Pizza and Politics: Conspiracy theories

The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service had a packed room in their weekly Pizza and Politics event discussing conspiracy theories on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

As the last Pizza and Politics event for the semester, Executive Council Members Josh Anderson and Jakob Gertler decided that talking about conspiracy theories would be the best way to end the year. 

“This is meant to be a fun presentation,” Gertler said. “We can all explore some mysterious explanations and have a good time.”

Gertler first asked the students of their favorite conspiracy theories to open up the discussion. 

Theories like the flat Earth, birds are not real, the moon landing, blimps and aliens were favored among students. 

Life outside earth has been a popular conspiracy throughout the years. People have claimed UFO sightings, witnessing aliens on Earth or have questioned Area 51.

In June 2019, a Facebook event called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” went viral. Although the event was meant as a joke, many people have questioned what really goes on in the secretive government air base.

Anderson then asked the students if they believed in aliens. 

“I mean, duh,” said Southern Utah University student Ella Gambill. “I think they are probably out there but it is weird we have not made contact with them yet.”

Carson Brown, a member of the Leavitt Center, also believes aliens exist. 

“I think they are out there but they probably want nothing to do with us. We are way too problematic.”

In addition to aliens, students were introduced to theories like airplane chemtrails, population control, Malaysian Flight 370, the 1970s mutilated cows, black helicopters and “The Simpsons.”

Gertler showed the students many examples of how the hit Fox sitcom “The Simpsons” has predicted the future. 

Incidents like Donald Trump’s presidency, Disney buying Fox and the timeline of events in 2020 all were shown years prior and have raised questions among conspiracy theorists. 

Lastly, Gertler asked the students at what point does it become unhealthy to question the status quo. 

“When it starts getting in the way of common sense,” said SUU senior Alex Cellers. “People may need to get help if they are questioning reality.”

Anja Hayes, an SUU student, thinks that sometimes challenging the cultural status quo can be healthy.

“It is unhealthy to reject things that are proven scientifically but rejecting the status quo is how we evolve as a society,” Hayes said.

SUU student Karaline Taylor believes that questioning the status quo should come in moderation.

“It gets unhealthy when these theories are becoming an obsession,” Taylor said. “There is a lot of misinformation out there so take everything with a grain of salt.”

Future Leavitt Center events will be posted on their website

Article by: Lexi Hamel