The Hunter Biden “nontroversy” has the three earmarks of a conspiracy theory. Number one, breathless insistence that there are mountains of damning evidence existing in a mysterious place that, once exposed, will provide absolute proof of Hunter Biden’s guilt of … something. Two, the claim that dark forces arrayed against us prevent us from accessing and assessing that damning evidence. And last, but far from least, the unsubstantiated claim that the evidence that is openly available to everyone obviously points to Hunter Biden’s inevitable guilt, if only the rest of us had the good sense to see it.
The problem is no different from any other conspiracy theory ever presented. In point of fact we all do indeed have access to the same “evidence” that the conspiracy theorists have. The difference is that we don’t believe it because we see it for what it is. The difference is that the people who do believe that the “evidence” is compelling do so because they’re stupid.
Of course, in this case, there’s a fourth element. Runaway partisanship fuels the rabid desire that the Hunter Biden “scandal” will eclipse all other scandals involving Donald Trump. Most of the Republicans in charge of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees know perfectly well that this isn’t the case. But they also know it’s enough — more than enough — for them to pretend it is.
Because the most important element in all of this, of course, is the rank-and-file MAGA morons who believe in this nonsense. Without the likes of them no conspiracy theory is ever worth anything useful. They’re the ones who got their 45 minute education watching a YouTube documentary about the “stunning coincidences” that “prove” Hunter Biden’s guilt. Or they just believe it because idiots like Jim Jordan keep repeating it over and over again. Terrifying as it is to admit, these people also vote. So the nonsense continues.
Shouty, partially-dressed Jim Jordan is the principal face of this idiocy. Somehow he’s managed to maintain an exhausting state of sustained outrage. I really don’t know how he does it. I don’t think I could pretend to be furious about something I’m not furious about for very long, let alone an obvious, palpable lie. But he seems to be able to do it for weeks on end.
I wake up every morning with the realisation that Jim Jordan is the chairman of the House judiciary committee. It’s the same astonished disbelief I used to awaken with when Donald Trump was president of the United States. It’s a nightmare that keeps turning out to be true. But fools put him in charge. He no longer has to shout from the sidelines. He can shout from the centre chair of the chairmanship itself.
It is a blatant abuse of political power. It is the true (and ironic) weaponisation of the government. The only reason Jim Jordan and Republicans like him are able to get away with this crap is because we live in a cesspool of common conspiracy theory belief, and that cesspool contains millions of idiots who vote. A rational electorate wouldn’t tolerate this rubbish for five minutes.
Ultra MAGA House Republicans have left little doubt that they are going to spend the bulk of the next two years investigating phoney conspiracies and counterfeit scandals, like the Hunter Biden nontroversy. Their make-believe campaign claims that they will tackle inflation, the “crisis at the border” and the high price of gas was a lie. But because their constituents have the memories of goldfish and are as dumb as a sack of hammers they have forgotten those campaign promises. Of course they have. Because they’re stupid.
So here comes the House Hunter Biden investigation. Get ready for the final Republican attempt to distract us from Donald Trump’s crimes. This is why I spend so much time writing against conspiracy theories. Because this is the destructive rabbit hole down which conspiracy theories and the mentality that sustains them inevitably lead. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.