Here's How QAnon Has Been Rationalizing the First Month of the Biden Presidency

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Here's How QAnon Has Been Rationalizing the First Month of the Biden Presidency

Is there any period of time that exists, in our current political landscape, that is short enough to not feel like a lifetime has passed during it? A month is, by any normal measure, just a blip in the timeline of an average human lifespan. But a month spent in the quagmire of social media, cataloging the insane views of people who regularly call for the abduction and televised executions of other Americans? Well, time passes rather differently when that’s your nightly ritual.

This was something I experienced for myself in the months following the Nov. 3 election, which was ultimately won (via huge popular vote margin, and a distressingly small electoral college one) by Joe Biden, making him the 46th President of the United States and consigning Donald Trump to the annals of one-term, twice-impeached losers. Having grown particularly fascinated by the intensity of belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory on the far-right in the months leading up to the election, I decided to more or less embed myself as deeply in their world as possible as a means of trying to understand how they operate, what they believe, and why they choose to believe proven falsehoods. This took the form of endlessly browsing threads on Twitter, on Parler (now back from the dead) on Gab, on Telegram and more in the period between Election Day and Inauguration Day, observing how Q influencers continued to rationalize Trump’s defeat and promise that everything would still be okay as long as followers continued to “Trust the Plan.” I then assembled more than 100 images collected during that period into this long essay on QAnon, in my attempt to provide a comprehensive primer on the potent combination of delusion, rage and depression that steers this community from day to day.

That piece went live on Inauguration Day, as many Q believers (who mostly refer to themselves simply as “anons”) were grappling with the crushing disappointment that Donald Trump didn’t magically reappear in D.C. and cast Joe Biden (physically or metaphorically) into the lake of fire. This all sounds like exaggeration, but many Anons had been banking on exactly that sort of divine intervention to prevent Biden from being sworn in that afternoon, and were beside themselves with confusion and despair to not see it happen. In particular, many Q believers were expecting the military that were assembled in D.C. to safeguard the inauguration after the Jan. 6 insurrection/Capitol storming to intervene at the last moment, arresting Biden and ushering in the always delayed “Storm” in which Anons believe all their perceived political enemies will be rounded up and executed. Suffice to say … none of this happened. As always. Meanwhile, Q himself has remained totally silent, having not published anything online in more than two months, and having not written a full sentence in more than three months at this point. Even Trump has been incredibly quiet, as he faces down a laundry list of potential civil and criminal litigation that will likely keep him busy for years.

But if there’s one thing you can always count on when it comes to conspiracy theorists, it’s their ability to retcon every disappointment and humiliation into having been “part of the plan” all along. Within hours after the inauguration, new narratives were emerging to explain how Biden was able to take office on Jan. 20, 2021, ranging from “Trump is still secretly President” to “Biden had to become President in order for Trump to destroy Biden at a later date.” Rest assured, the inauguration of Biden dealt the average QAnon believer a heavy blow, and there has been no shortage of former believers drifting away from the theory in the last month, rediscovering reality in the process. But just as many have clung to their faith in the Q cult as their sole lifeline, many having already seemingly burned all their bridges with former friends and family who might have been able to help. There are some people who are simply “in too deep” to find their way back now.

Along the way, I realized that my time documenting QAnon wasn’t done. I had followed along and attempted to synthesize their beliefs, their mind-bending rhetoric, and their sickening calls for violence in the months leading up to the inauguration, but now I also needed to catalog how the movement was rationalizing life during Biden’s presidency, when it should be obvious to any observer that there was never any substance to Q’s claims. And so, I kept up with following numerous Q influencers—at least those ones who haven’t already run away or gone into hiding, as many did in the wake of the inauguration. And in the course of the last month, I gathered far more images cataloging their sad, delusional state of mind, on topics that range from the expected (Trump’s impeachment trial, COVID-19, the Capitol insurrection) to the farcical (Gamestop stock, the Super Bowl, Saturday Night Live). It’s another deep-dive into the mindset of the millions of Americans who have flocked to far-right social media platforms like Gab, to stew in an echo chamber of fear and hatred, becoming ever more radicalized in the process.

Before I get into all of the many images below, let me reiterate one thing of importance: Many QAnon believers genuinely believe that they’re acting without malice, and that they’re instead part of a grand, holy war against a cabal of Satanic baby eaters who are so evil that any amount of violence is justified. As their predictions fail, and as the foundations of QAnon belief continue to erode, it is possible for them to find reality again, although it may be very difficult and require professional help. You should know that resources exist to aid average people in helping their family members emerge from these delusions, and many of them can be found at subreddits such as r/QAnonCasualities, which is dedicated to providing support and advice to those who feel they’ve lost friends or loved ones to the allure of conspiracy theories. As their slogan goes: “Learn to heal, deal and deprogram.”

Now, here’s how QAnon has been dealing with the first month of the Biden presidency.

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Biden Isn’t President, aka. “Military Is In Control”

The most prevailing new conspiracy theory to coalesce into widespread acknowledgement since the Jan. 20 inauguration among QAnon proponents is the one that (of course) tells them exactly what they want to hear: Joe Biden isn’t really the President right now. To some of the less radicalized right-wing pundits who are just dipping a toe into QAnon beliefs, this is meant as a symbolic rebuke of Biden’s presidency, and a way to say “Trump is still my President.” Many QAnon believers, though, mean this literally—they are contending that Joe Biden is not the 46th President of the United States right now, and that the entire Biden administration is effectively a hoax of the Deep State being pulled off with special effects and fake White House sets, while Trump apparently bides his time doing the job of the actual President.

Like so many QAnon beliefs, this one opens itself up immediately to intense cognitive dissonance generated by the fact that Anons are also furious about Biden’s actions as President. Which means that many of them are simultaneously enraged about the content of Biden’s executive orders, while also claiming he’s not actually President and isn’t able to make executive orders. Some are still holding out hope that ongoing litigation related to the election will somehow reverse the results of our democratically conducted Presidential election. But far more are resting their hopes on the U.S. military, which they believe will overthrow Biden and reinstall Trump as President once again.

