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QAnon is an IQ test – and a sanity check

There’s 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 burned 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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