Politics QAnon and Sovereign Citizens

Remove this Banner Ad

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Sweet Jesus

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 20, 2014
21,101
17,684
Hong Kong
AFL Club
West Coast
I am sure someone else much smarter than I has already discussed this in depth, but this is what I think is the trait that manifests in what people call the 'horseshoe' theory of politics.
That refers to political extremism generally. But conspiracy thinking is about a rejection of institutions and therefore a rejection of the tools the rest of use to measure and make sense of reality. What explanations do you embrace once that's off the menu?

I mean look at anti-vaxxers. Are they LW or RW?

Both? Neither? Rather, they are united by low public trust. Or what we might call "the paranoid style". Their politics could otherwise be totally opposite but they'll have that in common.
 

Chief

Chugging Adrenochrome
Dec 1, 1999
92,646
69,481
Brisbane
AFL Club
Carlton
The entire conspiracy theory world has swung completely from left wing anti business types (as you say new age hippies doing 14 hours of yoga a day) to xenophobic ass wipes.

And it's the exact people following it as well, who's world view has completely morphed - not talking about the guys peddling sh*te, talking about the followers that we know from our daily lives.

For anyone that knows anyone into the conspiracy theory world for an extended period - For better or worse, I know about a dozen or so who are in at varying depths - every single one of them has gone from "big business fu** over the little guy, the rich are parasites, we should go live in sheds in the outback because the government is watching our every move" to "I'm still working as a labourer and living in a one-bed flat because a black guy got a uni scholarship in front of me 15 years ago - also election fraud as proven by this YouTube channel".
 

The Passenger

An Important Person
Mar 25, 2003
32,446
21,674
Rigging votes
AFL Club
West Coast
That refers to political extremism generally. But conspiracy thinking is about a rejection of institutions and therefore a rejection of the tools the rest of use to measure and make sense of reality. What explanations do you embrace once that's off the menu?

I mean look at anti-vaxxers. Are they LW or RW?

Both? Neither? Rather, they are united by low public trust. Or what we might call "the paranoid style". Their politics could otherwise be totally opposite but they'll have that in common.
I think saying they are united by lack of trust is definitely a fair call. It's probably one of the main things that underpins the whole ecosystem. When a good mate of mine start diving into the world close to two decades ago what I couldn't get my head around when talking to him was "OK fine if you want to question some things I get it, but you know the whole world isn't a conspiracy right?"... But then after a while I came to realise the whole vibe is "Question everything. It's all a lie". (Slight digression but fortunately he got out about a decade back when his then-girlfriend - now wife - basically said it's me or your conspiracies. Thankfully he chose her, because he'd certainly have gone full blown Qjob).

From my - admittedly only moderate* - knowledge of the CT world, a huge chunk of them tend to be very homogeneous in their belief system and from what I've seen those beliefs took a wild about turn in the first half of the last decade. Which is ironic because the standard go to play is to accuse those who question their beliefs of being sheep.

The anti vaxxers I've read online recently are now 90% plandemic, qanon nut's. Only a small handful are Byron bay cure your cancer with yoga and positive thinking types. I'd be very confident a lot of the former once belonged to the latter.

*as above a dozen or so FB friends who post varying levels rubbish plus the occasional perusal of various forums across the internet just to pique my curiosity.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

ShanDog

Super Moderator
Aug 12, 2012
20,010
38,556
sv_cheats 1
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Edmonton Oilers
That refers to political extremism generally. But conspiracy thinking is about a rejection of institutions and therefore a rejection of the tools the rest of use to measure and make sense of reality. What explanations do you embrace once that's off the menu?

I mean look at anti-vaxxers. Are they LW or RW?

Both? Neither? Rather, they are united by low public trust. Or what we might call "the paranoid style". Their politics could otherwise be totally opposite but they'll have that in common.
I agree with all that. The rejection of the mainstream institutions and what they represent as accepted fact or knowledge is also what drives the far left and right too. I think that high distrust of those institutions is a root trait of conspiracy theorists and also plays a significant part in the formation of political extremist's affiliations.
 

Sweet Jesus

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 20, 2014
21,101
17,684
Hong Kong
AFL Club
West Coast
I think saying they are united by lack of trust is definitely a fair call. It's probably one of the main things that underpins the whole ecosystem. When a good mate of mine start diving into the world close to two decades ago what I couldn't get my head around when talking to him was "OK fine if you want to question some things I get it, but you know the whole world isn't a conspiracy right?"... But then after a while I came to realise the whole vibe is "Question everything. It's all a lie". (Slight digression but fortunately he got out about a decade back when his then-girlfriend - now wife - basically said it's me or your conspiracies. Thankfully he chose her, because he'd certainly have gone full blown Qjob).
Consider the psychological appeal of conspiracy theories. Everyone else is a sucker but you have this secret knowledge that unlocks everything. If you've decided that "reality-based" knowledge is too hard or too dull, think how appealing this realm of secret information must be. What a neat thing to keep yourself occupied, to be able to reject all that status quo. And all that's required for you to get that sugar high is for you to say you believe it.

I'd still be interested to know in what sense these guys seriously believe these theories, though, aside from the folks who are truly mentally ill. Do they believe in it like it's really real, in the way they believe they shouldn't walk in front of a bus? Or do they believe it as a story they tell themselves that feels good but it's essentially low-stakes performative escapism where there's no cost associated with being factually wrong or incoherent?

I remember in my teens one of my friends was dating a girl who was nice enough and she was not obviously mentally ill. But she had lost both her parents at a young age, so by the time she was about 20 she had convinced herself that angels were real. She had decided that was something she wanted to believe. You don't need to consider this too deeply to conclude this was a method of coping with her grief, a way of handling her sense of loss simply by deciding to believe something. It was a way to remake her interior world with an act of pure autonomy that did not require evidence, rational consistency or basic cognitive sense-making.

Think about bullshit like The Secret, which tells adherents you can simply will good things into becoming reality if you think about them hard enough. I mean, that's mental illness by another name - it's a recipe for creating millions of pure fantasists - but I wonder if folks who parrot these conspiracy theories aren't motivated by something similar. This girl's parents died, so she simply decided to believe in angels. Now, I don't know if she thought they were really real like cats and dogs but I can only assume conspiracy theorists are similarly grappling with their own need to make sense of the world, to find meaning and assert control over themselves, and everything else that everyone else considers real and factual doesn't do it for them. So the sheer act of believing becomes more consequential than whether the belief itself can be verified or even explained empirically. And this is the channel they end up watching that gets them there. I assume belief in whatever god works the same way.
 
Last edited:

The Passenger

An Important Person
Mar 25, 2003
32,446
21,674
Rigging votes
AFL Club
West Coast
I'd still be interested to know in what sense these guys seriously believe these theories, though, aside from the folks who are truly mentally ill. Do they believe in it like it's really real, in the way they believe they shouldn't walk in front of a bus?
Obviously minimal sample size but my aforementioned mate was balls deep. Literally all the way. Moon landing definitely faked, Chem-trails, Fluoride in the water, everyone's super/pension funds will be zero in a few years, everyone's phone calls are being listened* in on etc. Basically, if someone was willing to upload a YouTube video, he was willing to believe it. He is a good mate, and always was, but there were definite nights out when it became a bit punishing.

The other CT "friends" (I don't really care for any, but old school friends, people I met travelling etc - you know the drill) I have on FB for the most part seem like true believers. The main difference seems to be the level at which they are willing to "out" themselves to friends and family. The once in a blue moon post "Hmmm, six people took a vaccine at this clinic and two are now autistic. Makes you think." is generally ignored, but there a few who are just steady stream of nonsense - at least until you put them on unfollow or even defriended.

