QANON: The Working Man Monkey vs QANON
We’ve all seen #saveourchildren or #savethechildren trending lately, but behind it lurks a foreboding shadow. How did millions of Americans accidentally hop on a cultist agenda? Nobody likes child trafficking, or human trafficking, so how did this seemingly pure and innocent hashtag become right-wing propaganda? In this episode, we discuss QANON and the terrible effect it’s had on our culture.
Notice how this episode doesn’t have the words Conspiracy Drive in front of it like the last one? That’s because although QANON may be a conspiracy theory, the real world effects it’s having on the world isn’t. They’re real, and unfortunately, they’re tearing friends and families apart, getting people killed and justifying murder. By now, most of us have seen #saveourchildren or #savethechildren floating around on social media, and although this hashtag may have started out innocent enough and with good intentions, it’s been over run with right wing propaganda and QANON conspiracy theories. In this episode we take a drive down one hell of a bumpy road and explore what QANON is and how you may have accidentally joined a literal cult cult. It’s gonna be a shit show. Hey man, I fucking hated reading, writing, and listening to shit about QANON. It hurt my brain. It’s so fucking dumb and wild. But before we get into it too much, I do want to say that sex trafficking and child sex trafficking are very real issues that need to be dealt with, but unfortunately a lot of disinformation has been spread by QANON and it’s muddied the waters so much that a large percentage of #saveourchildren posts have been putting information out that there simply has no facts to back it up. So some of you may be wondering, what is QANON? We’ll go into it in depth but before we get into how this is quite literally a cult, I wanted to talk about when I first heard about it. You were the first one to explain it to me. We were in Walmart and I saw someone with a QANON shirt. It said QANON on it and had a globe with like a blue grid wrapped around and I thought it looked cool. I mentioned this to you. Do you remember what you said to me? “QANON is a right-wing conspiracy theory where people believe Trump is playing some sort of 7 dimensional chess and taking down pedophiles in the world’s elite that only he knows about.” You were absolutely shocked that I hadn’t heard about it considering my love for reading and learning about conspiracy theories. And although that is a part of it, there’s quite a bit more to it. QANON is not that simple, it’s an entire umbrella of conspiracies that allege, and I cannot say this enough, falsely, that the world is ran by a group of Satan worshipping pedophiles who are plotting against Donald Trump, since he’s the chosen one in this conspiracy, while running a child-sex trafficking ring. I’ve read multiple times online the label of “big-tent” conspiracy because it is CONSTANTLY changing, evolving, and adding shit into it. One of the bigger parts of QANON claims that top Democrats like Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as Hollywood entertainers like Tom Hanks, Ellen Degeneras, Oprah, and religious figures like Pope Francis literally fucking kill and eat children to somehow extend their life, on top of the whole child trafficking and molesting thing. So how does Donald Trump fit into this? It’s easy, our lord and savior Donald Duck was hand picked by top military generals for the 2016 election to break up those evil pesty Satanic Democrats and elites from controlling our government and eating our children, of course! The man who had connections with several known pedophiles, has been accused of rape and sexual assault, and has several accusations of pedophilia himself! One even with Jeffrey Epstein. OH! Supposedly he even knew about this for 30 years but did absolutely nothing to stop it, but he’s a great guy because it’s just not the right time! Oh, even better! The US government has cut back funding on fighting sex trafficking by fucking 80%. How does QANON explain this? Here I quote, “necessary disinformation.” That’s right! Nothing is true, but everything is true! Isn’t that great? So how did all of this start? Although it kind of started with Pizzagate, it officially started in 2017 a post appeared on 4Chan. Yes, 4Chan so you know this is real. The post was anonymously made by a user calling themself “Q Clearance Patriot,” claiming to be a high-ranking intelligence officer with