Ours is an age beset by conspiracy theories, with the fascist QAnon cult at the center of much public lunacy. These completely implausible ideas, apparently taken seriously by millions of people, have been enabled by the internet, by social media, and by the rise of a new, militant billionaire class that funds them. Indeed, with the turn to such conspiracies by new Twitter owner Elon Musk, that site has seen an explosion of hate speech, calumny, and wacky but dangerous ideas. Just to refresh our memories, QAnon accused Hillary Clinton and other high officials of running a pedophile ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. At one point these vicious lies even led to the pizzeria being shot up. This conspiracy theory was believed and broadcast by Gen. Michael Flynn, the former U.S. National Security Advisor! More recently, QAnon acolytes were involved in the January 6, 2021, attempted coup d’etat.
You may wonder if the world has abruptly gone mad.
Alas, it is the sad duty of historians to remind everyone shocked by the present that, as Ecclesiastes 1:9 has it,
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
As we commemorate the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is worth remembering that the Q of his era was not anonymous. It was J. Edgar Hoover, the long-term head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The FBI was formed in 1908 by Teddy Roosevelt, over the objections of Congress, which feared a secret police. Its initial charge was to hunt down anarchists, who in the hysteria
— source juancole.com | Juan Cole | 01/16/2023