My Analysis of the Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory
What is QAnon?
If nothing else throughout my research of this topic, I have finally found a group of people who gets under my skin faster than a flat earther. Since it’s inception in 2017, QAnon has become a conglomerate of extreme right-wing conspiracy theories based around the idea that Donald Trump is single-handedly trying to dismantle a corrupt Democratic cabal that operates in what is known as the “Deep State”. The best part? It was all started on the super reputable anonymous image board called 4chan by a user who was, you guessed it, completely anonymous.
The genesis of the QAnon movement lies in a series of posts on 4chan by a user who referred to themselves as Q Clearance Patriot, a term that refers to a certain level of security clearance in the United States Department of Energy which is designated as “critical sensitive”. Over time, QAnon moved from 4chan on to 8chan and then finally to 8kun. The first post by “Q” followed less than a month after a dinner held by President Trump for military leaders and their spouses. At the behest of the President, reporters showed up to the dinner and captured what would eventually become a trademark phrase for the QAnon movement. As Trump gestured to his guests — which some would later claim was actually Trump drawing a “Q” in the air — he stated, “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.” Despite several follow up questions from reporters, Trump and his then-press secretary refused to elaborate on what “storm” he had been referring to. They insisted that they didn’t want to lay out his game plan for their enemies.
So, what exactly was The Storm according to QAnon? The Storm would be a purge of cabal members, Democratic leaders who participate in horrific Satanic rituals involving children and are bound and determined to plunge us into a New World Order wherein they have complete control of the masses. Following Trump’s remarks, Q posted their first message regarding the alleged extradition of Hillary Clinton: “HRC extradition already in motion effective yesterday with several countries in case of cross border run. Passport approved to be flagged effective 10/30 @ 12:01am. Expect massive riots organized in defiance and others fleeing the US to occur. US M’s will conduct the operation while NG activated. Proof check: Locate a NG member and ask if activated for duty 10/30 across most major cities.” And thus, a dangerous movement in the world of extreme conservatism was born.
Which Conspiracy Theories Does QAnon Peddle?
QAnon is in the business of conspiracy theories spewed as absolute fact, despite little to no evidence. Among the most popular of the conspiracy theories supported by QAnon are:
- Pizzagate. A conspiracy theory that went viral in 2016 when Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails were hacked. One of the exposed emails was between Podesta and James Alefantis, the owner of Comet Ping Pong pizza shop in Washington, D.C. In the emails, Podesta and Alefantis discussed hosting a Satanic ritual in the basement of the pizza shop where a blood sacrifice would be made to ensure Hillary’s success…just kidding. Podesta was inquiring about the use of the pizza shop for a fundraising campaign, and the building doesn’t have a basement. Given that Podesta’s brother, like many other D.C. locals, was a frequent visitor of the restaurant, this was no surprise. After the emails between Podesta and Alefantis were released, far-right conspiracy theorists took them and ran. The #pizzagate conspiracy theory took social media by storm, a conspiracy theory which purported a child-trafficking ring located in the nonexistent basement of Comet’s Ping Pong. Threats, including death threats, came pouring in on Alefantis and his employees. Photos of customers’ children were taken and used illegally in fake news articles to promote the conspiracy theory. That’s right. In an effort to expose Democratic elite exploiting innocent children, members of the far right exploited innocent children. Pizzagate eventually culminated into real violence on December 4th, 2016 when 28-year-old Edgar Welch stormed into Comet’s wielding an assault rifle at an employee, which he fired into the establishment. Luckily the only injury sustained was to Edgar’s ego, when he swung open a door that he was sure would lead to a basement filled with kidnapped children but found nothing but a storage closet. This incident would later be deemed a “false flag” operation by Trump proponent Michael Flynn, Jr. who claimed the incident could now be leveraged to push by the Left for censorship of independent media.
- Sandy Hook Trutherism. This messed up conspiracy theory was conjured up by none other than Alex Jones. On his radio show, Jones claimed that the children who were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting on December 14th, 2012 were actually still alive. Jones claimed that they were all actors in a drama that was organized to take away America’s guns. This twisted conspiracy theory would eventually land Jones in a legal mess of his own creation after parents of the victims filed a defamation lawsuit against him in April of 2018. In January of 2021, Jones’ request to have the defamation suits thrown out was rejected by the Texas Supreme Court. Jones’ InfoWars show and website have been sources of misinformation since the early 2010s, years before the emergence of QAnon, but that hasn’t stopped QAnon from continuing the misinformation and conspiracy theories spun by Jones all these years later. In 2020, a GOP Congressional candidate, Lauren Boebert, openly supported QAnon and attended a fundraising event held by long-time GOP donor Tom Ready who had publicly touted his belief that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax in 2014. Ready claimed that there was “still a question about whether it really happened” when questioned about an article he shared to his Facebook that pushed the conspiracy theory about the shooting. In trying to prove that a tragic event was nothing but a false flag operation to further gun control efforts by Democrats, QAnon used a tragic event to their advantage to further their agenda of Second Amendment threats and instead proved themselves no better than the “elite” that they are claiming to fight against.
