Critics of the QAnon conspiracy may have heaved a collective sigh of relief as news broke that Joe Biden would become the president-elect of the United States of America.
Since coming to the attention of the world via the /pol/ section of 4chan in late 2017, the conspiracy widely mocked and, to most, completely debunked, has gained momentum fuelled by the Trump presidency.
But if you’re hoping that Q will depart the building along with Donald Trump on January 20, you would be sorely mistaken.
Over the last three years, QAnon has steeled itself as a robust, cohesive force. While Q’s predictions have fallen through on more than one occasion, leading to some followers losing faith and jumping ship, it has equally conditioned the die-hards to be able to accept such failures and write them off as genius-level 4D chess moves.
The Q patriots are convinced the election defeat is just another in a series of smoke and mirror twists to catch the ‘deep state’ actors red-handed so that the ‘good guys’ can put them behind bars and take control.
If and when the day comes for a Biden inauguration, QAnon will of course be discredited once again and many will see they may have been swept up in a patriotic LARP. However, the die-hards are rusted on and they will continue their fight as long as there is fuel for their idealogy.
My big criticism of most QAnon critics is that their motivations for wanting to bring down QAnon is often fuelled by their own personal politics. Indeed, most of those on social media mocking and discrediting QAnon are not simply aiming to debunk it because of its cultish absurdity, but more that it’s a movement that has at its core right-wing ideas.
Has that helped shrink the QAnon phenomenon? I’d argue it has done the very opposite. Much like 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s labelling of the ‘deplorables’, the style of criticism levelled at QAnon by the media has driven the movement further to the right and it’s roped in many usually apolitical types to answer what can appear to be a patriotic call.
America, and the rest of the world, has gone through a cultural and social revolution over the past 20 years. We’ve all become citizens of the world via the internet and subjects once discussed without fear of social persecution now might lead to people being ‘cancelled’ publicly online for stepping outside the new socially acceptable terms.
QAnon by itself is not a reaction to this – It’s a much more complicated phenomenon. But it’s ability to draw in supporters, in my opinion, is linked to a great divide in culture, media and politics.
This is the precise reason why QAnon has been able to be picked up and transplanted into other countries with ease. While it might have started deeply embedded in American politics, it’s shifted to become a much bigger fight against globalism and for more traditional social values.
As long as there’s people to benefit from its existence – QAnon isn’t going away … It’s going to go global.
Daniel is a Melbourne-based multimedia journalist with international experience as an editor, producer, designer and artist at some of Australasia’s biggest newsrooms. A longtime commentator and reporter on internet culture, he now journals his observations on digital life and counterculture for Boldly.