Suffice to say, QAnon has a complex relationship with the U.S. military, venerating and worshiping at the altar of soldiers on most occasions but then going into spastic fits of rage if any member of the military implies their loyalty to the country or the Constitution rather than personal loyalty to Donald Trump. In effect, QAnon believers need to love the military, because it’s almost always a key element of their salvation as they imagine it, and many Q believers wish they possessed the authority of the military themselves. When an Anon says to “Trust the Plan,” the plan they’re referring to usually implies mass arrests and executions carried out by the military. Thus, the presence of so many military and National Guard in cities such as Washington D.C. both excites and infuriates Anons—excites, because they hope the troops are there to perform a coup on Biden, and infuriates because the troops are clearly there to protect Biden and co. from the violence of Anons, of the sort that attacked the Capitol. Once again, this creates cognitive dissonance, as some Anons claim the military has betrayed them, while others continue to wait for that grand, prophetic moment when all the soldiers reveal themselves to be secret Trump Gestapo. Which of course, the Anons see as a best case scenario rather than a nightmare one.

Here then, is a sample of the “Biden isn’t president” and “military is in control” chatter that dominates sites such as Gab these days.

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This is just about the perfect mixture of veiled threat and cryptic “we are in control” attitude for your average QAnon post. Just enough feel-good content to keep the reader around for one more day, but no actual substance of any kind.

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This pretty much lays out the current tone of belief from top to bottom. In this world, Trump is off secretly establishing a new “sovereign republic” (much more on this, and March 4, later) while Biden operating in the White House is all for show. What this would accomplish on the part of the Deep State, I have no idea, but not even your average Anon would be able to explain the point of the deception. They just accept that it exists. Other choice bits here:

1. “All the constitutional preconditions are met for the military to take full control.” QAnon believers love citing nonexistent constitutional passages, or misreading contextless snippets of the Constitution, which they believe makes them de facto scholars of constitutional law.

2. “We really are ‘watching a movie,” and you should be FAR less anxious than you likely currently feel.” The metaphor of describing all the supposed behind-the-scenes actions of Q and Trump as being “a movie” is a deeply appealing idea to Anons, because it implies that everything is in righteous, powerful hands—and more importantly that they don’t really have to do anything themselves for everything to work out okay. To this end, a lot of the work of Q influencers comes down to “decreasing the anxiety of Anons” by offering these sorts of platitudes, usually followed up with a pitch to “buy my book” or support them financially in some way. All in all, it always comes back to grift.

3. “Justice will come when it is ready.” AKA, “justice will always be right around the corner.” This is the foundation of QAnon as it existed in 2017, and as it exists in 2021. As with any cult, deliverance is always juuuust over the next ridge. Believers are kept perpetually on the hook, where they can be hit up for more donations. This continues for as long as it can possibly be maintained.

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Searching for constant numerical clues is of course a foundational aspect of QAnon as well, as it is with many conspiracy theories. To this effect, Anons constantly cite any numerical coincidence as proof that they’re receiving secret messages from Trump or other entities that are working on Trump’s behalf. Here, they think they’re getting messages from the military, and that the military is secretly proclaiming Biden to be a “foreign entity” in plain sight via coded military salute. And unfortunately, there’s no alternate interpretation because this guy clearly states that “there can be NO mistake about this.”

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QAnon believers LOVE to place undue importance upon procedural steps, bureaucracy and technicalities. Here, one of them believes that because the exact moment of Biden’s inauguration didn’t fall at precisely noon on Jan. 20, 2021, that means Biden isn’t actually President. Never mind the fact that the inauguration of previous Presidents also didn’t occur at precisely noon—this matters NOW, because they’ve seen too many courtroom dramas with stunning conclusions based around legal loopholes.

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I think this fellow believes that all 50 state capitols are also under military control, probably in some scheme related to The Storm, but it’s hard to tell. He also makes a reference to Trump having “8 more years,” as many Anons believe that Trump’s first term ultimately won’t count when he regains the Presidency, due to “failed impeachments,” etc. Why they believe that the Senate acquitting a President gives them more eligibility to be President, I’m not sure, but it’s probably best not to ask.

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This is the sort of back-and-forth of confusion and disagreement that is happening constantly on Gab right now, between Anons who are either furious at the Biden administration’s use of the military, and those who claim Biden has no power over the military. The first guy tries to characterize Biden as a dictator who is protecting himself with troops stationed in D.C. The people below argue the opposite—it was TRUMP who deployed those troops there, and they answer to him, not to Biden. The user Chris ZEE sums up the painful cognitive dissonance when he asks “Are the troops here to arrest 60% of Congress, or to protect them?” They really don’t know what to believe, and without Q to TELL them, both sides have gained traction.

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Guys like the second commenter here really feel like the types of QAnon believers who are most likely to wake up from their delusion at some point. The first guy, typing things like “infant slaughterer” and “Itlay,” is probably a lost cause. The second guy seems to realize how absurd it is to believe that the military is secretly conducting martial law in the U.S. without anyone realizing it … but he hasn’t quite broken through yet to the realization that this is because the entire Q fantasy is a self-sustaining fabrication. I hope he’ll get there eventually.

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In early February, the military of Myanmar overthrew the democratically elected government, effectively installing themselves in a dictatorship. The world reacted with fear that this would lead to another wave of brutality and oppression in Myanmar/Burma, as has been the case in previous military overthrows there, but QAnon believers welcomed the news ecstatically. Far from being concerned about the establishment of a military dictatorship, they instead pointed to Myanmar as an example of how great military overthrows and dictatorships are. Because Q believers have been trained to distrust the democratic process, many wish to destroy representative government entirely. If that means military dictatorship, they’re super excited about that possibility, confident that this would be a good thing because it’s their enemies that would be targeted for reprisals in the new regime, rather than them. It all comes back to a profound lack of any basic sense of empathy for other human beings.

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The QAnon dream scenario, after the military overthrows the U.S. government, is that the same military then administers a “military controlled paper ballot re-do of the 2020 fraudlection,” because there’s nothing that says “democracy” like military controlled elections. Anons accuse Biden of being some kind of tin pot dictator, and then demand we throw out the Constitution they claim to love in order to implement the governance style of actual tin pot dictators.

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Naturally, Anons tend to be totally oblivious to the fact that they’re essentially saying that Trump is now the Deep State.

