Opinionista Branko Brkic 26 September 2020

QAnon is an IQ test – and a sanity check

There are zero reasons to make our already difficult situation even worse. Enter QAnon.

First Published in Daily Maverick 168

In 2013, freshly re-elected US President Barack Obama took time to warn us about the emerging global threat, that of global inequality, which he called the “defining challenge of our time”. His analysis was careful and precise; he warned the world to slow down on making billions of people around the world poorer by the hour, or else.

That “else” is now happening, right in front of our eyes.

To many watching Obama, his speech was an intellectual exercise rather than lived reality. He was not seen and heard that December night by the ones who were losing a fixed game, the impoverished masses of forgotten people for whom the march to wealth was a fantasy. Things have only gone down since then. Billions only survive; some plumb the depths of desperation. Millions are hungry. Millions more are angry.

The world’s poor and forgotten have responded to what they perceived as liberal democracies’ betrayal by (sometimes) voting into power a planetary generation of the most depraved populists since the 1930s. The world is not a happy place. Many want it to burn. And in this global hellscape that can explode at any moment, we have to deal with the rise of the conspiracy theory to incorporate and end all conspiracy theories: QAnon.

You’ve heard about QAnon followers’ extreme right-wing positions. That they claim, among other insane things, that the world is run by a cabal of paedophiles (Clintons, the pope, the Bushes), that Donald Trump is fighting the global war against those “paedophiles” and their “human trafficking syndicates”. (That the former friend of Jeffrey Epstein and the owner of Miss Teen America who would casually walk into the teenage girls’ dressing rooms for ‘quality inspection’ would be the world’s top fighter against paedophilia must be one of the most supreme acts of irony perpetrated on poor conspiracy theorists’ minds.)

You could have learnt that Hollywood elites were engaging in “adrenochrome harvesting” out of the trafficked children’s blood to stay… forever young? Which is a 21st-century version of the old anti-Semitic conspiracy of “blood-libel”.

In the US, there are now at least 70 QAnon adherents among the Republican candidates in the 2020 election, including the future congresswoman from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Alarmingly, QAnon conspiracy theories are not limited to the US; they have now neatly merged with the “Lerato Pillay” (aka Sifiso Gwala) xenophobic campaign, morphing into “all foreigners, especially Nigerians, are human traffickers and paedophiles” screams on social media for the last few weeks.

QAnon followers appear to be in early metastasis in South Africa. Some might not know they are in a Nazi cult by another name. If you are outside of QAnon, you are a paedophile and traitor who supports human trafficking. The same way tens of thousands of ‘Lerato Pillay’ followers have become unwitting nodes in a proto-xenophobic network, many QAnon followers will move towards that day when their world of reason will end. The sacred sentences and hashtags, like #WWG1WGA and Calm Before Storm, will become the rhythm of their lives.

QAnon’s apocalyptic visions and insanity will help no one. One cannot be a decent, intelligent human being and believe such transparent, amateurishly put-together bullshit.

So I want to talk directly to those tempted to sign up as QAnon followers:

QAnon is the most basic of IQ tests, which you fail when you believe in such transparently laughable idiocy. You might want to seek professional help.

And if QAnon is your bandwagon on a cynical journey to burn a civilisation that took millennia to build, you might ask yourself: how is your life going to be better if everything around you is burnt to the ground?

Maybe the march of inequality left you behind, as Obama predicted, and you have every right to be angry. But burning everything will, well, burn everything.

Do they serve Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets in Chernobyl?

If the response is that you can still enjoy your buckets of chicken in Hell, please refer to the previous paragraph and seek help. But trust me, your life is not going to be better in any way.

Quite the opposite. DM168

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  • “And if QAnon is your bandwagon on a cynical journey to burn a civilisation that took millennia to build, you might ask yourself: how is your life going to be better if everything around you is burnt to the ground?”
    “And if ANTIFA is your bandwagon on a cynical journey to burn a civilisation that took millennia to build, you might ask yourself: how is your life going to be better if everything around you is burnt to the ground?”

    In my opinion this is the troubling reality.

  • There is no doubt that the crazies are out there! However, a large section of the population has lost faith in the politicians, crooked business leaders, and will grab at any ideology that promises a return to their perceived normal. Conspiracies abound and are attractive for the lost souls. Careful consideration and analysis of all their contentions needs to be done in order not to guilty of the same low IQ assumptions that you espouse.

