Home > Uncategorized > QAnon and blood libel accusations – posted 7/4/2021

QAnon and blood libel accusations – posted 7/4/2021

I pretend to no special expertise about the cult conspiracy theory QAnon. I tried to watch the HBO special about it and I could not get through it. I have marveled at the number of followers swept up by the cult.

The Public Religion Research Institute did a new national survey that found 15% of Americans buying into QAnon. The survey found white evangelicals and Hispanic Protestants were the most susceptible to the QAnon theory. The survey found a strong correlation between consuming right wing media sources and accepting QAnon conspiracy theory.

QAnon’s prominence in Trumpworld is undeniable. Looking at the New York Times video about January 6, QAnon supporters figured prominently. Many carried signs and wore clothing emblazoned with references to Q. Names come to mind like Jacob Chansley(the QAnon shaman), Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert: all have some connection to the Q universe.

Two QAnon supporters died on January 6 at the Capitol. In the melee, Rosanne Boyland, a Georgia woman, died from accidental acute amphetamine intoxication. It had earlier been reported she was trampled by the crowd. Ashli Babbitt, a California woman, was shot and killed by a U.S. Capitol police officer.

Why so many would join QAnon remains a mystery. A friend recently told me that Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro and Tom Hanks were all pedophiles who drink the blood of children. He said it with absolute certainty and he referred me to youtube videos for confirmation. He said that Trump is fighting against a global network of Hollywood celebrities and deep staters populating the federal government.

QAnon rests on the theory that Trump is fighting a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global sex-trafficking operation. QAnon supporters believe there is a storm coming that will sweep away elites in power and will restore rightful leaders. They also think American patriots may have to resort to violence to save the country.

It should go without saying that the idea there is a conspiracy of blood-drinking pedophiles out there utterly defies any notion of credibility. Meryl Streep, a blood-drinking pedophile? Please. You have to ask: how can people believe it and where do such whacked-out, far-fetched ideas come from?

History provides an answer. QAnon is not the first to assert there is a cabal of blood drinkers. Over the last 1,000 years, it is a frequently recurring trope. It has been deployed by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, and by Catholics against heretics. Talia Lavin has written:

”…it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents – and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed.”

Most commonly, the accusation of ritual murder took the form of a blood libel against the Jews. The blood libel accusation was that Jews stole the blood of Christian children. The accusation was often made around Passover as Jews were supposed to require Christian blood to make matzo.

In his book, The Accusation, Edward Berenson described some other forms of the blood libel:

“Jews supposedly cleansed themselves of sin by bathing in Christian blood, used it for their weekly Sabbath ceremonies and considered it a cure for various diseases and disabilities, including impotence.”

The blood libel has been anything but harmless. During the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Jews in Europe were accused of ritual murder every few years and thousands of Jews were tortured and murdered.

In the late nineteenth century, rhetorical violence against Jews became extreme. In Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Poland and Russia, newspapers spread anti-semitic lies that ritual murder of Christian children played an essential role in the Jewish religion. The myth was that Jews were murdering Christian children pursuant to Talmudic law. Allegedly, Jews needed the blood of young Christians to mix with Passover wine as ingredients for matzo.

Pogroms against Jewish communities spread through Russia, Austria-Hungary, and eastern Germany. Anti-semites looted Jewish shops and taverns, ransacked Jewish homes and acted out violently, battering and killing Jews.

QAnon connected up with and follows in this tradition of junk thought. While the QAnon movement is diverse and evolving, you do not see any denunciations of anti-semitism or white supremacy coming out of that movement. Since Twitter banned QAnon after the Capitol attack, one Q influencer named GhostEzra has emerged on Telegram spewing anti-semitic memes.

From my exposure, I would say that Q people see themselves as soldiers fighting a good fight pursuing a quest to punish bad guys. The problem is the underlying irrationality of the QAnon movement. It does not appear to matter how implausible their belief system is. Nor does it matter if there is evidence in support of the theory. This is a movement absolutely contrary to evidence-based science.

QAnon, anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, gun confiscation paranoids and believers in Trump’s Big Lie of a stolen election have all junked rationality. They all inhabit an anti-intellectual universe where subjective belief is all that matters. Nutty opinions are the norm and clear thinking is a casualty.

On July 3 at a campaign stop in Florida, Trump himself provided a good explanation for how he gets his followers (including QAnon believers) to believe nonsense. He said:

“There’s a word: disinformation. If you say it enough and keep saying it – just keep saying it – and they’ll start to believe you.”

This is no different than what Joseph Goebbels used to say: ”Make the lie big, keep it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.”

It is hard to know where the QAnon movement is headed or how it will survive predictions that never happen and turn out to be false. QAnon has made inroads into New Age spirituality groups. Some wellness and yoga adherents have embraced QAnon’s conspiratorial world view.

QAnon has shredded families who have to cope in the wake of a family member’s indoctrination. It can be extremely painful as non-believers can be seen as an enemy.

The cult expert Steven Hassan believes QAnon is structured like a psychological warfare operation that is akin to brainwashing and sophisticated manipulation. He stresses that it is average people who are involved who started out seeking information and answers during an uncertain time. The pandemic and its social isolation created more favorable conditions for the growth of QAnon.

Hopefully, QAnon will crash and burn. As an inheritor of the blood libel theory, its danger must not be underestimated.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Elly Phillips
    July 5, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Keep writing Jon!

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