Philosophy normally follows a top-down approach. Great thinkers put together a view of reality or a strategy to deal with reality which then flows down to their people or is transmitted to other thinkers who repurpose the views or strategies to their particular reality and then it flows down to their people and so on.
For example, the idea of civil disobedience by American philosopher Henry David Thoreau influenced many people in the US. But it also influenced the Indian political leader Mohandas Gandhi who incorporated it into his ideas of non-violence, and this in turn influenced the people of India in their struggle for independence from Britain. The ideas of both Thoreau and Gandhi also influenced the American minister Martin Luther King Jr. who incorporated them into the civil rights movement. When ideas flow in this fashion, they are coherent because they are carefully researched and articulated by exceptionally talented deep-thinking minds.
But have you ever wondered what would happen if the process went in the opposite direction? What would happen if millions of average people participated in crafting a view of reality put together from their combined average wisdom, beliefs, and experience? What ideas would they articulate? What sources of inspiration would they use? Well, no need to wonder anymore because this has already happened and you have witnessed some of the results. It’s called QAnon.
As I mentioned before, QAnon got started when somebody claiming to work at the Department of Energy and to have Q level clearance started posting anonymously enigmatic tidbits of information called Q drops in an image board called 4chan. Most of these Q drops where nothing more than gibberish spiced with innuendo, but people were encouraged to “do their research” and find their meaning. And this they did, spawning a fantastical and dangerous view of reality that has as a central tenet that Trump is fighting a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who control the world and kidnap and torture children to drink their blood. In this post we will take a look at some QAnon ideas, tropes, symbols, and their origin.
The Pedophile Ring at Comet Ping Pong
The conspiracy that spawned the central pillar of the QAnon world view was derived from Pizzagate. This was the claim that Hillary Clinton and other Democrats were running a pedophile operation in the basement of a pizza place in Washington DC called Comet Ping Pong (which has no basement). This claim was put together by 4chan posters interpreting “coded messages” in the e-mails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, released by Wikileaks. With the appearance of Q, the Pizzagate conspiracy was spun to have a worldwide reach, and involve many other actors engaging in much more than pedophilia.
Controlling the World and Drinking the Blood of Children
These are claims that have been made in the past about Jews. A book still popular in anti-Semitic circles entitled The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, published in Russia in 1903, claimed that there was a secret plan by Jews to dominate the world. The “blood libel” was a claim that Jews would kidnap Christian children and drain them of their blood to use in religious rituals. Some of the posts by Q and other posters in the 4chan board have been against prominent Jews or Jews in general.
This is supposed to be a potent drug that the satanic pedophiles harvest from the blood of tortured children to consume and sell. This absurd notion was derived from Hunter Thompson’s 1971 novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which was made into a movie starring Johnny Depp in 1998.
Follow the White Rabbit
Originally derived from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol, the “follow the white rabbit” trope is taken from the 1999 movie The Matrix, where the central character, Neo, played by actor Keanu Reeves, is asked to “follow the white rabbit”. Neo does follow a person with a white rabbit tattoo to a place where he meets those who will free him from the Matrix. For QAnon believers, following the white rabbit means following the path to discover the truth.
Taking the Red Pill or Red Pilling
This is another Matrix movie reference. It’s when Neo choses to take the red pill and learns the truth that is hidden about the world around him.
Where We Go One, We Go ALL (WWG1WGA)
The most recognized slogan of QAnon comes from a 1996 movie directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Jeff Bridges called White Squall. The trailer for the movie also features the words “the calm before the storm” (see below).
During a White House function, Donald Trump uttered an enigmatic reference to “the calm before the storm”, and within days Q alluded to this moment. Q’s followers then interpreted the storm to mean the day Trump would triumph over the satanic pedophile cabal whose members would then be arrested and executed. The storm was supposed to happen around the time Trump would be inaugurated to a second term.
Tip Top Tippy-Top Shape
QAnon followers believe that Trump communicates with them through symbolism and coded messages. But a follower once requested that Q ask Donald Trump to say the specific words “tip top tippy-top shape” as a shout out to the community. A few months later during the White House Easter Egg Roll, Trump said just that and he said it standing next to a person dressed as a white rabbit! QAnons were ecstatic and presented this "evidence" to all as proof that everything was real. The problem with this is that "tip top tippy-top shape" is a phrase that Trump had used on several occasions before the request.
The above are some of the “mainstream” (yes, don’t laugh) QAnon ideas, beliefs, tropes, and symbols. There are other other QAnon beliefs that are not shared by the majority of QAnon followers. For example, some claim the members of the Satan-worshipping cabal of pedophiles are really lizard people who have adopted human form.
QAnon is truly a philosophy by the people for the people. No Thoreaus, or Gandhis, or Martin Luther Kings were involved in crafting it. It is a bottom-up crowd-inspired fantastical narrative about the world, its society, and its people, spun from the interpretation of the cryptic utterances of an anonymous poster in an image board. It is a crazy quilt made from stitching shards of reality with old and new unfounded conspiracy theories, fantasies, coded messages, symbols, and book and movie quotes and stories. If QAnon were the product of some fan fiction community that would be one thing, but millions of people ended up not only contributing to create it but also believing this nonsense. And even more disturbing, some of them were and still are willing to act on their beliefs.
The photographs of Henry David Thoreau by Benjamin D. Maxham, of Mohandas Ghandi by Elliott & Fry, and of Martin Luther King from the Nobel foundation, are in the public domain. The typing image from pixabay by Wallusy is free for public use and has been modified.