“Stop playing God. Evil man,” says FalconX79. “This man is crazy and dangerous,” says Toni7. “Software psycho”. “Unscrupulous businessman, false saviour”. “Osama Bin Laden had more fans in 2001 than Bill Gates does today.”
These are just a few of the comments found on Bill Gates online, as I listen to his distinct voice from a Youtube video in which he discusses the importance of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft, and one of the richest people in the world. It seems likely that we would have at least an inkling of an opinion on him. Whether you put yourself into the category of those who like to spread a Mr Burns-esque archetype (in which he wickedly rubs his hands together as he watches people suffer) or the category who genuinely believes that he is an earnest philanthropist; we all have to agree on one thing – he is probably the most vilified man in the world.
But why? “He’s not a sincere philanthropist, let’s put it that way,” said Keri, a 23 year-old Neuroscience student from Brighton. Keri had been attending anti-5G rallies for a while when I spoke to her. She wasn’t afraid to share her passion through a megaphone as she prowled through the streets of London with a small but strong group of other protesters, all fearful of the same concepts: global human surveillance.
“You’ve been indoctrinated,” she shouts. “We need to defend our freedom and save our rights. No more lies, no more lockdowns, no more masks. We need to know the truth.”
Other anti-maskers clap and nod approvingly behind her, one of them being a child. The placards all have a similar theme and you’ve got to find humour in them telling Bill Gates to “stick his vaccine up his ass”.“I do not consent to being called a conspiracy theorist because I question government policies and decisions,” Keri adds. This is a reasonable request, but some would say that there’s a difference between being a passionate sceptic and believing in conspiracies with no credible source.
When asked about which media had been consumed among her group, she’s quick to praise David Icke, a semi-famous Youtuber and former footballer who has openly declared that he believes the world is being run by shape-shifting reptilians. He even gave his own speech at the protest.
We should be sensitive as sometimes pragmatism can come across as condescending. We all have opinions and without a diplomatic conversation these theories can become somewhat extreme; it creates a division in its finest form.
Having been a sceptic on pretty much everything my entire life, I can understand why these theories are making people want to pull the hairs out of their own skin.
Bill Gates is one the main faces of public health. He is rich and he is famous. He’s got his fingers in a lot of pies. It’s hardly surprising that he’s become a target for those who are paranoid about inevitable doses of corruption that poison our society, but it’s a wonder as to whether we’re challenging the right people.
We’ve seen it before with the Rothschilds, when anti-Semitic conspiracy theories resurfaced in the 19th century. These theories suggest that, to this day, the Jewish family is just another prime example of Jews trying to control the world by monopolising their money and investing in global financial institutions.
Where was the the credible source? There wasn’t one. In fact it all began when a biased, political pamphlet spread across Europe, claiming that Nathan Rothschild had exclusive involvement in the Battle of Waterloo. The fact that these theories became so popular suggests that people are prepared to believe anything, so long as it’s politically charged.
By taking this into account, we’re able to ponder as to why Gates might be the new Nathan Rothschild. Much of the scrutiny that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has faced usually seems to have a political agenda.Perhaps the most relevant, albeit concerning, theory is when Gates was accused of testing vaccines on children in India and Africa without consent, thus leading to thousands of people with disabilities. In a 2018 paper it was suggested that 496,000 children were either left severely disabled or dead after being administered a “dodgy” polio vaccine. Research suggested that those who suffered non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP) had increased since the vaccine’s administration.
It’s something we should definitely put more thought into. This is a worrying statistic. Much of the rhetoric surrounding this issue is whether Gates, who is not a licensed doctor, should have such influence in global health policies and the administration of vaccines.
We should, however, be wary before we assume the worst. “It is true that the observed incidence of NPAFP had increased in the late 2000s and has stayed relatively high, but this doesn’t mean that the polio vaccine was necessarily the cause,” said Abbas Panjwani, a writer for independent fact checking charity FullFact, who debunked the claim.
“It’s worth noting that the polio vaccine can itself result in cases of ‘vaccine-associated paralytic polio’ according to the World Health Organisation, but the rate is incredibly low. Approximately 1 in 2.7 million doses of the polio vaccine are associated with paralytic polio.” He also reports other countries have seen unexplained rises in cases.
Articles falsely claimed that Gates had been on trial to accompany the rumours circulating the internet which were widely shared. They stated that BMGF had been “kicked out of India”.
The truth is that they continue to collaborate and support their family welfare systems, and the money they invest is largely spent on building healthy and peaceful communities, not just the administration of vaccines.After doing some digging on Facebook, I found someone to talk to about the conspiracies and why they had become so apparent. Micheal (his name has been changed) is a Labour voter from Bristol and he believes in a much more sinister version of this theory.
