seems irrational.

    I debated whether this should go into CT but that tends to be more focussed on specific conspiracies, I don't want to get side-tracked into the individual conspiracies, I am more thinking of the overall effect of conspiracy theories and possibly social media promoted ideas generally.

    Post edited by Sephiroth_dude on



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 10,426 Mod ✭✭✭✭xzanti

    I think they're a great idea. I mean when Covid happened it would have been great not to have to travel far for food shopping etc. There'll be no need for anyone to have the excuse of "needing" to travel more than 15 minutes for amenities when... Sorry I mean 'if' another pandemic for example hits. It'll save a lot of time and work for the authorities policing people's movements. Bring it on I say.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,617 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manach

    Tell me, do you not get the irony of warning of CTs and declaiming anything you do not like (eg Religion) as also a CT. This is the form of appeal of ex cathedra agrument to the poster's authority but built on a foundation of being right just because one is ascribing to the current right-think. There is a debate to be had on the scope of the social measures being pushed based on the Green agenda, and that is not a CT.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,806 ✭✭✭✭looksee

    Yes, exactly. But who are the people working away in the background to cause social division and dissention by making stuff up?

    Certainly discuss and debate everything, but based on fact, not invented issues.

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  • Subscribers Posts: 40,501 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    you'll find they are grifters looking to make money out of it. they see a growing market and they see profit.

    heres an example....

    there was a "documentary" released online last year which went viral called "died suddenly", which claimed the covid vaccine was an secret effort to depopulate the masses. The "documentary" was fully of already debunked conspiracy theory misrepresentation and lies around covid, and its sole intention was to go viral and get fame for the producers of it.

    One of the guys behind the project, a radio host called stew peters, is selling "shield protectors" which he claims:

    Protect yourself from the vaccinated today with a personalized shield protector that zaps spike proteins before they get on you!

    this stuff is so laughably obvious, but there are enough stupid, scared and uneducated people out there for these guys to make a mint from.

    thats their raison d'etre.

  • Subscribers Posts: 40,501 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    "birds are not real"

    LOL i havent heard of that one.

    let me guess, pushed by the flat earthers?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭FunLover18

    You know the "birds are not real" is a parody?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,709 ✭✭✭RobbieTheRobber

  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭Dslatt

    Qanon started as trolling on 4chan and look at where we are now

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,615 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Niccolo Machiavelli wrote his books 'History of Florence', 'Discourses on Livy' and 'The Prince' as an insider because he thought ordinary Florentines didn't appreciate that duplicity, deceit and political conspiracies were central to how life was organised from above.

    As for right now, it's pretty simple: many people are open to *any* conspiracy theory because they don't trust the authorities.

    The people who do trust the authorities aren't open to conspiracy theories in general and will ridicule all of them.*

    Don't make it complicated because it isn't.

    * Exception is officially-approved theories like 'Russia elected Trump and he is their agent' which is okay because the NYT and Washington Post push it

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,615 ✭✭✭growleaves

    'Religion provided the ultimate conspiracy theory of controlling the masses'

    Don't understand what you're saying here. What is the ultimate conspiracy theory provided by religion?

    Atheism can be used to control the masses too.

    All the atheist posters on boards would cut their arm off rather than disagree with any powerful faction in society. Their ire is always against powerless scapegoats, unpopular political figures, weakened religions etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,436 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    It's funny also that a lot of these conspiracy theory folks on Irish Twitter anyway who go on about the WEF and vaccines often have "Proud Catholic Mammy!" etc. in their bios. Seems to be a crossover. I think they do it in a trying to preserve the old Irish Catholic identity kind of way, most of them probably don't have a Christian bone in their body though .

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Oh I know, my point is the 15 min cities CT is as stupid as that one

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,709 ✭✭✭RobbieTheRobber

    How can atheism be used to control the masses.

    Do you tell them if they don't listen you will send them to the heaven they don't believe in?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,698 ✭✭✭Polar101

    Feels like it's decline of civilization in a way. There is so much information available that if people used that for something useful, many of the problems of the world could be solved. Instead, people spend time inventing their own "facts" because they are convinced they are being lied to by - politicians, scientists, mass media - pick your poison. I don't like the comparison with religion, because believing in something isn't inherently bad, but there are a lot of people out there who would believe the world is flat, if a guy on the internet told them so.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,784 ✭✭✭deirdremf

    I once lived in an estate where you had to walk three-quarters of a mile to get to the estate the other side of a fence. Maybe if our planners started by getting rid of this sort of obstacle, which is very common in all our towns and cities, life would become a little more pleasant for us all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,615 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Because the atheist masses have no underlying motivation to rock the boat - because they often lack for any strong beliefs at all.

