Listen, QAnon was nuts.
Yet, is believing that at the inauguration, Donald Trump was going to pop out from a trapped door and have everyone executed, really more insane than believing in trannies? Or the Russian hoax? Or the coronavirus hoax? Or the election itself?
Frankly, I don’t think so.
This is an insane society, which presents zero information about what is actually going on in reality. So, it’s going to inevitably lead to people creating their own new realities.
If you find out that everything you’re being told is at odds with reality, and don’t have access to reality, then you’re going to create a new reality of your own.
That isn’t mental illness, and I don’t really think it’s a cult. It’s just cause and effect.
Despite this, the media is now rolling out expert Jews to analyze QAnon as a cult.
Former President Trump’s exit from office marks a new period for QAnon, and a new opportunity for those interested in stifling it.
Many of the conspiracy theory’s followers were disillusioned Wednesday when President Biden was sworn in without incident.
QAnon forums, chat rooms and message boards briefly went into disarray, as influential figures within the community had been pushing the story that Trump would interrupt the inauguration to imprison and execute his political opponents in the “Great Awakening.”
Although the prediction was by no means the first to miss the mark, some QAnon supporters were notably thrown by the news and began questioning whether they have been tricked.
This presents a window to get some members out of the community and reconnect them with their family and friends, according to experts on conspiracy theory groups.
Steven Hassan, an expert on drawing people away from cults, told The Hill that the best way to reach out to people lost to QAnon is to start simple, emphasizing empathy and kindness.
I didn’t recognize the name and thought this was some Moslem from Michigan whose mother gave him a human name so he would get less abuse at school. I thought maybe he was like that “British Moslem” who is rolled out as a “deradicalizer.” As soon as I saw the name, a whole story about how he was seduced into Jihadism and then got out and decided to help others went through my mind.
But no. I looked him up, and now I remember who he is. He’s a Jew who, of course, joined the Moonies (an infamous cult run by a charismatic Korean guy – it’s a long, weird story) in college.
Nice looking guy.
He’s the media’s go-to Jew on cults, in the way the SPLC used to be the go-to on hate (you notice that isn’t happening anymore, after their problems with the anti-black office racism scandal).
In-between “expert analysis” interviews, he runs a for-profit “cult deprogramming” counseling service. He’s been doing this for 40 years. He’s never analyzed Hasidic Judaism (let alone Judaism, broadly) as a cult.
Instead, this Jew does interviews with Jewish newspapers, claiming that BDS is a cult.
He’s also got complaints all over the internet saying that when he signs on to council a former cult member, he drains their bank accounts and gives them horrible counseling that makes their life much worse. Here’s one example, though if you use any search engine other than Google (which has become completely useless, due to the tampering with the results, primarily to protect Jews), you’ll find pages of results on how this guy rips people off and destroys them psychologically.
Just so you understand: that’s where this “expert analysis” is coming from.
“Reach out to family and friends who have been in the Trump world, including QAnon, and start by just saying ‘Hi, how are you, I miss you,’ ” he said. “Try to manage your own reactions so you don’t get triggered and get angry and say hurtful things.”
Quashing the unsubstantiated theory, which posits that Trump is working to expose a shadowy group of Democratic elites that run vast child trafficking rings, will take a lot of effort, experts told The Hill.
And experts warn that the conspiracy theory is unlikely to just disappear. In fact, such theories often have staying power. And in a worrying development, some influencers in the movements had already begun this week to spin Biden’s inauguration into a success.
Many online spaces erupted with posts claiming the inauguration was all part of the plan, with explanations ranging from Biden’s oath being fake to the United States not being a real country anymore.
Well – they’re right about at least one thing.
By the way, did you know that Telegram, which has spent a lot of time in the top 10 zone of the App Store, and is currently sitting at #23, is a “fringe platform”? If at time of writing the #23 app is a “fringe platform,” then what the hell is Twitter, which is sitting at #29? A “dark web gathering place for terrorists and pedophiles”?
QAnon groups on more fringe platforms like Telegram have grown since the inauguration, Rolling Stone reported Friday, raising concerns among extremism researchers that the community is being targeted by more dangerous far-right groups.
