This is the Post-Truth era: we favour ‘projected’ realities to the real; the grand narratives to truth; and hyped rhetoric to informed speech. Therefore, there’s no surprise when conspiracy theorists like QAnon make an appearance. Premonitions about an ideological downslide did not occur to the past century's innovators who predicted slimmer televisions and phones in twenty years. Sure, their predictions about technological advances bore fruit and we have machines that can keep up with the human mind or better still, hustle past it. But whatever hope modernity and humanistic reason built up is now facing a plunge.
There’s another struggle that we are forced to face while also battling it out on a scientific level with the coronavirus – it’s against lies and baseless claims. The virus is new and we still do not know all of its virulent traits. Political leaders are seeing their vulnerabilities come to light. There couldn’t have been a better breeding ground for conspiracies than this state of dual uncertainty. From judgement days to apocalyptic parallels, this year is certainly luring out a range of interpretations. Of these, QAnon occupies centre-stage.
It’s impossible to not sigh with utter disappointment while reading QAnon's claims. The conspiracists believe that the entire world is controlled by a secret Satanist paedophile-faction. For them, Donald Trump is the saviour who will unearth this secret and have the deep state's ‘wrong-doers’ executed. Violence gets a rather easy justification in their books. They call this much-awaited event, “The Storm.” But that isn’t all – their extended beliefs include considering the pandemic a hoax, vaccines, an unsafe Jewish experiment (not to mention the anti-Semitism of the conspiracists), and alien space-ships, real. They even spearhead an anti-mask movement. The objectives and ideas of QAnon make us question the dichotomy between what’s true and not.
This fanatic group has evolved from a small web discussion to a mass mobilization that has extended its arm beyond America. As new research suggests, QAnon also furthered its activity by bringing a genuine cause like ‘Save The Children’ under its umbrella of conspiracies. Despite YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook shutting down networks of QAnon on their platforms, these find a way to persist. Nearly 114 groups identifying themselves as philanthropic entities function virtually and they tap the worries of the public by using anti-trafficking concerns to their own advantage. This is, in fact, characteristic of the post-truth ideal that appeals to emotions than reason.
These theories do make us wonder what really brought this trend into existence. An overwhelming majority of our thoughts might point at the decline of transparency. It is true that when crises strike, the administration ends up installing an information gap between itself and the people. The public remains in the dark about what’s going on and unproven claims seep right into this puzzle. A sense of legitimacy is added to the claim When people like potential Congressional candidates or the President himself indirectly acknowledges trifling words as truth. Such a chain of irresponsible attitudes is all that these virtual cults require to thrive.
It's a mystery whether these leaders know fully well about what they’re signing up for or not. The method they perceive as a winning aid could boomerang. Since the onus of containing out-and-about mobilizations of conspiracists falls on the public, it's better we hold on to reason in this fight against post-truths. Do what we can and the way out of this muddle might just come soon.