These two posts just popped up in my feed, and I thought I would share them together. The first one is a thorough refutation of Q or Qanon. The second one looks at why people have such a tendency to believe conspiracies like Qanon or PizzaGate or that Bill Gates is a shapeshifting alien reptile who wants to reduce the world's population and control the ones who are left via implanted microchips.
Now, I do agree that we are heading toward extremely dystopian future scenarios and that there are evil, demented, and sociopathic people running some of our largest financial, political, and military institutions. I also think there are conspiracies that need to be understood and villains that need to be identified. However, I believe that many of the conspiracies that are now popular are PsyOps designed to keep people from using their critical thinking skills properly so they can understand what is happening and then work together to build a unified movement to change the system fundamentally.
Right now, we need disciplined, critical thinking. To think critically, we must constantly strive to separate what we think, what we actually know, what we want to believe, and what we feel.
We are all going to fail at this at times - I know that I do. But one can make a discipline of coming back to one's center and recalling how one arrived at certain ideas or beliefs, and then actually dismissing those beliefs that lack a basis in coherent and rational inquiry. This may sound paradoxical coming from someone who has offered theories and hypotheses in many esoteric areas from indigenous prophecies (2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl) to alien abductions (The Occult Control System). But I try hard in my work to make a distinction between knowledge based in direct experience, and theories I develop that are always provisional and open to change.
Here are the two posts I found useful:
“Background. If you’re not aware, you can google Q-anon for the basics. The basic thesis is that the government for decades has been secretly controlled by a cabal of powerful elites entrenched within government and Hollywood. They are the ones really calling the shots and they are all engaged in the most abominable imaginable practices, satanic ritual killings of children, organized pedophilia, and the dissecting of tortured children to extract the makings of a drug Adrenochrome, that these evil people are addicted to. Hillary Clinton, Obama, the previous Bush are all alleged to be deep in this. Q claims to represent a team of “White hats” good guys within the government that were prepared to violently overthrow this cabal but graciously recruited Donald Trump to run for president to drain the swamp of all those evil forces in power and restore righteousness to government.
Most reports about Q-anon simply regard it as ridiculous. No prominent politicians including Trump, nor those aligning themselves with him, publicly affirm it. Still, I understand its attraction to some and will wade in further than those media reports that dismiss it as fringe because I see it spreading among those who I care about.
Let me first say that I’ve had very close friends and lovers who were victims of childhood sexual abuse and know it’s way too common and devastating. The power of its horror makes stopping it one of the most compelling emotional stories. That said, it’s something vastly happening within families, or by priests or others with access to children and often those abuses have been covered up by such organizations as the Catholic Church, Boy scouts, etc.
That said, Q alleges huge numbers of children have been abducted and ritually sacrificed, or sexually abused by large groups of prominent politicians (who are hardly out of public eye and often accompanied by secret service etc).
There has to be large numbers involved for one to make saving those children the number one priority for political support, even for those whose values are the opposite of Trump. I’ve repeatedly been offered the statistic of 800,000 children a year are noted missing in the United States alone. They don’t know, or fail to mention, that over 99% of missing children are returned home alive. Most missing are runaways or abducted by a spouse without proper custody rights.
So there’s very little credible evidence that this satanic pedophile ring exists and if you ask for it, you get misdirected to evidence that satanism exists or pedophilia exists. Even under Trump, there’s never been a bust of elite pedophiles highly influential in government (except for his friend Epstein which I’ll cover later) and certainly none related to Satanism or sacrifice. There’s no real victim list nor testimony of survivors except a few very questionable ones. There’s far more testimonies available from those claiming they were abducted and probed by aliens.
Lately the claim is also that tortured children are dissected to make the drug Adrenochrome, which these elites crave. This beggers belief really because Adrenochrome is simply oxidized (aged) Adrenaline. Adrenaline doesn’t need to be harvested from kids brains by highly trained complicit professionals, it’s cheap at less than $300 for 30 milliliters. Vastly more than could be harvested from a kid. The Trump administration obviously cares nothing for this issue (because it’s not real) as Adrenochrome is unscheduled, way more legal than weed. There’s very few reports of people who have taken it, the existing reports don’t show any allure. There’s been zero busts for adrenochrome in the Trump years. Some Q folks maintain that the “White hats” are actually such ninjas that they were able to tap into the adrenochrome supply and taint it with Covid-19 thus infecting alleged Satanist pedophiles Tom Hanks and his wife.