QAnon has isolated thousands of Americans. On one subreddit, r/QAnonCasualties, family members have shared hundreds of painful stories about how the conspiracy theory has destroyed their relationships with those who have been sucked into it.
Followers of the conspiracy frequently say it has cost them personal ties and emotional damage.
Experts recommend that those trying to reach out to people who believe in the conspiracy theory stay away from controversial issues, and instead try to focus on things that connect you or that they care about unrelated to QAnon.
“It’s clear that any kind of judgment, sarcasm or insults … is only going to fuel the fire and push them farther away,” Dannagal Young, associate professor of communications at the University of Delaware, told The Hill.
Remaining supporters appear to be leaning more heavily on the anti-democracy and anti-institutional elements of QAnon, especially since the poster after which the theory is named has been relatively quiet since the election.
“I don’t think QAnon has had much to do with the Q drops for quite some time now,” Ethan Zuckerman, director of the MIT Center for Civic Media, told The Hill.
Just roll out all the Jews.
That emphasis could see the QAnon community shifting its focus away from Trump and toward things like coronavirus vaccines, which could pose a roadblock to reaching herd immunity.
It could also make it more likely to stick around, according to Zuckerman.
“Even without Trump at the front of it, even without Q drops, [a] religion based on institutional mistrust has lots of room to run,” he said.
(Just a nitpicky thing here: the journalist didn’t need to bracket the article “a,” because without it, he’s referring to religion as a general concept. Adding the determiner actually changes the meaning of the original sentence, rather than clarifying it. It’s a bizarre mistake to make, almost as if the author of this piece is mentally ill and needs to pay some Jew thousands of dollars for counseling).
Hassan, the cult expert, told The Hill that exposing true believers to people who have successfully exited other conspiracies can be helpful.
Crushing QAnon and reuniting families will likely take more than interpersonal work though.
Sources that amplified themes that QAnon latched onto, like mass vote fraud or the coronavirus pandemic being exaggerated, need to be held accountable, experts told The Hill.
“I think what we’re going to need to see are some real consequences for those platforms or media outlets that give voice to amplify these kinds of claims,” Young said.
Wait – what?
Apparently, “media publishers need to be punished for disagreeing with the establishment media” is just something you can say in the establishment media now? Just in plain, direct language?
Who else should be punished?
The hundreds of Republican officials who challenged Biden’s legitimate election win also represents a problem.
“As long as you have a majority of elected Republicans supporting ‘Stop the Steal,’ you’re legitimating this movement,” Zuckerman said.
The next few weeks could be a crucial time for pulling people out of QAnon as wide swathes of backers remain momentarily skeptical and social media deplatforming has left many adherents disconnected from the community.
“We want to get back as many people as possible as quickly as possible because the information control lines have been cut,” Hassan said.
Are QAnon people kooky?
I think that’s been pretty well established at this point.
Is the solution to accuse them of being a cult, and then claim that the mainstream media has to deprogram them into believing the election was valid and that the coronavirus hasn’t been exaggerated?
Probably not, no.
Saying, “these people believe kooky things, therefore it is a cult” is like saying, “that hat is green, therefore it is made of grass.” All kinds of people believe all kinds of kooky things for all kinds of reasons.
Joining a cult is an anti-social behavior, carried out by someone who has emotional needs to be attached to a group. It’s not really about belief. It’s a social behavior, which meets a social need. In a cult, agreeing to believe something absurd is a group activity designed to isolate the group and bring them closer to each other in their shared isolation. You don’t have to be an expert with 40 years’ experience in deprogramming cult members to know that.
QAnon followers had totally different motivations. There were just in a basic Plato’s Cave type situation.
I can believe that many became obsessed and cut off from their families, and I can agree that this is bad, but the only way you can discuss people who come up with kooky alternate realities is to admit that the reality being presented by the media is entirely at odds with basic facts.
In truth, the QAnon version of reality is closer to actual reality than the media version, albeit misguided.
The biggest problem with QAnon followers is that they were brainwashed as children to believe in the Holocaust, and thus that it was evil to question Jews, and so needed to invent nonsense (just like the media does) in order to fill in the missing spots left when you left out the Jewish behavioral patterns, goals, and capacity for institutional networking.
If many alternative media types weren’t banned, QAnon never would have gained traction, in the right and rational way.