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Gab Culture

When I published that lengthy trip down the QAnon rabbit hole last month, much of the commentary came from Parler, which had been a de facto Q believer hotspot in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. After waves of blowback, however, Parler went dark and has only just returned to functionality.

In the meantime, many Q believers made similar right-wing soapbox social media service Gab their primary home on the web, and many of the screenshots in this piece will come from Gab as a result. And surprise—despite marketing itself as infinitely superior to Parler, Gab is populated by pretty much the exact same people. In fact, its public figurehead, CEO Andrew Torba, is all too happy to constantly share QAnon content, recognizing that this traffic has helped build a once tiny, niche social media service into the de facto center of far-right extremism on the web. That’s when he isn’t claiming that Facebok and Twitter are “serving Satan” or endorsing shockingly misogynistic statements made on his platform.

Below, here’s a little taste of the general vibe of Q-adjacent culture on Gab.

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This guy is the honest-to-god CEO of the company. You don’t have to exaggerate when talking about these folks, because they honestly say things like “If they are not serving God, they are serving Satan” in reference to Twitter and Facebook.

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Who’s ready for some insanely regressive sexism and misogyny? I’m sure that Torba’s defense would presumably be “just because I shared it doesn’t mean I believe it myself,” but it’s a little hard to give a shit when he just sent out a message containing the phrase “women shouldn’t vote” to 2.6 million followers. Also: There’s no shortage of followers rapturously replying about how yeah, women shouldn’t vote!

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It’s now been 101 years since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, and many Gab users still think that was a really bad idea.

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When one commenter tries to speak up that stripping a woman of all her rights and agency doesn’t sound very cool, another fellow arrives to assure him that he just wants a wife that “defers to him,” and wishes we could go back to the 1950s, “when things just kind of worked.” Ah yes, the glorious 1950s, when women obeyed their husbands, Communist witch hunts were all the rage, segregation was the norm, and the Civil Rights Act was still a decade away. What a golden era.

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Some casual antisemitism on Gab.

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Some casual xenophobia on Gab.

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Where you might expect to see the Twitter-sphere sharing recipes for kale smoothies or sourdough bread, on Gab they share … prayers that are “powerful against communism,” intoned in the same way a folk healer might promise that eating whole wasps is “powerful against rheumatism.”

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One of the most disorienting things you see on Gab, Parler or other sites like this is QAnon accounts that will post 10 things in a row about election fraud or Supreme Court challenges, and then make a hard left turn into psychic powers or Christian dream prophecies, totally oblivious to the fact that it makes their “serious political commentary” seem particularly absurd.

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One of the constant talking points of Gab and Co. is that these spaces are for enlightened free thinkers, and that a diversity of opinion is welcomed. Of course, as soon as someone disagrees that person is shouted down and told to leave. Ironically, a site like Twitter ultimately contains a much greater degree of parity in terms of opinion than a place like Gab, which is almost 100% occupied by far-right personalities. They just went and created the very echo chamber that they claim Twitter and Facebook to be.

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For the record: The “positive” in this scenario are the people who want to overturn democratic elections, let the pandemic run wild and routinely call for live, televised executions of their enemies. The “negative” are those people who want to prevent additional COVID-19 deaths, safeguard democracy, and provide a living wage to low-income Americans.

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A constant QAnon refrain is “If Q is a bunch of BS, then why does the left pay attention to Q at all?,” with the obvious implication being that if their enemies acknowledge them, they must be correct. Never mind the fact that Americans are paying attention to the conspiracy group because it was at the center of an insurrection that stormed the U.S. Capitol and led to the death of five people. Never mind the fact that Q believers publicly call for the deaths of elected officials on a regular basis. Those clearly aren’t good reasons to be paying attention.

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I told you, it might have something to do with a lot of your followers threatening to kill people on a regular basis.

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QAnon on COVID-19 and Vaccines

COVID-19 is a deeply disorienting subject for QAnon believers to grapple with, as I detailed in the January timeline. Because no true consensus from Q ever emerged on the virus, some Anons claim it simply doesn’t exist, and has been a hoax all along. Others go in the extreme opposite direction and claim the virus is a “bio-weapon” designed by the likes of Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci himself, to specifically target conservatives and swing the election in Biden’s favor. Still others acknowledge that COVID-19 is real, but simultaneously say they’d rather contract it and potentially die than protect themselves and others with the increasingly available vaccine. Because you know—the vaccine is promoted by Biden, so it must be evil.

Of course, Donald Trump also claims his administration deserves credit for the vaccine, which leaves Anons deeply confused, wondering why their hero would advocate for Americans receiving a vaccine they believe is poison. It’s a classic case of QAnon beliefs coming into direct competition with one another, unable to process an extremely simple reality: Trump likes getting credit for good things, so he wants credit for vaccines that save lives. This isn’t a complicated narrative, but incompatible QAnon beliefs force it into becoming one. They struggled with it after November, and they’re still struggling with it now.

Here are some fresh QAnon COVID-19 and vaccine conspiracies from the first month of the Biden presidency.

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As basic a summation of the QAnon attitude toward the coronavirus pandemic as you could hope for. COVID is all a sham to strip us of our precious liberties to eat in restaurants and attend rodeos and whatnot.

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The irony, of course, is that if all the people like this DID social distance, it would probably lead to us getting back to normal, everyday life much sooner. But dudes like this are so intent on broadcasting their badass, freedom-loving credentials to their audience that they ultimately play a direct role in spreading the virus, ultimately keeping us all quarantined for longer. Behavior like this is literally the source of the problem this guy is railing against.

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Come on down to Oakes Farms, Florida’s premier destination for making “catching a disease” into the primary selling point.

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That’ll teach you to buy pet food from Amazon, you sheep! Jeff Bezos is shipping COVID-19 straight to your door, the dastard.

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QAnon believers have the strangest relationship with the word “research.” Anyone who doesn’t buy into their fabrications “hasn’t done their research.” Meanwhile, to do one’s research involves watching hours of uncited, unreferenced, non-peer-reviewed YouTube videos making breathless claims about lizard people, Flat Earth, aliens and poisoned COVID vaccines. This guy apparently thinks that all those friends of his fighting to get the vaccine will all be dead soon.

