It seems that QAnon has lit a fire under American politics, mainly because huge numbers of people identify with the mythos it promulgates. No one wants to face this, but very few people are competent to make political decisions, and the rest just fake it.
This means that instead of airy theory, they need simple stories. The Left offers the simplest story: your problems are not your problems, but caused by evil rich people, so join together with other misfits and overthrow them and we will live in Utopia.
QAnon offers a competing story, which possesses enough nuance to be hard to describe except with reductive simplification:
QAnon is a conspiracy theory that says President Trump is waging a war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles.
QAnon followed on from the “pizzagate” saga in 2016 – a fake theory about Democratic Party politicians running a paedophile ring out of a Washington pizza restaurant.
As I frequently say around here, conspiracy theories are metaphors. We know that we will never get the full story, and that any reasonable telling will be hopelessly complex, so instead we look for some way to explain what is going on that captures the gist in an entertaining way.
Satanic pedophiles may sound outlandish, but it describes the mentality of our opposition. Like Satan, they worship themselves instead of the order of all things, and they want power at any cost, even if they must destroy everything to get it. Like pedophiles, they seek to exploit and then destroy the innocent; if anything, the death of our future hits the young hardest.
Even more, however, they are “elites” — people with positions of power, wealth, and status — who believe themselves above not just the law, but common decency and regular standards of health. Most of us avoid anything tinged with pedophilia because it represents mental illness, and setting even a foot on that road leads to insanity. We cringe at JonBenet Ramsey and Cuties because to us they reek of insanity that will only get worse.
When we speak this language of metaphor, QAnon makes more sense: it describes how our unelected elites remain in power by colluding with each other against our interests, and how most importantly, their values fundamentally differ from ours.
We want good results for all time; They want power for themselves, and if the world ends up a burning ruin, they will simply find the highest peak and live there on the best quality canned air and packaged food. They will always survive, but usually in conditions of dubious victory; this does not bother Them, but it appalls Us.
Our conspiracy theories show us realizing that we are on the edge of a massive historical shift unlike anything in our lifetimes, or even the last couple centuries.
We are finding out that democracy acts just like Communism, although it moves more slowly. It domesticates people, infantilizes them, and smashes the organic bonds that make a civilization and social life, replacing them with government and consumerism.
We are discovering that any System — even the meritocracies of our schools — favors those who aim to manipulate it, since they ignore anything but learning how to pull the right levers. This produces risk-averse sociopath leaders, and makes the population aimless such that they lose the ability to make decisions outside of the System.
More people realize now that government is just another corporation, and what makes corporations horrible is that they have no consciousness; they consist merely of people advancing their own careers or share value, and these people really do not care about what gets broken in the process. They are content to be incompetent at best and exploitative at worst, usually a combination of the two.
Humanity finds itself shifting from symbolic goals — equality, altruism, peace, tolerance — toward realistic goals, namely rewarding good behavior and removing the dysfunctional.
This means that we are leaving behind many things that our elites teach us are “good,” such as equality, democracy, and diversity. We now see that they do not work, which makes us distrust those who support them. We see now that these elites are incompetent.
Perhaps QAnon is not literally true… metaphorically, it might partially reveal what people are thinking. Those that have ruled us are bad and motivated by bad desires. To escape, we have to reject that which gives them legitimacy, and recognize them as being something like Satanic pedophiles.
Only by rejecting this legitimacy, and purging it from our minds and hearts, can we get past this time. Once we have seen what is bad as truly bad, we become open to other methods, which lets us get over the guilt and shame associated with symbols for the good, and then we can pursue actual good.