Right-wing crackpots and QAnon believers are at it again. This time their conspiracy theory centers on something more random than ever—lumber.
So-called "Lumber Truthers" have been going viral lately with accusations the lumber shortage being experienced in the U.S. is the result of artificial market manipulation, on the basis several right-wingers have seen large supplies of lumber sitting idle in train yards.
So a whole new conspiracy theory says Democratic President Joe Biden is creating a lumber price surge.
The story is proliferated by people like the owner of the Ken's Karpentry YouTube page in videos like the one below.
Prices for lumber have tripled in recent months as pandemic-related production slowdowns collide with surging demand for new housing and home improvement projects.
It's a pretty simple supply-and-demand equation. But for the conspiracy-inclined, the sight of lumber supplies sitting in rail yards awaiting delivery spells a sinister scheme to crush access to the American Dream.
The theory has resulted in far-right Republicans and QAnon devotees staking out rail yards and other supply chain modes of transportation to film stacks of lumber as "proof" of chicanery, much like the "Film Your Hospital" movement sought to prove the pandemic was being faked last year.
As the man in the Ken's Karpentry video put it:
"I'm just astounded at how much lumber is here, and I'm wondering why there's such a problem at the lumber yard. We're still seeing the prices increase at the lumber yards, so I'm not sure why."
But other voices, like a poster on a hugely popular QAnon forum, have been more bluntly alarmist:
"There are a LOT of these type vids showing the BS narrative of Lumber shortages. Nothing short of market manipulation to drive up prices, most notably homes. Why Homes? Part of the American dream is to buy a house."
And others blamed the shortage on a diabolical plan by President Biden himself, as a narrator of another video about the conspiracy claimed:
"So Joe Biden says there's a shortage of lumber, and that's why the price at Home Depot is so high on 2x4's and such?"
If none of this makes any sense to you, you're not alone.
People on social media have doubts.
In addition to simple market—and pandemic—related forces, the supply of available wood has also been curtailed by bark beetle infestations and wildfires, especially in Canada, the largest exporter of lumber to the United States.
Maybe Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on in this conspiracy too.