By Caitlin Johnstone – Aug 20, 2020
Many Donald Trump supporters religiously follow the QAnon conspiracy theory, claiming it holds all the keys to ‘draining the swamp’ and ending the status quo. It’s a shameless distraction that ensures no real change ever happens.
Today the US president moved from tacit endorsement and evading questions on the toxic QAnon psyop to directly endorsing and supporting it, telling reporters “I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” and saying they’re just people who love their country and don’t like seeing what’s happening in places like Portland, Chicago and New York City.
Asked about the driving theory behind QAnon, that Trump is waging a covert war against a satanic pedopheliac baby-eating deep state, Trump endorsed the idea but reframed it by saying that he’s leading a fight against “a radical left philosophy.”
“If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there,” Trump said in response to the query. “And we are actually. We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country, and when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow.”
Of course, Trump did not claim to be fighting any satanic pedovores, because he is doing nothing of the sort. Nor is he fighting the deep state; despite all the virulent narrative spin, he’s been a fairly conventional Republican president in terms of policy and behavior in all the usual depraved and disgusting ways, and has done nothing of note to stand against the unelected power establishment known as the deep state. He absolutely has been brutalizing protesters in places like Portland and attacking socialism in places like Venezuela and Bolivia, though, so he can indeed safely admit to that.
The disingenuous nature of Trump’s endorsement hasn’t done anything to dampen the excitement and enthusiasm of QAnoners online, though.
💥💥Qanon -// Journalist: saving the world from Canibals? Trump: Is that a bad thing.? 💥💥
Saving the world, WWG1WGA pic.twitter.com/Fbo6zqNZFy
— Qtime (@AQtime) August 19, 2020
I write against QAnon periodically for the exact same reason I write against the plutocratic media: it’s an obvious propaganda construct designed to manufacture support for the status quo among people who otherwise would not support it. It presents itself as an exciting movement where the little guy is finally rising up and throwing off the chains of the tyrannical forces which have been exploiting and oppressing us, yet in reality all it’s doing is telling a discontented sector of the population to relax and “trust the plan” and put all their faith in the leader of the US government.
And that’s exactly what makes QAnon so uniquely toxic. It’s not just that it gets people believing false things which confuse and alienate them, it’s that it’s a fake, decoy imitation of what a healthy revolutionary impulse would look like. It sells people on important truths that they already intuitively know on some level, like the untrustworthiness of the mass media, that the official elected US government aren’t really the ones calling the shots, and that we need a great awakening. It takes those vital, truthful, healthy revolutionary impulses, then twists them around into support for the United States president and the agendas of the Republican Party.
And now literally any time I speak out against Trump doing something self-evidently horrible, like orchestrating the extradition of Julian Assange or assassinating Iran’s top military official, I get QAnon adherents in the comments section telling me to “relax” and “trust the plan” because this is actually a brilliant strategic maneuver against the deep state. Any argument against any longstanding evil Fox News Republican agenda that Trump advances has a widely promulgated explanation for why it’s actually good and beneficial among the QAnon crowd.
A healthy impulse to fight the power is twisted into support for the most unconscionable aspects of the ruling power establishment. You see healthy impulses twisted and corrupted like this all the time, all across the political spectrum. The healthy impulse to fight racism and bigotry is twisted into support for the warmongering, oppressive and exploitative Democratic Party which is nothing but destructive toward the populations it pretends to protect. The healthy impulse to defend the helpless and fight tyranny is railroaded into support for acts of regime-change “humanitarian” interventionism.
How You Can Be 100% Certain That QAnon Is Bullshit
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) May 26, 2019
The fact that people need to be deceived by their healthy impulses in this way is a good sign; it means we’re generally good people with a generally healthy sense of which way to push. If we were intrinsically wicked and unwise, their propaganda wouldn’t hook us by telling us to fight tyranny, defend children and tell the truth — it would hook us using our cowardice, our hatred, our greed, our sadism. People are basically good, and propagandists use that goodness to trick us.
But good will and good intentions aren’t enough, unfortunately. Even intelligence, by itself, isn’t enough to save us from being propagandized; some fairly intelligent people have fallen for propaganda operations like QAnon and Russiagate. If you want to have a clear perspective on what’s really going on in the world, you’ve got to have an unwavering devotion to knowing what’s true that goes right down into your guts.
Most people don’t have this. Most people do not have truth as a foremost priority. They probably think they do, but they don’t. When it comes right down to it, most people are more invested in finding ways to defend their preexisting biases than in learning what’s objectively true. If they’ve got a special hatred for Democrats, the confirmation biases that this will give them leave them susceptible to the QAnon psyop. If they’ve got a special hatred for Trump, they’re susceptible to believing he’s controlled by some kind of Russian government conspiracy. There are any number of other directions such biases can carry someone.
Only by a humble devotion to truth that is willing to sacrifice any worldview or ideology to the uncompromising fire of objective reality can skilfully navigate through a world that is saturated with disinformation and propaganda. Sincerely put truth first in all things, while doing your best to find out what’s actually going on in our world, and eventually you’re guaranteed to free yourself from any perceptual distortion.
Feature image: A Donald Trump supporter holding a QAnon flag visits Mount Rushmore National Monument on July 01, 2020 in Keystone, South Dakota © Getty Images / Scott Olson
Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz