A secret cabal is taking over the world. They kidnap children, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from their blood. They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church. They want to disarm the police. They promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power.
Does this conspiracy theory sound familiar? It is. The same narrative has been repackaged by QAnon.
I have studied and worked to prevent genocide for forty years. Genocide Watch and the Alliance Against Genocide, the first international anti-genocide coalition, see such hate-filled conspiracy theories as early warning signs of deadly genocidal violence.
The plot, described above, was the conspiracy “revealed” in the most influential anti-Jewish pamphlet of all time. It was called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was written by Russian anti-Jewish propagandists around 1902. It collected myths about a Jewish plot to take over the world that had existed for hundreds of years. Central to its mythology was the Blood Libel, which claimed that Jews kidnapped and slaughtered Christian children and drained their blood to mix in the dough for matzos consumed on Jewish holidays.
The Nazis published a children’s book of the Protocols that they required in the curriculum of every primary school in Germany. The Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer (derived from the German word for “Storm”) spread the Blood Libel. Hitler’s Mein Kampf, his narcissistic autobiography and manifesto for his battle against the Jewish plot to rule the world, copied his conspiracy theories from the Protocols.
The Nazis worshiped Adolf Hitler as the Leader who would rescue the white race from this secret Jewish plot. Nazi “storm troopers” (“storm detachment” - Sturmabteilung) helped bring Hitler to power. Nazi Germany went on to conquer Europe and murder six million Jews and millions of Roma, Slavs, LGBTQ and other people.
America had its own dark side. Henry Ford echoed Nazi hatred of Jews and had 500,000 copies of the Protocols printed and distributed in the U.S. Father Coughlin preached the Protocols on national radio. The Ku Klux Klan combined its white supremacist racism with hatred of Jews.
QAnon’s conspiracy theory is a rebranded version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
QAnon purveys the fantasy that a secret Satan-worshiping cabal is taking over the world. Its members kidnap white children, keep them in secret prisons run by pedophiles, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from the essence in their blood. The cabal held the American Presidency under the Clintons and Obama, nearly took power again in 2016, and lurks in a “Deep State” financed by Jews, including George Soros, and Jews who control the media. They want to disarm citizens and defund the police. They promote abortion, transgender rights, and homosexuality. They want open borders so brown illegal aliens can invade America and mongrelize the white race.
QAnon true believers think Donald Trump will rescue America from this Satanic cabal. At the time of “The Storm,” supporters of the cabal will be rounded up and executed.
The QAnon conspiracy theory has now spread to neo-Nazis in Germany, where over 200,000 German QAnon accounts infest the internet. A faction known as “Reichsbürger,” or citizens of the Reich, orchestrated a brief storming of Parliament on Aug. 29.
Many people are perplexed at how any rational person could fall for such an irrational conspiracy theory. But modern social science shows that people in groups don’t always think rationally. They respond to fear and terror. They blame their misfortunes on scapegoats. They support narcissistic demagogues they hope will rescue them.
In the 1930’s, millions of Europeans were unemployed. Violent battles between Nazis and Communists raged in city streets. Democratic governments were powerless. Fascist dictators ruled Spain and Italy. Hitler took power in Germany and conquered Western Europe. Stalin’s Communists conquered the East. The Hitler-Stalin Pact sealed totalitarian rule over most of Europe. It took World War II and the deaths of millions to defeat the Nazis’ genocidal tyranny, and another fifty years to free the gulags of the Soviet Union.
Today the American people suffer from a Plague. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Angry mobs roam American cities and battle militarized police and heavily armed militias. The American government seems to be paralyzed. Dictators rule Russia and China. Islamic fascists rule Saudi Arabia and the old Ottoman and Persian empires. The American President appeases Russia, scapegoats China for the pandemic, and looks the other way as Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman murder their opponents.
In July, the Texas Republican party unveiled a new slogan, “We Are the Storm.” Over a dozen Republicans running for Congress have signaled support for the QAnon movement. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican candidate from Georgia who has endorsed QAnon’s views, is likely to win a seat in Congress. The President praises her as a “future Republican star.” The Trump campaign welcomes QAnon supporters to his rallies. When asked about QAnon on national television, the President replied, “I understand that they like me very much, which I appreciate.”
Some leading Republicans have begun to speak out against QAnon. Rep. Liz Cheney, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, has denounced QAnon as “dangerous lunacy that should have no place in American politics.” Republican leaders such as Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Sen. Ben Sasse have also denounced QAnon. Former Gov. Jeb Bush has said of QAnon,“Nut jobs, racists, haters have no place in either Party.”
The world has seen QAnon before. It was called Nazism. In QAnon, Nazism wants a comeback.
Gregory Stanton is the Founding President of Genocide Watch.