Girls Will Be Boys

May 26, 2021 | Claremont Institute

The storming of the United States Capitol last January 6, spearheaded in part by followers of the internet craze known as QAnon, set off soul-searching among conservatives. Suddenly, those who had only a dim awareness of Q & Co. were forced to confront just how embedded its worldview had become. Was Donald Trump waging a secret war against Satanic pedophiles within the Deep State which would culminate in a millenarian “Storm,” sending enemies off to Guantanamo and inaugurating a new era in human affairs? Before the riot, such mythology seemed comfortably obscure.

Though QAnon is typically dubbed a “conspiracy theory,” it is—or perhaps was—more accurately described as a cult: an all-encompassing belief system. QAnon bustled with energy, online communities, constant updates, branches in other countries, and fascinating, albeit byzantine, storylines. It generated robust merchandising wings. Its chatter was ceaseless—earnest and self-absorbed, boosterish, Manichean, empirically insolvent, punitive toward unbelievers. Above all, it was a craze unthinkable without the internet.

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