Michael doesn’t just think that Bill Gates has invented a load of dodgy vaccines, he’s convinced that it was done entirely on purpose. “He’s openly stated that he wants to reduce the population by 80%, and he’s vaccinating the poor people so he can get rid of them first. Covid is just the next step,” he states, matter-of-factly.
Although Gates has spoken about the correlations between environmentalism and mass population, there is no evidence to suggest that he wants to kill anybody. The more likely explanation is that somebody, somewhere has picked up on an opportunity to make him look like a merciless killer.
In early May, a doctored image depicting Bill Gates standing in front of “the Center for Global Human Population Reduction” was shared more than 600 times on Facebook. The image garnered the attention of the growing number of people who genuinely believe that Gates is running his work and philanthropy on a theme of mass depopulation through vaccinations and abortion. The very fact that abortion is included in this discourse suggests that it is followed and amplified by those with right-leaning agendas.
It doesn’t stop there. People all over the world have succumbed to a false belief that Gates is enforcing a law by which people will have to bow down to a mandatory vaccine, and that this will be the “new normal”.
Many of those will act as if Gates himself invented the concept of a mandated vaccine, but the truth is that government officials and other private groups have been pushing for mandatory vaccines for centuries.
In fact, the first compulsory vaccination was introduced in the UK in 1853, through the 1853 Vaccination Act. The law required all children to be vaccinated against smallpox, parents who refused received a hefty fine. Today, as a result of similar programmes worldwide, smallpox is almost extinct.
It’s not a policy that is exclusive to the UK. In some US states, children aren’t even allowed to enrol into schools without showing proof of certain vaccinations. This is also the case across the whole of Australia. Since 2010, Italy has added ten vaccinations to their mandatory vaccine list.
If the concern is over mandatory vaccinations, or the control of people’s liberties in this sense, then it is not Bill Gates who we should be challenging. It is each individual governing body who makes those decisions.Have the liberals been duped? Let’s just imagine for a second that Bill Gates is sincere: “He’s read more books on global poverty, environmentalism and technology than any of us will in our entire lives,” says SafariNorm1 on Reddit, in a thread dedicated to die-hard fans of Gates, but does he/she have a point?
Is it really far-fetched to assume that a billionaire could also have a dose of integrity? We should consider that he dedicates his waking life to his philanthropy, and whether he has a sinister agenda or not, he has improved the lives of millions of people.
An area which Gates is due praise is his involvement in developing the Tiger Toilet. These toilets require no traditional flushing and they’re not even hooked up to a sewage system. They promote an odourless solution compared to other compost toilets and they don’t breed mosquitoes, even in the most humid of climates. Worms are used as compost and this means that the water and sewage systems are less toxic, thus changing lives.
To date, more than 4,000 Tiger Toilets have been installed across third world cities and the BMGF has invested more than $4.8 million into the project.
This means that Gates has helped impoverished communities across the globe by developing innovative systems to give them clean water, reducing the horrendous mortality rate caused by diarrhoea from lack of safe sewage systems in the developing world.
He has quite literally invested hundreds of millions of pounds in attempting to improve the livelihoods of those who haven’t been lucky enough to own a flushing toilet.
Perhaps this admirable invention wouldn’t have come around if Gates didn’t have such a passion for innovative technology, but it is this aspect that has also made him a target. One of the more recent theories, which is endorsed and spread by David Icke, is that Gates wants to inject us all with biometric chips.
“They will introduce an immunity passport in chips. People will receive them after they take the vaccine, and if people don’t have this then it will restrict their movement and travel, some might not be able to return to school or work,” says one critic called Robinson.
She believes that Covid-19 is a hoax, and that all of it has been made up to cover up the bigger picture. The head of the Russian Communist Party described it as “a covert mass chip implantation which may in time resort to under the pretext of a mandatory vaccine against the coronavirus.”
These rumours began to spread when Gates said in an interview that we should eventually get “digital certificates”, but nowhere had microchips been mentioned. In fact, Gates later went on to say that “the reference to ‘digital certificates’ relates to efforts to create an open-source digital platform with the goal of expanding access to safe, home-based testing.”If we look at the facts, it is much more likely that Gates has a passion for his extensive efforts in making the world a better place. HIV, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, pneumonia, tuberculosis, polio, diarrhoeal diseases; these are just a few of the many obstacles that we as a society have to face, and Gates has pumped billions into all of them. “If he wants to kill everyone, then why has he said on multiple occasions that he wants to completely eliminate malaria?” asks RLDKA, another Gates Reddit fan.
