“Armies” like this can be found in Germany, France, and the U.K., as well as in Canada, Japan, and Iran. All of them support QAnon, a vast conspiracy theory that Donald Trump is waging a war against the “Deep State” made up of elite families, politicians, and celebrities, which also just happens to connected a massive child sex trafficking ring and is currently using COVID-19 to entrench its power.
It’s a conspiracy that’s been able to reach new heights during the pandemic as people around the world desperately search for community and any way to make sense of the chaos. The QAnon community is welcoming to anyone as long as they believe in at least one of the many tendrils that branch out from the theory’s heart—that the world is extremely screwed because of bogeymen behind the scenes, and only those smart enough to see through the veil can fight them. While the actual details of the conspiracy are hyper-focused on the U.S., the broad strokes can be applied to almost anywhere, which helps to explain the rapid growth of QAnon across borders. . .
The movement is fluid and adaptable, so what’s popular among the group today may very well be different months down the line. In the United States, 68 believers are running for Congress, some who even have a shot at winning. After coming in first in the primary, prospective Georgia GOP candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon supporter, is headed into a run-off vote. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Greene even offered to help her followers get acquainted with the confusing world of QAnon. The group and its unwavering beliefs have been described as cult-like by some experts, projecting Trump and Q as quasi-religious figures. . .
Many experts have warned that the pandemic has created a conspiracy boom of sorts. On every social media platform, conspiracy communities are growing. Even TikTok has reportedly been dealing with an explosion of young users spreading Pizzagate-style theories in the past few months. Anna Merlan, VICE News reporter and author of Republic of Lies, a book about modern day conspiracy culture, recently wrote that we’re experiencing a “conspiracy singularity” that has allowed movements like QAnon, the UFO truthers, and the anti-vaxxers to coalesce.
“This pandemic has created an environment of uncertainty and powerlessness within many aspects of human life today,” says a Media Diversity Institute report from June. “Unfortunately, QAnon has successfully taken advantage of this atmosphere by expanding the scope of the conspiracy theory and using it to spread misinformation and fake news about an already complex and unsolved public health crisis.”
Travis View, co-host of the popular U.S. podcast QAnon Anonymous, said he’s been watching groups pop up all over the world during the pandemic and sees it as a result of people needing community. At the end of the day, that’s what QAnon is: an online community. . . .
Mike Rothchild, a U.S.-based journalist who covers QAnon and has written a book on the subject, said he’s seen QAnon hashtags from all over the world and in many languages. However, he is unsure if international followers understand the minutiae of the conspiracy or if they’re just gravitating towards a sentiment like the well-known QAnon slogan, “Where we go one, we go all.” Rothschild told VICE News that he feels international QAnon followers are taking the key QAnon concept—fighting back against the elites and globalists—and applying it to their situation.
“I never expected this to get any international reach,” said Rothschild. “What does some U.S. military intelligence role-playing game have to do with life in Japan or Finland where you have different problems and a much different Bogeyman? I think maybe what we’re seeing is that the Bogeyman is always kind of the same for a certain online right-winger.”
Not everyone is surprised. Ekman said he’s not shocked he could get 50 people to a Finnish hotel to celebrate something whose true epicentre is over 7,000 kilometres away. Like many within the Q movement, he believes it’s part of something bigger.
“I disagree that Q’s messages have been only centred around U.S. politics. There is great diversity on the covered topics,” Ekman said. “There is a global spiritual awakening unfolding, of which Q and Trump are a major component.”
Even though he says he was “awakened” to ideas like Q in 2014, he believes he’s part of something that’s only just begun.
I was looking at Dr. Demon Sperm’s twitter yesterday, and yeah I know Twitter is a social media hellsite, not “reality,” but spend five minutes there and you’ll conclude (if you haven’t already) that people have to be pretty much either completely nuts or deeply indifferent to complete nuttiness to support the Trump administration. Yet 40% of the American populace does — and under the circumstances that would appear to be something like a very hard floor. That’s a 50% increase over the classic 27% crazification factor we enjoyed in a simpler, more innocent time.
BTW I keep posting the photo of the book at the top of this post about the intricacies of Donald Trump’s spiritual life, because I suffer from the inability to maintain object permanence regarding it. If I’m not actively looking at it, I find myself unable to believe that book exists.