- John F. Kennedy, Jr. is “Q”. Yes, the same JFK, Jr. who was killed in a plane crash in 1999. But as far as QAnon is concerned, this is a lie that has been perpetuated by the fake news media. It was actually believed by the most fervent of QAnon supporters that JFK, Jr. would emerge from his 20-year hiatus in 2019 as Donald Trump’s running mate which — checks notes — definitely did not happen. The running theory is that JFK, Jr. is living in Pittsburgh under the alias Vincent Fusca. In July of 2019, there were tutorials circulating in QAnon’s universe via online forums and YouTube on how to create your own JFK, Jr. mask to be worn at Trump’s 2019 Fourth of July rally, where they believed JFK, Jr. would reveal himself finally. The purpose of the masks was so that QAnon members would be able to easily identify each other at the monumental event. The masks featured a print of JFK, Jr.’s face sporting a photoshopped MAGA hat…real classy. This theory made it’s debut on 8chan by a user named “R” after the notorious Q had gone silent for some time. In true QAnon fashion, R dropped hints here and there which would supposedly lead to the “truth” about JFK, Jr. In 2018, conspiracy theorist Liz Crokin stated in an interview with vlogger Jenny Moonstone, “The way that Q talks about JFK Sr. in the posts, it is with such love and passion, it makes me think that it is someone that is close to him…If JFK Jr. faked his death and was alive, it would make sense that he was Q.” To top it off, a quote began circulating the QAnon forums that supposedly came from JFK, Jr. himself just one month before his death which stated, “If my dear friend Donald Trump ever decided to sacrifice his fabulous billionaire lifestyle to become president he would be an unstoppable force for ultimate justice that Democrats and Republicans alike would celebrate.” However, it was later determined that no such quote was ever published by JFK, Jr., and it had been made up purely to add credibility to the conspiracy theory. This is just one more testament to how easily false information is spread throughout the QAnon ranks.
Why Does Any of This Matter?
At first glance, it may be easy to write QAnon off as nothing more than a conspiracy theory conjured up by a congregation of alt right internet trolls. But over the years, it’s become clear that QAnon has the influence to incite real violence in the real world, and to spread misinformation and speculative rumors like wildfire that can really damage innocent people. The innocent bystanders in the line of fire at Comet’s Ping Pong, the parents of children who were killed in cold-blood at Sandy Hook, and now even our great Capitol and those who fought to defend it from violent rioters. Is it not frightening to you that one vague statement made by our Sworn Protector — “the calm before the storm” — would culminate four years later into a violent assault on our Capitol, deemed “The Storm”, that would result in the deaths of five people? It’s frightening to me.
I have found, in all my research, great depths of hypocrisy. In their attempt to incite a “Great Awakening” wherein the crimes of the Democratic elite would be exposed to the world, QAnon has displayed unbecoming behavior, with the exploitation of children, both alive and deceased, at the top of the list. What’s most disturbing is how the QAnon conspiracy theory as a whole has gripped the minds of hundreds of thousands of supporters with this hypocrisy going unchecked. Even worse, the lack of any kind of evidence, outside of pure speculation, has also gone completely unchecked. QAnon is the epitome of privilege; the privilege to ignore facts and morals because they have deemed it necessary. That is their right, but it does not make them right. My heart breaks in empathy for these people, who were allowed and encouraged to continue this behavior by a President who was supposed to do right by them and guide them, all of us, because he seemed to enjoy the drama of it all. He allowed them to believe that all of the division in our country, all of the hatred, has been solely concocted by a Democratic elite in the name of a New World Order when the truth of the matter is that the division we face today is a direct result of the crimes and poor judgment of our ancestors who allowed systemic racism, among other things, to permeate our society and our systems. QAnon created an out for privileged individuals who don’t want to accept the reality of what got us where we are today.
None of this is to say that Democratic elites, just like Republican elites, are not stained by crimes that we may never know about. I think about MK Ultra, a conspiracy by our own government that tested inhumane mind control techniques on unwitting citizens, and how easy it is for crimes to be committed right under our noses. This isn’t to say that facts should be ignored, such as Donald Trump and Bill Clinton having personal relationship with known-pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. But QAnon isn’t fueled by facts, QAnon is fueled by speculation and fake news. Perhaps the problem is that these people stopped asking themselves the really challenging questions that would continually challenge their beliefs. Perhaps there is a New World Order underway, but maybe there isn’t? We’ll never know the truth if we stop challenging what we think we know, taking a step back every now and then to view our stance objectively.