Indeed, RLDKA asks a plausible question. In 2017 it was estimated that there were 435,000 deaths as a result of malaria. The seriousness of this disease is insidious, killing children slowly and painfully every minute.
To date, BMGF has granted $2.9 billion to combat malaria, with an extra $2 billion to the Global Fund. This is largely why malaria cases have been reduced by a whole half since 2000. “We concentrate our resources in areas where our efforts can make an impact and save lives,” says the BMGF.
Gates advocates the importance of the continuation of investments in fighting the disease, and every year he donates millions of bedding nets, as mosquitos are most likely to attack in the night when people are asleep.
It’s worth repeating: Since 2000, deaths from malaria have been reduced by half. This miraculous improvement is not to be coupled with the efforts of any governing body, but the philanthropic work that has been put into it.Even though Gates has always shown a strong passion for the good of the environment, this aspect has not always worked to his favour, last year he was accused of spending a whopping £500million on the first green super-yacht.
The fake news was even reported in the Telegraph, notably a right-leaning paper, that “the software tycoon has commissioned the world’s first hydrogen-powered super-yacht, in a $500million signal of his belief that investment in new clean technology is the best way to cut carbon emissions.”
It was later debunked by Sinot, the super-yacht’s maker. They made it very clear that the project had absolutely no connection to Gates and that the super-yacht hadn’t even reached its final stages of design.
“To be fair, even if he did buy that hydrogen super-yacht he’d still be buying into something pioneering green technology. Besides that, if I was rich I’d be rocking a super-yacht, let alone a hydrogen powered one, no questions asked.” said Larley Hane, 32, from London in a Facebook comments thread.
Okay, we get it. He didn’t buy the yacht. But what has he actually done to help decrease carbon emissions?
Quite a bit, it seems. In 2006 Gates founded TerraPower, a nuclear power reactor company. They are remarkably different to anything we use now. They switch off every time there are signs of a spill, so you can throw the chance of there being another Chernobyl out of the window.
They rely on an entirely new source of nuclear energy, it’s called a “travelling wave reactor”. Radioactive waste, which often sit in toxic dumps after being used, can be a crucial source for this energy. The designers claim that this renewable energy alone could light up cities for up to eight hundred years.
The project was so promising and refined that Gates had entered into a contract with China, they were going to roll out the reactors in large numbers, but then President Trump got into a toxic, vacuous trade war with the Chinese and the contract was pulled from beneath their feet.
This alone makes one wonder, where was the interest on all of these issues beforehand? Where was the passion for human trafficking, facial recognition surveillance, social control issues, political incompetence and corruption all along? Why are we suddenly protesting about it now?Gates has also committed more than $3 billion in HIV grants to well established organisations across the world. Since 2000, childhood deaths have decreased by an impressive 43%, along with 29% less of mothers dying at birth.
Gates’ philanthropy often seems to be focused on some of the hardest hit third world countries. This is admirable as it is where our governments have failed. His strategies often involve supporting people so they can thrive in communities, in turn optimising prevention and treatment of serious and acute illnesses.
In the internet age, any opinion can gain traction regardless of veracity. It just needs to seem intelligent. There are lots of people who are able to articulate something persuasively without it being true. I’d probably be able to convince someone that the Queen was born a man if I really put my mind to it.
Well-meaning people from the “left” have been conned, and though they think they’re creating a culture of resistance for the right reasons, they’re actually just discrediting the movements that address a very real global threat.
We are experiencing mass extinction, climate change and environmental devastation. We are having to experience poverty and deprivation like never before, wrought by the final stages of a disastrous capitalist system.
The theories surrounding Bill Gates often come from alt-right sources, displaying an agenda none other than to push forward the conservative “Trump-saviour” notion. It is the result of lazy research combined with the utter confusion and chaos that the modern world can instil. Understandable perhaps, but must we be so complacent?
“It’s a grotesque, collective delusion. I think so many people are now incapable of critical thinking, they cannot discern reality from wishful thinking or ridiculous conspiracy. We are becoming a species governed by emotion and not intellect,” says Jules, a 47 year old musician from London.
“Much conspiracy is created to distract us from real crimes and misdemeanors. They’re like a magician’s sleight of hand trick. Misdirection is a powerful tool,” says Robert, 52 and an avid reader of the Guardian‘s posts on Facebook.
He’s right. It seems as though the very individuals who become infatuated with conspiracy theories, the ones who tell us to stop living our lives in fear, actually harbour and instil much more fear than the rest of us.
Featured image by DonkeyHotey via Wikimedia Commons.
Edited by Ropa Madziva and Jussi Grut.