Doesn’t it seem strange that these ninjas should be so tapped into the supply of drugs allegedly harvested from the sacrificed brains of tortured children and yet they haven’t busted anyone? No adrenochrome seizures or attempts to even make possession a crime?
The history of Q is the history of many, many major predictions failed. Preachers predicting the end times have as accurate a record, and excuses for why they didn’t happen as predicted. Q maintained that Trump and Robert Mueller were secretly collaborating behind the scenes to stage a major takedown of the elite deep state. It never seemed true (face it) and the Mueller report came and went without any takedown. Note that tens of millions were spent trying to lock up Hillary Clinton for her private email server, for the Whitewater real estate dealings, Benghazi second-guessing and nowhere in any of Trump inspired investigations did any hint of pedophilia or satanism arise, nor did Trump even suggest it as an issue, even while being bold enough to call for her imprisonment for minor stuff.
The latest Q buzz was created by Covid-19 when the Q folks maintained one of two narratives, one that the virus was a US military operation, not really a virus, to get people inside worldwide while all the elite pedophiles were rounded up and arrested. When that become obviously false, I started to hear it was actually the cabal that started the virus but the white hats turned the tables by using the situation to activate the takedown of the evil Satanists. We see absolutely no evidence of this even as Trump agitates to reopen the economy and get back to normal.
Adding to the incredulity, Trump himself brought in his own handpicked heads to the very agencies that comprise the deep state, the CIA, FBI, etc. Some of his appointments have come and gone, some distancing themselves from Trump and none ever mentioning the deep state conspiracy.
Let’s face it. Q alleged the white hats were going to take down the powerful deep state 3 years ago. The power of surprise or need for Trump to remain mum have long past. If there were a powerful deep state at war with Trump and Q, that battle would have been won or lost years ago. The secret was public, if it were real, that powerful deep state would have either been defeated in those times or would have found out and eliminated Q and the white hats long before now.
The reason Q still exists despite being some kind of open secret is that Q is itself a disinformation operation aimed at creating a movement that would support Trump by using the most compelling possible narrative, those poor children, and protect Trump from the forces in government most likely to object to his misrule and corruption (long term government professionals and liberal Hollywood media folks).
Add to this, there has NEVER been a president more obviously prone to pedophilia in this actions and remarks. The Q narrative absolves Trump of his great vulnerability there.
Let’s dig into that a bit more. Some credit the arrest of Epstein (the poster child of organized pedophilia) to Trump. The fact is that Epstein was only arrested after a three-part Miami Herald investigation revealed what a light sentence Epstein was handed suspiciously by the prosecutor of the case, Alex Acosta, whom Trump had promoted to his Labor Secretary. That created a furor and New York went after Epstein for his crimes in that state. At the time, Trump defended Acosta, who later had to resign from the stigma of letting Epstein off the hook.
So back to Trump, young women and Epstein.
“In 2002, about three years before investigators opened their first probe into Epstein, Trump told New York Magazine he had known Epstein for 15 years. Trump called Epstein a "terrific guy" and said, "He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
I mean, come on. No other politician has sexualized his own daughter and other children publicly as Trump has. He’s raved about her body and remarked about how he’d date her if she weren’t his daughter. Trump is on tape remarking to the mother of a 10 year old girl in a mall joking that he’d be dating the kid in 10 years. Ivanka, sitting with Trump on the Howard Stern show joked about Trump being a sexual predator.
In addition, it’s come to the extent of a women making sworn affidavits in court that Trump raped her as a 13 year old in connection with Epstein. Somehow the lawsuit went away but we do know Trump has a record of using money and/or threats to make allegations go away, as he paid off Stormy Daniels and another playboy model to silence their claims of sex with Trump, all the while he was married.
