Maui Conspiracy Theories Getting Crazier and Crazier

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Historian Richard Hofstadter called it “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” The famous essay was written in 1964 and became all the rage on the left because Hofstadter only studied “interest politics” and the “authoritarian personality” on the right. At the time, the John Birch Society, with its outrageous accusations about Communists among us, were easy pickings for a public intellectual like Hofstadter.


Eventually, radical-left conspiracies about Coca-Cola keeping the Vietnam War going to prevent the shutdown of its bottling plant in Saigon and other “big business controls us all” conspiracies showed that the radical left is just as enamored of conspiracies as the radical right.

The internet has only made it worse. So it’s no surprise that before the embers of the Maui wildfire were cool, conspiracy theorists were on the job.


The Associated Press reported that these images are being shared on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and, in one instance, a man on Instagram shared the image claiming it “shows a laser beam coming out of the sky directly targeting the city.” He then falsely claims the Maui wildfires are linked to a long-running conspiracy theory about a weaponized government weather modification program, The AP reported.

The conspiracies aren’t limited to Meta platforms and have also popped up on apps like X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and TikTok.


Biden didn’t help matters any when he tweeted, “We’re laser-focused on getting aid to survivors,” when giving details about aid being sent by the government.



Some suggest the United States military set off the blaze, or that it was part of an “elite land grab” possibly spearheaded by Oprah Winfrey herself.

As far-fetched as they might seem, conspiratorial posts suggesting that the wildfires that have claimed at least 99 lives were started as part of a government-celebrity plot have garnered tens of millions of views on X.

Ben Collins, who covers the “dystopia beat” for NBC News, wrote: “The Maui fires are a good example of how conspiracy culture cannot and should not be reasoned with. There will be no come-to-Jesus moment on climate change or severe weather. There will just be more people claiming Oprah or Biden used a direct energy weapon. That’s our future.”


Indeed, conspiracies thrive among the ignorant and those who feel powerless. Believing in a conspiracy is actually very comforting — it allows you to join a community of like-minded believers who can share “information” and theories, thus complicating the conspiracy even more. The more complex and elegantly created the conspiracy, the more believable it gets for those unfamiliar with how to think critically about any theory.

The latest probable cause for the wildfire is downed power lines starting a brush fire that raced across the island, whipped by 60 MPH winds from Pacific Hurricane Dora.

Not very sexy, to be sure. But the truth rarely is.



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