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comment by am_Unition

I think you do a disservice to the severity of a terrifying new epidemic. The Book of Revelation is:

1. 1,950 years old. QAnon is a new wave of memetic lunacy that has popped up within the last two years.

2. Rife with symbolism. QAnon states, with no uncertainty, what is going on and who the "bad" actors are (Democrats, duh).

3. Set in the mythical future, and thus unfalsifiable. The QAnon, erm, movement takes place in the present and near past, and completely disregards all factual evidence against it (which is abundant) to the contrary.

No, what we are seeing here is mankind's ability to delude itself en masse, assisted by the internet. What remains to be understood is the necessary size of a "core" group of members (presumably malicious?) to influence X% of the population, or whether or not this is actually a natural phenomenon that occurs when you disrupt traditional hierarchies of information flow. Unfortunately, there is nothing historically analogous to the impact that internet has had and will continue to have on civilization.

I know that you're pointing out that these are the same people strange enough to give credence to the Book of Revelation, but this is on another level, and we're nowhere close to understanding this yet.

I'm not optimistic about it getting any better anytime soon.

edit: and I should explicitly note that this is not really about QAnon so much as it is QAnon as a litmus test of ideological susceptibility.




tacocat  ·  77 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Basically the insane man with the conspiracy pamphlet shouting in a park in the 90s or earlier had an audience but he didn't have a vehicle for his message outside of the copier at the library. Now he has a mass audience and a vehicle and it turns out a lot of people are really stupid, they just were never exposed to the right level of stupid to make them dangerous

PTR  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    they just were never exposed to the right level of stupid to make them dangerous

I mean, yes. But this type of politicking is not new. The fourth and fifth pages are most relevant.

tacocat  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The stuff he mentions as archaic paranoid style is still around though and added with the new style you get these byzantine conspiracy theories like Qanon. Alex Jones has this ever evolving mythology that he creates on the fly to fit his paranoid worldview. My point being that there's always been an audience for this, we just didn't know how many people bought into the "lizard people are using chemtrails to turn the frogs gay for the benefit of the NWO and illuminati" until the Alex Joneses and David Ickes got a mass media platform instead of remaining on public access cable and self publishing bullshit right into bankruptcy. Where they deserve to be.

PTR  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Right, I'm clear on your point, but where you think no one knew how many people could be duped, I think it's pretty clear someone knew and planned for it. The paranoid gullibility of the American populace isn't an unstudied field, and these media personalities/platforms banked their success on it - make explicit reference to it in the case of Andrew Anglin/Daily Stormer. Like...you mention "Illuminati" right here, but that actually has roots in anti-Masonic paranoia from waaay back (that tie is made in the Hofstadter paper too).

I think we're making the same point. I'm just adding that the buildup to this level of conspiratorial frenzy is a decades-long process that's a pretty well-known and anticipated feature of the American electorate. Also, that the historical efforts and reach of political paranoia were more effective than you give them credit for (i.e. yes, they reached "mass audiences" in the 1800s). The Internet's advent didn't make this phenomena some new strange beast of our age - it's been around, relatively unchanged, for quite a while.

tacocat  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I think it's pretty clear someone knew and planned for it.

That's an incredibly paranoid line of reasoning in itself.

Someone noticed and took advantage of it. Someone being Donald Trump because he's stupid enough himself to buy this shit and politically naive enough not to distance himself from it as the Ron Pauls of the past have done.

PTR  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Lol more like a candid description of Machiavellianism than paranoia, but I hear you. There's a fair bit of hysteria in my views as well. Among friends, I've started ending all my political ramblings with, "...but I'm an extremist, so maybe don't listen to me."

Shit's weird, bud. Stay afloat.

am_Unition  ·  77 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Combined with record-breaking levels of distrust in longstanding institutions and authority, the flames of which are fanned by the fucking POTUS.

tacocat  ·  77 days ago  ·  link  ·  

He fans them but they helped him get elected in the first place. There are a lot of unintended consequences like Joe Scarborough on MSNBC putting him on his show for ratings and Rupert Murdoch putting him on his network for the same reason. I'm not deflecting blame, I'm partially deflecting ill intent at money instead of at pure malice. Which isn't all that comforting to me in the end because I still have to trust the mechanism that got us here to undo the damage it did. I just try to find comfort in small victories which might be self delusion in itself

b_b  ·  76 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I meant that some people are taking this joke way too far.

    No, what we are seeing here is mankind's ability to delude itself en masse, assisted by the internet. What remains to be understood is the necessary size of a "core" group of members (presumably malicious?) to influence X% of the population, or whether or not this is actually a natural phenomenon that occurs when you disrupt traditional hierarchies of information flow. Unfortunately, there is nothing historically analogous to the impact that internet has had and will continue to have on civilization.

Not sure how this is antithetical to my point. Bunch of morons taking a joke way too far to the detriment of all humankind. Sounds literally exactly like the evangelical fascination with Revelation (which was a political cartoon when originally written).

am_Unition  ·  76 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You know, it's strange, I went to Sunday School almost every week for about 15 years, and no one ever happened to mention that Revelation was political in nature. And especially not a joke. Are those widely held beliefs? I mean, among biblical scholars?

Fun fact: the sign of the beast... sin(666)... is exactly the negative of half of the golden ratio, phi (1.6180337889...). So we're all going to heaven, basically

b_b  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I went to Sunday school but in Episcopal church, which is more like just learning that white people are rich and live in big houses and no one really takes the Jesus thing seriously we just don't really like Catholics. I never really heard of Revelation when I was a kid. The first time I remember hearing about the Rapture was on an episode of the Simpsons when Flanders' family gets Raptured.

This is a decent primer into the political nature of Revelation: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/03/05/big-reveal

Also, WTF?!??! How is that even possible about the golden ratio? That can't be a coincidence, right? Was that part of the joke? Was the golden ratio even discussed in Roman times? Did they use degrees? I'm so confused right now.

am_Unition  ·  16 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I never did manage to figure out a possible explanation for the 666 thing. Any research using the internet typically devolves into batshit craycray very quickly.