  • You seem to have conflated a number of issues together. If I were cynical, I would say this is an attempt to smear.
    Q Anon=far right extremists=trump supporters=violent riots/’protesters’…(no Antifa?)=Lerato/zenophobia= human trafficking=pedophilia……just label it all stupid and/or crazy. So, did you do that on purpose or is your intelligence questionable too? This article is itself more evidence of the polarization that is quite palpable across the globe. It would be nice, if not foolish to imagine there is any news outlet out there that at least attempts to Defend Truth as objectively as is possible. The popularity of Q is in part a result of the lack of trust developing against the mainstream media outlets. The truth these days seems extremely partisan. DM is no exception. It is a lazy argument to merely insult and belittle those with whom you disagree with by questioning their sanity and intelligence. “Come on man!”(to quote Biden)
    I’m no journalist but ask yourself why one ends up on the Biden election campaign page when one goes to the link http://www.antifa.com. If the Democrats in the US did not initiate this, then why do they not challenge it?…if you are concerned about the ‘global hellscape’. If you are so concerned about another 4 years of Trump, it will pass. If you believe it won’t, then you may need a tin foil hat of your own.

    • You actually believe that the US Democratic Party is aligned with one of Trump’s boogeymen, “Antifa”. You see no link between Trump’s years-long slander campaign against the professional media and the FACT that these media can and will report the facts about Trump. You consider that Qanon cultists are well-meaning, intelligent people. “Good people on both sides,” as the Q-president said. No danger here. Defend Truth as objectively as possible, such as the world being run by Satanic paedophiles. Enough said.

      • Where then do the hundreds of thousands of children vanish to every year across the planet with minimal capture & prosecution, it would appear to be an industry supported by those in authority? Supporting censorship of opposing opinions and believing the mainstream media and social media viewpoint that actively censors opposing views will very likely limit your viewpoint and understanding.

        • Sorry Mike, this makes for first-class cult fodder. You make an outrageous statement — “hundreds of thousands of children vanish every year” — with no verification or basis. Yet you have the temerity to demand to be told where they go. Then, without looking for an answer, you conclude that your imagined child-theft “industry” is supported by the (democratically elected) authorities. Et Voila! The QAnon conspiracy is true. Proven by the absence of an answer to a fake question.

      • I merely pointed to a website with the word ‘Antifa’ in it that links to the Biden Campaign – I have no idea who is behind it – how does that translate into a belief that they are aligned? It is merely odd. If you click on it, you get the Biden campaign. An explanation of this would be welcomed. The media should look into it. I did not discuss whether ‘Qanon cultists’ were well-meaning, or intelligent – they are not All intelligent and well meaning or All stupid and malicious, just as the other side cannot all be lumped All together as one homogeneous mass either.
        This article is hoping to scare people by the association of many diverse issues into one which is manipulative. Its not the media’s job to pick sides and smear that which it dislikes. There has been violence on both sides. Why throw one’s principles out the window because the facts don’t fit the narrative? The existence of Trump as president is a reflection of the state of politics in the US. No-one wants to look into that mirror. Outrage seems far more preferable. Polarization will not help this precarious situation go away. This article is fueling it. ‘Do you want to be right or do you want to solve the problem’. This is what I ask myself.

        • Gerry, I agree with you fully. I am no Trump supporter, but I support DM, because I feel that it is one of the few impartial outposts in the world of media. I can add to your observations about this article that the facts about inequality is also incorrect. Steven Pinker, one of the great psychologists in modern history has written extensively about the decline in global income inequality. (RSA being one of the few exceptions, if not the only.)

          Just look at the insidious image used in today’s email to promote this article. A hodgepodge collage of Trump’s facial features… a typical ad hominem attack on his character, instead of using facts to present an unbiased point of view.

          If DM was an American media company, it would be so obvious that they support the Democrats and play the same political game as everyone else.

          This is not why I make a monthly contribution to DM. We want DM to seek out truth, not play politics, in the same way that Kevin Bloom and Pauli van Wyk seek out and present the truth as unbiased as possible.

          Branko, you (should) know better.

  • Some of the Q content is questionable to say the least, but to throw everything they stand for out of the window is just as unintelligent in my view. There is truth and BS on both sides. Complaints against Weinstein and Epstein were also seen as ‘smeer’ campaigns originally but when the bare truth about these people were brought to light, the facts were far more shocking than the conspiracy/rumours. People need to keep a level-headed open mind these days, especially when it comes to much of the main stream news media garbage that is clearly engineered on a global level.

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