Last week, F.G. Fitzer debunked yet another conspiracy theory being spread about Barack Obama. According to rumors spreading in right-wing and libertarian circles, there is a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) that will force Americans to have government-trackable rfid microchips implanted under their skin.
Even a few lower-quality newspapers have been used to help spread the hoax. The Chattanoogan, for instance, features the supposed text in the Obamacare law:
The Secretary shall establish a national medical device registry (in this subsection referred to as the ‘registry’) to facilitate analysis of postmarket safety and outcomes data on each device that— ‘‘(A) is or has been used in or on a patient; ‘‘(B)and is— ‘‘(i) a class III device; or ‘‘(ii) a class II device that is implantable, life-supporting, or life-sustaining.”
And Patriot Update” declares that, because of this supposed text, “the Obama Health Care Bill will require all U.S. citizens and babies to receive a microchip or Medchip by March 23, 2013.”
That’s all utter nonsense, of course. As F.G. noted last week, a simple search of the text of the Obamacare law reveals that the supposed language just isn’t there. There’s nothing about medical device tracking in the law, there’s nothing about the date March 23, 2013 in the law, and the only tracking described by the law is a new complaint tracking system to make sure that patient complaints about poor care are followed up on and resolved to the patient’s satisfaction.
Regardless of the fact that the “Obamacare Microchip” conspiracy is a falsehood, a hoax, a confabulation and utter hogwash, it’s still useful to pay attention to such stories. The most important reason, of course, is to counter a false claim. But just as importantly, the shape of the forced-implantation story reveals something about the mental map of the people who find it so believable that they pass it on to their friends, neighbors and acquaintances in indignant, angry tones.
To try to sketch out what’s on the mind of those who spread the Obama microchip hoax, I’ve taken the text of all the Twitter posts (“Tweets”) in the last week that discuss the idea of the Obama Microchip. From this accumulated text, I’ve drawn out the network of all word pairs occurring at least twice (ignoring common structural words like “a,” “the,” “if,” “of,” “or,” “and,” and “but”). That network, with most-used terms in fiery red and least-used terms in deep blue, appears below:
Immediately notable is the bilingual nature of this network; the rumor is being spread in non-English-speaking as well as English-speaking circles. The language of obligation, force, and requirement is heavy. Notions that a tracking microchip are part of a globalist conspiracy, and an idea that somehow a court is weighing in, add more layers to the story, layers that are believable enough to some to spread the story onward, as if it were true. Realists can be comforted by the occasional use of the webword “lol.” Better to laugh than to cry.