Emerging from the fever swamps of 4Chan and YouTube in November 2017, the QAnon conspiracy theory community has spread rapidly from the lunatic fringe to the lunatic mainstream. Some commentators suggest it has all the hallmarks of a secular political cult.
It promises ultimate salvation to its followers – the creation of a utopia of human togetherness, peace and love, brought about through a brutal military crackdown against the “Deep State.” And although it may seem like a sideshow, the Q phenomenon might tell us more about political life than most commentators recognize.
QAnon is a sprawling, shifting conspiracy theory that began life as an ultra-fringe concoction in the online message boards beloved of the alt-right but is now present in more mainstream platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Reddit.
It is anchored in the baseless assertion that the all-seeing, all-powerful President Trump deliberately manipulated the Mueller investigation to target top Democratic politicians and Hollywood stars for their alleged involvement with pedophile rings, the “Deep State” and pharmaceutical companies aimed at enslaving the American people.
Followers believe that “Q,” the alleged deep-throat highly-placed national security source, gradually reveals the extent of the conspiracy that is confirmed by a bizarre parsing of the president’s own words.
Q believers assign to their apocalyptic worldview the term “the Great Awakening,” a clear invocation of the history of religious messianism in the U.S. Like any good conspiracy theory, they blame crime and poverty on “the criminals,” alternately known as the “Deep State” and the “cabal.” No surprise that there’s a strong vein of anti-Semitism in the QAnon world. While humanity is in its natural state peaceful and communitarian, the invidious “cabal” preys on our moral failings, using our differences to tear us apart.
Standing against the “cabal” is Donald Trump, who is using the National Security Agency and the U.S. military to wage a clandestine war against the “globalists” and restore Reaganite family values to America. According to one Q video on YouTube, this campaign manifests a “covert war of biblical proportions, literally a fight for earth, of good versus evil.” [Continue reading…]