You’ve all heard the tape where he brags about grabbing women by the pussy.
And this is the guy whom we are supposed to believe is determined to save us from the pedophiles? Not much action on that front except for counting smuggling migrants from Mexico as “Human trafficking” and cracking down on that. Reports of increased arrests for trafficking are mostly stuff like that, or prostitution, no major elite figures.
Qanon is using the propaganda technique popularized by Karl Rove and used by some of the GOP, since then: accuse your opponent of what you are most vulnerable to yourself.
But to simplify things a bit, even if you ignore the fact that Trump’s mouth has been famously uncensored for years, and made plenty of fantastic claims, one has to really stretch to imagine him acknowledging the Q narrative, allegedly the main event he became president for.
We’ve already established that there no evidence of mass victims of some alleged pedophile ring, what about their influence on government? Trump had control of the House and Senate and the agencies of government for his first two years and still controls the Senate. What does this “Freed from the dictates of the deep state” government look like?
It looks like climate change denial, mass reversal of environmental protections and pollution restrictions, giveways of trillions to the rich (elites!) in tax cuts and deregulation. The abandonment of sexual harassment and discrimination laws. Reversal of civil rights progress and antipathy toward gay and LGBT protections. It’s really, really hard to see much that Trump stands for that any of my friends would stand up for.
Which is why a dishonest, made-up narrative has been concocted by experts at psychology and disinformation to sell via right wing fringe channels to drum up unconditional support for Trump.
Personally, I’ve been conned plenty. I’ve fallen for stuff more than once. Some people have perfected selling you stuff that’s bogus.
“Where we go one, We go all” (WWG1WGA) is a Q slogan, that creates a solidarity within a group. Q’s method of putting out clues for people to solve to unlock the conspiracy is a way of getting people to buy into the narrative, as if they have discovered the woke secrets.
Recently a high production documentary “Out of the Shadows” has made the rounds, using the technique of stating some obvious truths and then, while our heads are nodding, insinuating and alleging stuff it has no evidence of. For instance the documentary claimed the music boom of the late 60's/early 70's in Laurel Canyon in LA (Frank Zappa, Mamas & Papas, Joni Mitchell, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne, etc.) was the outcome of a CIA operation to push Satanism into the culture to destroy America. Somehow I think I’ve heard other music more evocative of Satan they might have missed.
You have to know better than to stake the future of humanity on a obviously fake story covering for a sick president who cares only for himself. Wake up from being so woke.”
2. WHY IS CONSPIRATORIAL THINKING SO POPULAR?
"Why people believe crazy things":
Over the past two months, I have been receiving a steady stream of crazy conspiracy-laden emails—far more than usual. These range from your typical anti-vaccine nonsense to "5G data networks causes coronavirus" to the idea that the entire pandemic (or, excuse me, "plandemic") is a well-coordinated hoax by some shadowy international cabal looking to… I don’t know, make lots of money, or something.
Many other readers have emailed me over the past month saying that they are alarmed at how many of their otherwise smart, well-adjusted friends and family have gone looney tunes recently and bought into this nonsense. They have asked me what it is about these theories that is so appealing. Why do smart people put their brain on hold while they check the other line for a few months?
Fortunately, I, too, was once 16 years old and believed every theory I read on the internet. So I kind of feel I understand where these people are coming from. As with most human behavior, conspiracy theorizing doesn’t appeal to us on an intellectual level, it appeals to us on an emotional level. And once you understand that, it all starts making a lot more sense.
Conspiracy theories originate from:
a) A Desperate Need for Certainty - Human minds are meaning machines. When something good happens to us, we demand to know why. When something bad happens to us, we also demand to know why. The better or worse the thing that happened, the more powerful the instinct to deduce the reason and cause.
The problem is that many of the most impactful events in human history can happen for no apparent reason. This drives the human mind bananas. The idea that millions of lives can end or be changed forever (and it was not consciously decided or controlled by some outside force) is just inconceivable to our brains on some level. We don’t like randomness because randomness means uncertainty and uncertainty means we’re not safe.
