Sixty-two Republican candidates this year have signaled their support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. Twelve of them have won primaries. This is not good.
QAnon, as you may know, is the completely irrational conspiracy theory that a)Trump’s opponents are a vast web of Satan-worshipping pedophiles and murderers; and b)all these apparent investigations into Trump’s corruption are a brilliant cover story to hide the real investigation Trump has organized which will culminate in the mass arrest of all his opponents and the triumph of Real Americans, glory Hallelujah! While most conspiracy theories are irrational, this one is particularly so: it’s not based on anything. No victims have come forward. No-one has provided any sort of evidence. Every Q prediction has failed (the mass arrests should have begun a copule of years ago). But the belief seems to be growing stronger. And weirder.
Part of the appeal may be that at this point QAnon can fit many equally crackpot theories. This Sovereign Citizens radical thinks QAnon confirms her belief about the illegitimate federal government so she can kidnap her kids. Another believer is also an anti-vaxxer whose beliefs led to her daughter dying from contracting the Trump Virus at a church COVID-19 infection party. The Operation Rescue forced-birth group has embraced nonexistent QAnon messages that Trump is going to destroy Planned Parenthood.
And part of it, as Fred Clark says, is that they hope it’s real.
Is there really a “global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles” secretly pulling the levers that control government, media, art, entertainment, and business all around the world? Maybe, maybe not. But Lauren Boebert says she hopes there is.
This doesn’t seem like anything that anyone should hope to be real. Even the apparent true believers like Greene, Perkins, and Vandersteel who claim to think that it is real ought to be wishing it weren’t so. There ought to be some measure of “alas, would that it were not true” about their purportedly devout belief in this evil conspiracy. But there’s never even a whiff of such sadness or lamentation in their enthusiasm for this conspiracy. The overwhelming sense one gets from them, rather, is that they are thrilled and excited at the prospect of it. They desperately, cheerfully “hope that it is real.”
If it’s not real, after all, then where will the true believers find anything else so exciting to provide meaning for their lives? If there isn’t a massive secret global network of Satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles, then what’s even the point of anything? They hope that it is real. They want it to be real. They desperately need it to be real.
As Clark says, it’s a way to give meaning to their lives. They matter, because they live in a world with an evil comparable to Hydra, and they’re the Agents of SHIELD! Of course they don’t actually seem to do much to fight Hydra or save the victims of the evil Satanist pedophile cabal, though ironically that’s a good thing. All they have to do is vote Republican and feel superior to their evil, evil non-Republican adversaries.
In Trump we’ve already seen what happens when you get a president who defines reality by the Fox News worldview (that’s hardly the sole cause of his problems, but it’s a factor). God knows what a decade or so of QAnon will produce.