5G is the new Chemtrail: how society's fears return again and again with new scapegoats

All of us who enjoy reading about that universe of things that are halfway between pseudoscience and the global conspiracy are in luck: there is a new guest at the party.

If we didn't have enough with the chemtrails, the wifi and the rest of the electromagnetic waves, the undetectable chemicals, the Flat Earth (or the Hollow Earth), the energy of Reiki, the emotions that cause cancer or the miraculous remedies for invented diseases, now we also have 5G. Yes, as it sounds, 5G.

The 5G conspiracy

To be honest I have to confess that I did not know the new movements that tried to stop 5G before it even reaches our cities. It was Ben Collins, an NBC reporter, who accidentally entered Facebook groups and YouTube channels where the fear of 5G is simmering.

In a half hilarious, half terrifying thread, he reviews some of the most striking ideas. The Fullerton Informer argues that 5G is a system developed to lead to mandatory vaccination. More than 800,000 visits. Another video argues about how it will be used for mind control. More than 700,000. "For what?", You may be wondering. To turn everyone into weapons at the mercy of the military political complex, this video explains us with more than 300,000 visits.

My initial intention was to dismantle the different theories, but after seeing a good handful of hours of videos and talks I have given up. They are not new theories, they are an amalgam of old accusations involving mind control, poisoning, disease of some kind, or the destruction of man.

There is nothing that aims to be articulated in a merely coherent way and for good reason: although we have been talking about 5G for years, until a few months ago the standard had not been definitively finalized after the pilot tests and the analysis of the different alternatives.

What is 5G?

"5G" is what we call 5th generation wireless communication standards and technology. And it's basically an extension (a development, an evolution) of the current 4G LTE. A system that will allow us to call, write and surf the Internet at a much higher transfer rate allowing more devices to connect at the same time.

In principle, it is the generation that tries to achieve a really fast mobile internet in both directions that allows us to handle Ultra HD videos or 3D models almost without batting an eye. To give us an idea, 5G would allow multiplying the speed of the network between 10 and 20 times.

Otherwise it is not dangerous. At least, no more dangerous than the waves we are using today. The only real difference is that the high frequency bands it uses have a lot of capacity, but their shorter wavelengths make them more easily blocked and we need more antennas in urban environments.

On paper, 5G is an almost essential technology to survive the electromagnetic bottleneck that exists in large urban agglomerations. Of course, its technological limitations will mean that, at the rural level, it does not have much development.

So if it's safe, why are the arguments repeated again?

At this point, my explanation is almost anthropological. Carlo Ginzburg has a book called "Night History" in which he studies how it was possible that all the processes carried out in Europe against witchcraft between the XV and XVII centuries could be so similar. And it is that if we pay attention to the descriptions of the judicial acts, the covens were surprisingly homogeneous celebrations in most of the old continent (even in culturally, socially and politically separated regions).

In his research, Ginzburg discovers that practically the same practices had been attributed consecutively to lepers, Jews, and finally witches throughout the last centuries of the Middle Ages and the first centuries of Modern times. Reading the monograph it is seen how certain ideas exist (sometimes of popular origin, sometimes of cultured origin) survive in society and repeatedly emerge with different 'scapegoats'.

We would need a broader historical and social investigation to indicate that it is indeed a similar phenomenon, but that is my working hypothesis and the studies that we have on the subject go along those lines. The fear of 5G uses the same arguments as the fear of Wi-Fi, chemicals or vaccines: an amalgam of ideas without scientific sense, but which find their social articulation over and over again.

Perhaps that is also what makes fighting certain pseudoscientific movements so complex: it is an ideological and cultural substratum that is organized in the face of different social problems in different, but very similar, ways. The problem goes beyond mere scientific literacy. It is a matter of time, as has happened so many other times, for a new scapegoat to appear.

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