Saturday, August 22, 2020


QAnon has an elaborate narrative involving cannibal pedophiles and the heroes (led by Donald Trump) who will someday crush them -- but QAnon doesn't have a monopoly on right-wing conspiratorialism, primarily because the right was already conspiratorial long before QAnon came along.

Here's a tweet from the president this morning:

Trump is just saying out loud what much of the GOP electorate believes: that the coronavirus isn't particularly dangerous except to old people and people with certain medical conditions, that we liberals know this, that we're engaged in a conspiracy to sustain a fake panic until Election Day, and that we'll drop the subject the minute the polls close.

They have no idea how sick of the pandemic we all are, how tired we are of wearing masks, of mostly confining ourselves to our homes, of juggling work and childcare and schooling, of not visiting our parents or hugging our friends, of fearing that if we get sick we'll be among the unlucky ones who die or suffer long-haul medical consequences. We want this to be over. If it's a conspiracy, why did we crush the curve up here in the Northeast? Wouldn't we have wanted New York City and New Jersey and Massachusetts and Rhode Island to look the way they did in April and May, in order to sustain the fake panic?

But this is nothing compared to Rush Limbaugh's grand unified conspiracy involving Black Lives Matter, antifa, and the coronavirus:
I mean, they’re tearing up places in California. They’re tearing up places in Oregon, state of Washington, where Democrat businesses are and where Democrat people live. The question is, if Biden wins, does this stuff continue? If Trump wins, does this stuff continue? Under what scenario does this stuff stop? ...

I think the reason it’s continuing is because the Democrat Party has determined that it is a positive thing to help them win reelection for all of this chaos to occur. I think they want people to believe that it is all related to Trump, that this rioting, the looting, that the chaos is understandable. It’s understandable these people would hate Trump. He’s a racist bigot. It’s understandable. We don’t think we should try to stop [them] or quiet them down. This is peaceful protests. These are mothers upset that Trump wants to take their health care away.

So it’s an active political calculation that this wanton destruction of Democrat cities will delay the opening of Democrat cities and states, which will, therefore, delay the speed of the recovery of the American economy, which, at the end of that progression, ends up hurting Trump.

All of this — like I told a caller yesterday — everything happening, no matter how illogical you might think, everything happening is part of the Democrat Party effort to stop Donald Trump, to defeat Donald Trump, everything. Black Lives Matter being allowed to run amok, Antifa being allowed to run amok, New York, California, Washington, Oregon, governors and mayors not putting a stop to this, all designed to create chaos that they can blame on Donald Trump.

So theoretically if Trump loses, then they would say, “Oh, yeah, it’s gonna end at some point.” A lot of people think the virus is gonna end on November 4th. I mean, the big news about the virus, the virus as an ongoing, daily concern will also end after the election, either way. But I don’t think it’s gonna stop until these people are dealt with. I’m talking about Black Lives Matter, Antifa, they’re gonna keep going for as long as they’re being paid to do it, as long as it is of value to them.
So I guess, according to Limbaugh, we're allowing the looters (who are paid, of course -- the word "Soros" isn't uttered, but it's implicit) to just keep looting because we want to continue the coronavirus lockdowns because the lockdowns hurt the economy and hurting the economy hurts Trump. It's unclear whether Limbaugh is too ignorant and provincial to realize that the unrest doesn't slow the economy at all -- that it's generally confined to late-night hours and small swaths of big cities, and that city-dwellers are perfectly capable of continuing to work and otherwise go about their business in spite of the unrest, or would be if the virus weren't an ongoing danger -- or if Limbaugh knows better and just assumes that his audience is ignorant and provincial, and gullible. (Of course, a great deal of office work previously done in big cities is now being done remotely from employees' homes.)

I don't know what Limbaugh is suggesting at the end there -- he seems to be leaving himself an out in the event that Election Day comes and goes and -- to the bafflement of his audience -- "Democrat" cities and states are still trying to keep the virus under control and demonstrators are still angry about racial injustice. The explanation, of course, can't be that we're sincere about this. The explanation can only be that our sinister conspiracy is still "of value" to us.

And, of course, the conspiracy is one big octopus, encompassing everyone from Joe Biden to Democratic mayors and governors to a bunch of Black Bloc window-breakers to, I guess, the FDA.

There's projection in this, of course. Republicans ginned up Ebola hysteria during the 2018 midterm campaign, then dropped the subject after the polls closed (which meant that the media dropped it as well). But Ebola never actually gained a foothold in America, so the hysteria was never justified; it could be dropped after it served its purpose because Ebola was never a COVID-level public health crisis in America. And on the right, fringe radicals and the mainstream really are largely in sync on basic goals (electing more Republicans, owning the libs). By contrast, liberals and leftists fight all the time. (Look, here's an upcoming gathering of socialists and other progressives looking to start a new left-wing political party, just in time to de-motivate progressives who might have been thinking of voting for Biden.)

But right-wingers believe this stuff largely because they're conspiracy-minded -- and they were that way long before QAnon.

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