Some readers of HBL will have noticed that there was recently some discussion about conspiracy theories between Torsten Fagerholm, Hannes Nykänen, and let’s see who else will still get involved. Even I was at one point writing a (private) email to Torsten Fagerholm. But while thinking about these matters, more about the whole thing has come to my mind, e.g. QAnon (which can be easily googled).
Now it is so that I do dislike the whole term “conspiracy theory”. It was introduced short after 9/11, and very obviously for the purpose of whitewashing what some people seem to see as the Holy American Empire of Freedom, Democracy and Free Enterprise (the last not least … – there seems to be some opinion around that it simply MUST NOT BE that any non-American should be impertinent enough to doubt the untouchable moral superiority of this empire and everybody who follows it, especially Israel). Further, I think it ridiculous that the term is used in ways which seem to imply that there never was any conspiracy anywhere (which is nonsense), and I also dislike that the term is slapped on claims which really should not be honored by being called a “theory”: a theory is a hypothesis for which there is already evidence, so that doubts about the official version of the events at 9/11 CAN indeed be called a conspiracy theory (because there IS evidence, which was contributed by at least 2 professors, 1 former German minister, and is supported by a bit more than 3000 Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth) whereas what is usually honored by the name “conspiracy theory” is hardly more than an empty claim. The most extreme example I remember is a lady who, when asked, ventured a guess that also the decisions of the Chinese government are cooked up by a worldwide Jewish conspiracy (upon which we agreed that we were of different opinion about this point …).
But, I was already mentioning QAnon, which I take as an extreme example of a case of political psychology. If you consult Google, it is described as a Satan-worshiping conspiracy of pedophiles who are trading children as sex slaves (and somewhere there was also mentioned that they eat children). And these monsters are of course counteracting Donald Trump, who tries his best to fight them (and has in fact occasionally used the claims of this conspiracy in his political propaganda).
The parallels between these claims about QAnon and what I was writing in the late 1990ies in a paper titled “Doublethink, Rat Think, Monkey Think” came only very recently to my attention – after all, QAnon is called a conspiracy, and I was writing before that term was in general use (discussing matters from 1984 and a bit later). But as to what the parallels are, in my paper I was discussing at length the wave of alarm and excitement about the topic of Child Sexual Abuse which was sweeping the western world after one Jeffrey Masson had in 1984 published a book titled “The Assault on Truth”, in which he tried to revive an early theory of Sigmund Freud (which Freud himself had later on given up). Masson’s book sold very well. I even think I remember that Helsinki town library kept an impressive number of copies as course material. Masson followed the success up with two further books (both very negative about psychoanalysis) before turning to other matters. Since then, scientific investigations were showing that very most of that excitement was unjustified. And in my paper I was trying to figure out how the claims of an incompetent analyst could have as huge (and to quite some extent very negative) consequences as they had.
In his book, Masson started from the assumption that many men are in the habit of misusing members of their families sexually. This gives women (a) the possibility to occupy their minds with that very exciting topic of sex (which is also in other primate species quite an important topic, not only sexually but also socially), and (b) the possibility to claim a higher moral position than those men. Further, the general primate tendency to defend the children (whom especially US women may claim as the objects of their special responsibility and competence) against any threat, especially against something as non-Christian as sex (in 1998 there was an investigation which showed that in the USA just something like 10 per cent of people believed in the evolution theory …) will have hugely added to the excitement (and to the claim for the higher moral ground). And once in the USA a lively discussion was on, it of course was also spreading to the rest of the western world (because if there is so much talk about a matter, it is only logical to assume that there is some real problem …). And exactly the just-mentioned points are taken up by QAnon, only with the addition of claiming that children are also eaten (perhaps in Satanic rituals? – it is anyway a point of which during World War I some western media were accusing the German Kaiser, accusing him of preferring the cheeks and the palms of small children to other parts of their bodies), and with the modification that not men in general but just Liberal enemies of Trump and other “real Americans” are supposed to be such monsters. Thus, is QAnon perhaps a very carefully and expert-like construed piece of propaganda, including a whole catalogue of claims which have already in the past proven to produce HUGE intensities of excitement and disgust? It MAY be so, and I do not CLAIM more (and do CERTAINLY Not call it a “theory”). But it may be helpful at least to remind of the possibility that what some people (according to Torsten Fagerholm even in Finland) believe, or are on the way to believe, can very well be a carefully designed piece of propaganda which was formulated by some totally irresponsible cynics (because we can perhaps agree that it is not good for the peace of ANY society if people begin to cultivate such beliefs about each other).