Q is a patriot. We know that, for sure…
Now, Q is a patriot. He is someone that very much loves his country, and he’s on the same page as us and he’s very pro-Trump, OK?
So said congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene in the 2017 video that is the springboard for this series on how to distinguish truth from falsehood on the Internet. (Introduction and complete transcript here.)
In case you’re reading this when the mysterious figure “Q” has long been forgotten, he/she/they were at the center of the QAnon conspiracy theory during the Trump presidency. As Wikipedia puts it as of this writing, “QAnon is a disproven and discredited far-right conspiracy theory alleging that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against US president Donald Trump, who is fighting the cabal.” And that’s only the beginning of what QAnon entails.
Marjorie Taylor Greene said that Q is a patriot. In her 29-minute video devoted almost exclusively to Q and QAnon, the only evidence she cited for Q’s patriotism is that “he’s on the same page as us and he’s very pro-Trump.”
This gives us Lesson 1 in how to tell whether someone is a reliable source of truth: Do they make unfounded, favorable assumptions about people who seem to be on their side?
In this case, the answer is yes, and someone listening to Mrs. Greene should be on their guard.
Where is the unfounded assumption here? Well, let’s grant for the purpose of argument that anyone who is pro-Trump is automatically patriotic. Are there any reasons why someone would say the things Q does, including pro-Trump things, yet not be patriotic?
Of course there are, and one reason has been all over the news for the past four years: disinformation. Maybe Q wants to lure Trump supporters to his cause so he can feed them disinformation and ultimately make fools of them, and/or destroy their ability to distinguish truth from error thereby making them more-pliable dupes for the future, and/or undermine American democracy. In fact, the “undermining democracy” part seems to be exactly what has happened in the years since Mrs. Greene recorded this video, thanks exactly to conspiracy theories like Q’s.
Mrs. Greene, a Christian, should be well aware of this strategy. Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.”
Why had it apparently not occurred to Mrs. Greene that Q could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Probably for the same reason many of us make the same mistake: we want to believe the best of people who seem to agree with us. (Common variations include: “He is a leader in my faith, so he must be giving me the straight scoop.” and “He is a leader in my faith so he must be a good person.” I was guilty of making those assumptions for most of my life.)
We all share that weakness, but if you see someone on the Internet making it while trying to convince you of something, that’s a red flag.