Therefore, we all have an extremely strong emotional urge to make sense of calamities in a way that gives someone or something conscious control of that event. The easiest way to do this is to find the people or groups who are most likely to benefit from said calamity. Generally, in crises, uber-wealthy people and governments benefit the most. They also have the most power to begin with. Ergo, most people’s minds have a strong gravitational pull towards believing that uber-wealthy people and governments must therefore be orchestrating the calamity in some way.
But the fact is that even the most competent individuals and governments are horribly inefficient and inept in most cases. Remember the first maxim of Negative Self Help — humans suck. You could add an addendum to that by saying, "Humans suck; human organizations suck even more." I don’t care if you’re the CIA, the NRA, the Gates Foundation or the Hare Krishnas — human organizations are generally slow, wasteful, incompetent, and woefully unaware of the consequences of their actions. The idea that thousands of people could coordinate perfectly—in secret!—to accomplish some nefarious goal is insane, at least to anyone who has actually dealt with other humans in a significant capacity.
b) Feelings of Moral and Intellectual Superiority - When you believe something most other people don’t, you experience a sense of superiority and righteousness. You feel pity and outrage at the uninformed masses—outrage that you must become a great martyr to help save humanity from its blindness.
Ah, how dramatic!
If the craving for certainty attracts one to a conspiracy theory, the false sense of moral superiority cements it. Not only do you get to know why the virus spread, but you get to feel sorry for the confused masses. You get to be angry that more people don’t "open their eyes" or "wake up." You get to argue really, really intensely on social media, or with some dickhead with a newsletter, that nooooo, if only you understood.
Basically, people hold onto conspiracy theories for the same reason they root for the underdog in sports, or they pick the most obscure film or band to be their favorite music, or they try to join secret clubs—the exclusivity grants them a feeling of importance.
The tragedy of all of this is that attacking these people for their beliefs makes them more determined. "Of course you’d attack me! The truth is too much for you to handle!" And on and on the false sense of importance goes.
c) Lack of Critical Thinking - I’ve always found it funny that governments can hardly pay for a toilet without it leaking to the press in some way, yet we’re supposed to believe that tens of thousands of people coordinated across the planet and not a single person broke the silence?
Or, how about the purported motive of most conspiracy theories is some form of "Rich guy wants to be even richer!"
Well, what the fuck? Why doesn’t he just invest in Amazon. I mean, given how long it would take to plan and execute a pandemic, that’s probably just as lucrative and you don’t have to kill millions of people!
Generally, I’ve found that conspiracy theorists are unable to think two or three moves ahead on the chess board. They fail to detect the difference between evidence and conjecture, what is fact and what is opinion. I’ve also noticed they’re just bad at math. For instance, they look at a situation with vaccines where you might have 37,000 deaths and 200 million lives saved, and because 37,000 is a really big number, they just assume it’s bad… without considering the fact that it’s 0.0018% of the number of lives saved.
But most importantly, conspiracy theorists just strike me as intensely lonely. To be able to believe such outlandish things about human nature, to assume that vast organizations can coordinate in such ways, and to see that amount of raw evil in the world... this seems only possible for someone who doesn’t get out nearly enough. Go talk to a couple of government officials and spend a few months in a corporate hierarchy. You will quickly see that they could hardly organize a children’s parade, much less build network towers that beam viruses into people around the globe simultaneously.
So, what do you do with a person who believes in a conspiracy theory? I think the best thing you can do is simply state facts while trying to relate to them on an emotional level. You can challenge their claims. But do it patiently, respectfully. Be kind. They will lash out emotionally—because, after all, conspiracy theories are about emotions, not logic—and they might call you names, say you’re evil, feel sorry for you, etc., etc.
But you’re not going to change their minds in one go. No, instead you must pepper them with information and perspective, and then just let it all take hold in the soil of their minds, like seeds of rationality.
And eventually, when these people do come out and start experiencing the world in all of its complexity and ambiguity, those seeds will sprout. And they will (hopefully) realize that, yes, they were being a dumbfuck.