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So the vaccine is deadly. But wait, why has Donald Trump demanded credit for the development and distribution of the deadly vaccine? This is an impossible hump for QAnon believers to get past. I’ve seen some attempt to parse it as “he had to champion vaccine creation for public opinion, but he knows his supporters won’t get the poison vaccine.” This, despite Trump telling his supporters to get the vaccine, and repeatedly saying he deserves credit for the vaccine on Twitter. Does it make sense that Trump would want credit for a vaccine that quickly becomes associated with killing people? Or does that sound ridiculous?

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QAnon folks reaching deep into the lingo of Mommy health bloggers to say that the vaccine causes “genetic modification.”

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Some Q believers are even less coy about what is supposedly wrong with the COVID-19 vaccine—they claim it’s literally a “depopulation tool” that is designed to wipe out 10% or more of the entire world population. Because nobody is going to notice 767 million people suddenly dying worldwide, right?

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A compelling argument: “I’d rather catch the virus and die now than potentially be affected by some kind of side effect 20 years from now!” This man has his priorities in order.

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What do you even say in response to “holocausted by a killer vaccine”?

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Other Q people try to make a case that the vaccine isn’t meant to eradicate human life or depopulate the planet, but instead serve as the last chapter of a New World Order-style takeover by the Deep State, in which all citizens are microchipped like in a bad cyberpunk novel. Of course this all has to tie back into Christian theology as well, so the phrase “mark of the beast” gets thrown around a lot.

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Conspiracy Potpourri

In comparison with the period I was observing QAnon influencer accounts between Nov. 3 and Jan. 20, I would say the month after inauguration has felt even more free-wheeling and disorganized in terms of conspiracy speculation. The primary effect of Q himself continuing to be MIA is that there’s no central authority within the ranks of QAnon believers, which leads every Q influencer to carve out their own little fiefdom with its own beliefs, like the former generals of Alexander the Great after his passing. A few major threads have risen to the top during this time, such as the belief many Anons are currently harboring that Trump will be President again come March 4 (see below), but the rest feels a lot like conspiracy word salad. Or as I’ve come to think of it, conspiracy potpourri.

Here’s a smattering of all the random conspiracy talk that proliferates in a place like Gab, unconstrained from a single topic.

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You may have heard the date March 4, 2021 being floated around by conspiracy theorists in your orbit in the last month—allow me to explain why this is a thing. The fixation on this particular date is the result of QAnon believers wholesale borrowing the ideology of previous conspiracy theories, something common within what we’d call a “big tent” conspiracy group, which is able to connect any kind of conspiracy to the larger “truth,” be it faked moon landings or a Flat Earth.

In this case, it comes as a result of Q believers borrowing the ideology of the so-called “Sovereign Citizen” movement, which chooses to believe that they are not subject to the laws of the United States government, because that government was secretly dissolved in 1871, making 18th President Ulysses S. Grant the last valid American president. As a result, sovereign citizen believers also claim that all amendments to the Constitution following the 14th Amendment have been invalid, and that the United States has officially been a corporation rather than a country since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration took the country off the gold standard in 1933.

The crux of this theory is that Donald Trump is somehow reestablishing “The Republic of the United States” once again, and will be inaugurated as the new President—technically, the 19th President, and first since Grant—on March 4, which is the date that inaugurations were previously carried out before 1933.

This is all a mouthful, but the short version is this: A lot of QAnon people think that Trump will magically become President again on March 4, thanks to legal loopholes. And this guy’s evidence is … that there are 17 days after President’s Day before March 4. And “Q” is the 17th letter of the alphabet. Because that sounds like proof positive, if you ask me!

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Alternatively, this person seems to believe that a “new election” will be held on or after March 4. Probably administered by the military, because QAnon loves the idea of elections at gunpoint.

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Some of the savvier Q influencers have actually come to notice that making predictions about specific dates (that are always wrong) is bad business when it comes to building a self-sustaining cult, so they caution other Q believers not to post about things like March 4. How do they discourage that kind of behavior? With shaming and insulting names, of course. Specifically, they call making predictions about specific dates “datefagging.” I wish that I was making this up, but I’m not. Datefagging.

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Trump created the Space Force, and therefore it’s the greatest damn branch of the pseudo military there is. Any time now, they’ll get around to using all that satellite data to make it so Biden is no longer President. Any time now.

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People on the far-right, and the smarter Q influencers, sometimes try to defend QAnon ideology by saying things like “The Democrats claim we’re saying the Deep State eats babies, but Anons never actually say that.” But hey, guess what—a shit ton of Anons do indeed think that the Deep State is literally eating babies. They’re really not shy about saying it.

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Another popular pastime: Condemning any Republicans who say a word against Trump to eternal damnation.

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Chemtrails? Why the hell not! All conspiracies, far and wide, are welcome under the QAnon banner.

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Yeah! Downvoting White House videos on YouTube. As I understand it, this will result in Biden being removed from office in the not too distant future.

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You might remember Mike Lindell, the “My Pillow Guy,” for such events from the last month such as “getting kicked off Twitter,” or “advocating for martial law,” or “getting his pillows taken out of every major store chain.” Well, did you know that he also found time to produce and star in a three-hour documentary on election fraud, in which he sweats profusely and mumbles into the camera? Because he did.

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You might also remember how actress Gina Carano was fired from Disney’s The Mandalorian last week for a long history of terrible social media commentary, including when she compared being a conservative in 2021 to being a Jew during the Holocaust. For good measure, these commenters also managed to characterize Disney as a bunch of pedophiles, and possibly be anti-Semitic themselves. Excellent work.

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I have to admit, it is particularly infuriating when QAnon people make this sort of proclamation—that if the government just “answered all of their questions” and “declassified all the intel,” that conspiracy theories would simply go away. As if the person who wrote this post would trust any of the information given to them by their government. It’s like they’re promising to behave sanely in exchange for payment, and then when you pay them, they stick the money into their wallet and say the transaction never happened.

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I think that if you polled Biden voters, you would have a pretty difficult time finding one saying something like “I wish Joe Biden was God.” Not so, with Trump voters. Despite the fact that this is almost certainly considered blasphemy, it’s the sort of thing you see every day on Gab.

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“No, YOU’RE the racist,” said the man currently cheering on a white police officer as he kneels on the neck of a black man gasping for air.

