Bill Gates needs to get what he deserves

Bill Gates seems to have developed an obsession with the conspiracy theories about him, while doing nothing to address them. His own obsession now goes far enough that everyone can be forgiven for taking an interest in those theories, too.

Back at the start of this month, Gates objected to Elon Musk’s desire to ease the moderation policies on Twitter. He seemed to be specifically pleading for his own protection from conspiracy theorists who propagate claims regarding his bizarre continuous attempts to involve himself in health policy, with which this billionaire software designer has no expertise.

Bill Gates' conspiracy theory obsession

Bill Gates asked of Musk, “How does he feel about something that says ‘vaccines kill people’ or that ‘Bill Gates is tracking people?’”, which is telling. This reveals that Gates’ main concern about medical disinformation and malpractice is all about himself. For him, it is not about whether members of the public have access to the accurate and diverse sources of information they deserve or their understanding of science is boosted. He has shown no interest in that issue.

On Saturday, a very unfavourable hashtag was trending on Twitter about Bill Gates.

As an entrepreneur, Bill Gates should take note. Now, as always, he is at the mercy of consumers. Demanding harsh control over what opinions those consumers can express among themselves, when the entire capitalist model depends on them making choices, is folly for one whose career success was based on the consumer's whims.

Bill Gates' scientism

To be on the wrong side of millions of people is dangerous. To cultishly repeat that being on the side of science is best, in the face of millions of worried people, is a disservice to science. It creates the impression that the natural sciences have carved in stone unchanging answers fundamental questions, and have now developed some social role to compel society into obedience, which is hardly a service to scientific inquiry or the public perception of science. Scientists are not parental figures and nannies, and no credible scientist ever assigned himself such a role. They do not compel the public to do anything, as society only ever consented to give them the role of investigators and sources of counsel. Right now, scientists are aware of many things that compromise people's health, and they do nothing about them, because that is not their purpose, which is only to inform.

Bill Gates’ condescending attitude puts him at risk of the millions of unscientific people he feels it is safe to mock, and who may eventually take worse action than yelling at him. Conspiracy theorists may seem like a laughing matter to those who know better than them, but the ones doing the mocking should take a look at what conspiracy theorists have actually done throughout history. It is not a pretty thing, to be in their sights.

Conspiracy theories are no laughing matter

Conspiracy theories are not new, or an internet phenomenon. Before the internet, they were conveyed in pamphlets. Historically, they are linked to eventual justifications for massacres and the rise of extreme ideologies, as most genocides and civil wars feature them as a key part in the formation of the prerequisite extreme views. They are possibly the single most radicalising phenomenon, not just in modern extremism but in history's most extreme revolutionary violence and massacres. As such, the current approach of denigrating conspiracy theorists and dismissing them as incompetent, even as they come to encompass half the population in places like the United States, presents a grave danger. 

Most people would be very worried for their safety if they were accused of the diabolical things that Bill Gates is being accused of. However, this man seems to expect so little initiative from the people who accuse him of murder, that he is completely unconcerned.

Gates' persistent mockery of the fears of a growing number of people across the world, and continued involvement in health policy despite unnerving so many people, actually suggests he has a personality that is bizarre and maybe sociopathic (unable to empathise with or understand the fear he creates). This is a factor that likely only increases many people’s discomfort with him. Many people likely sense stench about him, and it is why they buy into paranoid claims about him.

If conspiracy theorists are mistaken, Bill Gates' best way of correcting the problem is still to withdraw from all his involvement or interest in health policy, as a way to reassure people, and apologise for the fears he created. This would actually do more to encourage vaccines than all his previous involvement in promoting them to date.

How Bill Gates can help

Bill Gates’ story is one of success with consumers. He should take note of his benefactors, and be aware that upsetting them and provoking them can have consequences just as as significant for his life as creating products for them.

Eventually, the crowds must be placated rather than dismissed, even if it means diminishing the authority of capable meritocrats and their role in society. Otherwise, uncontrollable and murderous crowds are inevitable.

Part of the role of leaders is to actually have the trust of society. If half the population really begins to believe Bill Gates is a murderer and a monster, this means that his most stabilising role in society is actually to keep his mouth shut and fade from public view, as would suit public safety and his own safety.