By Leon Galis
Since migrating into the mainstream from the sketchier neighborhoods of the internet, the QAnon conspiracy theory has achieved a lot of notoriety not least with the FBI. What’s attracted all the attention is the conspiracy among global elites that the elusive Q claims to have uncovered. Overlooked is the possibility that QAnon is itself the product of a conspiracy hatched to convert Donald Trump, member in good standing of the global elite, into a credible populist.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Chris Joyner sums up QAnon’s worldview this way.
“… its core belief is that a group of Washington and Hollywood elites, ranging from Barack Obama to actor Tom Hanks to billionaire Bill Gates, are part of a Satanic cult of global leaders who kidnap children to sexually abuse and torture them and drink their blood.
“Adherents wait for and decipher cryptic clues left on internet image boards by ‘Q,’ an unknown entity who they believe is a government insider working against the cabal. President Donald Trump lives in the center of this wide-ranging conspiracy, a heroic figure fighting the ‘deep state’ and preparing to bring the cannibalistic, pedophilia ring down in what some QAnon believers call ‘the storm.’”
Joyner reports that “Frazzledrip,” seen on a sign at a “Save the Children” march in north Georgia recently, “is code for the baseless belief that a video hidden on the laptop of former Congressman Anthony Wiener shows Hillary Clinton and aide Huma Abedin ritually sacrificing a child and drinking its blood.”
As for why anybody would be doing that, Los Angeles Times reporter Jason McGahan writes that these “global elites secretly enslave and torture children and extract from their blood what they believe is a life-extending chemical named Adrenochrome.”
The way I read this fever dream, it has two elements, one reality-based and the other totally unhinged. A rational person could believe that there really are global elites. I’m rational and I believe that. Bill Gates is certainly one of them. I’m sure you can name others.
Karl Marx got a lot of things wrong but he was dead right in predicting that mature capitalism would bestride the globe, and there’s no mystery about that. Unimpeded, capital flows toward the most favorable return, wherever it is. The reason Apple makes iPhones in China is that it’s more cost effective to make them there than here. The reason U. S. multinational corporations were falling all over themselves a few years ago to move their headquarters to Ireland was the more favorable tax climate there.
Globalization has cast up a class of people occupying the most rarified heights of the wealth scale who are only nominally citizens of this or that country, their primary allegiance being to their far-flung enterprises rather than their countries. Many of them congregate annually in Davos, Switzerland, for which they’ve earned the pejorative Davos Man.
People living in the economic lowlands who watched global capital flows upend their lives are understandably bitter toward Davos Man. But Trump’s dirty not-so-little secret is that he’s a Davos Man too, notwithstanding his “MAGA” posturing and hapless trade wars inspired by his simple-minded pre-Adam Smith mercantilism.
As his disgraced consigliere Michael Cohen says in his new book, “Everyone other than the ruling class on earth was like an ant, to his way of thinking, their lives meaningless and always subject to the whims of the true rulers of the world.” And on Rachel Maddow’s MSNC show, he exposed Trump’s primary allegiance: "Trump never thought he was going to win this election, he actually did not want to win this election. This was a branding deal. That's all that the presidential campaign started out as, this was a branding opportunity in order to expand worldwide." In fact, Cohen has a criminal record now because he lied to Congress about a real estate project that Trump was pursuing in Moscow. If he’d pulled it off, it would’ve joined Trump-branded properties in Turkey, India, the Philippines and South America.
Now if you’re a highly-placed Trump operative, or, as some QAnon cultists believe, Trump himself looking to divert attention from Trump’s global elite status, you could hardly do better than to smear globalists with a toxic mixture of anti-Semitic “blood libel” and American religious revivalism. The charge that Christian children were tortured, murdered and their blood harvested for ritual use has, from the Middle Ages to well into the 20th Century, been leveled against Jews to horrific effect. Nothing could’ve been better calculated to arouse the most intense hatred against Jews than portraying them as the very embodiment of evil, slaughterers of helpless innocents, vermin deserving extermination.
Journalists reporting the extension of this centuries-old slander to a Methodist like Hillary Clinton and a sometimes practicing Catholic like Bill Gates (but also to Jewish George Soros and Muslim Huma Abedin) are careful to dismiss it as “baseless” and “unfounded,” journalese for crazy. That’s reminiscent of the proclamations by Medieval religious and civil authorities that the libel against the Jews was “baseless” and “unfounded.” But they were no more persuasive with ordinary people than similar assurances are now with QAnon cultists.
Crazy though it is, this unspeakable accusation is critical to QAnon’s deification of global elitist Trump. Because his foes are nothing less than Satan’s minions, evil personified, to vanquish them he has to be more than heroic. He has to be God’s appointed avenging angel on earth and will triumph in what the cult believes will be another of the great religious awakenings that have swept through American society periodically from colonial times to the last century.
All of which is to say that the crazy conspiracy is the one that has Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama drinking dead children’s blood. But the one adapting a centuries-old, stubbornly durable anti-Semitic trope to the transformation of Donald Trump from just another greedy globalist of the sort his supporters hate to a demi-god inviting their worshipful adoration is anything but crazy.
Leon Galis is an Athens native who returned to town in 1999 after retiring from the faculty of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Since 2008, he has written dozens of columns for local Athens publicatuons, and is a frequent contributor at LikeTheDew.com and Medium.com.Galis is a professor of philosophy emeritus, with broad interests in current events and cultural commentary. You can read additional works by Galis at https://medium.com/@leongalis