I also tend to have a social habit of gravitating towards those who are into the CT world (at parties, pubs etc). In these many one-off encounters I reckon most people are genuinely believers. Although it is very possible some of the encounters were two cosmonauts taking the piss out of each other and not even realising.

In real life, most people will be pretty genuine in what they believe when they have to say it out loud. But if your talking the grifters - Alex Jones, David Icke etc... who knows. Big chance they are just cashing in on vulnerable people.

Beyond that, in the anonymous world such as reddit, 4chan, even here... It's a completely lottery.

*Over surveillance is a huge issue IMO, but in the CT world for everyone making a call, there's someone listening in, which is obviously nonsense.
 

Sweet Jesus

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 20, 2014
21,101
17,684
Hong Kong
AFL Club
West Coast
Obviously minimal sample size but my aforementioned mate was balls deep. Literally all the way. Moon landing definitely faked, Chem-trails, Fluoride in the water, everyone's super/pension funds will be zero in a few years, everyone's phone calls are being listened* in on etc. Basically, if someone was willing to upload a YouTube video, he was willing to believe it. He is a good mate, and always was, but there were definite nights out when it became a bit punishing.
Put simply, there must be an intense psychological appeal attached for certain people, for folks wired that way.

I also think the instruments people use to assess information have been overwhelmed. Funnily enough, this is a core objective of Soviet propaganda - not to simply lie but to flood the zone and ultimately erode the difference between truth and lies so that difference doesn't even matter to people any more. The difference becomes indeterminable, so does it even exist?

Imagine if you lost your senses of taste and smell and then someone gave you a carton of eggs and asked you to identify which ones were rotten and which ones weren't. This is what confronts some people with information: they simply can't tell the difference so stop trying. At some point they decide the difference doesn't matter and embrace a kind of instrumental truth i.e. they may as well believe whatever makes them feel good. That may as well be true because they can't tell the difference so why does the difference even matter?

You combine that with the psychological appeal of conspiracy theories and here we are.
 

Sweet Jesus

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 20, 2014
21,101
17,684
Hong Kong
AFL Club
West Coast
Listen to this about Sandy Hook and Alex Jones. The very last guy they speak to at the end is remarkable. He went to high school with Jones and claims Jones was always crazy, always violent, always lying about wild theories. But even he, at the end, says: "Maybe he's right... maybe Obama is a secret Muslim - how would we know either way?"

These people have become so disoriented that despite knowing Jones as a kid and remembering him as a nutter, he is unwilling to disregard his conspiracy theories. He can't say, he doesn't know. How can a guy like that disregard anything if he can't disregard that?

 

Rusty Brookes

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 9, 2001
5,445
6,001
Preston
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Hawthorn, Manningham Cobras
I know a guy (not personally) from a local band who I quite liked who was always an animal lib/enviro guy. I thought he was a harmless hippie type but he has turned into a raving, right wing nut job. This article nails it:

 

Malifice

Moderator
Oct 2, 2007
35,833
32,823
Perth
AFL Club
Carlton
They use wild and impossible scenarios to help them come to terms with things they can't understand.
This.

In trying to make sense of the world, they create patterns.

Im firmly of the view that reality exists in a state of chaos, and the first trick we teach ourselves is how to comprehend and view this chaos in such a way that it no longer appears chaotic, and instead has the illusion of order.

Conspiracy nuttery is just an extension of this phenomena.
 

Mofra

Moderator
Dec 6, 2005
50,685
141,461
Footscray
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Footscray, The Exers
I agree with all that. The rejection of the mainstream institutions and what they represent as accepted fact or knowledge is also what drives the far left and right too. I think that high distrust of those institutions is a root trait of conspiracy theorists and also plays a significant part in the formation of political extremist's affiliations.
There is an inherent mistrust of science that underpins extremists on both sides - from healing crystals to alternative medicines to anti-vaxxers to anti-climate change to anti-5G to the primacy of faith over evidence & science.

