Evil elites, child murders, satan worshipping and magical life-lengthening methods have always been present in conspiracies. As early as the middle ages people have believed in blood libel, a conspiracy that accused Jews of murdering non-Jewish children in order to use their blood for religious rituals.
Recently the QAnon conspiracy is gaining popularity, partly because of the involvement of its followers in the attack on the capitol. What are the contemporary faces of those centuries-old conspiracies?
What is QAnon?
QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory. Its followers believe that “the elites”, which most often means the media, the government or the rich, run the world. Sounds familiar and not shocking at all. However, QAnon’s most important belief is that those elites engage in pedophilia, human trafficking and abuse of children to extract adrenochrome from their blood.
Adrenochrome is a real chemical compound that the QAnon claims extends the life of the person that consumes or injects it. Supposed members of the cabal are for example George Soros and Hillary Clinton, who the QAnon claims has been caught on tape ripping a child’s face and drinking its blood while wearing it as a mask.
The QAnon was started in 2017 on a website called 4chan by an anonymous user identifying as “Q”. “Q” claimed to have Q access authorization, which is a level of security approval in the United States Department of Energy. This would give them access to top secret restricted data as well as national security information.
His messages are never straight-forward and contain riddles the readers must solve in order to gain access to the information. QAnon started as one of the every-day harmless internet conspiracies but on 6.01.2021 it has lead to serious real-life consequences – many of the terrorists taking part in the attack on capitol were QAnon believers.
How is Trump connected to the conspiracy?
Donald Trump, the 45th president of the USA, is seen as the messiah by the QAnon. The believers of the conspiracy think that Trump knows about the elite’s evil acts and wants to end them and arrest people who have taken part in them. The day Trump will expose the members of the cabal is known as “the storm”. For the QAnon, Trump’s impeachment and the win of Joe Biden is just a way of stopping Trump’s secret war against the evil elites.
Sadly, Trump has never denounced the conspiracy. When asked about the QAnon during an interview, he has stated that he does not know much about it, other than its followers like him very much. After being asked about the idea that he is the messiah saving the world from a child’s blood – hungry cabal, he has stated that “If I can help save the world from problems I’m willing to put myself out there and we are actually we’re saving the world from the radical left” which only reassured the QAnon their ideas are right.
The fact that Trump has never condemned the QAnon believers may have contributed to them being present at the attack on the capitol as they believed they were fighting for their savior who himself admitted he is fighting the radical left the conspiracy says is the evil elite.
Why some people believe in conspiracies like the QAnon?
When it comes to QAnon the conspiracy has an alternate reality game feel to it and it creates ways to excite and interest the “player” the same way those games do.
First of all, real – life whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, who really want to expose government secrets do it as fast as they can. There is no reason for all the clues and guessing in real life. However, in games it not only creates a sense of mystery hooking the player to the game but also creates the whole plot – If all answers were just given, there would be no game. This is why Q always uses riddles – he doesn’t have an actual secret to expose and that sense of mystery gets people interested in his conspiracy.
Second of all, Q uses apophenia to make the conspiracy fit its followers views more. Apophenia is the tendency to suppose connections between unrelated things. While it can be a nightmare for creators of normal mystery games – people start perceiving anything as a clue and may go in a completely different direction than intended by the designer, not ever finding the actual clue– apophenia is very helpful in creating QAnons reality.
Mother of all conspiracy theories
Normal games have a pre-created plotline, but here the plot is basically created by the “players” or followers of the conspiracy. Being given only a few clues, they try to make some sense out of them. Usually, the most popular one is just deemed as true and the game continues in that direction. Because of the fact that in reality it’s the “players”, not Q creating the plotline, many other conspiracies are incorporated into QAnon, like the wayfair or anti-vaccine conspiracies.
In consequence, it’s easier to find out about the QAnon – one does not have to look for it directly, researching other conspiracies is enough because QAnon content is already connected to them. Other than that, when one finds that content it’s easier to trust it, because elements of the conspiracy, like vaccine hesitancy, may already be something the reader agrees with.
