Friday, June 04, 2021


Peggy Noonan has just published "an attempt to get at some of what’s behind conspiracism." She's referring specifically to QAnon, and to the belief that Donald Trump had victory stolen from him in 2020 and will soon be reinatated as president.

First she blames human nature, as well as the nature of life in America:
It is pleasurable to know and hold a higher knowledge—you get it, others don’t. In confusing times it’s good to have a Theory of Everything that explains it all to you. America has always had more than its share of cranks and crackpots—it’s the darker side of what gives us our gifts and original thinking. We’re open to the outlandish. America is a lonely place. When you hold to a conspiracy theory, you join a community. You’re suddenly part of something....

And we like to be divided, too. We like to be in a fight—“Albion’s Seed”—and on a side. One of the enduring and revealing songs of America asks “Which side are you on / Which side are you on? / ..."
She blames the decline in church attendance, even though QAnon is especially popular among evangelicals.

And then it's time for her to get down to business. She blames "woke" mainstream-media newsrooms.
Conspiracy believers don’t believe what the mainstream media tell them. Why would they? Newsrooms are undergoing their own revolution, with woke progressives vs. journalistic traditionalists, advocacy versus old-school news values. It is ideological. “We are here to shape and encourage a new reality.” “No, we are here to find and report the news.” It is generational: The young have the upper hand and the Slack channel. The woke are winning.
She blames the pandemic -- or, specifically, she blames those who implemented measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 that Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott didn't like:
Think of what normal human beings have been asked to absorb the past year. The whole country was shut down and everyone was told to stay in the house. They closed the churches, and the churches agreed. There was no school and everyone made believe—really, we all made believe!—screens were a replacement.
She blames The Transgender Menace:
A bunch of 13-year-old girls in the junior high decided they were boys and started getting shots, and no adults helped them by saying, “Whoa, slow down, this is a major life decision and you’re a kid.” The school board no longer argues about transgender bathrooms, they’re on to transgender boys wanting to play on the girls team.
And corporate progressivism, and activist progressivism:
Big corporations now tell you what you should think about local questions, and if this offends you, they don’t care. There were riots and protests last summer and local government seemed overwhelmed.

And in the course of events, the Founders were revealed to be not flawed but great men who made something new in history, but venal, vicious bottom dwellers who made something bad for bad reasons. Mobs tore down and graffitied the statues, not just the Confederate ones but Washington, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass.
And "the elites":
I don’t think our elites understand all they’ve asked people to accept the past year. And I’m sure they don’t care. The great thing about being “the elites” is you never think you are “the elites,” so you don’t have to make anything better because you’re not the one in charge.
And technology:
Conspiracism is of course fueled and powered by the great engine of this still-new thing in human history, the internet....

The internet is a great thing with great virtues, but it is helping break up America. This is a problem that can’t be solved, only managed. Good people should be thinking about how to do that.
But she never blames the people who are spreading the conspiracy theories. Trump isn't at fault. Her employer, Rupert Murdoch, isn't at fault. The rest of the right-wing media isn't at fault. Conspiratorial Republican politicians aren't at fault. The people who write and retransmit QAnon posts and election-theft propaganda aren't at fault.

We made them believe this stuff, with our woke atheist transgender elitism. We made them concoct this nonsense, we made them spread it, we made them consume it. They didn't want to. But we're so awful that they had no choice!

Since the 2016 campaign, Noonan has been an occasional critic of Donald Trump. But this is her happy place -- blaming us for everything. It's every other establishment right-winger's happy place, too, which might be why so many of them want to dump Trump and the conspiratorialists. The establishment right knows it can't defend QAnon or Trump, so it wants them to go away, at which point everything bad in the world will be our fault again.

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