It is only a rule of thumb, but the farther form any discernible centre someone is, the more likely they are to believe in conspiracies and reject science.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Cooldude

Hall of Famer
Dec 12, 2003
47,823
29,233
Melbourne
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Bombers/Liverpool FC
This QAnon bullshit and all this rise of conspiracy theories are the new age kind of "religion/cult"

Religion used to make up preposterous bullshit that got people strung along to join their self-profiting club in exchange for power fantasy, making themselves feel important in a cruel world, and make them think they are warriors of the true cause

QAnon essentially is doing the same thing, all these LARPers can live out their power fantasy thinking they are important pieces in a giant game

They are all cults, religions are cults of a spiritual nature whereas QAnon is a political cult, but they all operate with similar methods: if you can somehow program the people to believe and do the most ridiculous and stupidest things, then they will follow absolutely everything you say from there on; you have essentially removed the safety in their brains

The far right are using these cult-like methods to recruit and gain power/profit
 

Chief

Chugging Adrenochrome
Dec 1, 1999
92,646
69,481
Brisbane
AFL Club
Carlton
I hadn’t known anything about this great awakening map.

Art school students in the trance music scene got pilled. One became a B-Grade Insta celeb through creating a huge map of bonkers conspiracies.

I cant remember if this was the one Pete Evans shared?

67F5C24F-505D-42F2-8360-00BD41D14F98.jpeg


02F175C2-21D1-4DC1-9958-44BC654759A6.jpeg


The creator shared it around, pilled a bunch of people (including Q Shaman Jacob Chansley/ Jake Angeli), got his social accounts pumped up and then blocked. Square space dumped his money-making web site.

Basically he was a graphic designer who became addicted to the never-ending content feed. He dedicated his time to the art form of memes, using his graphic design skills.

The trash that he consumed and regurgitated turned into his own beliefs, and came out at the other end as a map that he claimed was a map of reality. In fact it was just a map of his own warped view of reality. Garbage in, garbage out.


We see this across the world, with millions of people consuming utter trash, and then using whatever means they have to advertise that to anyone who will listen.
 
Last edited:

Christopher Buttersnip

Team Captain
Oct 28, 2020
477
980
AFL Club
Melbourne

Chief

Chugging Adrenochrome
Dec 1, 1999
92,646
69,481
Brisbane
AFL Club
Carlton

Toump Ass

Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 14, 2015
8,592
18,153
TOUMPASSO LAND
AFL Club
Melbourne
Hi everyone,

So glad this thread is active! Please ask me anything about QAnon. I've watched hundreds of hours of QAnon documentaries, listened to all the podcasts, read all the drops, and spent days trolling far-right influences on Twitter. I'm an expert on this!

I agree with all that. The rejection of the mainstream institutions and what they represent as accepted fact or knowledge is also what drives the far left and right too. I think that high distrust of those institutions is a root trait of conspiracy theorists and also plays a significant part in the formation of political extremist's affiliations.
True, but as far as QAnon goes there has been a deliberate and sophisticated effort to radicalise the new age hippie types with far-right beliefs. For instance, the Pizzagate hashtag is replaced by a "Save the Children" meme that your local Byron Bay guru shares on their Instagram page... really clever stuff.
 

chunkylover53

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 13, 2008
6,467
13,523
From Where You'd Rather Be
AFL Club
Carlton
Hi everyone,

So glad this thread is active! Please ask me anything about QAnon. I've watched hundreds of hours of QAnon documentaries, listened to all the podcasts, read all the drops, and spent days trolling far-right influences on Twitter. I'm an expert on this!

True, but as far as QAnon goes there has been a deliberate and sophisticated effort to radicalise the new age hippie types with far-right beliefs. For instance, the Pizzagate hashtag is replaced by a "Save the Children" meme that your local Byron Bay guru shares on their Instagram page... really clever stuff.
How do all the predictions and news keep coming out despite "Q" not "dropping" anything since December 9th??
 

Remove this Banner Ad

Remove this Banner Ad