Moreover, there is a reason for the kind of accusations the QAnon makes. Pedophilia is universally deemed deranged and horrific. Accusing someone of it, even without any proof, makes people immediately disgusted with the suspect. In our society any offense against a child – this innocent, pure creature – is seen as even more disturbing than any offense against an adult.
To pray on human empathy
That being said, the only thing more disturbing than pedophilia may be murder or abuse of a kid. QAnon accuses its targets of all – pedophilia, murder and abuse of children. If anyone disagrees with the accusations, they are automatically seen as protecting the bad guy. And who would want to do that?
For QAnons’ followers the point of the “movement” is not supporting republicans, but protecting children. And who wouldn’t want to do that? It’s very easy to become a follower of that conspiracy because it prays on people’s empathy. In recent years the topics of child abuse and child trafficking have been very popular online. Some of the hashtags that QAnon had spread its propaganda on was #saveourchildren which is an easy way to lead normal people who are against pedophilia, trafficking etc. in the arms of the conspiracy.
Absorbed into QAnon – Pizzagate
The topics the QAnon covers are typical for many conspiracy theories, so much that they sound like different versions of the same story. Nevertheless, there are two that are fairly recent and worth mentioning since they’ve been absorbed into QAnon.
First one is known as the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which has gone viral during the 2016 elections. It started in march 2016 with the e-mail of John Podesta, the campaign manager of Hillary Clinton, being hacked and his private e-mails leaked. In October of the same year a twitter account claimed that while looking through the e-mails the NYPD discovered a pedophilia ring.
The e-mails were supposed to contain code words for pedophilia and human trafficking and the offenders were supposed to be or have ties to the Democratic Party. Moreover, the conspiracy claimed a pizzeria in Washington, D. C., called the “Comet Ping Pong” was a meeting ground for satanic ritual abuse.
Same as the QAnon, this conspiracy soon had offline consequences, ranging from harassing the workers of the restaurant to a shooting on 4.12.2016. The shooter was Edgar Welch, who wanted to self-investigate the theory and become a possible savior of the children. Besides, in a poll conducted by The Economist and YouGov the voters in the 2016 election were asked If they believed that “Leaked e-mails from the Clinton campaign talked about pedophilia and human trafficking – ‘Pizzagate’”. 17% of Clinton and 46% of Trump voters believed the statement to be true.
Despite there being no sufficient evidence to support the claims for the last 4 years, in 2020 the topic of Pizzagate has once again become popular on a social media platform called Tiktok. However, as of January 2021 the hashtag #pizzagate on Tiktok seems to have been banned.
Wayfair conspiracy – product of the QAnon community
The second one is the Wayfair conspiracy theory. Wayfair is an American online furniture and home-goods shop. The conspiracy, which originated in the QAnon community, claims that the company is trafficking children under the disguise of selling furniture. The evidence presented by the people involved in the conspiracy theory is that there is a bunch of incredibly expensive cabinets all listed with girl names on the shop’s website.
Moreover, some of the names of the cabinets match the names of missing children in the US. Wayfair has stated that the furniture is priced high because they are industrial items meant for commercial or business use and that the names were just chosen by an algorithm. The Wayfair conspiracy is still quite new so there is not much more information on it yet.
There will be more conspiracy theories
QAnon, Wayfair, Pizzagate – there will be always new conspiracy theories. There will be always people who believe in them, no matter the evidence that disproves them. The real problem emerges, when they begin to have serious real-life consequences, like the QAnon’s contribution in the attack on capitol or the Pizzagate shooting.
Sadly, there is not much one can do. Conspiracy theories like QAnon claim that all the reality one has always thought to be true is a lie – the police is corrupted and protects the wrong-doers, the government is a satanic, children-murdering cult.
After somebody believes that it starts becoming easier and easier to believe another claim – for example that the corona virus does not exist – and any evidence disproving that is deemed fake and any person arguing against the conspiracy becomes a part of the lying cabal. The most one can do is have a critical approach to all information learned, so they do not become a part of the conspiracy believers.
Aleksandra Jabłkowska, IB1