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Some solid speculative fiction, right here. Get this: Trump wants to avoid “a bloody civil war,” so he allowed Biden to win the election in order to illustrate to the American people that Biden would be a terrible president. Then, when the people are begging to have Trump back, the military can just step in and launch a coup, Myanmar style. And best of all, all you need to do to say you helped as a loyal Anon is to sit at your keyboard, writing angry messages to Democrats. What a system! These guys have it all worked out.

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You guys may remember lawyer/raving madman Lin Wood, who led some of the (losing) Georgia election lawsuits on Trump’s behalf, and also represented Kyle Rittenhouse, the kid who shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin. These days, he’s been kicked off just about every social media platform there is, to the point that he doesn’t even communicate with his followers via Gab. Instead, he holds himself to Telegram, where the following, particularly pathetic story played out.

Understandably, Lin’s mental state has come under question in recent months, as he actively told Republican voters to stay home from the polls in the Georgia Senate race in a protest against “election fraud,” while simultaneously accusing those GOP Senate nominees of not fighting hard enough for Trump. Subsequently, after he endorsed the execution of former VP Mike Pence for his supposed betrayal of Trump, he was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation by the State Bar of Georgia if he wanted to keep his license, and refused. He then changed his residence to South Carolina, and is currently under investigation for possibly voting illegally in the November election. In other words, it’s all good things for Lin Wood.

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Lin’s own children have also had enough, presumably shaken by witnessing the man they loved fully commit himself to conspiracy theories and QAnon.

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At this point, what was left for Lin to do but to DOXX HIS OWN SON to an audience of 800,000 people? Every time I come back to this post, I can’t believe that it actually happened. A father invited his 800,000 followers to en masse send messages to his son’s private email, which I have partially obscured below because I have more integrity than Lin Wood. You know that Wood knew full well what kind of high-octane crazy these hundreds of thousands of people would be sending to his son, without any kind of warning. But he did it anyway, and for that he earns a special place in the echelons of reprehensible Trump sycophants.

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Gamestop, Silver, Etc.

I’m not going to dedicate much space to what ended up being a fascinating news story but only a blip in terms of long-term significance. Suffice to say, a lot of column inches were dedicated to the surge of Gamestop (GME) and AMC Theatres stock in late January, and much of the credit was ultimately pushed in the direction of reddit, and r/wallstreetbets in particular. But what most all of the financial publications were missing is that some of the biggest believers in the Gamestop stock surge (and then subsequent attempts to manipulate other stocks and commodities) were QAnon types.

It’s not hard to understand why, either. The Gamestop surge (the current price is roughly 10% of the peak) was socially driven by savvy investors who took advantage of a widespread desire to “stick it to Wall Street elites,” and QAnon believers despise social elites, given that they believe they’re all members of the cabal/Deep State. It was easy, then, for the average Anon to make the leap to “if Gamestop climbs, then I’m hurting the Deep State!” Sadly, this seemed to lead to many QAnon believers investing vast sums of money in hyper-inflated GME shares near the top, only to be decimated by its inevitable fall.

Naturally, this led to a wave of follow-up “we should all buy ___” attempts, most notably the desire to create a “silver squeeze.” Suffice to say, this didn’t happen either.

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In Q world, the thought of crippling “the entire financial system” is an obvious good thing, and not a thing that would result in chaos and financial ruin for most people.

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QAnon communities are absolutely rife with profiteers who are looking for anything they can sell to these people. Precious metals always do well here, as everyone selling “gold-plated” Trump coins will surely attest.

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Sometimes I wonder where these people think they’re going to spend the pounds and pounds of silver they acquire over the course of their lives. I imagine them bringing little bags of silver to fast food restaurants and counting out nuggets on the counter, expecting it to be accepted as legal tender. Maybe they’re imagining bartering with silver after they “take down the financial system” and we’re all living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

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Unrelated News is Q News

Speaking of taking an inherently mundane topic and making it all about Q, Anons tend to be so deeply embedded in Q as an identity that they find it to be relevant in every conceivable conversation. There is no topic that doesn’t somehow lead back to Q. There is no news story that doesn’t secretly have major implications for Q. As they are wont to say: “There are no coincidences.”

This means that one of the most common forms of Q influencer posting is simply posting an unrelated news story, along with a comment like “interesting …” or “big things coming soon.” It hypes up the crowd on a slow news day, and allows them to feel like some kind of progress is being made in their endless holy war. Observe:

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The Prime Minister of Italy is stepping down? It must be because Italy secretly helped Biden rig the election for some reason. There’s no way this is related to the government’s catastrophic mishandling of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, right?

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Super billionaire Jeff Bezos is moving to a different executive position within his company? It must be because Patriots are closing in on him, yeah!

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Biden wants to complete one of Obama’s unfulfilled promises and close Guantanamo Bay? It must be because he’s afraid of being imprisoned there himself!

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I don’t think this guy knows the meaning of the words “literal,” “impossible,” or “coincidence.”

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A QAnon TV viewer offers their frank opinion on the quality of Saturday Night Live. And people think that Paste is harsh to SNL in its reviews.

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“I’m not saying that something WILL happen during the Super Bowl. I just wanted to hedge my bets so I can claim to be correct if something happens, but bear no responsibility for fake predictions when I’m inevitably wrong.” Also: 17 again! Another literal impossible coincidence!

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What’s that? Trump’s DC hotel is jacking up its rates for March 3 and March 4? It must be because that’s when Trump will be inaugurated as the 19th President, as foretold, and not because they realize they can take advantage of gullible anons who are happy to be fleeced by any organization with the word “Trump” written on it.

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Well there you have it. Trump’s hotel isn’t “taking financial advantage of gullible Q followers,” it’s just “trolling the media” by charging Q people three times the normal rate. Clearly, the joke is on me.

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QAnon on the Capitol Insurrection

Unsurprisingly, the Capitol insurrection/riots are still a hot topic of contention on the Q hubs of the web, such as Gab. And as I wrote a month ago, their opinions here are still all over the place. Some claim giddy credit for flexing their power in the storming of the Capitol, showing the left that they’re willing to “get tough.” Far more these days have settled into the claim that none of the people breaking windows, storming the Senate and beating police officers were Q believers or Trump supporters, despite these people being plastered from head to toe in Q and Trump paraphernalia.

