#D5: Advice for people who just realized that Qanon is bullshit

Qanon is an unbelievably stupid conspiracy theory whose underlying bullshittery is mathematically provable, and whose primary proponents are pallsy with the President, and whose adherents include mass-murderers whose crimes are linked to their belief in the Qanon conspiracy.

Early on, person(s) behind Qanon made a bunch of very specific predictions that failed to come true, causing many to leave the cult. But Qanon learned from their mistake and has started to make much hazier, astrology-style pronouncements that leave sufficient leeway to allow virtually any event to be interpreted as proof of the prophetic insights of Qanon.

An exception was a set of very detailed predictions for December 5, 2018, or #D5, which — unsurprisingly — also failed to come true.

With the latest disappointment, many members of the Qanon cult are waking up to the fact that they got hoodwinked. Colin, who writes about conspiracies, has addressed a set of remarks to these departing members, helping to ground them in what has happened to them while they were in the thrall of the cult.

The short version: you got scammed, people gained both money and attention by scamming you, smart people are actually easy to scam because they form really good rationalizations and overestimate their own intelligence, and chances are, you helped scam other people.

Not everyone will get out. Look at the Q Anon movement today. It's still full of people—although less than there were at the beginning of the week—claiming that whatever hit the headlines proved his prophecies to be true, and demanding that everyone Trust the Plan and WWG1WGA, forever and ever, amen. It's a lesson in how the brain works. It doesn't matter how much evidence there is proving that Q is making it up as he goes along; for some people, the pain of admitting it was a hoax is greater than the pain of believing in that hoax. The costs of believing are less than the costs of reconsidering, so they won't reconsider. When you see the die-hard Qists trying to keep the movement running, what separates you from them? How were you able to pull your head out of the rabbit hole, and why haven't they? Again, I can't answer that question, and again, the answer's going to be different for everyone. And again, this is still something that's important to think about.

This isn't the last scam. The hardest point is last. Earlier I said that even, maybe especially, smart people fall for dumb conspiracy theories. And that's true. But it's also true that people who fall for conspiracy theories like Q will keep falling for conspiracy theories. There are lots of explanations for why that's so, some of which are probably right. But even if we don't fully understand why it's true, we all know that it's true. And that means that you, dear ex-Qist, are very likely to fall for some new conspiracy theory before long. That's one reason why it's worth thinking about how you got out of this one, and why the dead-enders didn't. The "mental hygiene," or good habits of skepticism and reasoning, that it takes to question Q Anon are also good defenses against getting tricked again. But not perfect defenses, not by a long shot. So maybe the best takeaway here is simply to remember, and really believe, that you can be fooled and that you have been fooled in the past. (And yes, that applies to everyone. I'm a conspiracy theory skeptic, and I try to remind myself all the time that I can be fooled and that I have been fooled in the past.)

Your Q Anon Exit Briefing [Colin/Violent Metaphors]

(via Naked Capitalism)