information regarding President Trump against the cabal. For those who don’t know, a cabal is a secret political clique or faction. This user began to be known as simply “Q” after this. Nobody knows who Q is, but it was likely an internet troll to begin with that eventually led to multiple people posting under the name. Some claim that JFK Jr. is Q and was supposed to reveal himself to be alive on July 4th 2019. That didn’t happen. Any information dropped under this pseudonym is known as a Q Drop. There’s been amore than 5,000 of these posts on 4Chan, 8Chan, and 8kun since it began. There was a Q Drop app that compiled them all together, but since was taken down. Q claimed that eventually all of this would lead to “The Storm,” where Donald Trump would unmask the cabal and punish the members for their crimes and restore America to its supposed greatness. “The Storm” refers to an instance during a 2017 photo opp with military generals where Trump said “you know what this represents? The calm before the storm.” QANON believers believe this is proof, and that it’s a coded message that he’s going to break up this secret pedophile ring. So, before we get into specifics of this whack ass theory, I want to talk about why people like conspiracy theories. Bryson, do you have any ideas? Quoting an article on Scientific America, “conspiracy theories are a human reaction to confusing times.” As humans, we like to make connections that may or may not necessarily be there because it’s hard for us to accept things as random, especially big events. We’re always searching for answers, be it through religion or science. We can’t just exist, we can’t be a random event from evolution. Something had to create us, we need a reason to be here. People can’t just do bad things like child trafficking, or murder. It HAS to be a part of something bigger. Humans are afraid of the unknown. As far as the far-right goes, it doesn’t help much that Donald Trump is a conspiracy theorist himself. Some of his conspiracy beliefs, or some he just fucking made up, are as follows; Obama was born in Kenya, Obama’s administration released fake unemployment numbers, Obama tapped his phones right before he was about to win the election in 2016… but they’re not all about Obama, he also says millions of fake votes were cast for Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of JFK, climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese government, vaccines cause autism, and my personal favorite: the noise from windmills gives you cancer… that’s not even all of them. He was quoted saying “where we go one, we go all,” one of the most popular sayings of QANON cultists, in 2018 during a social media summit. According to an analysis by Media Matters, through August 2020 Trump amplified QANON messaging at least 216 times by retweeting or mentioning 129 different QANON affiliated twitter accounts, some even multiple times a day. QAnon literally takes literally every goddamn conspiracy in the book like Project Paperclip, The Illuminati, The Roswell Crash, 9/11, Pizzagate, and so many more. It takes all of these conspiracies and plants it in its roots and tries to make it all go together. I would say it’s a conspiracy theorist's paradise, but there’s nothing tropical about this tree. It’s hardly a tree, it’s just a weed taking over right-wing brains like one of those fucking zombie fungus’ that infect ants. And they say we’re the sheep. There is, absolutely, no credibility to QANON. None whatsoever. There have been literally so many “prediction dates” that QANON has stated something “BIG” is going to happen. Sometimes they say something specific, like Mark Zuckerberg stepping down from Facebook, or a mass arrest, or sometimes they just say literally anything will happen on a specific date, and they. Are. Always. Wrong. Here’s a list of dates they’ve predicted something will happen, and of course been wrong about, because they have literally NEVER been right. Hell, even known child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein wasn’t on their agenda until AFTER his arrest: November 3rd, 2017 January 13th, 2018 February 1st, 2018 March 5th, 2018 April 4th, 2018 April 10th, 2018 April 27th, 2018 All of May, 2018 March 5th, 2018 November 11th, 2018 January 19th, 2019 March 19th, 2019 I’m 100% positive there’s been more since then, but frankly, I think that’s enough. Hey man, I want to predict something. Something’s about to happen. That something, is an ad break.