It didn’t take long for the more savvy Q influencers to realize that the average American still has a hard time accepting “good guys” who are smearing feces in the halls of the Capitol and chanting “hang Mike Pence” or “we’re coming for you Nancy,” so much of the conspiracy theorizing surrounding the Capitol insurrection in the last month has been of the “this was all a false flag” variety. Some Q believers even claim that no one died at the Capitol at all, despite information on all five dead people being readily available. Some, like officer Brian Sicknick, you’ve no doubt heard about. Perhaps the most disturbing one you haven’t heard about: 34-year-old Georgia resident Rosanne Boyland, a Trump supporter who was trampled to death by her own fellow rioters at the Capitol. The Q faithful, however, are happy to pretend that she didn’t exist, or call her a “crisis actor.”

Truly, it’s incredible to watch a community constantly fantasize about violently overthrowing the government, but then immediately insist it wasn’t them when their own members follow through on those fantasies.

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Short, and to the point. The Capitol riot was a false flag operation designed to make MAGA people look bad. Which it certainly did, on account of them laying siege to the U.S. Capitol while members of Congress were running for their lives.

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These patriots sang the National Anthem so hard that five people died.

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“Some idiots broke the law” so hard that five people died.

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“It was actually perfectly legal for those people to break down the doors of the Capitol, climb in through its windows and rappel into the Senate chambers.” That must be why nobody stood in their way, except for the police officers they savagely beat with American flags.

Also: Another example of the already classic “It couldn’t have been MAGA people because we don’t wear our hats like that” trope.

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Nothing says “the violence was staged” quite like immediately and ominously following up with “the Dems will meet their end soon.”

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QAnon people couldn’t have been the ones storming the Capitol, because they have too much “respect for property” to do that!

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The unwavering belief in their own righteousness that these people possess can be truly terrifying. You can imagine this guy coming face to face with the family of officer Brian Sicknick and likely telling them that he doesn’t believe their husband ever existed. At this point, what could possibly change his mind?

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On the other side of the spectrum, you’ve got this guy saying that OF COURSE officer Brian Sicknick existed, he was just assassinated by Democrat hit squads because he was going to tell the truth of what really happened that day. Makes sense. Totally doesn’t clash with the opposing “he did not exist” narrative.

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Since the Capitol insurrection, two of the police officers who were on duty that day have tragically lost their lives to suicide. We can only imagine how haunted they must have been by what they experienced. If you’re a Q person, though, your natural thought is to insinuate or outright claim that these officers also must have been murdered by Hillary Clinton and co.

To recap: QAnon believers laid siege to Congress, directly causing multiple deaths, and other deaths likely linked to trauma in the days that followed, but they still claim it was the Democrats who are to blame for the deaths of all those people.

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It takes all of 10 seconds to look up the information they claim to want, but why do that when you can claim that these people don’t exist, or are actors?

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This man, the so-called “QAnon Shaman” otherwise known as Jacob Chansley, had been a hardcore QAnon supporter and mascot for years. Like the others who stormed the Capitol that day, he was one of Q’s most ardent believers. In the weeks that have followed Jan. 6 he’s been starving himself in prison, demanding things such as organic food, while affirming his loyalty to Trump and Q. Imagine doing all that for a conspiracy theory, only to be told by the other believers of that theory that you aren’t a real Anon but instead an actor. These people will throw any one of their own under the bus at the earliest possible convenience—it’s like they learned that trick directly from Trump.

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I defy you to make sense of anything at all in here. I only include it because I love the use of “thrown” to mean “throne.”

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Donald Trump’s Impeachment

You know that the QAnon folks are definitely going to have some opinions when it comes to the second impeachment of Donald Trump by the House of Representatives, his Senate trial on the article of “incitement of insurrection” and subsequent acquittal on partisan lines—although he did gain more Senate votes for conviction than any President in history, so there’s another history making accolade to add to the guy’s resume.

Beyond the expected takes, though (“By holding the trial after he left office, Democrats are admitting that Trump is still president,” etc.), the QAnon world didn’t have anything particularly surprising to say about the impeachment trial. Mostly, they just demonstrated a gross lack of knowledge about how legal proceedings work, and the difference between a Senate trial and a criminal one.

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Q believers tend to be extremely dramatic souls by nature—you can see this in how they frame the imaginary conflict between Patriots and The Cabal as “a movie,” because they lack a frame of reference grounded in reality. They don’t want to be grounded in reality, because the disappointing thing about reality is that it’s often boring and mundane. Q people want drama, excitement and intrigue, which is one of the aspects of Q drops and interpretation that excites them—it promises constant blockbuster developments and soap opera-style reveals. As a result, they expect these kinds of earth-shattering revelations to take place everywhere, at all times. It’s why they look forward to events like Trump’s Senate trial, because they assume that now will be the glorious moment when Trump and co. spring their carefully constructed trap, “the flood gates swing open,” and they’re all saved in a messianic burst of glory.

Reality simply can’t hold a candle to that kind of escapist fantasy.

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The highest compliment a Q believer can possibly pay any subject is to call it “biblical.”

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Reading posts like this, you get the sense that for most Anons, their entire exposure to the legal system is old episodes of Law & Order or Perry Mason. They really believe things like that the Democrats will “slip up” during a trial and be cornered on some turn of phrase, and then be forced to admit to decades of Deep State crimes. Their perfect world is one written by a hack screenwriter of legal potboiler paperbacks.

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At the end of the day, the important thing is not that Trump is no longer President—no, it’s that he didn’t specifically say the word “concede.” Simply going away and no longer being the President does not qualify as “conceded.”

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It certainly is a shame that the Democratic presidential candidate in the same election won 7 million more votes, then. That’s, you know, why he’s the President right now and all.

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Nothing makes a Q believer feel more mollified about impeachment proceedings than fantasizing about all the glorious revenge they’ll exact in the future, hit lists and all.

