Posts Tagged ‘Q-Anon’

Conspiracy theories and official lies

March 9, 2021

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G.K. Chesterton remarked that when people stop believing in Christianity, they don’t believe in nothing.  Rather they become willing to believe in anything.

I think the same thing is true of belief in the credibility of the government or the mainstream news organizations. 

When people stop believing in the official version of events, a lot of them don’t adopt a position of skepticism.  They look for something else to uncritically believe in.

Public opinion polls indicate that barely half the American people believe that Joe Biden was legitimately elected President of the United States.

One in five think protesters were justified to storm the Capitol to prevent Biden’s victory from being certified.  Forty-five percent of registered Republicans believe this.

Why would people doubt that Biden was legitimately elected? 

Donald Trump, the previous President of the United States, says he wasn’t, and a certain number of Republicans and conservative writers and broadcasters back him up.

On the other hand, the Democratic Party, a certain number of Republicans and the overwhelming majority of broadcasters and journalists say he was.

Why would anybody automatically believe the second group over the first group?  They don’t have a great track record. 

In the runup to the election, there was a clampdown on reporting about the relationship of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, with corrupt a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch.

After the election, I read article after article in my local newspaper stating that Trump had “falsely” claimed that the election was rigged, without any details about what he claimed or why his claim was false.  This information is available, but you have to know how to look for it.

As soon as Biden was sworn in, Trump was banned from Twitter and other social media.  Parler, a new platform for web sites, was shut down; it had attracted a lot of right-wingers and Trump supporters who’d been banned from other sites.

Silencing people is not a good way to convince them they are wrong.  What it does is make them think that you are afraid to let people hear what they have to say.

If I was told by a President of the United States whom I’d voted for and whom I trusted that the election was being stolen, I think I’d believe him.  I wouldn’t trust his discredited enemies.  I might even go to Washington to protest. 

In fact, as I recall, a lot of self-described liberals and progressives went to Washington to protest the election of Donald Trump.  They regarded his election as illegitimate.  Some talked of having members of the Electoral College violate their pledges in order to block Trump.

I wouldn’t have taken part in any storming of the Capitol, but I might be inclined to make excuses for it, just as some people make excuses for the vandalism and looting that has accompanied some of the Black Lives Matter protests.

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The fallacy of the single evil

January 13, 2021

C.S. Lewis wrote somewhere that the devil always sends his temptations in twos, so that in backing away from one, you are liable to stumble into the other.

That’s very true of political temptations.

The cult-like behavior of hard-core Donald Trump loyalists, and of Q-Anon followers in particular, is a great danger to functioning of American democracy.

How can I engage in democratic discourse with people who are disconnected from reality as I see it?

But the drive to censor MAGA Republicans, including Q-Anon, is an equal danger.

How can I engage in democratic discourse with people and at the same time deny them a voice?

People who are silenced do not think they are refuted.

And I would be naive if I thought that censorship will be limited to persons and causes I disapprove of.

LINKS

Q-Anon and the Fragility of Truth by Nathan J. Robinson for Current Affairs.

The Man Who Saw the Coup Coming Is Surprised It Wasn’t Much Worse by Cam Wolf for GQ.

QAnon Woke Up the Real Deep State by Nicolas Grossman for Arcdigital Media.

The Terror of Liberals in a Time of Insurrection by Ian Welsh.

The Boot Is Coming Down Hard and Fast by Caitlin Johnstone.

Images via vitaliketh on Twitter.