God I fucking hate QANON. How are you doing, man? Are you feeling alright? So next, we’re going to talk about all the fucked up shit this unhinged, baseless conspiracy theory, has caused people to do. Are you ready for this? So there’s Jessica Prim. In April of 2020 she was arrested carrying several knives after live-streaming an attempt to assassinate Joe Biden. Prior to this, she had made a Facebook post saying “Hillary Clinton and her assistant, Joe Biden and Tony Podesta need to be taken out in the name of Babylon!" Her Facebook made several references to QANON and begged her followers to check out Q’s Clues. Which should absolutely be a mock Blue’s Clues comedy skit. But anyways, hours before her arrest she posted a video ranting about a video she believed depicted Hillary Clinton murdering a child. She was arrested in New York City attempting to board the US Navy hospital ship, Comfort, where there’s a QANON conspiracy saying that the ship harbors a cabal of pedophiles. Prim was reportedly crying during her arrest saying; “have you guys heard about the kids?” There’s the Hoover Dam incident in June of 2018, where Matthew Phillip Wright was arrested on terrorism for driving an armored truck, containing an AR-15 and handgun to the Hoover Dam. He then proceeded to block traffic for 90 minutes and demanded the Justice Department to release the office of the inspector general on the conduct of FBI agents during the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. The report was released the day before, but a Q drop claimed the release was heavily modified before its release. Wright also recorded a video inside the truck during the incident expressing anger and disappointment that Trump had supposedly allowed this to happen, and was sitting on the actual report. In May 2018, Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer livestreamed a Facebook video from a Tucson cement plant. In the video, he said: "This is a child sex trafficking camp that no one wants to talk about, that no one wants to do nothing about." Tucson police inspected the plant and didn’t find any evidence of criminal activity. Meyer would go on to occupy a tower on the property for nine days, until finally reaching an agreement with police to leave. He later returned to the tower in July but got arrested for trespassing. Meyer referenced QAnon and the #WWG1WGA hashtag on his Facebook page. The video mentioned was viewed 650,000 times over the following week of its release. In March of 2019, Anthony Comello murdered the Gambino crime family underboss Frank Cali. His lawyer claimed Comello had become obsessed with QAnon theories, believing Cali was a member of a "deep state," and was convinced he "was enjoying the protection of President Trump himself" to place Cali under citizen's arrest. He would go on to shoot Cali ten times just outside his home. At his first court appearance, Comello displayed QAnon symbols and phrases and wrote "MAGA forever" on his hand in pen. On December 19th, 2018 a California man was arrested with bomb making materials in his car, which he intended to use to, and I quote, "make Americans aware of Pizzagate and the New World Order, who were dismantling society." I don’t want to go too much into this one, because the incident could easily be a whole episodes worth of us yelling about it because it’s so fucking dumb, but you know that domestic terrorist Kyle Rittenhouse who went to a BLM protest with an illegally posessed weapon? Yeah, one of the guys he killed, Joseph Rosenbaum, HAPPENED to be a child rapist. Not a great guy, and not a big loss either; HOWEVER, Kyle did not know this beforehand. And even if he did, although I’m all for the death penalty for pedophiles, he is not judge, jury, and exacutioner on the street. Accidentally killing a pedophile does not make you a hero, it just makes you somewhat lucky that half of the people you killed that day ended up being a terrible human being. Wanna know what else? QANON is the first ever conspiracy theory to be labelled as a domestic terrorism threat by the FBI because of all these wonderful things, and more. The memo published by the FBI cited several arrests of QANON followers, some that we knew about beforehand and some that we didn’t. The memo was cited saying “this is the first FBI product examining the threat from conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists and provides a baseline for future intelligence products. ... The FBI assesses that these conspiracy theories will very likely emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts..." So, what makes QANON a cult? A cult is a group or movement held together by a shared commitment to a charismatic leader or ideology. It has a belief system that has the answers to all of life’s questions and offers a special solution to be gained only by following the leader’s rules. It requires a high level of commitment from at least some of the members. There’s four prominent factors that make a cult flourish, one or more of the following are needed; a charismatic leader, a transcendent belief system, systems of control, and systems of influence. As far as a charismatic leader goes, it’s complicated. Q is meant to be an all-knowing individual in the government as a line of communication from Trump; so it’s a combination of both. You have Trump, who has praised people who commit to this belief openly, retweeting things from its followers, and pushing conspiracies down people’s throats - and you have Q, who is likely multiple at this point, claiming to be this line of communication. Transcendent belief system, in this case, is more about how to make the world better. That if you trust Q and Trump blindly that he’ll expose this cabal of pedophiles