In half a decade we’ve gone from Jeb Bush making a serious run for president to Marjorie Taylor Greene running unopposed and winning a House seat in Georgia. QAnon came seemingly out of nowhere, but taps into a much deeper and older series of conspiracy theories that have surfaced, resurfaced, and been remixed throughout time.
Essentially, QAnon is a recycling of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy theory that drove the Nazi ideology and led to the genocide of over 6 million Jews, gypsies, gays, and others who made Hitler mad. It’s wrapped in a bunch of other dangerous myths, paranoid delusions, and invented “alternative facts,” but shares its common DNA with the kind of conspiratorial paranoia that led to the deaths of over 75 million people in World War II.
The spread of the QAnon conspiracy theory greatly benefits from this long historical memory, by getting a generous marketing boost from piggybacking on sheer familiarity. It also benefits from an authoritarian mentality growing louder in America, with a predilection for magical thinking and a susceptibility to conspiratorial thinking.
Conspiracy theories have been around much longer even than the Protocols — stretching back about as long as recorded history itself. In an increasingly complex world brimming with real-time communication capabilities, the cognitive appeal of easy answers may be stronger than ever before.
|4chan||A notorious internet message board with an unruly culture capable of trolling, pranks, and crimes.||alt-Right|
|8chan||If 4chan wasn't raw and lawless enough for you, you could try the even more right-wing "free speech"-haven 8chan while it still stood (now 8kun). Described by its founder Frederick Bennan as "if 4chan and reddit had a baby," the site is notorious for incubating Gamergate, which morphed into PizzaGate, which morphed into QAnon -- and for generally being a cesspool of humanity's worst stuff.||alt-Right|
|9/11 truthers||People who believe the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City in 2001 were either known about ahead of time and allowed to happen, or were intentionally planned by the US government.|
|alien abduction||People who claim to have been captured by intelligent life from another planet, taken to a spaceship or other plane of existence, and brought back -- as well as the folks who believe them.||UFOs now real, nbd|
|American carnage||Evocative of "immense loss" in the Nazi mythology|
|Antifa||Antifa is anti-fascism, so the anti-anti-fascists are just fascists wrapped in a double negative. The real cancel culture -- and a dangerous one.|
|Anti-Semitism||One of history's oldest hatreds, stretching back to early biblical times|
|birtherism||One of Donald Trump's original Big Lies -- that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S. and therefore, wasn't a "legitimate" president.|
|Black Lives Matter|
|Crossing the Rubicon|
|John Birch Society||The QAnon of its day (circa 1960s), this extreme right-wing group was theoretically about anti-communist ideals but espoused a host of conspiracy theories and outlandish beliefs|
|micro-propaganda machine||MPM||the “micro-propaganda machine” — an influence network that can tailor people’s opinions, emotional reactions, and create “viral” sharing (��LOL/haha/��RAGE) episodes around what should be serious or contemplative issues|
|New World Order|
|One World Government|
|Protocols of the Elders of Zion|
|"Stand back and stand by"|
|ZOG||Zionist ---- Government|