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QAnon Calls for Violence

Both times I’ve written a piece like this, I’ve tried to hold off on the section of overt QAnon calls for violence until the back half of the article. These types of posts are hard to read. They’re the kind of thing that sticks with you. I’d like to think that some readers can simply get a handle on QAnon by solely reading the earlier portions of these articles, but for those who want to truly understand everything that Q believers are capable of, this is where you eventually have to turn. Eventually, there’s no choice but to confront the fact that the average Q believer not only condones violence against their enemies, but is actively praying for it. As I wrote before on this topic:

This is the kind of bluntly violent talk that happens in QAnon communities every single day, which many dismissed as simply power fantasy and LARPing before Jan. 6. We now know that these people are all too willing to bring those fantasies to life. These QAnon believers? They want to see people die. They want to see a lot of people die. Many of them are hoping and praying for violence and civil war in the streets. Many want to see live, televised executions of Deep State traitors. Some don’t want to get their own hands dirty, but many morbidly fantasize at being able to kill people with their own guns. A lot of these people don’t even look at deaths as a “necessary evil” to their eventual aims—they see it as a glorious reward for their faith in The Plan.

Here’s some of the talk I’ve seen circulating in the last month.

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A lot of Q believers simply hint at the kind of violence they’d like to witness. But there’s always at least one in any given discussion who is willing to literally come out and say some variation on “we have to kill these people.”

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This guy feels betrayed by the fact that no mass arrests are coming, so his advice is that Q believers and MAGA people should put together a military resistance and start blowing people up. How chilling is the phrase “accidents happen all the time”?

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“Justice will come when they die.” No other comment necessary.

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Every once in a while, a semi-rational soul in the Q midst will pop up during one of these discussions to say something like the middle poster here—if we indeed are headed for mass “blood in the streets,” and this is being positioned as a good thing, who would you be using your guns on? Family? Neighbors? The military you claim to support so strongly? And look at the guy’s reply, that yes he’ll shoot his neighbors, friends and family, but only after March (presumably March 4 again) because if nothing happens then he’ll be fully justified in going out on a shooting spree in the name of freedom.

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So there’s “only one way to fix this,” and it involves the 2nd Amendment. Can’t imagine what you’re trying to say, my dude. Maybe he’s calling for greater grassroots political involvement and town halls with local politicians … at gunpoint.

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This one legitimately sent a shiver down my spine when I first read it. This person might legitimately go out and start sniping politicians in their homes. This is the kind of post that makes me hope the FBI is spending a whole lot of time browsing Gab these days.

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The average Q believer is so secure in their righteousness, and has such strong belief that they’re on the side of holiness and virtue, that they’re willing to overlook any amount of violence that brings about the fascist utopia they think is waiting on the other side. And like the dramatic thinkers they are, they believe that in this glorious moment, all their former obstacles will melt away. That includes police, military and the National Guard, as they assume that anyone with guns and authority will “side with the people” when their glorious revolution happens, casting aside all oaths and responsibilities. They can’t fathom a scenario where law enforcement would be against them when they try to overthrow the government.

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This is the kind of sentiment that I have to admit infuriates me the most. This person is posting that QAnon believers “don’t like violence” on a site that is completely filled from top to bottom with Anons wishing, hoping, praying, rationalizing and salivating over the prospect of violence. There’s no way this person could avoid seeing all the posts calling for the lynchings or shootings of Congressmen and other supposed Deep State assets. What do you think of the guy above, and his plan to snipe politicians in their homes? What do you think of the people who wished for DVD box sets of televised executions in my last QAnon deep dive? How disingenuous can you possibly be, to claim that this community does not endorse violence? How many screenshots of Anons calling for people’s deaths would I have to show you, to change your mind?

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And this, my friends, is the kind of rhetoric that ultimately justifies this sort of violence in the eyes of QAnon believers. They depict their enemies as being in the middle of a sinister plot to round them all up and “eradicate” them, in order to make a case for one uniting philosophy: “We have to get them before they get us.” The only way to make violence seem truly justified is to claim that it’s in service of preventing even greater violence, so Q believers are forced to theorize and claim that Democrats are preparing to have them all rounded up and killed. Only then can they feel good about the idea of preemptively killing their enemies before they themselves are targeted.

And honestly, I have no idea how you fight this sort of delusion. If someone you’re talking to is absolutely convinced that you want them dead, how do you tell them “I don’t wish you any harm, I just want to help you”? How can you possibly make them believe you, when there’s thousands of Q influencers out there filling their heads with fear and hatred, while also trying to profit off them? How do you stop someone from acting on the fear that “we have to strike first”? I don’t know how you defuse that kind of paranoid tension, and it scares me.

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Rationalization, Defeat, and Despair

It should go without saying that you don’t have to look too far in Q land these days before you come across despairing Anons who are lamenting that nothing seems to have gone right. It can be assumed that some portion of them have already abandoned the Q ideology or found a new corner of the conspiracy web to skulk in, while others have doubled down by accepting more and more convoluted rationalizations for why Biden being President is still “part of the plan.” Then there are those caught in the middle, wanting desperately to believe that everything Q told them was true, but no longer able to accept it thanks to what their own eyes are showing them every day.

They’re all represented in this section—the average people full of despair, and the Q influencers trying desperately to bring them back into line with assurances that everything is still okay, despite the obvious fact that it is not.

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This is a pretty common sentiment in Q world these days. The inauguration itself was an irresistible stage for making grand predictions, thanks to the drama of it all—which we’ve already established that Q believers can’t resist. In their heads, they saw Jan. 20 as the grand conclusion to an epic saga, in which the military in Washington D.C. would finally spring into action to prevent Biden from being sworn in. To many Anons, it was their “make or break” moment, when Q would either be vindicated or have some ‘splaining to do. The failure of that day leaves Anons like this fellow: Still affirming that he believed in Q, and supports the aims of QAnon, but has come to believe that the effort was a failure for reasons he can’t see. The idea that it was all fake, all along, hasn’t quite entered into his head yet.

See also, the reference to being “black pilled.” Because Q belief can never be separated from the movie they wish life resembled, such unsubtle Matrix references are extremely common. To a true Q believer, most of the country remains “blue pilled,” which is to say willfully ignorant of the evils of the Cabal and the Deep State. The “awakened” Anons, on the other hand, refer to themselves as “red pilled,” and they seek to “red pill” others. “Black pilled,” on the other hand, is the state of many Anons these days—they went down the rabbit hole, and now they want back out. Being “black pilled” is the state of becoming disenchanted with QAnon ideology, its constant failures and lack of results. The term is essentially used as a pejorative by Q influencers and true believers to keep other Anons in line when they start asking unpleasant questions. You’ll be seeing it a lot here.