ruling the world. Systems of control means they think they’re joining something that’s going to give them purpose and meaning. As people read more into the Q drops, listen to Trump push conspiracy theories, and however else people spread information in this group; people become more and more interested in it. It’s a proven fact that the more conspiracy theories you believe, the easier it is to believe even more. As this process goes on, you begin to adopt their world view. And systems of influence… I’ve already discussed the messed up things people have done due to misinformation spread by QANON. QANON specifically falls into the political, racist, and terrorist branch of cults. I’m going to quote from an article from Tennessee State University on Cults In America: “Political, racist, or terrorist cults are fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the perceived enemy or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all knowing and all powerful. In some cases, adherents may be more drawn to an extreme ideology rather than a leader per se. Groups tend to operate as secret cells. Often the group and/or individuals are armed and engage in violent activities, including arson, kidnapping, bombing, and suicide bombs. Such groups typically meet in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Practices and influence techniques include paramilitary training, reporting on one another, fear, struggle or criticism sessions, instilled paranoia, violent acts to prove loyalty, long hours of indoctrination, or enforced guilt based on race, class, or religion.” Quoting from the same article on who and why people join cults, as well as mental health in cults: “No particular psychopathology profile is associated with cult involvement, in part because cults, like many effective sales organizations, adjust their pitch to the personality and needs of their prospects. Although cult members appear to have a somewhat higher rate of psychological distress than nonmembers, the majority seems to lie within the normal range. Nevertheless, clinical experience strongly suggests that certain situational or developmental features appear to make people more receptive to cult sales pitches, including: a high level of stress or dissatisfaction lack of self-confidence gullibility desire to belong to a group naive idealism Fulfillment (the cult provides something that they are missing) cultural disillusionment frustrated spiritual searching. There have been studies about the various mental issues that cult leaders and their followers have. Most cult leaders have Narcissistic personality disorder, Symptoms include an excessive need for admiration, disregard for others' feelings, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement. Does that sound familiar? As for the followers, most people who join a cult are just going through a mental crisis and that cult seems to offer relief or fulfillment. Many ex- cult followers have issues adjusting back to society and have a number of mental illnesses. For the most part, the mental state plays an important role in people who join a cult or are a cult leader.” So I hope it’s easy to see how this fringe conspiracy theory is a cult, now we’ll get into the #saveourchildren stuff. Again, I want to reiterate, child sex trafficking is a very real issue, and save our children is an amazing concept. I just want people to know if what they’re sharing is real, or just misinformation to spread a cultists agenda. So while I was writing this, I hopped on Twitter and looked up the save our children hashtag. Within the first 10 posts, I saw a “wwg1wga,” or where we go one, we go all hashtag paired with save our children. Within 13, I saw two, 15, I saw three, by 22 I found one of their false claims; the one about Bill Clinton, which although he did go to Epstein’s island 26 fucking times, they spread a picture of him with an innocent woman, who was of age, on an airplane together. They stated her name and said it was a picture of them on the plane to go to the island. It wasn’t. This poor girl, Rachel Chandler, got harassed by QANON cultists trying to terrorise her saying she was an accomplice to the cabal, when the picture was from a 2009 article of them on Ron Burkle’s jet. By 27 I found 4. Judging by that small sample of numbers, if roughly 1/7 of the tweets are QANON, one of the last official numbers I have of how many people are posting about saveourchildren on social media is 3 million, so roughly 428,571. This is not including people sharing or retweeting these posts, so that number would definitely be higher. Just assuming these posts got two shares each, puts us over the 1 million mark. It’s easy to see how that’s a problem, right? People are sharing information stemming from a cult without realizing it. There’s not very many people I know who will fact check something before sharing it, so this information just keeps spreading. QANON took something that was a powerful movement and ruined it. Child sex trafficking is real, but it’s not all of our elites, or political and religious leaders. There are too many of them who do it, but it’s not some globe spanding secret society of pedophiles who eat children. It’s just sick ass people. I know it’s easier to believe that the people with money and power are the ones who do these things, but that’s simply not the case. It could be your bland ass neighbour next door who looks just like you, me, your mom, your dad, your best friend. These people deserve to be punished, and in my opinion, deserves the death penalty. Nobody deserves to be called a pedophile and harassed by thousands of strangers online without an ounce of proof. Just, fact check yourself before you accidentally join a cult.