Joe Biden isn’t president yet. But his incoming White House already has its first conspiracy theory to deal with.
It goes by the tag the “Great Reset” and under its construct a wild dystopian future is in store. The coronavirus pandemic is merely a means to enslave humanity and end capitalism. Biden’s “Build Back Better” slogan is really a cover for nefarious plotting of a global cabal from Davos, Switzerland, intent on abolishing private property and building prison camps for the dissenters who refuse to accept microchips that will read their thoughts. Even Grover from Sesame Street might be involved.
The Great Reset is a hodgepodge of one-world-government fears that has gained steam in the wake of Biden’s win. It’s been fed by right-wing media personalities who have told their audiences that Biden is bent on launching said reset by using the coronavirus pandemic to ban religion, crush small businesses, and turn humans into something like robots—or replace them with actual robots.
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon has declared that the Great Reset is “up in your grill,” while talk radio host Glenn Beck said the Great Reset is a plot to institute Nazi-style restrictions on American citizens. WorldNetDaily has called it a scheme from our “globalist overlords.” Pro-Trump personalities “Diamond and Silk” have warned their audience on Newsmax TV that Biden is behind the Great Reset plot.
“You know Biden said he wants to build back better,” Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway said on Nov. 21 on her show, Diamond and Silk: Crystal Clear. “But no, he doesn’t want to build back better. He wants to take this economy and build back globally. You all, I know you heard about this thing called the Great Reset.”
Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have also promoted the idea that Biden is a key player in a nefarious movement dubbed the Great Reset.
“His handlers, who are basically all old Obama staffers, believe in something called the Great Reset of capitalism,” Ingraham said in a November episode of her show. “It’s a plan to force a more equitable distribution of global resources.”
Despite the apocalyptic predictions of pro-Trump media figures, though, the supposed Great Reset’s actual origins are much more mundane.
In May, the World Economic Forum—a non-governmental group that hosts the annual Davos conference—announced a series of events and articles called the Great Reset centered on the idea of reducing inequality in the aftermath of the pandemic. The series, summed up in a book of the same name from WEF chief Klaus Schwab, is made up of the same kind of vague, feel-good talk aimed at the world’s wealthy that amounts to thought leadership at Davos. The WEF’s Great Reset website is filled with buzzwords like “sustainability,” “upscaling,” and “stakeholder capitalism,” but few concrete plans—and certainly nothing like the world-destroying plot described in pro-Trump media.
The WEF didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Intrigued by the conspiracy theories, Spectator writer Ben Sixsmith reviewed Schwab’s Great Reset book and noted a number of differences between it and the Communist Manifesto. For one thing, Sixsmith wrote, the Communist Manifesto is actually interesting. Sixsmith noted that the WEF is supported by massive corporations like Apple and Pfizer, suggesting that Schwab and his group are hardly communist radicals.
Still, right-wing media figures seized on Schwab’s “Great Reset” series this summer, seeing it as proof that coronavirus restrictions were in fact meant to destroy the world economy and make way for a much more sinister restructuring of governments, societies, and economies across the world. More speculation about the Great Reset has been fueled by a resurfaced picture of Schwab receiving an honorary degree in Lithuanian academic robes that, to some, appears sinister.
“Klaus Schwab is Not a Member of the Church of Satan,” one blogger debunking the conspiracy theories wrote.
The Great Reset conspiracy theory has come to encompass a huge number of hoaxes and smaller conspiracy theories surrounding the pandemic, often centering on fears of billionaire Bill Gates and a COVID-19 vaccine.
The closest the Great Reset conspiracy theorists have to an agreed-upon text comes from Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has a history of sending pro-Trump open letters that are picked up on right-wing blogs. In a late October letter to Trump that Carlson later promoted on his Fox show, Viganò alleged that the Great Reset was a cover for a scheme built by Bill Gates centered on the “renunciation of private property and adherence to a program of vaccination against Covid-19.”
In this theory, Viganò claimed, people who refused a global digital ID from a “health dictatorship” would be imprisoned in detention camps and lose their property.
“A global plan called the Great Reset is underway,” Viganò wrote in his letter. “Its architect is a global elite that wants to subdue all of humanity, imposing coercive measures with which to drastically limit individual freedoms and those of entire populations.”
After making inroads on the right this summer, the Great Reset trended on Twitter this month after a resurfaced September video of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau using the word “reset” in a speech about the pandemic went viral. A conservative Canadian parliamentarian earned tens of thousands of signatures on a petition denouncing the Great Reset. Since then, the Great Reset conspiracy has continued to thrive on social media, with a November video of conservative pundit Ben Shapiro talking about it pulling in more than 300,000 views on Facebook, according to analytics tool CrowdTangle.
The Great Reset theory has also been embraced on fringe right-wing networks like Newsmax and One America News.
“Now we have this push for what’s being called the Great Reset,” Newsmax host Michelle Malkin said on a Nov. 21 show. “And every aspect of the way that we live our lives, how we worship, whether we’re allowed to, how we’re raising our kids, how they’re allowed to access education, is being transformed based on nothing that is actually supported by real science.”
In its focus on a foreign cabal instituting a nefarious liberal agenda, the Great Reset conspiracy theory appears to echo the infamous Obama-era conspiracy theory that the United Nations would impose a sinister plot called “Agenda 21,” with many of the same tropes but a new focus on vaccine fear-mongering for the pandemic era.
Now Great Reset conspiracy promoters have claimed that Biden’s “Build Back Better” slogan is in fact a front for the Great Reset. Reporter Lara Logan, who hosts a show on Fox’s digital channel, posted an article on Twitter claiming that Build Back Better is a cover for “smashing everything to pieces.” On his show, Beck claimed that Build Back Better was “part now of the Great Reset.”
In reality, Biden’s Build Back Better plan centers on rebuilding the economy after the coronavirus and addressing issues like failing infrastructure and racial equality. But for Great Reset fearmongers, the plan is just a cover for international figures like Schwab.
The conspiracy theorists have even claimed that Sesame Street puppets are in on the scheme. Breitbart columnist James Delingpole, a major promoter of the Great Reset conspiracy theory, fumed that puppets Grover and Elmo recorded videos promoting vaccines and urging children to follow pandemic precautions, while Grover appeared on a WEF podcast about the virus.
“Some of us are old enough to remember an era when this kind of blatant propaganda came only from countries behind the Iron Curtain,” Delingpole wrote of the puppet’s podcast interview.