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There’s nothing more PATHETIC than questioning what you’re being told when you’re always promised that mass arrests are about to happen, and then they never happen!

Also: “Black-pilled doompooners.” What a phrase.

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Hey Julian, some Anons don’t take kindly to being called a “doompooner,” thank you very much.

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Q influencers had always pointed to this particular Q passage as evidence that Deep State liberals would commit mass suicide prior to the mass arrests. Now the same passage is being used as evidence to show that “Q knew people would doubt the plan, so don’t doubt the plan.”

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If you fail to Trust the Plan, then you’re clearly empowering Communist China. You don’t want to find yourself on the side of Communism, do you?

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For an organization that sees betrayal and twists everywhere, it’s inevitable that some Q believers would eventually conclude that Q was a Deep State operation all along!

The amazing thing is that losing faith in Q very rarely seems to coincide with any kind of realization that perhaps there’s no such thing as the Deep State or the Cabal after all. One would think that if a huge part of your ideology fell apart, you’d then question whether the rest of that ideology was also BS, but Q believers tend to be extremely selective. Presumably, this is how they’re able to praise one of Trump’s lackey one week, and then turn on that lackey the next week without ever recognizing that the same pattern plays out over and over.

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The “Q has been a psy-op all along” crowd typically rationalize that the reason QAnon existed was to “keep them from taking action” by making them feel complacent, believing that Q would solve all of their problems for them. In this scenario, “taking action” presumably means “overthrowing the U.S. government to save Trump,” something that Q believers think they would be capable of doing if asked. The reality is of course that they’re always looking for excuses for not “taking action,” because they think they’re far braver and more proactive than they really are.

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On the exact opposite side of the spectrum, you have the people reassuring Anons that they don’t need to do anything, they can just rest and feel confident that “the military is in control.” This push and pull between “we need to take action!” and “trust the plan” is one of the biggest sources of Q-related anxiety.

Also: “red pill with the ammunition the movie provides,” is one of the most QAnon sentences I’ve read in this entire endeavor.

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These guys also need to find reasons why Biden enacting his own policy agenda is both “terrible” and simultaneously “not that bad,” because it’s apparently a necessary sacrifice that had to happen to prevent “bodies lining every street.” How considerate of them, to not start a Civil War, right?

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With every failure that QAnon has been through, and every disappointment and setback, you begin to wonder what actually would constitute “the sky is falling” in their eyes. Apparently Biden winning the election and becoming President does not even constitute “a setback.”

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When these guys are even turning on the military, that’s when you know shit in Q land has gotten bad.

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Correction: When they’re saying Donald Trump betrayed them, then you know shit has gotten REALLY bad.

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Never doubt, however, the ability of Q believers to pick up the pieces and reassemble their confidence/faith. Indeed, this is what happens with the majority of believers during the majority of setbacks or failed predictions.

Why is this? I think it comes down to a simple weighing of options that is subconsciously happening within this person’s mind. When Biden becomes President on Jan. 20 and isn’t arrested by the military, they are understandably deeply shaken. Something they believed with all their heart didn’t come to pass. In that moment, they’re confronted with the very real possibility that they’ve been tricked into believing a phony ideology, manipulated by others for political and monetary gain. This makes the Q believer feel ashamed, embarrassed and stupid.

But they have a way out. If they can justify the disappointment and reaffirm their belief, they don’t need to feel as if they were duped. And this is simply easier to do than facing down the unpleasant reality. It’s easier and less painful, in that moment, to find a new reason to believe the same lies, rather than start down an agonizing path of self discovery. And hence “total recovery.” You have to wonder, however, if the doubts do linger.

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Of course, the disappearance of Q himself/themselves never helps matters. Many Anons struggle mightily with the cognitive dissonance of knowing, deep down, that disappearing into the night is exactly what Q would do if this had been a big scam all along.

And thus, you get tons of posts like this one, assuring folks that “silence is not inaction.” Trust the plan, etc.

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This guy hilariously takes things one step further by assuring people that Q being silent is actually “THE GREATEST PROOF SOMETHING IS HAPPENING.” This is going to be my new gold standard for “lack of proof is proof” replies going forward.

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“Quantum computing scenarios.” That’s what we’re relying on now.

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General Bonus Batshit

I’ll just repeat what I said last time around, for this final section of our latest QAnon deep dive:

I have nothing left to say, when it comes to the havoc that QAnon has wreaked on our society. No further points to make, which the 100-some odd images in this post haven’t made for me already. I just needed one final section to include some of the most inexplicable, bizarre and ludicrous things I found while spending a few months on Parler and Gab. None of these things have much to do with the topic at hand; I just couldn’t help myself but screenshot them for their sheer inanity and the confused feelings they aroused in me.

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I honestly have no idea what to take away from this image. Disney killed the Jeffrey Epstein story, because it would have implicated a bunch of execs, something like that? Presumably they think Disney had Epstein killed in jail as well? How do they square that with people like Lin Wood who claim that Epstein is actually alive? It’s yet another classic case of conspiracies from QAnon folks that are directly opposed to one another.

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I’m not sure when this happened, but I somehow missed the moment when QAnon went full anti-Disney. Granted, if there actually was a Deep State, Disney would probably be involved somehow.

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“Nikola Tesla had a box that could cause earthquakes.” Aha, now THERE’S the deranged content I come to Gab to see.

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Typing “I revoke my consent to be governed by a Communist Chinese controlled government” on Gab is roughly equivalent to that scene in The Office when Michael Scott walks into the room and yells “I declare … BANKRUPTCY!”

Also, I’m not sure there would be much of a market out there for “canned evil.”

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Leading off with a Jesus-inflected rant about xenomorphs in your bedroom already makes for an extremely memorable bit of derangement, but only in this world would you ever see such a story followed up with a simple “that’s a true statement,” as if person A said nothing unusual at all.

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Saying that Q is actually a “time traveling quantum computer” is so profoundly silly that I really, really wonder if this is just a troll, or some form of satire. But on Gab, it’s absolutely impossible to be sure, because every other comment is like this.

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I can think of no better word to sum up the experience of spending all this time among QAnon than “bambuzeled.” Truly, that says it all.

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