Qanon — The Danger of People Who Will Believe Anything

by | May 27, 2021 | Money and Politics

Young man is wearing aluminum cap, conspiracy theory concept. Credit: iStockphoto

Qanon — The Danger of People Who Will Believe Anything

by | May 27, 2021 | Money and Politics

Young man is wearing aluminum cap, conspiracy theory concept. Credit: iStockphoto
Sure, the followers of Qanon in any of its forms are suckers. But these suckers are sometimes only too happy to be the canon fodder of those who see them as easy marks.

You’ve probably heard the pitch. There’s an evil conspiracy of Satan worshiping, baby-blood drinking, basement dwelling pedophiles that are secretly running all our lives from inside hidden compartments in the heads of lizard people. Maybe you’ve heard stuff that is even more outlandish.

To most people who can string the concepts of 2+2 together and get a result in the neighborhood of 4, none of this stuff is worth the air or pixels expended on it. The real problem isn’t normal thinking people. It is the 20 percent or more that actually believe this crap.

A study published today by PRRI puts this in a more sobering perspective.

The far-right conspiracy theory movement known as QAnon emerged on the internet in late 2017 and gained traction throughout former president Donald Trump’s time in office. QAnon’s core theory revolves around Satan-worshipping pedophiles plotting against Trump and a coming “storm” that would clear out those evil forces, but the movement has also been described as a “big tent conspiracy theory” that involves a constantly evolving web of schemes about politicians, celebrities, bankers, and the media, as well as echoes of older movements within Christianity, such as Gnosticism.

PRRI breaks their research into the political, religious and media components. Unsurprising is the data that more Republicans actually believe these conspiracy theories, 23 percent. The religious breakdown is interesting:

With the exceptions of white evangelical Protestants (24%) and Mormons (24%), less than one in five members of all other religious groups agree with this idea, including white mainline Protestants (18%), other Protestants of color (17%), Hispanic Catholics (17%), white Catholics (16%), other Christians (15%), Black Protestants (12%), Hispanic Protestants (12%), religiously unaffiliated Americans (12%), and members of other non-Christian religions (11%). Jewish Americans (6%) are the least likely to agree that true American patriots may have to resort to violence.

The media outlet breakdown takes on an important dynamic.

Nearly half of Americans who trust far-right news (48%) and one-third who trust Fox News (34%) agree with the statement that “There is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders.” About one in five who do not watch television news (22%), those who report trusting local news most (18%), and those who report trusting CNN most (17%) agree with this theory. Fewer Americans who trust MSNBC (14%), broadcast news (12%) or public television (11%) agree.

Around four in ten Americans who most trust far-right news sources (42%) and around one in four who most trust Fox News (27%) agree that “Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” Less than one in five Americans who do not watch television news (19%) or who trust local news (16%) agree, and less than one in ten who trust CNN (9%), broadcast news (8%), public television (7%), or MSNBC (7%) agree.

We have already seen too many instances of violence generated by the proliferation of Qanonsense through various media outlets, ranging from the Pizzagate incident (involving a moron who was convinced by right wing media that children were being held by Hilary Clinton associated pedophiles in the basement of a pizza parlor—that had no basement.) All the way up to the January 6th Insurrection (a tourist visit with body armor, weapons and a gallows) at the Capitol.

Just in same way that the fabricated “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was used as a pretext for violence against and the attempted extermination of Jews, Qanon seeks to recreate this violence against the perceived “elites.” Both the former and the latter are targeted toward radicalizing people with marginalized on nonexistent analytical skills.

Sure, the followers of Qanon in any of its forms are suckers. But these suckers are sometimes only too happy to be the canon fodder of those who see them as easy marks. A tiny few woke up after invading the Capitol on January 6th and realized they’d been conned. Most have just doubled down, convinced of the rightness of their adherence to abject stupidity. It is both sad and illuminating that various members of the Republican Party pander to this demographic.

The real question is how do we balance the First Amendment’s right to free speech with speech that is clearly designed to incite violence through lies. The key word is balance. We actually need to restore balance to our media channels by renewing their covenant to act in the public service.

Until the Reagan era, we had a requirement for fairness and even-handedness in the media. This was obliterated with the removal of the Fairness Clause by the FCC. Restoring a version of this is vital—it is now a more difficult situation since that little thing called the internet popped up in the meantime. But this problem needs to be confronted.

Just as shouting “fire” in a crowded theater is not protected speech under the First Amendment, the screeds of Qanon adherents should be similarly regarded as beyond the pale.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Jun 27 2022

40 Ways the GOP Has Become a Clear and Present Danger to Our Country

Here is a list of vital things to remember when deciding who and what to vote for in upcoming primaries and on November 8th.
Jun 23 2022

Time to Break Up Monopolies to Prevent Shortages Like Baby Formula

Food experts have warned for years that monopolies make our food supply vulnerable. Now families with babies are paying the price.
Jun 21 2022

Senator Ron Johnson Implicated in Fake Elector Certificates Scandal

Trump and his MAGA allies planned, promoted, and paid for a seditious conspiracy to overturn an election they lost, and Ron Johnson attempted to deliver it to D.C. on a...
Jun 21 2022

Texas GOP Platform Features Anti-Gay Hatred, Trump’s Big Lie and Secession

The Texas GOP platform formalizes the false idea that Joe Biden is illegitimate, hatred of the LGBT+ community, white supremacy, paranoia of immigrants and the idea...
Jun 19 2022

Worried About an Assault Rifle Ban, AR-15 Maker Unveils a Pistol Version

A “perfect” compromise for Second Amendment jihadis, a pistol that has the same firepower as an AR-15. In other words, overkill in a more compact...
Jun 14 2022

Trump Grifted $250 Million from Supporters With the “Big Lie”

The January 6th committee played testimony from Trump campaign officials including Gary Coby, former digital campaign director, admitting that there was no fund devoted...
Jun 13 2022

When Politics Comes to Prime Time: A History of Televised Hearings

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on Capitol held two prime-time televised hearings so far. Dismissed by some as show trials, these hearings may...
Jun 13 2022

Mass Shootings: The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban Worked — The Numbers Since Then Tell the Story

President Biden’s claim that the rate of mass shootings during the period of the assault weapons ban “went down” only for it to rise again after the law was allowed to...
Jun 11 2022

Ginni Thomas Is an Insurrectionist. So What’s the Deal With Clarence?

The big question is why would anyone listen to Ginni Thomas or give her the time of day. Oh, yeah. She’s married to Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence...
Jun 09 2022

The Party of “Election Integrity” Apparently Engaged in Wholesale Fraud in the Michigan Governor Race

Factoring in thousands of fraudulent signatures, five Michigan Republicans fell short of the necessary 15,000 signatures required to qualify to run for the office of...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This