    In practice many are nihilists or demoralised.

    They are not difficult to control from the p.o.v. of the techno-bureaucrats who run our society.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,615 ✭✭✭growleaves

    There's another correlation that you haven't touched on.

    Political liberalism is about freeing people from traditional attachments ("the chains of the past") that could potentially limit their autonomy, their freedom to form their own identity totally, and the capacity to realise equality.

    So people who are motivated to be oppose political liberalism, even just a little, are more likely to place value on things like Irish history, trad Irish Catholicism, native make-up of population. And to oppose a super-bureaucracy (EU) which stops particularist elements like history and culture from interfering with ideal abstractions like equality.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,588 ✭✭✭Nermal

    The more successful the 'climate movement' is, the less travel outside of walking and cycling there will be.

    It won't happen through blanket travel bans, but through pricing and licencing ('permits' are discussed in the linked article).

    That's not a conspiracy theory, it's physical reality.

    The article sets forth the worry that the conspiracy theory will make implementing these policies difficult: I'm pretty sure it will make it easier. Being able to characterise your opposition as fruitcakes is useful.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,784 ✭✭✭deirdremf

    Just as a matter of curiosity, and to take just one of those you mention: I'd like to know how you view Soros.

    Thespecific reason I ask this is because of the part he played in the meltdown of Sterling back in 1992 - no conspiracy theory, BTW.

    It was apparently all legal, and I'm not aware that he suffered for doing so; quite the opposite - he made a fortune out of doing so. There are people who might portray his activities as being of a conspiratorial nature.

  • Registered Users Posts: 728 ✭✭✭20Wheel

    Oftentimes its just a contrarian thing.

    Another version of the class goth. Im different and therefore better.

    Putin is a dictator. Putin should face justice at the Hague. All good Russians should work to depose Putin. Russias war in Ukraine is illegal and morally wrong.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,631 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    I'm actually delighted that post pandemic the conspiracy nuts have gone back to their "normal" lives same as the rest of us.

    This is proper old fashioned moon landing conspiracy madness.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,806 ✭✭✭✭looksee

    In practice many are nihilists or demoralised.A

    I don't feel even remotely demoralised or nihilistic! If 'being controlled' means acting for the greater good and generally trying to live a reasonable, socially useful and productive life, I have no problem with being what you describe as controlled.

    My reference to religion was probably not clearly expressed in terms of religion being a conspiracy theory, I meant that it was used by self-appointed individuals to achieve power and wealth by spreading information - which is pretty much what the CT's do.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The urge to immediately smear anyone protesting anything as a conspiracy theorist is an odd phenomenon though..

    Like, the 15 minute city was being discussed there for a while..It's not a conspiracy theory like..

  • Subscribers Posts: 40,501 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    and that opinion complete dismisses the move towards non fossil fuel based travel methods, a move which is very much underway already.

    we already have 3 hydrogen powered buses in dublin, and you can travel from Valentia island to the giants causeway non stop in an electric vehicle if you want to. there will be nothing restricting you from travelling in the future, it will just be a greener way of doing it.

    the "climate movement" is not something to be scared by, its not only valuable bu absolutely necessary.

  • Subscribers Posts: 40,501 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    What am I missing?

    decades of poor town and city planning.

    this "15 min city" is just another planning policy which attempts to rectify that. It is a noble and aspirational policy, but it will eventually be ground down by typical greed and corruption that is at the base of human nature.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,588 ✭✭✭Nermal

    In a zero-carbon world, travel will still be possible, but it will be more expensive, and thus there will necessarily be less of it.

    If you think you can maintain your current living standards using intermittent, diffuse and hard to store energy sources, as opposed to the concentrated ones you can literally dig out of the ground - you are simply wrong.

    You might point to societal benefits from this transition, or be happy that it's worth it. Just don't delude yourself, and don't characterise the opposition to it as conspiracy theorists.